The effect of the steroid era and the constant investigations that ensued were certainly evident after today's Yankees-Blue Jays game.
Alex Rodriguez reached a precious milestone today against the Toronto Blue Jays in the first inning, but the home run is hardly receiving the same amount of attention that sluggers such as Barry Bonds received.
Rodriguez became only the seventh player of all time to reach that mark, and also became the youngest player to do so.
The main reason that the public seems to be so apathetic towards the achievement is because the New York Yankees' slugger not only used, but also lied about using. This put him in a negative light in the mind of the public, not to mention the fact that he was a Yankee, and let's face it, everyone hates the Yankees.
ESPN and SportsCenter tried to praise A-Rod and discuss his legacy, but it simply seemed forced, especially after the "baseball experts" claimed that the milestone is tainted.
Does A-Rod deserve the same attention that a non-user would once he reached the 600 mark? Not necessarily. But the achievement received diminutive recognition when compared to the TV attention that my second most-hated sports story got on Monday (LeBron's "Decision" somehow managed to trump Brett Favre's indecision).
Nevertheless, the dark cloud left behind by the steroid era seems to be ever-present after shrinking such a monumental achievement by one of baseball's great hitters in today's game.
It is unfortunate, but it seems to me that it will be hard to get rid of the negative legacy left behind by the steroid era, especially after Ken Griffey Jr. seems to be the only hitter claimed to have non-tainted numbers compared to most of the great hitters of recent decades.
Part of the mild discussion pertaining to Rodriguez's achievement was his age. Many baseball analysts feel that Rodriguez could reach 800 by the end of his career. The fact that he is the youngest to reach 600 reminds us that the feat is certainly possible.
That is why I feel that the achievement deserves more attention. If Rodriguez were to reach 800, that would be incredible. User or non-user, 800 home runs would be an amazing feat, considering the technique needed to hit a baseball correctly and the fact that steroids do not magically give you the ability to hit home runs.
Certainly, A-Rod's home run has to be viewed as a reminder that only when there is a new generation of ball players who are as "clean" as when the game was first conceived, can we even think about placing asterisk-free groups of batters amongst the ranks of the all-time greats.
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