A-Rod and No. 600

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Albaladejo set to join Yanks tonight
Alex's 500th. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

At some point in the not too distant future, Alex Rodriguez is going to connect with a pitch and send it over the fence for the 600th time of his career. We’ve already seen him do that same thing 253 times in pinstripes, setting the single season franchise record for homers by righthanded batter along the way (twice). He is inarguably the greatest hitter this 28-year-old has ever seen play for the Yankees (some of you older fans are welcome to disagree), someone with a first ballot Hall of Fame resume if he retired today.

And yet, there is almost no buzz, no excitement surrounding his pursuit of this historic milestone, as Ken Rosenthal points out. Alex’s 500 HR chase garnered much more attention, both locally and nationally. Maybe it’s the PED thing, that’s a legitimate question, maybe it’s just homerun fatigue. The 500 HR club added ten new members in the last decade or so, nearly doubling in size. Perhaps that once great milestone is losing its luster.

The 600 HR club has experienced the same kind of growth. There are six players in baseball history with that many homeruns to their credit, three of whom (Ken Griffey Jr., Sammy Sosa, and Barry Bonds) joined the club in the last decade. Before that, it had been more than 30 years since Hank Aaron and Willie Mays joined Babe Ruth as 600 HR men, and they did so within three years of each other. So again, this club has doubled in size in the last decade after tripling in size almost four decades ago.

That shouldn’t cheapen the accomplishment, though. Tens of thousands of players have worn a Major League uniform at some point, yet just six have hit more homers than the Yankee third baseman. Soon enough, A-Rod will not just join those six great players in the 600 HR club, he might even surpass them all down the road. Consider what he’s already accomplished despite not turning 35-years-old until next week. He’s already hit the seventh most homeruns in baseball history. He was the youngest player to hit 300 homers, the youngest to hit 400 homers, the youngest to hit 500 homers, and he’ll also be the youngest to 600 homers by a not small margin. He’ll beat the Bambino to the milestone by a full year.

Alex has accomplished many things on the baseball field, but it doesn’t seem like gets as much credit for it as his peers. Consider how much love and adoration Griffey received at a similar point in his career despite being a fraction of the player. Maybe it has to do with expectations. A-Rod was so obviously gifted that greatness was a foregone conclusion. If he didn’t succeed, it would have been the biggest bust in baseball history. Greater than Brien Taylor and Mark Prior, greater than Steve Chilcott and Matt Bush. Alex couldn’t fail, it wasn’t an option.

Of course, there’s also public opinion to consider. Alex has long been considered a phony for his off-the-field antics and a choker for failing to become a World Champion, as if that was solely his fault. Now he has his ring, he has his homerun crowns with more to come, maybe everyone is just bored and looking for a new whipping bow. Either way, A-Rod’s greatest almost seems to get neglected at times, especially recently.

Consider this: Have you ever seen any mainstream media outlet, including the Yankees’ own television network,  give A-Rod credit for hitting more homers than any other infielder (first baseman included!) in baseball history? I certainly don’t ever recall it. And yet he accomplished that rather remarkable feat this season, passing Frank Robinson when pulled the old “hit a grand slam after the other team intentionally walks Mark Teixeira to load the bases” trick against the Twins in May. You remember that homer, yet you remember it for every reason other than Alex becoming the all-time leader in homeruns hit by an infielder. Think about that. More homers than any other infielder in baseball history, yet you’d probably never would have realized it if you didn’t read this post.

Now he’s moving onto bigger and better things. Alex’s 600 HR chase might not be the getting the attention the Yankees expected when they included the $30M worth of milestone incentives in his contract (those incentives don’t kick in until he hits homer No. 660, though), but that doesn’t cheapen the accomplishment. Also, they can point the finger at themselves for that lack of attention as well. They should be promoting this on television and around the ballpark like there’s no tomorrow. It’s a cash cow going unmilked.

We really should take a step back to realize what we are witnessing here. A-Rod isn’t just a great player, he’s a historically great player that will be talked about for years to come. We know history has a way of repeating itself; the first game after George Steinbrenner‘s death played out very much in the same way as the first game after Thurman Munson’s death, with a 5-4 walk-off win. Alex hit his 500th career homerun in Yankee Stadium off Kyle Davies of the Royals on a Saturday. The Royals are coming to the Bronx this week. Saturday’s scheduled starter? Kyle Davies.

(You can find ticket info for upcoming games after the jump if you want to see Alex hit No. 600 in person.)


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  • poster on a different computer

    I’m thinking the reason this is garnering such little attention is almost certainly the PED thing.

    • Will

      Yeah, that point is dismissed way too easily. Granted, he was kinda hated by the media before the PEDs, but unless everyone has granted mental amnesty for PEDs (something MLB should do for real, IMHO), that’s gotta be the first thing on everyone’s mind when talking about career achievements. The closest comparison would have to be Bonds chasing Aaron’s record, but he didn’t straight out admit it like A-Rod, so there was a little denial at play.

      • http://twitter.com/dpatrickg Dirty Pena

        Even with Bonds, his pursuit of Aaron was much less of a big deal than it would’ve been without PEDs being involved.

    • James Jones

      I think there are just a lot of jealous people out there. A-Rod, despite the PEDs, is such a great player and has everything going for him. Folks have a hard time with that. I wish him all the luck in the world and I will be at the Stadium Friday and Saturday to watch him.

  • Rose

    I see a fatigue in almost everything baseball this season compared to those in the past. Perhaps it’s just contageous and even when there is something to write about…it’s as if the writers are already comfortable laying on the couch for all this time and don’t want to get up and disrupt things…

    The Yankees, as a whole, have been avoiding the spotlight. They’re collectively avoiding it while remaining in first place. Something they did successfully last season which helped them march around the field hoisting Lord Stanley the World Series trophy.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      I see a fatigue in almost everything baseball this season compared to those in the past. Perhaps it’s just contageous and even when there is something to write about…it’s as if the writers are already comfortable laying on the couch for all this time and don’t want to get up and disrupt things…

      I’m not really a “Rickey Henderson” kind of guy.

      Sincerely,
      Corky Simpson, BBWAA

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

    He is inarguably the greatest hitter this 28-year-old has ever seen play for the Yankees…

    Hensley.
    Meulens.

    • Carlosologist

      1.867 OPS
      415 OPS+

      Greatest hitter of all time.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        It’s science.

  • Carlosologist

    Frankly I’m excited to see A-Rod get number 600. He’ll get it before the end of this homestand and then the march to the record begins.

    • http://fmylife.com Bryan

      Not so bold prediction:

      He’ll get 599 and 600 in the same game.

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

    Two games against the Angels, then four against the Royals, then a road trip to Cleveland and Tampa Bay.

    Let’s start a pool: Who does Alex hit #600 off of? You get three choices.

    I’ll take:
    Brian Bannister
    Kyle Farnsworth
    Justin Masterson

    • Carlosologist

      Farnsworth. It’ll be a garbage time HR after the Yanks are up 14-0.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        Kyle Farnsworth was literally *born* to give up a momentous homer to CentWAR Centaur™. It’s what he was put on this earth to do.

        It’s his raison d’être.

        • Pete

          it will be his greatest contribution to the yankees.

    • http://theyankeeu.com Matt Imbrogno

      I choose Sean O’Sullivan. Yeah that’s right; he does it tonight.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        Ballsy. I like it.

        (TWSS)

    • http://twitter.com/dpatrickg Dirty Pena

      Francisco Rodriguez
      Kyle Davies (500 & 600!)
      Jake Westbrook

      • Carlosologist

        If only he could hit off the douche Francisco Rodriguez across the river…

        • Klemy

          Are you kidding? If he hasn’t hit it yet, Davies won’t throw him anything to hit. lol he’s not going to want to be on that centennial list 2x in a row.

    • Thomas

      I’ve got:

      Bruce Chen (my pick)
      Kanekoa Teixera
      Robinson Tejada

      Big prediction A-rod hits 762 and 763 against Casey Kelly.

      • Carlosologist

        No! That’s impossible!

        • Ghost of Scott Brosius

          Search your feelings….you know it to be true.

      • All Praise Be To Mo

        The only person that can hit home runs 762 & 763 off of Casey Kelly is Casey Kelly himself.

    • pat

      Who’s starting for the Halos today? I’ll take that person.

    • vin

      Soria
      Davies
      Westbrook

  • Sweet Dick Willie

    There are currently 25 members of the 500 HR club.

    As a kid, I remember Willie Mays hitting his 500th HR and becoming just the 5th player to accomplish that feat.

    • Chris

      In the first 50 years of baseball (1871-1920) no player entered the 150HR club. In the next 10 years, 10 players accomplished that feat.

      In the first 60 years of baseball, only 3 players hit 200HR. In the next 10 years, 14 players joined them.

      Significant increases in the number of HR hit is nothing new to baseball.

  • Ed

    Here’s a reason. His contract gives him $6m a piece for 5 milestones starting at 660 home runs. 600 isn’t a huge ways off from those milestones (1.5-2 seasons for him). Once you hit 660, the milestones aren’t that far apart, and get closer together as he moves up. It’s quite likely that the team doesn’t want to make a huge deal out of 600 simply because there’s a limit to how many milestones they can milk for profit. They probably just feel they’ll be able to make less money off HR 660 if they push 600 too hard.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      That makes some sense.

      But independent of the team marketing #600, the media seems not to care much, at least like they did for Bonds/Sosa/Griffey.

      • Ed

        True. My thoughts on that:

        Bonds was the first of the 3 to do it, and the first guy in decades. That made it a huge event.

        Sosa came back from retirement for one last push for 600 HR, which made it more of a story. It was also likely that he wasn’t going to reach any further milestones.

        Griffey was another case where it was clear his career was winding down and he wouldn’t hit another milestone.

        A-Rod is now the 4th guy to run at 600 in the last decade, and 3rd in the last 4 years. It’s not as special anymore. Even with the hip issue, he’s still a 30 HR a year guy, and he’s under contract for 7 more years after this one. It’s highly likely that he’ll hit more milestones before he’s done, so in the scope of his career, 600 isn’t as big a deal as it was for Griffey and Sosa.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

          Perfectly said. I agree.

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

    The 500 HR club added ten new members in the last decade or so, nearly doubling in size. Perhaps that once great milestone is losing its luster.

    Fun fact (h/t Mike and Mike in the Morning):

    In the first 100 years of professional baseball, only three men joined the 600 HR club (Ruth, Mays, Aaron).

    This week, ARod will be the 4th man to join the 600 HR club in the past 8 years (Bonds, Sosa, Griffey, ARod).

    It’s just not as rare anymore. There’s milestone fatigue.

    • Brien Jackson

      I think the way Sosa kind of pissed his way across the line did some damage to the mystique of it.

  • Buck Nasty

    Thank you for this post. I’ve gotten into so many arguments with friends and relatives over the years whenever I talk about A-rod’s historical greatness. Nobody seems to believe it. Or they just hate him so much they don’t care. I get that some of it has to do with the PED’s, but that still doesn’t take away how amazing an athlete and ballplayer he is. It’s been a pleasure watching him in pinstripes all these years.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      Great comment.

      Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go put some water in your momma’s dish.

      /Chappelle’d

  • http://lh4.ggpht.com/_NPaCuwJ_TTk/TDt7MhQWeGI/AAAAAAAAAOo/6QT7gfN6SKA/prospecthuggers.jpg ROBTEN

    More homers than any other infielder in baseball history, yet you’d probably never would have realized it if you didn’t read this post.

    It’s weird to think that in many ways ARod is generally underrated by both fans and the media, in spite of being the highest paid player in the game. It’s unfortunate when considering that much of his legacy is still going to be written in terms of PEDs and the narrative that “he was a choker until 2009…”

    I mean, to think about how long he was booed by Yankee “fans” while putting up a .303/.401/.573/OPS+ 153 (’04-’08), it’s a testament to how spoiled some people are.

    It reminds me a little bit of Rickey Henderson. While he’s now more often remembered today as someone who talks about himself in the third person than as a lifetime .279/.401/.419/OPS+ 127/wOBA .386 hitter, during his tenure with the Yankees it is my recollection that he never seemed to get the recognition that other Yankees at the time received, despite putting up a .289/.399/.453/OPS+136 line while with the team* (*includes a half-season with Oakland in ’89).

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      Fun Fact:

      If you remove all outfielders and all first basemen, the only baseball players to ever hit at least 400 home runs are:

      #7 ARod 598
      #15 Mike Schmidt 548
      #38 Chipper Jones 433
      #39 Cal Ripken 431
      #40t Mike Piazza 427

      (Yes, I left out Ernie Banks. He played more 1B than SS. Feel free to add him back in if you disagree with my reasoning.)

      • http://fmylife.com Bryan

        Dat’s Crazy.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

          There’s not a big overlap between HR power and ability to play a non-1B infield position, apparently.

          If you add back in centerfielders (thus including one more defense-intensive position while still eliminating the poor defenders who got hidden at LF or RF), all you’re adding is:

          #5 Griffey 630
          #16 Mantle 536 (although he played a lot of the corners and 1B)
          #45 Duke Snider 407
          #46 Andruw Jones 401

          ——

          P.S. I should include Eddie Mathews (#21, 512) and Darrell Evans (#43, 414) in the original list of infielders; they both played the overwhelming majority of his career at 3B and only moonlighted at 1B. My bad.

          • Jose the Satirist

            A cool graph of HR by position to emphasize the gap: http://www.baseball-almanac.co.....tion.shtml

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

              The fact that those 2B and SS stacks are so short makes me happy that we have Jeter and now Cano.

          • http://fmylife.com Bryan

            When did Jones get 400???

            I’m falling behind a little.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

              Andruw Jones hitting #400 = a tree falling in the woods that nobody heard

          • Chris

            Willie Mays?

      • Sweet Dick Willie

        Eddie Matthews.

        Played a little OF and a little 1B (mostly at the end of his career), but he was predominately a 3rd baseman.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

          Yeah, oversight on my part. Added him and Evans.

    • Thomas

      While he’s now more often remembered today as someone who talks about himself in the third person

      The Seinfeld episode of Jimmy (the guy who speaks in the 3rd person) was on last night.

      I felt the need to share that with everyone.

      Why would George steal from the Yankees?

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        Why would George steal from the Yankees?

        George: (knocks) “You, um… wanted to see me Mr. Steinbrenner?”
        Stein: “Yes, George, come in ,come in. You know George I’ve been your biggest supporter around here, and that’s why I was so disappointed to hear that you been pilfering the equipment.”
        George: “George would never do anything like that.”
        Stein: “No, why would I. I own it.”
        George: “Right!”
        Stein: “So what are you saying?”
        George: “Why would George steal from the Yankees?”
        Stein: “He wouldn’t.”
        George: “Of course not!”
        Stein: “Exactly… (mumbles) I don’t what the hell’s going on here.”
        George: “Sir?”
        Stein: “Nothing.”
        George: (energetically) “Well, seems it’s about time for George’s lunch!”
        Stein: “Yes, it is. Well lets see what I have today. Darn it! It’s ham & cheese again, and she forgot the fancy mustard. I told her I like that fancy mustard. You could put that fancy mustard on a shoe and it would taste pretty good to me. Oh! She made it up with a cupcake though. Hey look at this — you know I got a new system for eating these things. I used to peel off the chocolate; now I turn them upside down, I eat the cake first and save the frosting for the end. It’s almost like a dessert dessert!

    • Drew F

      Didn’t ARod become the infielder with the most homers when he passed Mark McGwire, not Frank Robinson? Robinson was almost exclusively an outfielder (2130 outfield appearances vs. 305 at 1B and 13 at 3B).

  • BG90027

    Granted peds have something to do with it, but its also hard to get that excited about the number when you know he has a lot more left in him. When he starts to pass some of the big names, I think it will be a much bigger deal than the number 600.

    Assuming he passes Bonds as a Yankee, he will also move up to 4th on the alltime Yankee HR leaders trailing only Ruth, Gehrig and Mantle passing Posada, Bernie Williams, Yogi, and Dimaggio along the way. Not to diminish what a big number 600 is, but I think there will be a lot of big milestones along the way and never really expected the fanfare to start this early.

    • Jose the Satirist

      “I think there will be a lot of big milestones along the way”

      I missed out on the Arod 100 WAR party.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        I missed out on the Arod 100 WAR party.

        It was wild. There were overly mature strippers, and a man grafted onto a horse, and Ugueth Urbina killed a guy with a trident.

        • Thomas

          Fact: Ugueth’s middle name is Urtain.

  • Jose the Satirist

    I once believed that Andruw Jones was going to join the 600 HR club. He did have 342 HR at the end of his age 29 season. He reminded me that a lot can go wrong during a career.

    • Thomas

      I also thought this. Now he probably won’t hit 450.

  • Ace

    It will be interesting to see the buzz Pujols generates as he gets closer to 600. ESPN might need to create a whole new channel for that coverage.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      “The Milestone”, an hour-long special on ESPN and ESPN3.com hosted by Stuart Scott and Jim Gray. Sponsored by Bing.com and Utz Brand Potato Chips.

  • GermanYankee

    everybody’s talking about #600 but it seems like nobody realizes that he’s just 1 SB away from his 300th career steal. And he’s sitting on 299 for a while now. Would be great if he hits #600 and steals #300 in the same game of this homestand.

    • JohnC

      “Everybody’s talkin bout it…. I can’t hear a word they’re sayin”

      • nsalem

        Ahh quoting the late great Freddie Neil on RAB what a beautiful treat.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        “Everybody’s talkin bout it…. I can’t hear a word they’re sayin”

        Nobody goes there anymore, it’s too crowded.

        /Yogi’d

        • http://twitter.com/dpatrickg Dirty Pena

          Yogi was an original b&t hater.

      • Dr Van Nostrand

        just riding around in Jon Voigts car

  • Cam

    I haven’t been to a game since May so I decided I would try and catch one this week to be there in person if he does get it. I went on Stubhub to look for tx in a A-Rod friendly HR section, which I figured would be the right center field stands. Over the weekend, there were tix there selling for $40 each. When I went back to buy them yesterday, the cheapest were $70 which was out of my range. So the best I could do is field level, down the LF line, row 19. I know his 500th went down that way so I’m hoping history repeats itself! Still, got the tix for about $50 and if I looked at it correctly, they normally sell for like $200. Going to Thursday’s game.

  • Stultus Magnus

    PEDs, it’s that simple. If the Yanks started hyping this “cash cow” the media would call them out on it and say they were in some way promoting steroids.

    Personally, since A-Rod cheated in some way, I am less excited about it. I was more happy to see him do well in the ’09 postseason.

  • Kiersten

    Alex hit his 500th career homerun in Yankee Stadium off Kyle Davies of the Royals on a Saturday. The Royals are coming to the Bronx this week. Saturday’s scheduled starter? Kyle Davies.

    That would be really, really creepy.

  • Tank Foster

    I think there is definitely an unusual apathy over this milestone, and I think it has to do with the PED situation, as well as the largely negative way Alex Rodriguez is portrayed by the baseball media.

    He just isn’t very popular. I guess it’s his personality, but for whatever reason, Alex is the type of player whose ability stimulates jealousy, or diversion of attention away from his abilities and achievements towards his shortcomings.

    Sabermetrics has done wonders in getting people to focus on the correct stats, and to ignore meaningless things.

    I wish someone would invent something that would stop people from denigrating an athlete’s accomplishments because they think he’s a phony, or don’t like his agent, or don’t like how he talks to people.

    I’m not saying personality and character don’t matter….they do. But Alex Rodriguez does not have a character problem, even though some people will go to extreme lengths to try to demonstrate that he does.

    Albert Pujols gets props all the time for his devotion to a disabled female fan, for his charitable work, etc. Alex Rodriguez rarely does. Can anyone imagine what would have happened if Pujols had saved a child’s life (as ARod did) by pulling the child away from oncoming traffic? I suspect it would have gotten alot of national media attention. ARod got very little attention for this.

    My brothers and I are all lifelong Yankee fans. My brothers idolize Derek Jeter, and in general hate ARod.

    ARod is the greatest baseball player I’ve ever seen in a Yankee uniform. I think Jeter is a great baseball player, too, a HOF for sure, and I’m not against putting some value on “intangibles.”

    But anyone who suggests that ARod is not one of the greatest ballplayers in history, or that his 600 HR plateau isn’t worthy of attention, is either a jerk, or doesn’t know much about baseball, in my opinion.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      I wish someone would invent something that would stop people from denigrating an athlete’s accomplishments because they think he’s a phony, or don’t like his agent, or don’t like how he talks to people.

      My solution: Let’s round up the entire BBWAA (and half of the blogosphere) and shoot them all into space.

      • Jose the Satirist

        I’m appointing Joe Morgan as the captain of the spaceship.

        • Thomas

          Joe Morgan likes a few of the crazy outspoken personalities, namely Sheffield. He clearly does not have the cosistency to be a captain.

          Now, Tim McCarver, there is a real capitan.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

            And McCarver would show Torre the respect he deserves, unlike those evil Nazi SS bastard Yankees, who enjoy altering history and killing people.

            • Thomas

              Yankees = Nazis
              RAB = Socialists
              YES/YES.com = Poland

              It is only time before RAB is betrayed and attacked.

              • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

                Lady Gaga = Eva Braun

      • CS Yankee

        I wish someone would invent something that would stop people from denigrating an athlete’s accomplishments because they think he’s a phony, or don’t like his agent, or don’t like how he talks to people.

        I thought that was what horse racing was for?

      • Tank Foster

        Should we include Mr. Torre on the passenger manifest?

        • Klemy

          Not without a picture documenting it to hang above Gate 3. That way Captain McCarver knows people appreciated it.

  • CS Yankee

    Great photo…can’t recall ever seeing a picture that has batter, pitcher, catcher and umpire all watching a dinger.

    It needed a better caption though…something like;

    Catcher: (tilt my head and maybe I can do the anti-Fisk) Umm…no
    Pitcher: Not off of meeee!
    Ump: I never hit one that far.
    Alex: duh???

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      Catcher: Damnit, Kyle, you piece of shit. I said “outside!”
      Pitcher: I shoulda thrown the Terminator instead of the Eliminator.
      Ump: Okay, buddy, breathe. Make sure you stay in frame. Stay right next to Alex. THIS IS YOUR SHOT AT GLORY, BLUE!!! EVERYONE WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER THE UMP WHO WAS STANDING NEXT TO AROD WHEN HE HIT #500! YOU MADE IT TO THE BIG TIME! THE UMP IS FINALLY THE CENTER OF ATTENTION!!!! EAT IT, JOE WEST!!!!!!
      Alex: Lazer show. Hah, that’s funny. Make sure to say that in the post-game presser, they’ll eat it up. On second thought; nah. They’ll just think you’re self-centered and a jerk. Keep it under wraps, Alex… all in due time.

      • http://twitter.com/dpatrickg Dirty Pena

        Dustin Pedroia reminds me of that annoying little shit in high school who thought it was hilarious when he would snap a girl’s bra or like peg someone with a ball. The combination of nobody wanted to beat him up cause he’s like 4’2 and the fact that he elicits a giggle 1% of the time make him think he’s fucking hilarious and continues to be a jackass. I’m sorry, I know this offends like half the RAB readership but Dustin Pedroia is a tool.

        • CS Yankee

          :::looks for Dustin in the photo:::

          ???????????????????????????????????

          being a bit random today?

          • http://twitter.com/dpatrickg Dirty Pena

            Alex: Lazer show. Hah, that’s funny. Make sure to say that in the post-game presser, they’ll eat it up. On second thought; nah. They’ll just think you’re self-centered and a jerk. Keep it under wraps, Alex… all in due time.

            That’s in reference to Pedroia. Hah, sorry I just felt like ranting there. I’m not event sure if tommie meant it positively or negatively, I just hate Dustin Pedroia.

            • http://twitter.com/dpatrickg Dirty Pena

              even*

            • CS Yankee

              No worries, it just seemed McCarver like.

              • CS Yankee

                …meaning random, some truth but really, really random and bitter.

              • http://twitter.com/dpatrickg Dirty Pena

                I just see that “laser show” quote attributed to the “hilariousness” of Pedroia a lot, so it made me think of my least favorite (current) Red Sock.

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

                  You were picking up what I was putting down.

                  Pedroia saying “lazer show” = He’s a hilarious, confident but not cocky man of the people with impeccable comic timing.
                  ARod saying “lazer show” = he’s a dirty Arab terrorist who is all that is wrong with everything, ever, and we should put him in the stockade to serve as an example of what not to be.

  • vin

    I understand there are some people here who don’t remember much about ’98 (I feel really old)… however, the Maris Chase was such a colossally big deal that ESPN would always break away from their regular programming to show Sosa and McGwire’s ABs. Not just in September/October, but also in July and August. It might as well have been the OJ Bronco chase every night for 8-10 at bats.

    The coverage became so exhausting from ’98-’07 that I think the fans (and subsequently the networks) started suffering from Homerun Chase Fatigue.

    It’s just not that big a deal to us anymore because we’re used to records falling and milestones being passed. It really is too bad because Alex is a hell of a hitter and deserves major recognition for it.

    Obviously fans are turned off because of the PEDs, but I think overexposure has gotten the best of us.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      I blame Lady Gaga.

    • CS Yankee

      Remember Cal & the Iron Horse chase?
      Ichiro on hits?…he got nothing?

      Maybe blame half PED’s, half over exposure, half on Arod’s personility.
      /Yogi’d (a get well reference).

      If anyone got close to 56, hitting .400, or Rose’s all-time hits record (and was known/liked) there would be big time coverage.

  • http://twitter.com/dpatrickg Dirty Pena

    I think it’s totally the “been done before” aspect. It’s already happened three times this decade. The hype’s been down for #500 (Sheffield for example) and the hype was way down for Griffey and Sosa (not as much as this, but still.) I mean, how many people would realize that Jim Thome has 575?

  • steve (do)

    Put me down for PEDs as the (main, others have made good arguments) reason.

    My reasoning:
    1. This is the yankees, everything is hyped. Remember what a big deal was made over jeter getting the most hits at yankee stadium? I bet everyone remembers he did it against Price on a home run. Completely meaningless record that NO ONE cared about until about 2 weeks before it happened.
    2 ARod’s 500th was a big deal. People cared. Just like his 3 home run game vs anaheim was a big deal (they sold commemorative bats on yes)

    So, something has changed, and IMO it is the loss of the “clean” home run record. People really wanted him to do that. Now it’s gone for those people.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=9370232 Mike HC

    It has 100% to do with the steroids. He was being hailed as the “clean” homerun king to be, until he got busted. Then everyone completely wrote off all his numbers the same way they did Big Mac, Sosa and Bonds.

    When/if gets close to passing guys like Mays, Ruth, Aaron and Bonds, as opposed to random milestones, I think there will be more attention.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=9370232 Mike HC

      To expand on that, milestones are meant to be celebrated as a remembrance of all the player has accomplished in the game. Except, ARod has admitted to cheating when he hit many of those homers. So what exactly are we celebrating?

      When you pass guys like Mays, Ruth, Aaron and Bonds, that is more about remembering the history of the game of baseball, and your place in history. So people will take notice of the chase to catch those guys. Because that has a lasting effect on the record books, rather than a celebration of a random milestone.

    • Kiersten

      I understand the PED thing, but ARod isn’t on PEDs now and he’s still mashing. Plus, I don’t think he was really on steroids for a significant part of his career, but I could be wrong.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=9370232 Mike HC

        Personally, I could(n’t) careless about guys taking illegal drugs. If you want to take that shit to entertain me, go for it.

        I am just talking about common perception. And common perception is that taking illegal drugs equals cheater. And cheaters don’t get the benefit of the doubt and can’t be trusted when they tell you they only cheated for X amount of time.

  • bonestock94

    I can’t enjoy milestones for players that have used PEDs unfortunately. Obviously guys like Arod and Bonds wouldn’t have been scrubs w/o the stuff, but they are tainted in my mind.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      If Babe Ruth would have been able to obtain steroids on the black market, I’m 99% certain Babe Ruth would have died of a fatal steroid overdose.

      • Tom Zig

        I bet Babe Ruth hits 800 HRs if he wasn’t fat and a drunk.

        • turko

          Or if he wasn’t a pitcher his first few seasons.

    • http://twitter.com/biebrichbeats ClayBuchholzLovesLaptops

      What makes you so sure Hank Aaron wasn’t using PEDs? Just saying…

      • Chris

        Even if he wasn’t using steroids, the chances that he wasn’t using amphetamines was basically zero. They were literally passed out like candy back in the day.

    • bonestock94

      I obviously don’t know who did what in the past. Emotionally I can’t get into it though, it’s not a conscious decision just how I feel.

  • http://twitter.com/biebrichbeats ClayBuchholzLovesLaptops

    What amazes me is that nobody seems to realize to A-Rod could not only be the career HR leader but also likely become TOP 5 on hits and quite possibly TOP 3 behind Rose and Cobb.

  • Tank Foster

    PEDs = cheating? Sorry, I can’t go along. Not the way I define cheating, anyway.

    It’s a muddy area….the policy on PEDs wasn’t well defined, and certainly not for things like HGH.

    Athletes will do – and have always done – everything in their power to get an edge. How many of Willie Mays’s homers were hit while he was taking amphetamines?

    I hate the image of a puffed up, obviously chemically enhanced Barry Bonds as much as anyone, but he is a) an extreme example, and b) it doesn’t change the fact that the league policy was an iffy one, and that management ignored it.

    And how many homers did ARod hit off pitchers who were “cheating?”

    The PED/”juiced” era is a black mark on baseball, but to put it in the same category as, say, fixing a World Series, or the general cheating and lawlessness that plagued the game in the 1900-1920 period is just stupid.

    False dichotomy: Some players derive satisfaction from winning, while others get it from being noticed and admired by others. The former (Pedroia, Eckstein, Jeter) are worthy of our love and praise, while the latter (ARod, Reggie) aren’t. G*d help you if they label you in the second category.

    Everyone is a little of both, or they wouldn’t make it to MLB.

    • Klemy

      Well said. I agree with all of this.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=9370232 Mike HC

      “False dichotomy: Some players derive satisfaction from winning, while others get it from being noticed and admired by others. The former (Pedroia, Eckstein, Jeter) are worthy of our love and praise, while the latter (ARod, Reggie) aren’t. G*d help you if they label you in the second category.
      Everyone is a little of both, or they wouldn’t make it to MLB.”

      I like your last point there. Interesting way to put it so succinctly.

      • Poopy Pants

        He’ll have a point when Pedroia, Eckstein, Jeter are found to be proven cheaters.

        • Ghost of Scott Brosius

          As I understand cheating, it involves tilting the scales of a game in some way so that one side has an advantage. If, as we know in the case of baseball, both sides (pitchers and hitters) were “cheating,” isn’t the advantage cancelled?

          Furthermore, I think cheating has to involve getting around the rules of the game somehow, thereby winning not because of greater skill or execution but because of some outside manipulation.

          In the case of PED’s, players were not cheating in this sense. They were making themselves better, in the sense that their skill and execution was better. Why when one player lifts weights to get in better shape than another, or does more drills to become more skilled than another, do we consider that part of sports, but improving through PED’s is an affront to the game? The real problem with PED’s has nothing to do with the integrity of the game, and everything to do with the health of the athletes. We should be asking ourselves why the athletes felt the pressure and were uneducated enought to harm themselves in the ways they did, not “why were they such slimy cheating douchebags who hate baseball.”

          • Poopy Pants

            It’s astonishing that so many players and former players have apologized for ‘just making themselves better’.

            • Tank Foster

              They apologize because their agents and owners and managers tell them to, because they are trying to uphold the “simon-pure”, virtuous athlete image.

              I’m not saying taking PEDs is good. It isn’t, for many reasons. I don’t see it as “cheating”, however.

              Agreeing to throw a game is cheating (in reverse, but it’s cheating). Putting a coach in the clubhouse with a high powered telescope for stealing signs, and relaying them to the dugout is cheating. Doctoring the ball, or your bat, is cheating.

              Getting expert training and dietary advice, and using science to allow you to become stronger through working out is not cheating. We can define certain substances and practices as against the rules for a number of reasons, but there is a fundamental difference between this and the other examples I gave.

              I think so anyway.

              It’s a tough subject.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      (golf clap)

  • Dave

    For me, it’s ALL about the PEDs. I love the Yankees and I like to see A-Rod play well because it helps the team, but his career #s became totally meaningless to me as soon as he was outed as a cheater. I don’t care at all about 600, and I won’t care at all about 700 or 763.

    • Tom Zig

      I’m sorry you feel that way.

    • Poopy Pants

      I agree. It’s hard for me to be excited about someone’s ‘stats’ when PED’s helped amass said stats.

  • ROBTEN
  • Ross in Jersey

    600 home runs, juicing or not, is a pretty tremendous accomplishment. I don’t think many people realize how hard it is to be good enough to hit a round ball with a round bat and have it go 350-400 feet 600 times. PEDs don’t give you the skill to square it up. Not to say they don’t help, as they certainly turned some long outs into home runs, but a lot of people act like the Bonds and Arods of the world wouldn’t have been any good without roids. Which is clearly not the case. And their records, while tainted, are still worthy of a lot of praise.

  • Poopy Pants

    Or perhaps there are bigger things to worry about in this country than some very rich guy hitting balls with a bat. It’s pretty silly to obsess about, no?

    • Ross in Jersey

      Yeah, you’re right, why are we talking about this on a political websi- oh right. This is a baseball blog.

  • Simon

    I probably will get LOTS of hate for this but, I am I the only one that is 100% really behind A-rod? Yes, people make big mistakes, it happens, there’s no getting around that. The sad thing is that the media ALWAYS uses A-rod as a scapegoat for Yankees failure, they make things look like he is the bad guy, but the truth is he is really trying for people to like him and trying to be the “good guy” so to speak.I would bet everything I own that A-rod would still be one of the greatest players in baseball history even without the steroids! I will always support A-rod no matter what, I dont care!

  • MikeD

    Every time I see a replay of A-Rod hitting #500 it’s a bit disappointing. No one, including Alex, seemed to think it was going out. Yet the picture you used for this post with A-Rod, pitcher, catcher and umpire all staring at the ball in flight is one of the best I’ve seen in a long time. The still shot is much better than the live-motion.