Alex Rodriguez is in the history books and the Yankees wish he weren't.
In a game the Yankees needed against the rival Red Sox, Rodriguez came up with a clutch solo-homer in the eighth inning to give the Yankees a 3-2 lead, which just so happened to be the 660th of Rodriguez's career, tying him with Willie Mays.
Most hits of that magnitude would be celebrated by not just the Yankees, but baseball. How often is it that a hitter ties a historical marker in a big game, on the big stage with all the attention on him? Almost never. Take away the steroids, its a moment for the ages. Again, that is if you take away the steroids.
Hence the problem. It is nearly impossible to separate Rodriguez from the steroids, and in turn it makes even harder to accept him as the fourth best home run hitter in baseball history, much the same way it's impossible to accept Barry Bonds and 762 as the gold standard of career home runs. Rodriguez's 660 is tainted. It means nothing. He spat on the record books years ago, and the fact that he is taking bows now is a total disgrace in of itself.
Now the real battle begins between A-Rod and the Yankees.
Rodriguez and the Yankees have a $30 million marketing agreement that calls for payments of $6 million each for up to five accomplishments, payable within 15 days of designation by the team. The accomplishments were contemplated to be home runs 660, 714, 755, 762 and 763. (ESPN).
The Yankees have made it be known they have no interest in paying A-Rod. They have pushed his accomplishments to the side, have removed any mention of his records from their media books, and don't see any marketable value in any Rodriguez milestone because of his cheating past. The Yankees have already said they will not pay Rodriguez his $6 million when he hits number 660. We'll see if they stay true to that sentiment. If the Yankees do not pay Rodriguez his money expect a drawn out legal battle that pits the troubled star and the players union against the Yankees.
This is going to get ugly.
Now the question do baseball fans care? Let's be honest most baseball fans are sick and tired of hearing about steroids, and probably could care less about what records are tainted or not. However let's be real, nobody cares about Rodriguez anymore. Nobody cares about his records. He has made himself in a comic strip with his constant antics, his lies and excuses. If A-Rod thinks he can garner admiration from the fans by going on a once "historical" run, and regain the kind of fanfare that he once had, he can forget it. Other than a number of Yankees fans, the cheers will not exist.
Enjoy the win Yankee fans, but in truth, how can you be happy for a cheater who is about to take your franchise for another long ride into baseball hell?