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What they're saying about A-Rod's 600th bomb

Aug 5, 2010, 8:48 AM EDT

You'll be shocked to hear that some people are treating the accomplishment with something short of reverence.

Initial reactions to A-Rod’s milestone from the columnists and bloggers who make your life such a fulfilling experience.

  • Joel Sherman: “Alex Rodriguez never is going to be fully a Yankee. He never is going
    to be fully appreciated as a clean homer giant. He never is going to be
    beloved in a Hank Aaron kind of way. Too much exists in his past that never goes away. Messy departures in Seattle and Texas. A steroid admission. More cleat-in-the-mouth comments and actions than hits and homers combined. That is all part of his personal record, permanent and resistant to an eraser.”
  • Rob Neyer: “In 2010, 600 home runs just isn’t a particularly thrilling
    accomplishment. And it’s even less thrilling when it’s Rodriguez, who
    seems both joyless and unable to inspire joy.”
  • Stephen R. at The Yankee U: “I’ve covered my feelings on Alex Rodriguez and 600 before and I continue to tip my proverbial cap.  He’s one of the greatest
    players to ever play the game of baseball.  It’s been a pleasure
    watching him play for the Yankees for the past seven years, and I’m
    looking forward to the next seven years with the hopeful anticipation of
    seeing him break Barry Bonds’ record and win a few (read: many) more
    rings in the process.  Congrats, Alex.”
  • George Vecsey: “This numerical milestone, making him the seventh major league slugger to reach 600, is no guarantee Rodriguez will gain automatic acceptance into the Baseball Hall of Fame when he becomes eligible five years after retirement.”
  • Ian O’Connor: “Rodriguez’s admitted actions challenge the credibility of every swing
    he’s taken. How many of his 600 homers were the product of some
    underground potion or pill? Two hundred? Four hundred? Six hundred? When
    a ballplayer admits he was a cheat for three full seasons, and only
    admits it after he’s been outed by a media outlet (in this case, Sports
    Illustrated), everything out of his mouth sounds like the old Bob Arum
    line: Yesterday, I was lying. Today, I’m telling the truth.
  • Mike Lupica: “Somehow, after everything, history is still history in baseball. Even
    stained. Even when the record book is filled with so many stains you
    think somebody has been spitting tobacco juice at it. Juice being the operative word.”
  • Bob Klapisch: “Rodriguez only wishes home runs would come as easily to him in 2010 as
    they did in his juicing days. The leap from 599 took forever, all of 46
    at-bats, each one of them revealing why A-Rod, minus the enhancers, will
    struggle to get to Ruth’s 714 Hrs, let alone Bonds’ 762 . . . When it was over, after all the man-hugs, high-fives and curtain calls, the past was still lurking. Some stains never wash off.”
  • Steve Politi: “This was the first major milestone for Rodriguez since admitting he used
    steroids during three seasons in Texas, and the moment confirmed what
    we suspected: It is possible to be disgusted by the shortcut he used to
    reach this plateau and still find his slow ascent into history
    compelling and exciting.”

Of all of those I probably fall in line most closely with Politi’s comments. “Disgusted” is far too strong a word for my tastes, but there is certainly an understandable ambivalence to the milestone.

Neyer is right too: 600 homers these days aren’t as special as they used to be, and A-Rod is a hard figure to like. Sherman — in another, better piece, not the one linked above — is right too: 600 is a round and arbitrary number that doesn’t mean as much as we’ve all been pretending it to mean.

Any you know what? Even the Lupicas and O’Connors are right insofar as we must acknowledge that A-Rod’s accomplishments do come with a taint (even if reasonable people don’t cast the taint in as stark and moralistic terms as they do).

But Stephen R. — admittedly a Yankees fan — is right too: there is room to celebrate this milestone on a purely baseball level, and I would hope that in the rush to make the point about just how tainted and un-true-Yankee-like Rodriguez is, we don’t lose sight of that fact.

  1. Alex K - Aug 5, 2010 at 9:07 AM

    I’m still with the guy in the comments of the poll yesterday, 600 is a lot of fucking homeruns.

  2. Simon DelMonte - Aug 5, 2010 at 9:17 AM

    You know, for a milestone no one cared about outside New York, there has been a lot of discussion of the subject today. I wonder what that means.
    I hope Thome reaches 600, just we can discuss the discussions.

  3. Professor Longnose - Aug 5, 2010 at 9:22 AM

    Our power company was pruning trees in the area and they turned off our power for about an hour. An that was when he hit the 600th. What timing.

  4. YankeesfanLen - Aug 5, 2010 at 9:23 AM

    The number one biggest lie here is the very first quote, which I refuse to even dignify by identifying.
    ARod is a True Yankee, more so than most. I know the Core Four and they are True Yankees, but only born into it by good front office work and serendipity. This does something for me, but not necessarily extra credit.
    I’m not going to go into a litany here about True Yankees and if someone wants to ask, I’ll go through the top five. In the top 100 he is somewhere around DiMaggio. Now everyone yell at me.

  5. Professor Longnose - Aug 5, 2010 at 9:24 AM

    Everybody’s right? What kind of a blogger are you?!

  6. Ace2000 - Aug 5, 2010 at 9:51 AM

    Sure, fair enough. Sherman’s horribly mangled syntax is far more irksome to me than the content itself, but I get you. I’ve never been able to understood all that “True Yankee” rubbish . . .

  7. Jonny5 - Aug 5, 2010 at 10:24 AM

    Amen to that. People are a joke. How can one claim he’s not a “true Yankee” because he’s kind of an a-hole, and kind of a cheat? Then claim games as won by his bat or his defensive play? As if no other Yankee cheated or acted like an ass before? Seriously, what kind of pedestal is the team on to a person like that? A-rod is 100% Yankee, and true to form, a hired bat. Now I know there are plenty of Yankees who came up through their farm, but more than most teams, the Yankees make a deal to acquire a great player like A-rod. Yet he’s not a “True Yankee” and never will be? Wasn’t Babe Ruth “purchased” from the Sox to finance a broadway play? I guess he’s a “true Yankee” though?

  8. Ace2000 - Aug 5, 2010 at 10:37 AM

    Right, I meant *understand.* Grammar police fail.

  9. Kevin S. - Aug 5, 2010 at 10:39 AM

    The last “fake Yankee” I can think of is Benedict Arnold. A-Rod, though? I think his continuing presence on the Yanks’ 25-man roster makes him a True Yankee.

  10. miked2 - Aug 5, 2010 at 11:45 AM

    He said and did stupid things, was a magnet for controversy and headlines, got caught up in illegal/immoral activity, cared about people and used his wealth to help people and causes he cared about.
    That describes A-Rod but it also describes George Steinbrenner. George and A-Rod have a lot in common including being True Yankees.

  11. John_Michael - Aug 5, 2010 at 12:33 PM

    Joel Sherman’s comment, minus the asinine comment about true or full Yankee nonsense, is pretty spot on. But, you immediately discount yourself when you use True Yankee or Full Yankee was a measuring stick.
    The man can hit a baseball. And he hit a lot of them over walls. I’ll appreciate his talent and wholeheartedly hope he hits more HRs if only so I can laugh at the people putting argumentative stock in things like Full Yankees.

  12. JBerardi - Aug 5, 2010 at 4:42 PM

    Wow, that’s a lot of pout-rage.

  13. RustyShackleford - Aug 5, 2010 at 9:20 PM

    It’s insane, this guy’s taint.

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