A-Rod’s 600th Home Run Not Special

By Ryan Isley (Originally posted 7/27/2010)

It is time for Major League Baseball to stop catering to the players that have cheated and therefore turned baseball into a dirty sport.

Someone needs to show Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig that baseball’s power numbers do not mean what they once did and it is not necessary to celebrate them as if they do.

New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez is on the verge of making history this week, possibly at Progressive Field in Cleveland, which it is a true shame and a slap in the face to some of the greats that have played the game.

Rodriguez is just one home run away from 600 in his career, a number that has been reached by only six other men in the history of Major League Baseball.

The problem with Rodriguez reaching the milestone is that he is a proven cheater, testing positive for two anabolic steroids in a test that was conducted in 2003.

This makes Rodriguez the third player out of what will be seven on the 600-home run list that truly do not belong, joining Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa.

The only four members of the once-elusive club should be Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Willie Mays and Ken Griffey, Jr.

Major League Baseball does not see it that way, however, as they have put special baseballs into play every time Rodriguez has stepped up to the plate since belting number 599 last Thursday against Kansas City.

The numbers that once meant something in the game of baseball are now just a joke, as smaller ballparks, watered-down pitching and more importantly, cheating, has diminished what players like Aaron, Ruth and Mays had established.

Fans and even players of past generations looked at numbers such as 755 and 61 with reverence as they were numbers they thought would never be topped.

Now, those numbers mean very little, if anything, as Bonds has topped Aaron’s career home run mark of 755 and Roger Maris’ one-time single-season home run record of 61 was topped six times in a four season span after standing for 37 years, with Ruth’s one-time record of 60 standing for 34 seasons before Maris broke it.

Fans of this new generation have little, if any, knowledge of what the players in years past have done because all they have seen are players who look like they should be WWE wrestlers launching baseballs to places where they have never been hit before.

They associate history with the home run chase between Sosa and Mark McGwire in 1998 when McGwire outslugged Sosa 70 to 66, or Bonds following that up with 73 home runs in 2001 or Bonds’ pursuit of Aaron’s 755 career home runs that he took down on August 7, 2007.

Today’s fans are never taught what the true greats of the game did and how remarkable the numbers they put up really were because those numbers are so easily passed in today’s game.

The lack of history being taught to the younger generations can be traced right back to Park Avenue in New York, the home of the office of the commissioner of Major League Baseball.

Commissioner Selig and the rest of Major League Baseball have seemed to decide once again that they just simply do not care about records anymore and if a player has cheated, so be it.

The reason that fans do not care anymore whether or not a player is clean is because the office of the commissioner does not care, nor does the so-called ‘Worldwide Leader in Sports’, as ESPN broke into coverage of their own game Monday night to show Rodriguez’s at-bats.

No matter what number Rodriguez hits before he is done, the bottom line will still be that he is a cheat and this pathetic display of appreciation for a player who has cheated is just one more act in an already played out production put on by Selig and his people.

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