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A-Rod is about to hit his 600th home run. Do you care?

Jul 23, 2010, 10:22 AM EDT

There's a lack of hype around A-Rod's 600th dinger. Is it because it's A-Rod doing it, or are we simply bored with home runs?

Alex Rodriguez hit his 599th career home run last night, and given that he’s facing Royals pitchers this weekend, I wouldn’t bet against him knocking number 600 before Monday rolls around.

There’s some growing excitement about this in the last 24 hours or so, but it has certainly been muted. I’ve heard more beefing from Yankees’ fans about Joba Chamberlain than I have about A-Rod’s impending milestone.  The tabloids are way more pumped about claiming Jerry Manuel’s scalp than they are in celebrating the feat.

Which is not surprising, because it’s A-Rod, and no one really much cares for him.  I get that. And between his general lack of popularity and the PED associations, I understand why people may be giving Rodriguez’s impending milestone less hype than we might have expected.

But I think something else is going on here, and it’s way more benign: 600 homers simply isn’t anything we haven’t seen before.  Three guys — Ken Griffey, Jr., Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds — did it in the past few years.  That certainly makes the event less special.  And you can’t just say it’s because two of them are known PED users.  Griffey has never had such associations, and the hype surrounding his reaching 600 was not particularly monumental either. Six guys doing something in the history of the game is still among the rarest accomplishments you’ll see, but given that we’ve all seen it happen recently it seems less special.

So it could simply be a matter of no one caring that A-Rod is going to hit his 600th home run.  I think, though, that no one would care all that much no matter who it was.

  1. MG19 - Jul 23, 2010 at 10:35 AM

    its cool. but still the PED shadow hangs over him. the guy is a beast; he would have hit 600 either way, yet, like many of the players, he made a CHOICE back in 01-03, instead in trusting in his ability to get bigger, stronger, faster through ONLY hardwork

  2. Simon DelMonte - Jul 23, 2010 at 10:36 AM

    No. Can’t say I do. I think he’s a great player. I think he belongs in the Hall, and that his home runs aren’t all that tainted. But there is just something about him that fills me with apathy. Not hate, not disgust, just apathy. Yes, I root for the other guys in NY, but this doesn’t even feel like the usual level of “oh god, not the Yankees again” I get. He’s just there.
    But call me when he approaches Bonds’ number. That might be interesting, from afar.

  3. MuskyHunter2542 - Jul 23, 2010 at 10:39 AM

    Nope!!!

  4. YankeesfanLen - Jul 23, 2010 at 10:41 AM

    Since you already have me going off like an eight-day clock today, I’ll have to vote for CARE. I remember exactly where I was for #500 on Sat 8/4/07 in the first inning. It had taken 29 at bats for the milestone to be achieved, so the anticipation had built up.
    To say that somehow that it will be tainted by PEDs (and you have my back here) is something mature fans and writers will have to get around in their own way. That will remain in dispute as long as the Maris in a longer season lasted.
    It will still be a baseball landmark and on HOF weekend, almost ironic.

  5. Bull Durham - Jul 23, 2010 at 10:49 AM

    Our lack of excitement for the feat is due in part to our feelings for A-Rod and his admitted PED use but more so due to the lack of credibility and foundation for home run records in general in the PED-era. Baseball was unique in the significance of its numbers, most notably homerun numbers – 714, 61, 500 – they all meant something even to casual fans. Our belief in those numbers has been shaken to say the least, more likely reducing them to near irrevelance. We’ve seen every homerun-related record rewritten several times over just in the last 10-15 years and we can no longer differentiate between “clean”records and those fraudulently acquired. I, for one, cannot foresee ever placing stock in any hitter’s homerun-related accomplishment again.

  6. Don - Jul 23, 2010 at 10:53 AM

    Absolutely interested but will be much more so when he hits his 800th.

  7. RickyB - Jul 23, 2010 at 10:54 AM

    Yer dern skippy I care. I’m taking my six-year-old to his first big league game on Saturday at the Stadium. Even if I weren’t, I would care. But for my son to have the opportunity to see A-Rod make his bid at something historical such as this, with the crowd getting as excited as it did last night in his last at-bat, it makes it even that much more special.

  8. lar @ wezen-ball - Jul 23, 2010 at 11:01 AM

    You know, I’ve never disliked A-Rod the same way everyone else seems to. I wouldn’t exactly call myself an A-Rod fan, but I like him a lot more than most people. And I’m not all that excited about #600.
    It’s like you said, with Griffey, Sosa, and Bonds all reaching the milestone recently, it’s just not special anymore. It doesn’t feel any different than, say, 580, which, before Mac came along, had only been reached 4 times before (Aaron, Ruth, Mays, and Frank Robinson). Jim Thome is only 5 home runs away from that milestone, and people don’t even realize that it’s notable.
    And if anybody is comparing A-Rod’s reaching #600 to Griffey doing the same, it’s important to note that a) we all like Griffey better to begin with and b) we all knew that #600 was the only milestone Griffey would ever reach. A-Rod is supposed to be on his way to 700 or 763 or 800 or something, so the #600 barrier doesn’t seem all that impressive anymore. He still has a long way to go before he reaches our expectations…

  9. Proudly Canadian - Jul 23, 2010 at 11:04 AM

    He is on my fantasy team. Of course I care.

  10. Ditto65 - Jul 23, 2010 at 11:15 AM

    Since so much more is expected of him, 600 is far below those expectations, and the recent spate of players reaching that milestone make it less of a big deal. Personality and PEDs don’t weigh that heavily on my reasoning as much as his expected awesomeness.

  11. Ditto65 - Jul 23, 2010 at 11:17 AM

    Off topic (and I am judging by your name you can answerthis question) – if limited to just one topwater lure for Musky, what would it be?

  12. Alf3 - Jul 23, 2010 at 11:18 AM

    As a Yankee fan, I care, but not as much as I probably should because of the reasons already mentioned here. To me, it’ll be interesting to see how the Yankees celebrate it (assuming he hits number 600 at Yankee Stadium) and how clumsily he handles all the attention.
    Also, when they re-signed him to this most recent albatross of a contract, weren’t all kinds of milestone incentives built into the deal? Is it publicly known what he’ll get in terms of a bonus when he does hit number 600?

  13. Chris Fiorentino - Jul 23, 2010 at 11:25 AM

    From Cot’s Contracts…”$30M marketing agreement based on home run milestones ($6M each for reaching 660, 714, 755 and tying and breaking major league HR record)” So nothing for #600.

  14. Utley's hair - Jul 23, 2010 at 11:34 AM

    In short, no.
    1.) He’s a Yanker;
    2.) He’s a putz;
    3.) The PEDs, etc.;
    4.) He boinked Madonna, which brings up the judgment issue.

  15. Nic Geerz - Jul 23, 2010 at 11:35 AM

    .

  16. Nic Geerz - Jul 23, 2010 at 11:50 AM

    I SAY we have a bbq to celebrate

  17. Mr. Heyward - Jul 23, 2010 at 11:55 AM

    He’s on my fantasy squad along with sexy Texy so I fully endorse his 600th and all subsequent dongs. Hopefully Tex will be on base every single time (like last night).

  18. aleskel - Jul 23, 2010 at 12:05 PM

    it’s the whole “magic number” element. People make a big deal over 500 home runs (and they did when ARod, Thome, and Manny all approached it, just to name some recent examples) because it’s generally considered what will get you into the Hall of Fame. 600, on the other hand, doesn’t have that same association – maybe it did when it was a class of three (Aaron, Ruth and Mays), but that’s been weakened in the past few years.
    It’s similar to pitcher wins – 300 is a big deal, but 350 gets a nice round of applause.

  19. Paper Lions - Jul 23, 2010 at 12:12 PM

    One reason people aren’t interested in his 600th is because it isn’t viewed as a destination, but a road marker along the way. Everyone always expected him to pass 600, so it doesn’t have any feel of historical significance.
    Plus, the media has been pounding us with “land mark achievements” for the last decade. They never are exciting to follow and we just don’t care about them when they don’t represent a record.

  20. geoknows - Jul 23, 2010 at 12:40 PM

    Some interesting possible symmetry: A-Rod hit his 500th off Kyle Davies, and Davies goes for the Royals tomorrow, so he could get his 600th off the same guy. Unless he gets it out of the way tonight.

  21. The Real Shuxion - Jul 23, 2010 at 1:03 PM

    Probably not. It will be like “Good for him” and then I will go back to watching porn.

  22. kyle s - Jul 23, 2010 at 1:21 PM

    just the facts, do you caaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaare

  23. Md23Rewls - Jul 23, 2010 at 1:29 PM

    I care in that it’s a big milestone and a ton of home runs, but my care factor will go up much more when he starts nearing the record. He still has a ways to go to get to that level.

  24. Reflex - Jul 23, 2010 at 2:30 PM

    Nope, don’t give a damn. Did give a damn about Griffey. And Bonds even though I have since grown to dislike him. Never liked Sosa. And my distaste for A-Rod started when it became clear he was just playing with the Mariner’s about any chance of staying in Seattle. He’s Scott Boras as a player. I won’t give a damn when he hits 700 or even 800. Hopefully by then I’ll be rooting for someone like Joey Votto or Kyle Blanks for some of the lower milestone numbers.

  25. CJ - Jul 23, 2010 at 2:34 PM

    As a wise man once said, I don’t “give a rat’s patootie”

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