A Meaningless Milestone: A-Rod Hits No. 660
If you are reading this than it means that Alex Rodriguez has inched a step closer to the top the all-time home run list.
Once predicted to break Hank Aaron’s and then Barry Bonds’ record, Rodriguez hit his 660th career homer on Friday night, his first ever as a pinch-hitter nonetheless, tying him with San Francisco Giants great Willie Mays for fourth place on the all-time list.
Fans booed as Rodriguez rounded the bases, as the home run, one that under normal circumstances would be considered historic, means very little outside of the impact it had on the New York Yankees’ bout with the Boston Red Sox.
Obviously, these were not normal circumstances.
At this point no one should really care about any “milestone” Rodriguez achieves – weather it be moving up the home run list, his 3,000th hit or his 2,000th run batted in. The man is a proven liar and cheater, having done so now on multiple occasions. He likely never needed performance-enhancing drugs to become one of the game’s all-time greats, yet his transgressions have now cost his feats any sort of relevance in the eyes of baseball history.
Yes, Rodriguez’s name will appear atop the home run list in all the record books (he will likely end his career in sole possesion of fourth place), but how many will actually hold his numbers in the same regards that historians and fans of the game do with those of Aaron and Babe Ruth?
Rodriguez’s latest homer will not be celebrated or marketed like his 600th homer was. He will not be shown the same love, respect and admiration that Derek Jeter was when he recorded his 3,000th hit. Rodriguez deserves none of that, not for a career so tainted. The Yankees will do everything they can to get out of paying Rodriguez his bonuses for Friday’s home run and everything else, as they should. That deal was signed in bad faith and the feats have lost all of their marketability.
Who knows what Rodriguez could have been without PEDs. He seemed destined for greatness the day he debuted with the Seattle Mariners, but for all anyone knows he was juicing back then too. Approaching age 40 and coming off of two hip surgeries and a year-long suspension, the way Rodriguez is playing now means one of two things:
The first could be that Rodriguez is still cheating. The second is that he never needed to.
With everything that has happened, one has to think that the former is out of the question. Rodriguez could not possibly be that stupid. Assuming that is the case, his early 2015 display really should tell you that this guy never needed an edge. PEDs do not make you a good ballplayer, fundamentals and talent do. Rodriguez naturally had an immeasurable grasp on both, especially at the plate. Would he be in the company of baseball’s greatest power hitters if not for ‘roids? Maybe, maybe not.
So what if he would not have been a top-five home run hitter? He still could have been a legend if he stayed clean. He could have kept his reputation in tact. He could have avoided tarnishing whatever clean legacy he could have left behind.
He could have put himself in a position where people actually care about his accomplishments instead of letting them pass by if they were nothing.
Sadly, that is not how the story goes and so Rodriguez’s dinger in Boston will go down as little more than just a normal home run.
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