Currently, Alex Rodriguez has 597 home runs, and he is only three away from his milestone 600th. Upon hitting number 600, A-Rod will join the exclusive club which contains only six members: Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Willy Mays, Ken Griffey Jr., and Sammy Sosa.
600 home runs is a lot of home runs, and for a player to reach that career total clearly is a big deal. Yet, I feel like not very many people at all are mentioning the fact that A-Rod is only three home runs away from 600; as if this isn't newsworthy!
While A-Rod sits at 597, there have been some events which have his milestone chase on the back burner for the time being. During the past week plus, LeBron James has released his "Decision", the MLB had the All-Star Game, and two Yankees legends in Bob Sheppard and George Steinbrenner passed away.
Understandably, those events, especially the stories of Sheppard and Steinbrenner, take precedence over A-Rod's home runs. However, even before any of that happened, Rodriguez was still rapidly approaching 600, and few seemed to be talking about it.
I did a quick Google search earlier today to see how much A-Rod and his 597 home runs were in the news. I came across a few articles in more major publications as well as in some blogs. I even came across a website called SeatGeek that has predicted which section in the bleachers A-Rod will hit number 600 . Yet, the one thing I noticed most when sifting through articles regarding this milestone was the topic of steroids.
That's when I wondered - is Alex Rodriguez's milestone marred by steroids?
A-Rod fell out of favor with a lot of baseball fans when he admitted in an interview with Peter Gammons back in 2009 that he used steroids during what was a "loosey goosey era."
While Rodriguez wasn't very liked after signing with the Yankees, he became further disliked when admitting to using steroids. Does this hatred of A-Rod have an effect on his 600th HR milestone?
Many people dislike Barry Bonds as well, who is the all-time leader in home runs (although some refuse to admit that he is, because of PEDs), yet he seemed to be getting more coverage during his milestone HR chase than A-Rod is.
Perhaps the more we progress away from the steroid era, the more baseball fans are intolerant of the players like A-Rod, who are admitted steroid users. If so, then I guess Rodriguez's home runs are not as big of a deal anymore, since he technically cheated en route to his career total.
Or maybe, I am speaking prematurely, and the coverage surrounding A-Rod's milestone will come as he gets even closer. Seemingly, with all that has gone on in Yankeeland, and in the sports world in general, the media hasn't had any time to talk about much else.
I wonder; however, whether or not sports fans would currently be talking at length about another player reaching 600 home runs, had he kept his legacy clean and never been accused or admitted to using PEDs. Or, would he be getting the same coverage as A-Rod is currently getting?
Personally, I think it's a combination of both. It has been a huge news week for the Yankees, with all that has occurred. Yet, Alex Rodriguez is one of the poster boys for steroids, and there are baseball purists out there who will refuse to give him credit for the 600 home runs that he hit.
With the Yankees resuming play tonight, after their All-Star break, we shall soon see how much A-Rod's 600 home runs are being talked about. Sheppard and Steinbrenner are getting their tributes before and throughout the game versus the Rays. Then, it'll be back to baseball.