A-Rod: The Youngest Ever To Hit 600 Homers

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I got choked up after he hit the big one today in his first at-bat. Why? Because it was historic. Because his teammates came out to hug him. Because the crowd was very appreciative. And, best of all, because it brought an end to the “special balls” and other annoying stuff, and allowed the Yankees to go back to focusing on winning games. Salvaging the finale of this series and halting the three-game slide was important; the Yanks restored order!
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Very nice to see Jeter go 4-for-4, for Huuuuughes to survive the heat and high pitch count to keep the Jays in line, for the bullpen to continue its great work. I will now go about the rest of the day feeling better about life. Thank you, Yankees.
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And now that the Twins just beat the Rays, we’re back in first place. I will sleep well tonight.
P.S. Thanks to Peg, for alerting me to Curtis Granderson’s blog post about A-Rod. Definitely worth a read, everyone.

Big League Stew - MLB

I was able to witness history on Wednesday as Alex Rodriguez(notes), one of my teammates, hit his 600th career home run.

I can’t imagine being in a situation where every at-bat is being played nationally. All eyes were on Alex every time he came to the plate and MLB Network was cutting in from its regular programming to show his at-bats. On top of that, there was only one specific kind of hit that would please the audience each time — a homer.

Alex went 46 at-bats between homers. That happens all the time to players around the league, including the great ones. But in this instance it was magnified. To his credit, he didn’t go up to the plate swinging for the fences or swinging to get 600. He had three multi-hit games and two games with three RBI between 599 and 600. He was letting the situation dictate the at-bat, not trying to force history. He was doing what he could to help the New York Yankeeswin baseball games, and a lot of times in that stretch between homeruns, a two-out single to drive in a run or two was what would help. That’s what Alex did.

What is incredible about Alex is that he actually is one of the few players I know that could go up to the plate with the goal of hitting a homerun, and accomplish it. There is no other explanation for that than to say it is pure talent. His swing is so smooth that it just naturally carries power with it. Some of the swings he hits homeruns with I think would be a ground ball for me. 

When I was first traded to the Yankees, all of my friends did three things. They recited Seinfeld episodes, they asked about Derek Jeter(notes), and they asked about Alex. There are a lot of players in sports that are considered polarizing. Some of those reasons are good and some of those reasons are bad. Alex definitely has a way of captivating an audience.

And when he walks into a room, everyone stops to look.

When people ask about Alex, I just remain truthful. He is one of the hardest workers I’ve ever seen. His drive and passion to win is above any individual accomplishments he could achieve. On top of all that, he is an amazing teammate. After the trade, he called me within minutes to welcome me to the team. Other players followed, but he made that first phone call and made me feel welcome. When I came to New York for my press conference to be announced as a Yankee a week later, Alex flew in from Florida to show his support. He has helped me with everything else in New York from hitting to which route is the best to take home after a game.

I think it’s easier for people to get caught up and judge people based on what they see on SportsCenter, or read on Page 6 or even here on Big League Stew, but just remember that you don’t always get the whole story that way. I’ve had a lot of teammates in my career when you consider my time in the minor leagues, in Detroit and here in New York. But there is no doubt that Alex Rodriguez is one of the best teammates I’ve ever had.

27 Comments

yes i have a spring to my step today too. that was fun.
the weird thing is that this is the game my dad and i were going to go to until he changed his mind and went last night with someone else. hmmm.
i love watching jeter hit. i love watching hughes pitch well. i love feeling better about the bullpen. but mostly i love a win!!!!
barbara

I knew you’d feel the same way, Barbara. Too bad you didn’t go to the game with your dad though. You would have had such a great time!

When A-Rod actually hit it, I couldn’t believe it, I felt like I had been waiting for so long!
I know a lot of people have different feelings for A-Rod, and I’ve never been his number one fan, but I was just happy for him. Seeing him and Jeter hug at the plate, and then in the dugout was awesome. I feel like he’s really come full circle. Now that he’s gotten 600 out of the way, he can just play baseball again.
Today was just a great day for Yankee fans. A-Rod’s homer, Jeter’s 4-4 day, and another great job by the bullpen. I hope this “new” Joba is here to stay!

I have to admit, Sarah, that when he came up to bat I was kind of blase, because this thing has dragged on for so long. So when he actually hit it, I was really excited. Loved the hug with Jeter at the plate. I hope the new Joba is here to stay too. Maybe moving him out of the 8th inning spot was a wake up call.

Congrats on 600!
Thomasox

Thanks, Thomas. (Well, I wasn’t the one who hit the homer, but what the heck, right?)

OK ~ I took my obligatory shots at ARod on my page. But he was very candid after the game and isn’t ignoring the PED thing. He was quite contrite. And I respect that. It doesn’t make things OK. But I’m man enough to allow him to go forward with a clear mind as long as I feel I am no longer being lied to. So…he earned my respect (to a man) for saying the right things and not skirting the issue; and admitting there is much work to be done torwards rectifying his place in people’s minds. Fair Jane? I’ll also have you know I defended him on the radio last night for his inability to hit it and taking over 40 at-bats to do so.
Mike
http://thebrooklyntrolleyblogger.mlblogs.com/

Clap clap clap, Mike! On behalf of Yankee fans everywhere, I appreciate your fairness. He really does sound as if he knows what a fool he was. And unlike McGwire, he hasn’t said, “Aw, I would have hit 600 anyway, even without the PEDs.” He doesn’t expect people to forgive him or even like him. The main thing at this point is he’s become a good teammate.

So looks like someone did tell Alex about that phantom home run a few years ago… See? This one today was really number 601… Maybe the Yanks can start to move on. Let’s take that division back…!!
Jane, was that you that told him?

We did take the division back, YankeeCase! It was a good day all around. No, I didn’t tell A-Rod about the 601, but he must have read your comment on this blog. LOL.

The world is right once again! I am glad that the A-Rod chase for 600 is over! Hopefully, the team can relax and live up to the standard of the first half. Now it is time to start the countdown for Lance Berkman’s Yankee career home run #1!
.
Scott
http://fotr.mlblogs.com

Sounds like you have lots of fans, Jane! Famous fans in high places… Maybe Alex will come out and say he read my comment? :D Yes! And then I’ll be famous too…!
(by the way, i don’t like sharing. we have to take it back from the rays! there can only be one…)

I didn’t get to see the game as it was an afternoon-er, but my husband and daughter called me at work to advise of the big HR – and it accompanied a win which was almost vital. Weird that #500 and #600 came on the same month and day. I did watch the repeat just to see the blast – I was particularly pleased to see Jeter’s reaction — two big hugs! I had the feeling until last year that Jeter was not all that thrilled to see A-Rod in pinstripes but I guess all is well. And Jeet going 4 for 4 is a good sign that he’s on his way back. And as you said, Jane, with The Rays loss we are back in first place. All these things made Wednesday a beautiful day all around. They have a much needed day off but are now heading into a 20-game stretch without a day off. A good time for everyone to step up and give us sole possession of first place. GO YANKEES!!!

I guess Jeter read my entry yesterday or else Minka “Yanked” his chain a bit! He looked Jetarian yesterday. Tex was a bit better also. A-Rod, about time!
I now must turn my complete attention to the task at hand. Two weeks in Red Sox country beginning Saturday. My Yankee gear, beach umbrella, beach towels and blanket, shirts, crocks, sox, hats, auto decals, watch, cell phone and other various items are packed. With a little help from the Bronx boys I will have a picnic feasting on “chowda” heads in Rhode Island. I hope to report many conquests.

We watched the encore on YES and I did think to myself that ARod and Jeter must have read the blog. I think Jeter was pissed that someone thought he didn’t have it any more and decided to show you that he did.

The contrast between those two is interesting to me. When Jeter became the all-time Yankees hits leader, he was so understated and ACTED as if he was just going about his business. (Inside, he must have been a little thrilled, don’t ya think?) ARod seemed so relieved and did that little hands up move to the bench – sort of like “Okay, guys I finally got this out of the way.”

I didn’t see what the Toronto players did. Did they come to the steps and applaud?

Melissa
PS Yes, Jane, Hawaii was absolutely wonderful. I highly recommend it to everyone!

Hehe… pardon me while I turn 15 again, but you said “special balls”. Hehehe.
–Jeff
http://redstatebluestate.mlblogs.com/
http://mtrredstatebluestate.com

Jane: I don’t care what people say about A-Rod: He’s a beast. Steroids or not. I love him. And I’m so proud of him. And on the same day as #500….my oh my. Only in Yankeeland…
-Virginia
http://southernbelle.mlblogs.com

LOL, Scott. What a good idea starting the countdown for Berkman’s first homer. I like that. Granderson hit his first as a Yankee against the Red Sox. Maybe it’ll happen for Fat Elvis too.

I don’t like sharing either, YankeeCase. But sharing is better than being a game back. We’ll get there.

Very weird that 500 and 600 happened on the exact same date, Diane. What are the chances? And I agree about the warmth this year between Jeter and A-Rod. The Captain seems to have thawed.

Tex was “a bit better,” John? He’s been a beast lately. Well, except for those last few games when everybody’s bat was limp. So you’re off to Red Sox County this weekend. Uh-oh. I hope you live to tell the tale, given your tendency to try to convert people. I do want to hear about your “conquests!”

I didn’t see what the Toronto players did either, Melissa. I forgot all about them, to tell you the truth! I wonder how Jeter will react when he passes Babe Ruth in hits. I guess he’ll default to his “no big deal” attitude but with the proper tip of the cap to the fans when they go crazy with applause. Can’t wait for that!

I did say “special balls,” Jeff. And I’m glad not to have to say those words any more!!!

Only in Yankeeland, Virginia. So true. Just an eerie coincidence.

It was sweet to beat the homer happy Jays, Dave. Not a single tater by Bautista or Wells for a change. That in itself was a milestone!

Pheewww…Huuughes…huuuge…
What a diff’rence a day makes, to quote the late great Dinah Washington. Like you, Jane, I’d had any drama or hi interest about #600 beaten out of me (and it don’t help that My Dear Wife groused about it at every turn — nobody cares, he’s a cheat, it’s a fraud, only a YANKEE fan cares)… but still, ’tis nice. I didn’t know/forgot that he’s hit #600, 500, and 400 as a Yank! Thanx, ESPN, for those clips. Also, as a cheapskate-primitive in non-Bomberland, my only vista on most Yankee games live is either via espn crawler at nite (oh, how LONG it takes to wait for the AL scores to flash by again — and I’m always, ALWAYS tuning in when they’re giving the NL scores — so I gotta wait the maximum time) — or, for the rare day game, espn’s live “gamecast” — you see the score, the situation, who’s up, who’s on deck, who’s pitching — and then wait wait wait for every pitch — kinda like old-time radio — so exciting/frustrating at once). Anyway, I say all that ’cause once A-Rod hit the tater, well, that was nice, but we have A WHOLE GAME TO GO AGAINST THE HOMER-HAPPYS. My last glimpse was seeing Overbay double in a run for the Jays in the 4th — uh-oh, 3-1 now with tying runs on base, Encarnacion up — but he goes down swingin’, thank you, Phil. Yes, everybody needed that…

any one read Curtis Granderson’s Yahoo Big League Stew about A-Rod. Pretty nice tribute.

I am beginning to think Alex really has changed.
Peg

I haven’t seen Grandy’s blog post about A-Rod, Peg, but will go search for it right now. Thanks for the heads up.

I’ve barely paid attention to the 600th homer thing. Must….formulate…..thought…..
http://www.paullebowitz.com/
http://princeofny.blogspot.com/

It’s hard to believe you haven’t formulated a thought on this subject, Paul. Not possible.

Cute baby…. I was glad to see Hughes survive and keep it together….

-peter

Phillies Outside

Finally! Talk about pressure sheesh :P Congrats Alex! (too used to writing Arod lol hardly anyone calls him by his name anymore haha)

Ahh what a classy post from Curtis Granderson! I was going to recommend that to you but I’m glad you knew about it beforehand :)

That is an adorable baby!

http://mimi.mlblogs.com

Jane,
Got to remind you and your Pinstripe friends that we are not going away. Heck if either of us goes around .500 the rest of the way, we will spot 95 wins on the eraserboard.
But that is the thrill of this time of year. The nightly gander at the out-of-town scoreboard,the mid-inning prayers that other team’srelievers do not falter or give ann inch, and most of all, that both of our teams give it the old college try to the last out.
I know we will be going back and forth in that top slot over the next few months. But we all know, it is who sits there…in the catbird’s seat on October 3rd who can thump their chest as the A L East head honchos.
BTW, since we are so close in the standing, I included you in my profile picture with me….

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Hughes survived, Peter. Turns out he was pitching with a head cold too. Poor baby.

Very classy post by Granderson, Mimi. So far he seems to be a terrific teammate and all around good guy.

No need to remind me, Renegade. I have no doubt that the Rays aren’t going away. I’m in your profile pic? Oooh, I’m on my way over to look.

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