3,002 Hits; #28 all-time
668 Home Runs; #4 all-time
2,009 RBI; #4 all-time
New York Yankees: Alex Rodriguez going through Baseball's milestones like Godzilla through Tokyo.
I am now inside of my 5th decade watching Major League Baseball. I started at the tail end of the Swinging A's dynasty, and the beginning of the Big Red Machine era.
On the darker side of things, I watched narcotic drugs pollute the game and free agency dismember teams throughout the 1970's and 1980's. Then I watched steroids become the drug of choice by the 1990's, which then joined forces with HGH by turn of the millennium.
The phrase of a new century = performance enhancing drugs.
If pressed to put an actual date on Day One of the steroids era, I'd start the clock somewhere near 1988 (+/-), or, with the birth of Oakland's Bash Brothers. Some might chose an even earlier reference and bring Bo Jackson back into the conversation. For me, however, 1988 works just fine.
By my timeline that means we're 27 years into this crap, or, three decades rounded off.
Over that span, Baseball lost an entire generation (Gen-Y to be exact) because they sold out to TV networks whom effectively tuned out kids, as well as many adults with younger kids and regular work hours.
Moreover, the game as a whole permitted certain performance enhancing junkies to lay Baseball's most hallowed and sacred records to waste. The problem is not, and will never be, in breaking records, so much as they were blatantly disrespected, desecrated, and destroyed, by self-centered, self-indulgent, and ultimately self-destructive people. In any event, their direct impact and collateral damage can not be undone.
My Father had a saying for these people - they have no blood in their faces.
- Look no further than bleached face Scammin' Sammy Sosa - I only use a corked bat during batting practice, and soon after making tourism TV commercials for Dominican Republic in perfect English, mysteriously forgot the language in time for his gig with Congress. !Aye caramba!
- How about the defiant finger waiver, Rafael Palmeiro, whom tested hot shortly thereafter, and said he thought Miguel Tejada gave him a B-12 shot? Baltimore was going dedicate a street named after him. Now, his reputation is in the gutter and his name is Mud.
- Talk about a lack of blood in your face - how about the blatant lie carried out by Andro-Man > the audacity of the Maris Family hugging fraudster Mark McGwire?
- That leads us to Mr. Personality, Barroid Bonds, who in his jealousy of McGwire and Sosa turned his own head into a Mardi Gras float, and testified he thought he was using flax seed oil, and even has a guy doing time in jail to ensure files and corresponding codes from Victor Conte's BALCO Labs investigation never get revealed...
- ...And c'mon! Roger Clemens let some dude shoot his wife in the butt with steroids in his own kitchen, but didn't do any himself? Right! Only problem is, Andy Pettitte testified Roger Clemens really did. I guess Roger is the one whom, misremembers.
They are just some of the vandals generally considered to have inflicted the most damage upon Baseball's cherished record books.
Place blame with MLB's dysfunction starting with the 1990's, featuring a cancellation of the World Series, consolidating the American League and National League offices under MLB, the extinction of the Montreal Expos, the related and no less shady 3-card monte deal involving Jeff Loria, John Henry, the Red Sox, Marlins, and the devil..., and the theft Baltimore is still allowed to perpetrate from the Washington Nationals' wallet.
Thank Bud Selig's blind eye (on behalf of the owners) towards steroids. He failed to act in a timely manner, and certainly failed to act in the best interest of baseball by neither pressuring or challenging the Player's Union with reasonable suspicion.
In the same breath, thank Donald Fehr's (head of the Player's Association) unwavering refusal to negotiate PED testing into the collective bargaining agreement.
Otherwise, the collective chase for the almighty dollar (for owners, MLB, players, agents and the Union alike) ruled the day, which made performance/ATTENDANCE enhancing drugs not only okay, but seemingly the preferred method of operation.
Then along came A-Rod, or, the player formerly known as Alex Rodriguez.
Repeat offender, lies, text messaging regarding his Food (the food dummy!), and of course, money... ... Rodriguez is, in effect, the face of both worlds - PED usage, and incomprehensible salaries.
I feel fortunate to have watched the last three seasons ('74-'76) of Hank Aaron's career. On a level equal to that of Barry Bonds, mentioning Alex Rodriguez in the same sentence with Hammerin' Hank is a travesty. That's my opinion as an adult, a Gen X'er, and I'm sure the young boy who fell in love with baseball in the mid-70's would agree.
I don't blame Alex though. I believe in doing wrong, accepting your punishment, then moving on and staying on the straight and narrow. To a man, I respect that. Problem is, we're talking about baseball, and baseball players, and teams who's fans guard them like some sanctimonious public trust.
Alex Rodriguez has been the recipient a lot of love this season. If we are strictly talking about 2015, he's earned it. But, reading baseball's all-time lists now strain my eyes, not because I'm getting old, but because the newer names I read on them make it so.
What's done is done, but far from over.
On Saturday, A-Rod went 2 for 3 against Detroit, with a home run and 5 RBI. He now has 14 home runs and 40 RBI this season.
Pretty astonishing stuff..., on many levels.