Yesterday in the first inning, Alex Rodriguez absolutely belted a 2-0 pitch from Shaun Marcum that ended up just over the 408 sign in dead center field. Of course, it was his 600th home run. And, like everyone else in the baseball world has done, it’s my turn to weigh in on the event in more than just a comment.
I have no recollection of what I thought about Alex Rodriguez before he joined the Yankees. I’m sure I respected his incredible talent and the numbers he put up, but I’m sure I didn’t root for him since, hey, he wasn’t on the Yankees. Since he joined the Yankees, though, Alex Rodriguez has been my favorite baseball player. I watch him and marvel every single game. His arm strength gets me every time and, of course, there’s his incredible bat. Then, while watching him in the dugout, it’s incredibly clear how much this man loves baseball. He’s constantly watching the game while talking to the players and coaches. His face is like that of a child, experiencing the ball park for the first time. Of course, this is just part of the story.
Like all people in the spotlight, he’s a very complex person. He says and does strange things. He seems a little socially awkward. He used steroids. Whatever. That one word I said may seem like a white washing of the man, but I’m okay with it. Why? Because that’s about the man who is Alex Rodriguez. I don’t care about what kind of man Alex Rodriguez is. What he does on his own time and who he is when he leaves the dugout is of no concern to me. What I care about is what Rodriguez does between the white lines. What he has done there is nothing short of amazing.
Like Stephen said in his article about A-Rod and 600, the fact that he used steroids doesn’t bother me. It may have been disappointing, but it was not surprising. At this point, I wouldn’t be surprised by any admission of usage by any player. Moving on…
When A-Rod hit 600 yesterday, I was elated. To watch a player that great accomplish something so rare in the sport I love most is nothing short of exhilarating. I was in attendance three years ago yesterday when Alex hit his 500th home run against the Royals. That feeling was even better, obviously, but yesterday was also great. Hopefully, Alex can stay healthy and get himself right for the rest of the year. And more, I hope he can keep right on rolling and challenge Barry Bonds’s home run record while teammate Derek Jeter racks up the hits and moves up the all time list. Those guys are two of my favorite players and the higher up in the record books their names appear, the better.
Congratulations, Alex. Your incredible hard work at your craft is beyond admirable. For the last six and a half years, your talents have brought me endless baseball-related joy. Here’s to the chase for 700 and, eventually, 763.
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