Alex Rodriguez’s 600th will be bittersweet
July 24, 2010 31 Comments
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 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.
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