It’s not unusual for my kids to greet me each morning with the following question: “Did the Yankees win last night?”
For the last couple of weeks that’s been immediately followed with another question: “Did A-Rod hit his 600th homerun?”
Just when I was beginning to resign myself to the fact that Alex Rodriguez was never going to knock another ball over the fence, he finally belted career homerun number 600 this afternoon in the first inning against the Toronto Blue Jays.
A-Rod is now the seventh and youngest slugger ever to each that milestone. He just turned 35 on July 27.
It’s quite an accomplishment and as a Yankee fan, and a baseball fan in general, I’m excited for A-Rod.
But I’m not as excited as I could be, given that I know this achievement isn’t 100 percent “pure.” After all, Rodriguez has admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs from 2001 to 2003 while playing for the Texas Rangers. We’ll never know for sure how many of the homers he hit during that period were “enhanced.”
When Barry Bonds – another steroid abuser -- broke Hank Aaron’s career homerun record I thought to myself, “That’s okay. In time, A-Rod will pass Bonds, and he’ll do it in a Yankee uniform.” If and when he does, I’ll still applaud him. But I can never be quite as excited as I once thought I’d be.
As for my kids, I’ll go home tonight and tell them about the homerun. I’ve talked to them about steroids and about A-Rod in particular. I don’t think it’s really sunk in for them. Maybe someday it will. But for now, I’ll let them be thrilled for the Yankees third baseman.