Thursday, June 10, 2010

ARod's home run chase means nothing

Mike Lupica wants to know how New York Yankee fans will really feel when Alex Rodriguez enters the 600 home-run club sometime in the next couple of months. I can't speak for other Yankee fans, but my answer is simple: I don't care.

I will not be happy for ARod the way I was for Derek Jeter when he broke Lou Gehrig's all-time Yankees hits record. That pursuit was a legitimate, completely drug-free, admirable effort. In contrast, ARod's admitted steroids use has so tainted his numbers as to make them meaningless. If it were up to me, all 156 home runs he hit while with the Texas Rangers would be removed from his record. And that’s only for the time he got busted and admitted cheating. ARod has no credibility on this issue, given that he flatly denied using performance-enhancing drugs right up to the day he got caught. Just because he said he only used steroids in Texas doesn't make it true.

I'm glad Lupica has raised this issue publicly again, even if I disagree with his contention that fans don't care about ARod’s steroids use anymore and have forgiven him. That may be true for many fans, but I think there are some people like me who haven't forgotten about ARod's misdeeds just because he helped the Yankees win a World Series. And this isn't just because I'm not a big ARod fan personally. I haven't forgotten about Andy Pettitte's PED use either. If I were a baseball writer deciding who should be in the Hall of Fame, neither ARod nor Pettitte, who has made himself a borderline candidate, would get my vote.

Speaking on the subject, I really wish the YES Network would stop putting up that box pointing out the players ARod is passing on the home-run list. Great men like Henry Aaron and Willie Mays deserve to be on that list. The guys who cheated like ARod and Mark McGwire do not.

So to answer Lupica's question: No, when ARod hits that 600th home run, if he eventually passes Barry Bonds for first place on the home-run list, I won't care. It means absolutely nothing.

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