On Saturday, Alex Rodriguez, a steroid cheat, passed Mark McGwire, another steroid cheat, on the all time home run list by hitting home run 584.
As I sat watching Alex Rodriguez’s “achievement”, the Yankees’ Yes Network flashed the all time home run list on the screen. It was a sad sight to see.
On the list of all time home run leaders, there was, of course, Babe Ruth in third place.
Babe Ruth at this point is almost a cartoon character. No offense to the Babe, but very few people alive today ever saw him play. He also played at a time when no minorities were in the game. This was not his fault, of course, but the game is pretty hard to relate to when you think about a bunch of white men only playing it. Not that there aren’t some great white players, there of course are, but if only one race or creed is represented, well, it’s not much of a game.
But the classy Hank Aaron is in second place. The man who was humble, brave and strong and still better than them all was passed by steroid cheat Barry Bonds will someday be passed by steroid cheat Alex Rodriguez. And that’s sad. Even for me, a Yankee fan.
Frank Robinson, probably the least known of all the home runs kings is next on steroid cheat Alex Rodriguez’s radar; A-Rod is only three behind him. Steroid cheat Alex Rodriguez and should catch him by the middle of May at the absolute latest and one of the great stories of baseball (hardly ever) told will be further relegated to the dustbin of history. Frank Robinson and Hank Aaron are what baseball is supposed to be about…they in no small measure are the reasons the game progressed to the point it is today. Sadly, though, it’s progressed to a point where a steroid cheat Alex Rodriguez could come along and exploit it.
And, of course, let us not forget Willie Mays. Today, Willie Mays, who may be the best baseball player in the history of the game all things considered, is fourth on the all time home run list. Someday he too will be passed by Alex Rodriguez, the steroid cheat.
After Mays on the all time home run list is Ken Griffey, Jr. Griffey seemed destined to be one of the best baseball players of all time, but injuries derailed that probable fate. Mark McGwire, no mensa member he, said that steroids never helped him hit home runs…they only allowed him to recover from injuries.
If Mark McGwire were a brighter man, he wouldn’t be able to look Ken Griffey, Jr. in the eye after a statement such as that. Fortunately for him, McGwire is clearly not that smart. Defensive, self righteous and insecure? Yes. Smart? Nope.
Harmon Killebrew is number ten on the all time home run list. Killebrew will likely be passed in home runs by yet another steroid cheat in Manny Ramirez. And Killebrew too will sit next to Frank Robinsion in the ‘afterthought’ wing of Cooperstown.
Alex Rodriguez seems like a harmless enough fellow. He seems tormented and confused and awkward. He likely has little appreciation for what came before as every day is a struggle, it would seem, to keep himself whole. And that, really, is the ultimate tragedy. No matter how many home runs he hits, either on or off steroids and human growth hormone, Alex Rodriguez knows at his core, without an ability to articulate it, that his performance is basically fraudulent.
He competed against plenty of frauds as well, of course. He was hardly the only one cheating. But this era of baseball is a shame; a pity; a disgrace.
For people such as Hank Aaron, Frank Robinson and Willie Mays, who weren’t allowed in various hotel rooms at times in their career, and who a relative few wanted to succeed, were great nonetheless. They were great while left to their own devices. And yet their memories are fading as steroid cheats trot around the bases and collect hundreds of millions of dollars.
Professional wrestling is what it is. It’s more honest at the end of the day. The NFL is what it is; very subtly, it too is more honest. Baseball sells purity and generational connections. And that’s why baseball is worse than even A-Rod when it comes to sincerity and truth. Baseball, sadly, has become a con. All one needs to do is see the celebration that will occur each time Alex Rodriguez, steroid cheat, passes another immortal.
Source: Bob Bensch, “Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez Passes McGwire on Career Home Run List”, bloomberg.com