A-Rod and 600

Royals Yankees Baseball

Alex Rodriguez hit his 599th home run tonight … and the world sleeps.

Why?

Because, no matter what he does from here on, Rodriguez will foreever be viewed as a cheat; as a liar; as someone who had every imaginable gift and still decided it wasn’t enough. He’s right there alongside Barry and Rocket and Big Mac and Sammy as the game’s tainted heroes; men whose numbers will never be big enough to squash the taint behind them.

Fair? Unfair? Hard to say. Many of us are taught from young ages that taking shortcuts isn’t the righteous way to go; that you’ll always feel better about any accomplishments by knowing you tried your best and did so in an honest and decent manner. That’s what I’ll tell my kids, at least.

And I’ll use steroids as an example.

35 thoughts on “A-Rod and 600”

  1. MLB has decided to test for HGH in the minors.
    Seems what that means is the clean guys will NEVER make it to the majors. Some guy with less talent who is enhanced with HGH will stay in the majors because MLB doesn’t have the guts to test the stars.

  2. Barry
    I hope not
    I hope MLB wises up and checks everyone.
    I guess once you’re in you can take whatever you need to keep on playing.

  3. So Jeff, were you asleep when Aaron broke Ruth’s record, considering he was (admittedly on the record) popping amphetamines? Will you tell your kids that guys like Aaron, Mays, Mantle, Robinson, etc were all cheaters and to not be like them, since they were all taking amphetamines?

    Simple thought process here that Jeff never seems to understand. Cheating is cheating is cheating. Amphetamines were illegal in the United States, illegal in MLB, were indeed a PED in every sense of the word, and Aaron has said that he knowingly used them to gain an edge. How does anyone with a quarter of a brain think this is any different then steroids? Athletes will look to gain an edge every chance they have. If Aaron played in the 90’s he would have “cheated” as well. Get over it

  4. Jeff

    As usual, let me state right off the bat, pun intended, that I love the blog and the honesty.

    What I want to make clear though, is the view from a minor fan, not a fanatic.

    I was always a baseball and football fan growing up. NY Giants, and NY Yankees.

    When I made the varsity baseball team sophmore year in high school, I was extremely turned off by my teammates. They seemed to only care about winning. If we gave it our all and lost to a better team, guys would still slam bats and throw helmets and scream.

    My point is that those are the same guys that are willing to take HGH and ruin their bodies in the future, just to WIN NOW. It’s the WIN
    Now mentality, and it’s not cool.

    Obviously, Professionals take it to the extreme.

    It hasn’t ruined the Pro games for me because I’m just a minor fan, and I don’t care too much.

    However, I feel bad for my son, because these are his heroes.

    I guess it’s just a game afterall, and remember when we were young and there was always the one kid that cheated during Recess Kickball games. My point being that I personally still want to see A rod hit 600. Even if he’s hopped up on something.

  5. I was puzzled by the amount of Yankee fans snapping photos during his final at bat last night. Given all the special moments they have been blessed with throughout the years, it seems strange they’d waste their effort immortalizing the moment an admitted drug cheat passes a now meaningless milestone. That game ball is going right on the shelf in Baseball Hell between Bonds #756 & Clemens’ 300th win.

  6. Jeff in all seriousness could you address older players using amphetamines? How is using them different then using steroids? Not trying to be a jerk just curious.

  7. Barry
    I wasn’t awake yet and probably did a poor job of explaining my point.
    The longer a player stays in the game as a “Star” the bigger the fan base. More money comes into the game. You don’t hit 600 home runs unless you play for a few years.
    MLB has a financial interest to keep players in the game as long as you can. HGH improves eyesight and aids injury recovery and stamina. This allows players to not only produce at a higher level but it keeps the “Star” in the game longer.
    By testing in the minors you force those players to stay clean, and not be able to compete on a level field. Once you do make it in the bigs you are “allowed” to do what is necessary to stay and to produce at an inflated ability. Cash Cows.

  8. jmw

    Thanks. That’s make a lot of sense. I was thinking you meant average players would be able to keep playing into their 40s and maybe beyond taking up roster spots. I never thought about the stars.

  9. Barry, Jeff will never touch that story. In his mind, steroids are evil and speed is like drinking a can of Red Bull. Acknowledging that amphetamines are illegal in the United States and classified as a Schedule 2 drug and his heroes cheated is not going to happen. Again, lets simple this down for the 1/4 brain people (I am oh so classy)…speed is a PED, and is classified as such by the Federal Government. Steroids is a PED, and is classified as such by the Federal Government. Yet, for reasons I can’t get my brain around, A-Rod is evil and Aaron is a hero. Did Aaron break the laws of the land and of MLB? Did he or did he not take a PED? Jeff says anyone who cheated and took a PED should not be in the HOF. So where is the article on SI.Com from Mr. Pearlman making a case for Aron being taken out of the HOF?

    Instead we have to deal with 5 blog posts a day whining about the big bad evil Republicans.

  10. he House Committee that on Wednesday is expected to hear the differing viewpoints of Roger Clemens and Brian McNamee did its pharmacology homework Tuesday, holding a hearing on the “Myths and Facts about Human Growth Hormone, B-12, and Other Substances.”

    The consensus from the four doctors who testified: Neither HGH nor vitamin B-12 appears to help athletic performance very much, although much more research is needed on HGH, which also has a litany of unappealing side effects.

    “There is no credible scientific evidence that growth hormone substantively increases muscle strength or aerobic exercise capacity in normal individuals,” said Dr. Thomas Perls, director of the New England Centenarian Study at the Boston University of Medicine.

    Clemens wasn’t mentioned by name even once during the two-hour hearing, but two members of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, as well as one of the witnesses, were critical of actor Sylvester Stallone of “Rocky” fame. Stallone recently said he used human growth hormone to get buff for his new “Rambo” movie, and defended its use by saying: “Everyone over 40 years old would be wise to investigate it because it increases the quality of your life.”

    “You look at Sylvester Stallone and say ‘That’s a different body for a 61-year-old man,”‘ said Dr. Alan Rogol, a professor of clinical pediatrics at both the University of Virginia and Indiana University. “He may very well have been taking human growth hormone. None of us in this room know what else he was taking. And I think it’s the ‘what else’ — meaning the anabolic steroids — that made him what he is.”

    http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/news/story?id=3242614

  11. I don’t care what you think about Alex Rodriguez, and I don’t care that Alex Rodriguez took steroids. It doesn’t shake my world. Baseball has been a part of my life since I could think thoughts. I used to read box scores in the newspaper on my way to first grade and Alex Rodriguez taking “boli” in the Dominican Republic doesn’t make me question the purity of my childhood in the least bit. No one can quantify how much it helped him, not Mark Feinsand or Tim Dahlberg, and not even people with opinions actually worth reading, like Will Carroll, Nate Silver or Tom Tango. Similarly, no one can quantify just how many people used steroids, including the pitchers off whom Rodriguez homered. No one can tell me why Rodriguez’s crime is so much worse than every player in the 1970s that was hopped up on amphetamines or cocaine. No one can explain why the line that Major League Baseball draws between what is allowable and what is not constitutes some sort of sacrosanct arbiter of morality. No one can tell me, no one at all, just how many fewer home runs Alex would have hit had he pumping himself full of creatine instead of boli.

    http://www.theyankeeu.com/2010/07/in-praise-of-600-and-alex-rodriguez-19938

  12. there will always be a way of cheating in the game of baseball. think about before the modern game, when pitchers would cut the ball and spit on it. how do you know that isn’t “tainting” the records. In all fairness to A-Rod, hitting 600 home runs is a major accomplishment, no matter how it happens.

  13. I don’t think it’s that people don’t care about A-Rod (though they don’t). I think people don’t care about the numbers anymore. Growing up, they numbers were what mattered most. But players like McGwire, Sosa, etc trivialized those numbers. We can all agree that A-Rod is a) a great ballplayer and b) a cheater, but the damage was done long before A-Rod hit 500, let alone 600. It was done by the steroid era in general and the players who cheated the game and trivialized the once all-powerful numbers.

  14. My only comment is I better not see one line about “steroids are different/worse”. You have gone on record multiple times that anyone who takes PED’s shouldn’t be in the hall. I don’t want to hear roids make you stronger, they are both illegal and a PED.

    1. Well, Gregg, then maybe you should go visit a different blog. My references to PED have always—always—been steroid/HGH-specific. And there is a difference. A huge difference.

  15. I’ll say what I’ve said before:

    you can’t ignore him any more than you can ignore pretty much anything else that happened in the game since, lets say, 1987. The records count, the numbers are there, they should all be in the Hall of Fame. Bonds, Clemens, McGwire, Palmiero. Pretty much everyone but Sosa, just because steroids or no Sammy just wasn’t that good.

  16. Way to oversimplify. Steroids is a pretty minor piece of the puzzle for why people don’t care about A-Rod’s 600th. It’s the fact that

    a.) No one ever really liked A-Rod pre- or post-steroids and people don’t tend to get excited for minor milestones by players they don’t care about

    b.) No one really cares about home run milestones anymore. Griffey was not a cheater AND people loved him. But nobody cared when he hit 600.

    But you’ve got some steroids vendetta so I guess it’s all because A-Rod did steroids?

  17. Jeff, of course steroids is different to you, because you are have a vendetta. We are all sorry that big scary Barry treated you like shit, but the reality is that he treated everyone like shit. So now Jeff Pearlman gets to decide which rules players can break when deciding their legacy and moral standing. Aaron says that he specifically took greenies to recover from an injury and to gain an edge. Sounds a hell of a lot like HGH or a ton or other PED’s to me. So steroids are worse why, because players got bigger and stronger? Greenies made players more alert, more energetic, and gave them better focus. Why are steroids worse, because you can see the results of them with your eyes? Why are athletes not allowed to get bigger, faster, and stronger? I am still waiting to see the proof that steroids taken under the supervision of a doctor proves unhealthy. Stallone has been on roids for over 30 years now, I’m guessing he is a hell of a lot more healthy than a smoker or drinker.

    Another thing, you just lumped HGH into this, when doctor after doctor after doctor says that HGH offers zero athletic performance enhancement. But why do players do it then? Ever walk into a GNC? The other thing that is proven to offer any type of athletic enhancement is creatine and protein, thats it.

    Your vendetta against Bonds is getting real old. Before he took one ounce of protein he was a HOF’er, one of the top 20 players to ever walk the planet. He was also one of the biggest jerks to walk the planet, but I pay to watch athletes play, I could care less what they are like after the game. Can you image if Twitter and camera phones were around when Mantle, Ford, and Martin were in bars every night?

  18. Gregg, were you on steroids when you wrote your seven-part rant? What right do you have to be such an angry jerk to Pearlman here? He says one thing, you say another, ultimately who cares? Freaking relax.

    By the way, Aaron popped greenies once. Here’s the excerpt from his biography.

    “Actually, the 1968 season wasn’t the best time to present my case. It was the first time since my rookie year that I didn’t drive in or score 100 runs. I was so frustrated that at one point I tried using a pep pill ”a greenie” that one of my teammates gave me. When that thing took hold, I thought I was having a heart attack. It was a stupid thing to do.”

    What’s worse, taking amphetamines once or steroids repeatedly over the course of multiple years?

    A greenie’s effects can last up to 12 hours. So Aaron was a cheater for half a day in a 23-year career, and Bonds was a cheater for longer than that.

  19. Gregg
    I had never heard that Aaron used. Thanks to Paul I now know what reference you are talking about. He experimented, it did not Enhance his Performance. PED = Performance Enhancing Drugs.
    Amphetamines tear down your body, they work for awhile. Roids and especially HGH do the opposite they build up your body and stamina.
    A whole different ball game.

    PS Thanks Paul for the Aaron reference.
    I spent a lot of time trying to search down info that Aaron used, hadn’t been able to find one. Probably because few would consider his experiment with using.

  20. Gregg, I happen to disagree with Jeff on this issue as well.

    That does not mean you need to throw insults around. It ruins your position because the focus goes on you assinine remarks instead of the context of your argument.

  21. By the way, if using steroids wasn’t cheating, or at the very least cheating the game itself, why did players feel the need to lie about their use of them, a la…A-Rod?

    Put it this way: Using both amphetamines and steroids is wrong, I don’t disagree with that. But if I’m a player who really needs to cross boundaries and get an edge, what am I going to use, steroids or amphetamines?

    What player can we say got to where he was because of his rampant greenie use?

    On the other hand, it’s easy to point to multiple players who got where they were because of steroids.

  22. I don’t see how I was throwing insults, but fine, whichever way you see it. The bottom line is, you cheat you cheat. You can’t sit here and say steroids is different than greenies or spitballs or whatever. Each action is done to gain an edge. If you really think Aaron did greenies once, than you must also believe Arod only did roids in Texas. These guys are paid to produce, they dont get paid to sit in a church and be the paster. So Aaron said he did it once, now you believe Arod only did Boli in Texas? LOL Really? They had separate coffee pots 0back in the 60’s, one clean one with speed. 90% of the players drank the dirty coffee, just like 90% of the players did roids. How is it that more pitchers got caught than hitters?

  23. Paul, yes I have done a few different forms of steroids. I dabbled, never was serious, etc. Unlike Mr. Pearlman, I have lifted a few weights in my life. I have the right to talk a bit about the subject. I am no doctor, neither Jeff. But when doctor after doctor and expert after expert says HGH isnt a PED, I think I’ll take their opinion over Jeff’s.

  24. But the bottom line is, you can not say what form of cheating is worse than the next. If you cheat you cheat, end of story. Aaron was never caught doing PED’s from a drug test, he willingly gave it up. Why? Because no one looks at speed as a PED. Yet, speed is classified the same as steroids according to the DEA and the FED. They are illegal, PED’s, and against the rules of baseball. Use your brains, I know you want to believe Aaron is good and Bonds is evil, but to take a page out of Jeff’s FoxNews rants, don’t believe the propaganda. If you truly think that if Aaron and Mays and Mantle lived in the 90’s and they would not do steroids, you need to wake up. Guess what, Piazza and yes Griffey were dirty. Look at Griffey and Bagwell and Williams and whomever numbers in 94.

  25. But if steroids testing drove power production down, how will testing for greenies affect players and, by extension, the game?

    Will it sap speed out of players’ swings? In some games, will they have to stop at second base on a double instead of bursting around the base and trying for third? Will they come up short on a diving attempt for a line drive in the gap? Will a whole bunch of players play lethargically?

    In the book — in which Schmidt also discusses Barry Bonds, the legacies of Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, and Pete Rose — Schmidt writes that the elimination of amphetamines could have “possibly far greater implications for the game than the crackdown against steroids.”

    He explains in the book that “amphetamine use in baseball is both far more common and has been going on a lot longer than steroid abuse.”

  26. Wake up!!! Use your brains!!! Stop being sheep for once! Barry Bonds is not the devil, he is only doing what every athlete has done before him.

    1. Gregg, I’m gonna take a stab here. And please tell me if I’m wrong. You’re probably in your 20s. You probably have a job either at a hedge fund or some other financial institution. You’re politically to the right, and you regularly listen to sports radio and take the games excessively serious. You’re probably handy with a backward baseball cap, lid curved just so.

      If I’m wrong, I’m wrong and I apologize.
      If I’m right, and there’s a 70% chance I am, watch what you say about people being sheep. Baaaaah.

  27. 32, pretty much straight down the middle politically. Fiscal conservative, social liberal. I wish I worked at a hedge fund, I do IT Audit for a global bank. I agree on your Republican rants for the most part, but think you don’t have a clue when it comes to their fiscal policies. For example, Europe has all these social policies, everyone is “in it together”, etc. Google a list of the top 100 global companies. How many of those companies were founded in the US or by US citizens? Two obvious reasons, lower taxes is one, but the biggest reason is fiscal reward leads to innovation. Believe you me, the kid studying chemistry who will cure cancer one day isn’t doing it because he is a swell ol guy, he is doing it because he knows it will set his family up for the next 10 generations. Why is it that Germany has a vastly superior educational system, yet I can’t think of any global company besides banking and auto. The US has driven the entire internet economy, why wasn’t Google or Microsoft or eBay founded in Germany or the Netherlands or France?

    Anyway, its Monday, where is said blog post? Will you mention Schmidt and Aaron? Here is a cool tidbit about your buddy Bonds.

    Barry Bonds had more WAR with the Pirates (50.2) than Jim Rice did in his entire career (41.50)

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