• Dahlberg On A-Rod’s Milestone

    Posted by on July 22nd, 2010 · Comments (12)

    Today, Tim Dahlberg, a national sports columnist for The Associated Press, lets loose on A-Rod in a feature. Here’s a few snips –

    Sometime over the next few games or perhaps the next few weeks, Alex Rodriguez will find a pitch he likes and make baseball history.

    His name will go up among the greats of the game. His accomplishment, though, will always stand alone.

    Yes, six others are already in the 600 home run club. But how about a big hand for the first admitted steroid user to take his place among the slugging elite?

    Yankee fans undoubtedly will give A-Rod just that when he becomes the youngest ever to reach the milestone. Remember, he was only juiced (or so he says) before he put on the pinstripes.

    Forgive me, though, if I don’t stand up and cheer. Because we’ve all seen this act before.

    A magical mark. A tainted player.

    Another entry into the record books we can’t believe.

    About the only thing missing is an immense, shaven head and the traveling circus that always seemed to surround it. Say what you will about Barry Bonds, he always made for good entertainment.

    There’s nothing terribly entertaining about A-Rod reaching 600. It’s a joyless occasion for all but the most blinded Yankee fans.

    With A-Rod, there is no guessing. He cheated and was forced to admit it.

    His numbers are as bogus as some of the muscles he grew with chemical help. His legacy is as tainted as any of his fellow sluggers in the steroid era.

    A-Fraud, indeed. The only question is how much of a fraud.

    Would he have reached 600 by the age of 35 without steroids? Hardly.

    Would he be on track to becoming the greatest home run hitter ever without juice? Not a chance.

    Even if you believe Rodriguez when he says he used steroids only when he was playing for the Texas Rangers, his march through the record books can’t be seen as anything but illegitimate. The problem is there’s no way to separate what was real from a very gifted player and what was supplemented by a very gifted chemist.

    That has to be grating on Rodriguez, who has always been so concerned with numbers that he probably stayed up late every night studying them. Even as he carefully carves out a new persona he has to wonder how No. 600 would have played out on the big New York stage had SI not outed him.

    “For me the whole thing as I approach 600 the thing I think about is the perspective of where I was when I hit 500. How things are different now,” Rodriguez said Tuesday. “For me early on, I just thought it was about accumulating numbers.”

    The only consolation for baseball fans is that those numbers seem to be getting harder and harder to accumulate. Rodriguez needed home runs in his last two at-bats of the 2009 season to avoid not hitting 30 home runs for the first time since 1997 and has just 15 home runs more than halfway through this season.

    O.K., I’ll just hang up now and listen to your reaction…

    Comments on Dahlberg On A-Rod’s Milestone

    1. July 22nd, 2010 | 2:00 pm

      I really don’t have a problem with writers discounting A-Rod’s home run numbers – that’s the price he pays for being a steroid user. But don’t tell me that he has no fans, the way Ken Rosenthal did the other day, and don’t write cheap shots like this:

      “That has to be grating on Rodriguez, who has always been so concerned with numbers that he probably stayed up late every night studying them.”

      What does that even mean? He sounds like a late-night sports radio caller, not the “national sports columnist for The Associated Press.”

      Or this:

      “The only consolation for baseball fans is that those numbers seem to be getting harder and harder to accumulate. Rodriguez needed home runs in his last two at-bats of the 2009 season to avoid not hitting 30 home runs for the first time since 1997 and has just 15 home runs more than halfway through this season.”

      This season is fair to bring up. Last season, not so much. A-Rod hit 30 home runs in 124 games coming back from a hip injury. Given that, nobody expected him to hit that 30 home run mark.

      Oh, and this writer’s “last two at-bats” stat is also misleading. That was the game where A-Rod had seven RBIS in one inning, with a grand slam and a three-run homer in the sixth. After that feat, Joe Girardi removed him from the game to rest up for the postseason. This writer twists it around, of course, to make it all sound really sinister. I’m not impressed.

    2. MJ Recanati
      July 22nd, 2010 | 2:23 pm

      @ lisaswan:
      Damnit Lisa, didn’t you get the memo not to react to this nonsense from the author (or from Steve for even putting it here in the first place)?

      This kind of tripe isn’t worth 30 seconds of anyone’s time.

    3. clintfsu813
      July 22nd, 2010 | 3:01 pm

      If these kind of posts get no comments, do you think Steve would stop posting them? ;)

    4. throwstrikes
      July 22nd, 2010 | 3:08 pm

      Kind of ironic that people who think him hitting 600 HRs is not noteworthy in anyway, make note of it in their columns.

      Even if it is in a negative way, it draws attention to something they feel is not worthy of attention.

    5. G.I. Joey
      July 22nd, 2010 | 3:28 pm

      I’m still “juiced” for 600.

    6. July 22nd, 2010 | 3:33 pm

      @ MJ Recanati:
      You’re right, MJ! (Smacks forehead) I’ll try to avoid the temptation next time!

    7. Raf
      July 22nd, 2010 | 3:37 pm

      throwstrikes wrote:

      Even if it is in a negative way, it draws attention to something they feel is not worthy of attention.

      Usually themselves.

      Someone needs to send Dalhberg a copy of Bouton’s “Ball Four”

    8. MJ Recanati
      July 22nd, 2010 | 4:09 pm

      lisaswan wrote:

      You’re right, MJ! (Smacks forehead) I’ll try to avoid the temptation next time!

      :-)

    9. MJ Recanati
      July 22nd, 2010 | 4:09 pm

      clintfsu813 wrote:

      If these kind of posts get no comments, do you think Steve would stop posting them?

      Nope, but we can hope so anyway.

    10. Evan3457
      July 22nd, 2010 | 4:27 pm

      Rather than the usual reply, which is, people are free to discount what they want, but if A-Rod becomes the all-time home run leader, then he becomes the all-time home run leader, I’d like to take a small portion of what this “journalist” says head-on. I’m referring to this section:

      Even if you believe Rodriguez when he says he used steroids only when he was playing for the Texas Rangers, his march through the record books can’t be seen as anything but illegitimate. The problem is there’s no way to separate what was real from a very gifted player and what was supplemented by a very gifted chemist.

      Well, no, this last part is a load of crapola, if you assume that the onlys seasons he used steroids were the three years in Texas. Here’s why:

      In the previous two seasons, A-Rod was playing for Seattle, and he was playing in Safeco Field. Here are his two triple crown lines:

      1999: 42 HR, 111 RBI, .285 BAVG
      2000: 41 HR, 132 RBI, .316 BAVG

      A-Rod was ALREADY a superstar, already on a Hall of Fame track before the 3 seasons in Texas. But there’s more. Here are his two triple crown line splits, home and road for the two seasons and the total for the two:

      1999-Home: 20-59-.284; Road: 22-52-.286
      2000-Home: 13-51-.272; Road: 28-81-.356
      Combined-Home: 33-110-.278; Road 50-133-.323

      Now, in 2001, A-Rod is moving from one of the best pitcher’s parks in baseball (especially damaging to RH power hitters, or so it is said) to the best hitter’s park in the league. You’d expect his power numbers to jump.

      In addition, A-Rod turned 25 in 2001, so he was leaving his “upward development” part of his career arc, and entering his “prime”.

      Let’s go back for a moment. The previous two seasons in Safeco, he averaged 41-120-.300. Now consider he’s entering his prime, with the usual uptick in power and average. Now consider he’s moving from Safeco to the Ballpark at Arlington. How much better would you expect him to do over the next three seasons? Another 5-10 HR a year? Another 10-20 RBI a year? Another 10-20 points on his BAVG?

      OK, let’s call it an average of 47-130-.310 (I have no idea how much to allow, I’m just assuming a normal age 25-6-7 growth, plus a much smaller park adjustment than would seem to be in order, given the extreme difference between Safeco and the Ballpark.)

      Now, over 3 years, that’s 141 HR, 390 RBI, and a .310 BAVG. In the real event, A-Rod hit 156 HR, knocked in 395 runs, and hit .305. That means, if we’re assuming that the remaining difference is attributable to PED use A-Rod hit an extra 15 HR, and knocked in an extra 5 runs, and saw no increase in his BAVG (a loss of 9 hits, if you want to be exacting).

      That means, instead of having 598 HR, 1780 RBI, and a lifetime BAVG of .303, A-Rod would have 583 HR, 1775 RBI, and a lifetime BAVG of .304.

      Which leads to one of two conclusions:

      1) If you believe, as Canseco alleged, that A-Rod used PED for a long long time, then you can make the statement above. If that’s what you believe, you have every right to believe it; I can’t say you’re wrong.

      2) But if you believe that A-Rod did only use PED in his 3 years in Texas, then there is no way to justify the state I boxed above. If you believe his story, he’s a massively obvious Hall of Fame level player, and he’d STILL be well on his way to 600 HR, 700 HR, Ruth’s record, Aaron’s Record, Bonds’ Record, (and 2000 RBI, and Aaron’s RBI record, as long as he stays in the middle of the Yankee batting order).

      The above boxed statement is the result of getting carried away with an idea.

      Just like this response.

    11. clintfsu813
      July 22nd, 2010 | 4:51 pm

      Best.Post.Ever.

    12. clintfsu813
      July 22nd, 2010 | 5:21 pm

      *Best.Comment.Ever.

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