Wednesday, August 4, 2010

#600 for Alex Rodriguez

Today at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, New York, Alex Rodriguez hit a two run home run in the bottom of the first inning, becoming the youngest player in big league history to hit 600 home runs. 

Rodriguez joins Barry Bonds,(762) Hank Aaron(755), Willie Mays(660), Ken Griffey Jr.(630), and Sammy Sosa(609) as the only players to hit 600 home runs in the big leagues.

There was a time when the thought of someone hitting 600 HR would be a national, crowning achievement by baseball fans everywhere, instead Alex Rodriguez's milestone HR has been welcomed with mild, and to some, even melancholy interest, at best.

Rodriguez's admittance of using steroids while playing for the Texas Rangers has soured many fans, including myself, on Alex, because I truly believed that he was a talented player, with God given talents, who didn't need any help in playing, and excelling at baseball.

The state of the game, with the continued revelation of players who have tested positive for HGH, steroids, etc., has taken milestones such as Rodriguez's 600th HR, and made them a non-factor for the majority of baseball fans.

Only die-hard Yankee, or Rodriguez fans are really ecstatic today, and that's a shame.

I can still see #715 like it was yesterday. 
I sat in front of my TV, a 14 year old boy who loved baseball, and was ready to witness history. 

I knew Hank Aaron would hit that magic HR off the Dodgers Al Downing, you could just sense it.

The NBC Monday Night Game of the Week was as highly anticipated as any game in baseball history, as it should have been, and when Aaron hit the blast that sent him past Babe Ruth, a nation of baseball fans across the country celebrated the grand achievement.

I love the great game of baseball, and have always respected the players for how hard they play the game. Baseball is a hard game to play, and it's now a fact that because of the steroid era, the game has been damaged. 

Milestone's like 600  home runs, or 300 wins, or 3,000 hits, should be celebrated as great achievements in  a players career, and I hope baseball gets the game turned around to that again.

Anyone who starts hitting home runs at an alarming rate will have fans asking if that player is using a banned substance, and that's just unfair to the tens of thousands of players who have played the game the right way, the honest way.

Next up...the Chicago White Sox DH Jim Thome, who has 577 hrs. Thome will next have to pass Mark McGwire, who hit 583 HRs, and finally, this year, admitted that he to, had taken steroids. 

After McGwire, Thome will then have to pass Frank Robinson, who hit 586 round trippers in his big league career.

How will you feel about Thome, a guy who has never been even remotely rumored to have taken any substances at any time?

For me. I've always like Thome, and like the way he has approached, and played the game, and so I will cheer on Thome as he nears 600 dingers, I just hope he doesn't hit the magical HR against my Detroit Tigers.

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