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Congrats A-Rod, But We Still Hate You     Share

04 Aug 2010

It finally happened.  After 46 at-bats between home runs, Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees hit the 600th home run of his career in a game against the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday afternoon.  As a couple of NASG writers have written about lately, this home run is significant because “A-Rod” (as he is nicknamed) is only the seventh player in MLB history to hit at least 600 home runs in their career. 

Why aren’t many fans happy for A-Rod?  As mentioned in a previous article, A-Rod was supposed to save baseball’s record books from the smearing caused by the “steroid era.” During this time, many players took steroids which helped them sustain their home run hitting performance through the latter part of their careers.  Barry Bonds, baseball’s home run king, hit more home runs late in his career than he ever did during the “prime years” of his late 20s and early 30s. However, he was also indicted for perjury and obstruction of justice in 2007 relating to his testimony about his alleged steroid use. Bonds denies any steroid use even though in one offseason he put on roughly 30 pounds of muscle, his head grew about 3 hat sizes, and his ex-girlfriend implied that his man parts were significantly less manly than before.

So A-Rod, who is the youngest player ever to reach the 600 home run mark, was supposed to right the wrongs done by the steroid era- until he was implicated as well, and begrudgingly admitted as much after the allegations became public.  So now, few cheer for A-Rod as he chases Barry Bonds to be baseball’s home run king in the post-steroid era. 

Besides A-Rod, the IRS may be the next biggest supporter for his continued climb in the record books.  According to the contract he signed with the Yankees, he will get a $6 million bonus every time he matches one of baseball’s top four home run hitters—Willie Mays, Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, and of course Barry Bonds.  Good luck A-Rod.  Just don’t expect many of us to be rooting for you.

One-Liner: “I would take steroids too if it meant it would help me make $6 million each time I pass a career home run milestone.”

Send comments to: Leroy@notasportsguy.com

The Basics

There have only been 6 players in MLB history to hit 600 home runs (Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Ken Griffey, Jr., Sammy Sosa)

Terminology:

Win (for a pitcher):  A pitcher must complete five innings of pitching and his team must be leading when he exits for him to get a win.  A pitcher with 15 wins in a season is doing well; 20 wins is the recognized plateau of excellence.

ERA:  Earned Run Average.  A statistic which measures how many runs a pitcher averages surrendering to opposing teams based on pitching nine innings.  For instance, a pitcher with an ERA of 2.00 would on average give up 2 runs over the course of 9 innings.  ERA’s are always measured to the hundredths.  An ERA of under 3.00 is considered good.  An ERA under 2.00 is excellent and only a handful of pitchers are able to sustain an ERA under 2.00 for an entire season.

Pinch Hit:  when a player that did not start the game comes in to bat for a player that did start the game. 

Batting Average:   How often a player gets a hit.  Batting average is calculated by dividing the number of hits by total chances to hit.   If a player walks or is hit by a pitch, such actions are not counted as a chance to hit in calculating the batting average.  A .300 batting average (getting a hit 30% of the time) is considered to be above average for a MLB player.

Mendoza Line:  A euphemism for a .200 batting average.  The term came from a reference to Mario Mendoza, a light hitting infielder in the 1970s that usually batted around .200.  A player that is hitting around the Mendoza Line is lucky to still have a job in the Major Leagues.