Alex Rodriguez’s 600th will be bittersweet

Alex Rodriguez is soon to be part of the very exclusive 600 home run club

The day Alex Rodriguez hits his 600th home run will no doubt be a day cherished by him forever, but it will leave a bitter taste in my mouth.

The steroid era may be just about over, but it is still fresh in the minds of baseball fans everywhere. During the 1990’s, players were hitting home runs out of the ball park like it was nobody’s business and fans couldn’t get enough of it. However, since Major League Baseball started cracking down on performance-enhancing drug users the league has been experiencing some problems with run scoring. The 2010 season is being dubbed year of the pitcher. There is no doubt that that steroids are playing a part in this but it is impossible to say to what extent.

Alex Rodriguez is currently sitting on 599 home runs for his career and is looking to join some very elite company in the 600 home run club. Only 6 other players have hit 600 home runs in their career, which includes Barry Bonds (762*), Hank Aaron (755), Babe Ruth (714), Willie Mays (660), Ken Griffey Jr. (610), and Sammy Sosa (609.

Despite admitting last year to steroid use between the years of 2001-2003, Alex Rodriguez has surprisingly received little criticism in recent months in that regard. There were also reports that A-Rod may have even been taking steroids since high school, but those soon faded away.

Did everyone seriously gobble up A-Rod’s “heartfelt” apology?

You can’t tell me with 100% certainty that he hasn’t used in the years prior or after to those admitted. Doesn’t the fact that he admitted to it so readily once he was caught make you think that there has to be more to the story?

These days when I see A-Rod mashing on the highlight reels there is always this uneasy feeling about me and there should be for you all as well. You have to wonder what his numbers would be now without the steroids that he claims he only took for 3 years. In 2007, Rodriguez denied to Katie Couric of ever having used performance enhancing drugs. However, once reports came out that he tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs last year in his AL MVP 2003 season there was no denying anymore for the superstar. It was obvious that someone smart told him to admit to the only things that they could prove and it has worked up to this point.

It is mind-boggling to see the amount of fans who are willing to tolerate steroids in baseball as well as other professional sports. Fans are so quick to forgive and forget the failures of athletes whether it is on or off the field. The difference between cheating on the field and indiscretions off the field is that one compromises the integrity of the game where as the other just compromises the integrity of the athlete as a person.

Barry Bonds is still under investigation for his involvement with performance-enhancing drugs

Barry Bonds cheated the game of baseball by taking performance-enhancing drugs. There is no way to argue that he could have put up those kinds of numbers otherwise. Barry Bonds was a very good player before steroids, but he would not mentioned in the same breath as Hank Aaron and Babe Ruth if not for steroids.

I hear fans say what does it matter if players use steroids if it makes the game better? Professional sports are meant for the fans anyways right?

Well, how is it fair to the other athletes going the straight route and playing the game with pure natural physical ability and talent? How is it fair to the record holders from years past who didn’t ever use the performance enhancing drugs that we now possess?

Hank Aaron hit 755 home runs without performance enhancing drugs and Barry Bonds hit 762 with performance enhancing drugs. Who is the home run king?

Moreover, steroids do not just help you hit the ball farther contrary to the beliefs of many casual observers. Steroids generate more bat speed, help you throw harder, run faster, and give you an all-around better game. Yes, you do still have to hit/throw the ball, but it just makes it easier.

In my opinion, anyone who takes steroids at any point in their career should not be even considered for the hall of fame. Nobody should ever get rewarded for cheating. Pete Rose deserves to be in the hall of fame more than any player who has taken steroids. Sure Pete Rose gambled on baseball, but he never cheated the game. His 4256 hits are legitimate and he didn’t need performance-enhancing drugs to get them.

The Hall of Fame rewards people who do great things for the game of whichever sport they are representing and people who cheat the game are flat out not doing anything good for the sport.

Tiger Woods may have had some indiscretions with many women, but he has not done anything to give himself an unfair advantage in the game of golf…at least not that we know of.

Alex Rodriguez, Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire, Jose Canseco, Sammy Sosa, the list goes on and on. The long line of players who have fallen to the temptation of steroids makes me cringe when people speak of them. Although they may be great players in their own right, they have also done their part to ruin so much of what is good in baseball and we are still trying re-build the solid foundation that this game was built upon.

600 home runs is a great milestone which may or may not be reached by any player for decades to come but you won’t see me cheering when Alex Rodriguez smacks his next one out.

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com. I’m now on twitter follow me @paintstheblack and I will gladly return the favour.

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About Chris Ross
Questions, comments, suggestions? Send yours to cross_can15@hotmail.com. Follow me on twitter @paintstheblack

31 Responses to Alex Rodriguez’s 600th will be bittersweet

  1. Stevie says:

    Hey Chris,

    I couldn’t agree more. When A-Rod reaches his “milestone”, three of the seven players that have 600 or more home runs will have been linked to PEDs. It’s notthe club it used to be.

  2. drstall says:

    Chris,

    I totally agree with you. If A-Rod were pursuing this record a few seasons ago the sports world would be going crazy. But with his and other players admissions of PED use its kind of hard to get that excited. Maybe now with more testing and harsher penalties when someone reaches a milestone it won’t be second nature to wonder if he used the “cream” or the “clear”.

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  4. Andrew Macaluso says:

    Nice read, Chris.

    Like I stated in my article, I don’t think A-Rod will pass Barry Bonds home run record but it will be nice to see it get done in my lifetime because who knows when the next person to touch that will be.

  5. Vince V. says:

    Chris,
    I definitely agree with you. A-Rod’s, as Bond’s, feats are tainted for me. In my opinion the use of PED’s disgraced the game. As a fan, I think the game is better when players don’t use the enhancements. How many of Bond’s home runs would’ve actually been triples or doubles? Your point about overall enhancement of skills is dead on. Yes, Bonds, A-Rod, Palmeiro, McGwire and Canseco all had talent. But PED’s gave an unfair advantage. Aaron will always be the home run king as far as I’m concerned.

    I agree that Rose from a statistical standpoint should be in the Hall of Fame, but I take issue with his betting on the game. Its a double-edged sword for me.

  6. Nice article, very well written. But a manager changing line-ups to aid his gambling habits is every bit as shameful as taking PED’s. The majority of players in the late 90’s were on something, but not every manager was completely undermining the team and city for which he always played, or managed for.

  7. mshabazz says:

    Good read man you make some good points. I think PED’s should be banned, but MLB allowed these players to use them to keep the sport alive. Bonds, Rodriguez and every other person who used PED’s did so because it was pretty much legal. I think down the road people will look at this as an era, just like the dead ball era when players could doctor the ball.

    Sorry to be the only one to disagree.

  8. Ike Nwoga says:

    What’s going on Chris?

    Thanks for commenting on my blog! You wrote a great article about Alex Rodriguez and his attempt for his 600th home run. The game of baseball has greatly changed for me. I use to be a faithful fan of the MLB, however with the steriod specualtions in the last decade, I kind of lost my love for the game. I use to admire Rafael Palmeiro until the world found out that he lied about his steroid use. I was an amazing player but nobody makes mention of him because of his steroid use. When A-Rod hits 600, I won’t care. I might blog about it but I do not care because he cheated and he was not an honest athlete.

  9. Alex Prewitt says:

    Hey Chris,

    Great stuff — I’m getting the sense that a lot of people will turn their heads and avert their eyes when A-Rod breaks 600, just because of who he’s been and what he’s done over the past few seasons. He’s always going to have this label as a PED user, no matter what. I wrote a piece on my blog about what the reaction across the country will be like if/when A-Rod breaks Bonds’ record for the all-time home run leader, and I’d love to hear your thoughts on it. Check it out at http://livefrommudville.blogspot.com/2010/07/into-future.html

    –Alex

  10. howigit says:

    Chris,

    As a baseball fan, I honestly think that every player who ever used steroids should be banned from the Hall of Fame. A-Rod supporters will argue this point and note that steroid use was an “era” and was widespread. Sure, it was. But that doesn’t mean these players weren’t disgracing the game. Disgracing the very game that gave them everything they have, in order to get even a few million dollars more as a result of better numbers. These players disgraced the game, themselves, and ultimately are just greedy.

    That being said, I’d be very careful calling Barry Bonds a steroid user. I 100% think that he is, but it still hasn’t been proven. The evidence that he was is absurd, but I’m just saying, you got to be careful. I’m getting blasted on my own blog right now for similar reasons.

    Good article. A-Rod doesn’t deserve 600.

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  12. chappy81 says:

    Don’t really care for A-Rod, but I disagree about not letting guys like Bonds into the HOF. They may have cheated to get there, but that’s what the era was. Are we just going to have a blackhole where nobody is inducted for ten to fifteen years? If that’s the case they better vote my boy Tim Raines in. I hate that the likable players like Dawson are making it in opposed to deserving candidates like Raines. I don’t care if a guy was likable on and off the field, what did they do on the field. All of the voting is flawed for baseball HOF. I’m not a supporter of Bonds or A-Rod, but if they aren’t inducted, who is getting in? The only two guys I can think of is Griffey Jr., and Randy Johnson… Who’s to say they didn’t use though!?!

    • Bob Long says:

      The Hawk’s numbers were more than enough to get him in. It wasn’t that he was likable. Not to mention, he went through a dozen knee surgeries and still played for 20 years. He also won Rookie of the Year, MVP, 4 Silver Sluggers, and 8 Gold Gloves. O and 8 All Star appearances. Guy was an absolute monster.

  13. Bob Long says:

    To the question posed in the article, how can fans willingly tolerate steroids, and forgive and forget, here is what I think. Fans are afraid to see the sport come crashing down. Lets theoretically say that the baseball rules were extremely stringent, and all the steroid users were found. How would baseball survive in any capacity of 75% of the top players in the game were removed from it because of steroid use. The stadiums would empty, the quality of play would decrease, the numbers would go down significantly. By no means do fans like or approve the use of steroids, but their love of the game outshines their hatred of steroids, and as a result are willing to look past steroids to save the future and quality of the game they love.

    Like the article Chris, and hopefully we just keep waiting and waiting for that 600th to come. Although, in that $2 billion wiffleball stadium, we might not be waiting much longer unfortunately.

    http://bobsportsblog.wordpress.com/

  14. bennothogan says:

    Right on target, Chris. Hank Aaron is still the home run king and will be until a PED-free player surpasses him.

  15. Your article sums it up…I believe athletes are always looking for that extra edge, using whatever vices (sex, drugs, gambling, etc.) that will power performance. It’s not just physical, but psychological as well.

  16. Andrew Macaluso says:

    Chris –

    Check out my new website at http://www.more-sports.net

    I’m not longer going to be putting my articles on wordpress so spread the word and come take a look at my site!

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    Very informative, check out my blog at http://tkgblog.wordpress.com

  19. ronmycholuk says:

    I loved the article Chris. And I agree about Pete Rose. It’s about time he gets into the Hall of Fame. Whatever betting he did does not over-shadow what he did as a player. As for Alex, his legacy is tarnished and there is no way he can ever get that back. He will forever be one of the astericks players.
    Check out my thoughts on Alex – thearmchairanalysts.wordpress.com

  20. kreuzer33 says:

    Thanks for commenting on my post on the same topic at http://kreuzer33.wordpress.com/2010/08/04/alex-rodriguez-hits-career-home-run-600/

    As you know, I have to agree that Pete Rose deserves a spot in the Hall of Fame. Admittance to the HOF should be determined by on field accomplishments (which were not aided by any performance enhancing drugs) and not what was done off the field.

    As for ARod, only time will tell what his status will be and how he will be remembered. I’m sure that we’ll see his name in Cooperstown but there will always be a debate. I’ll always think of the top three home run hitters as Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth and Willie Mays. No one from my generation will knock them out, in my own personal opinion, no matter what their statistics show.

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  22. Jamie says:

    Chris,
    I just don’t care about the steroids… there are too many factors to quantify, as I stated on my post you commented on http://bomberbanter.com/2010/08/04/a-rod-hits-home-run-600-of-his-career/
    Willie Mays played in a HUGE park you might as well of had to fire the ball out of with a cannon rather than hit it with a bat. Ruth largely played in a park tailor made to his swing. then there’s teh dead ball era… bats have changed a lot – Dimaggio used the same bat for almost all of his hit streak, till it got stolen. then there’s the MLB’s long history with amphetamines – you might say its not the same as PEDs, but would you want to play a pick up game against somebody on speed? for years, pitchers put stuff on the ball until they banned it 1920, and some people did it after that – David Wells like to put suntan lotion on the ball. oh and lets not forget that Ruth didn’t play during integrated baseball… and Ruth didn’t have to play in night games or fly all over hell
    my point is, people use any advantage and got advantages – steroids are no different.

  23. stevehenn says:

    Chris, terrific work my friend. My opinion on the matter is that yes, Alex’s numbers are forever tainted due to his steroid use. He did admit to using them in Texas, but it is fair to question the validity of it. But, I also feel that it is unfair to say that he did take them with the Yankees.

    As for his numbers, yes, they are down from his typical 30 home runs and 100 RBIs. But, he is a man with a track record with success. So, I feel that if he is deteriorating, or if steroids has something to do with it, we will know more next season if his numbers are indeed down again.

  24. thebigak says:

    Very nicely said. I couldn’t agree more. Baseball may claim to be a fan’s game, but it seems that fans have finally said enough. They want players to do things legitimately. If players that use steroids can get into the hall of fame, then Pete Rose should get in when he never cheated to play better. Thanks for the feedback on my blog by the way.

  25. Ricky Keeler says:

    Hey Chris, great read man. You brought a lot of facts to the table

    As for your Hall of Fame argument, I think the case Alex has is time. He has time to repair his image to a certain extent. True, he might not get in on the first ballot but I think he could somewhere down the line. I am not one for cheaters at all, but I tend to look at Major League baseball taking a step in the right direction with the new HGH testing in minor league baseball, trying to catch it beforehand.

  26. Tim says:

    yes i agree that the use of steriods have changed the image of the game but there has been possitive within the last year or two. a lot of the players who first started the big use of steroids are becoming retired and the image of baseball is slowly getting back to what it should be or what it used to be.

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