On the doorstep of history, but what does it mean and do you care?

There are a great many people who will say things like:

  • “ARod’s a cheater; this means nothing”
  • “The Steroid Era lives”
  • “600 means nothing anymore”

And I really can’t blame them. We’re not completely out of The Steroid Era. And because there’s always something new out there that people will take to gain an advantage, who’s to say it will ever go away. The names might change but athletes will always be looking for something to give them an edge. There’s too much money at stake.  I like to ask this question to friends, so let’s ask it here since we’re asking lotsa questions today: If you had to face a lifetime of personal embarrassment/shame but were able to set your family up financially for their lifetimes and the lifetimes of your grandkids, would you do it?

Alex Rodriguez follows Sammy Sosa and the King, Barry Bonds into the 600 HR Club, complete with the Scarlet Asterisk.  Junior Griffey is in the 600 Club without the nasty implications and we have to simply hope that he’s as clean as we all want him to be.  But ARod is not. He’s got a stain that will never, ever be washed away.  He’s admitted to PED usage and that’s tantamount, as of this day and time, to locking yourself out of the Hall of Fame and ensuring that your numbers will always be viewed through a different prism than others. Perhaps time will change our perspectives and the perspectives of the BBWAA, the organization who votes on the HOF. Perhaps not.

When Bonds was busy eclipsing McGwire and eventually Hank Aaron, the moment was muted. The controversies, hints and allegations were hanging over the events like a dark cloud. Bonds was hated, reviled. Right or wrong, the fans had voted and were not supportive of Bonds’ achievements.

So now ARod is on the cusp of history, joining a VERY elite group of ballplayers. Legends, icons, heros. And villians. Just peek at the names and you can easily sort them out: Bonds, Aaron, Ruth, Mays, Griffey, Sosa. That’s it. ARod will be the 7th in that club.  Then there will be three villains and four heroes.   Four beats three in my book.

Do you care about #600? Is it a big deal to you or is it simply yet another reminder of where the game has been the last two decades and these are the results of those actions and lack of reaction*.  Does it make a difference that it’s ARod? What if this was Jim Thome, who’s next closest on the list with 575 home runs? Would you think about #600 any differently? Would MLB?  After Thome, fertility drug guru Manny Ramirez is next with 554 home runs. Surely Manny’s ascent will be even more muted than ARod’s since he’s tested positive. 

* I won’t get into assigning blame because everyone in MLB, from the players to front offices to agents to the reporters to ownership to the league office all the way up to the Commish owns a piece of the blame. Who gets the biggest slice of the PED Blame Pie? Good question.  Lots of questions today.

Personally, I’m sadly unemotional about ARod’s 600th. I’ll cheer it and I hope I see it when it happens, but there’s too much history that I just can’t simply whitewash in order to get very excited. I’ll cheer because he’s at least showing that he’s matured and has gained a measure of perspective (I readily admit that I am buying what ARod is now selling, knowing I could be made to look the fool anytime). I’ll cheer because he’s wearing the uniform of my childhood favorite team. I’ll cheer because hopefully it helps that team win another game. I’ll cheer because I always root for the laundry.  But because it’s ARod and his history, my excitement will indeed be muted.

So where do you stand? Do you care about his PED admissions? Do you simply love watching the ascent on historical numbers?  Does the inclusions of the “villians” diminish the value of #600 too much for you?  If this was Thome or guys like Chipper Jones or Vlad Guerrero (the next two highest active HR leaders after Manny), would you be more excited? 

There are layers here. Is it only because it’s ARod?  Is it because it’s any player who’s admitted to PED usage? Is it because it’s ARod and his PED admissions? Is it because we’ve seen other PED users break through and forever change our perspective on the hallowed home run totals? All of the above?

Have at it, the comments await.

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About @Jason_IIATMS

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30 thoughts on “On the doorstep of history, but what does it mean and do you care?

  1. I care about the home run. I'm pumped about it. I'll watch every at bat until he hits it. But then, I'm an unabashed A-Rod fan. What I don't care about are PED's, and I wish we'd stop moralizing over them. I mean, Babe Ruth and Ted Williams had the layout of their stadiums tailored specifically so that they could hit home runs. As did Griffey, to a lesser degree. If that's not asterisk worthy, shooting up some drugs certainly isn't.

  2. I think what really annoys me is the myopia of it. I mean, I'm used to hearing Mike Lupica talk about how the game of Ruth, Williams, and Mantle has been tarnished, but you know what I never see him bring up? Greenies. Or vitamin shots. Or goat testosterone. It's not that I approve of steroids, per se, it's just that the complete lack of context that goes into your average harangue against players of the past 25 years for using them is almost completely devoid of, IMO, relevant context.

  3. Wow I butchered that last sentence. Apparently getting up in the middle of a sentence to get your kids juice is not the best way to write a blog comment.

  4. I do think that A-Rod has changed his tune and really is having fun out there.  You can see it in the way he interacts with his teammates and how at times he almost looks like a kid again when he's celebrating someone else's walk-off hit or some other big play.  It's been neat to watch the last couple years.  At the same time, I'm sure that to some extent he has definitely learned what to say. In fact, he seems to definitely have gone to the Jeter school of "all that matters is winning," but I do think he is more sincere about that than he had been in the past.

  5. If he hits 600 (ok – when he hits 600) – I'm good with it.  Cuz there are 2 things NOT being said here.  First – and what should be obvious – someone like Pena, or maybe even Jeter (!) could shoot up until they looked like Hulk Hogan, and still not hit 600. –c'mon – if everyone was doing it, why are there only 6 people in the club, and only two tainted ones?  Soon to be three.  Possibly to be 4, if Manny can stay on a team.  After all – St. Andy has admitted to using something – yet even with all of his amazing career, he's still just borderline HOF.


    Which leads me to the second unspoken point, one that Brien brought up.  I'm willing to lay a pretty hefty bet that the players of old – those pristine, clean paragons of virtue – would have been unable to take a simple urine test for a CDL today – they would have tested positive for enough amphetamines to fly a kite.  Why not – they're obvious performance enhancers – legal and accepted back then, and routinely given to pilots and others in the military even today!


    I'm pretty sure I could be dirty 8 ways to Sunday and still not hit one out of center field in Yankee Stadium.  Talent is talent.  A-Rod just had some better Wheaties.

  6. That A-Rod wanted to get out of Texas, and was willing to re-structure his contract to do so, indicates that he's always wanted to win, to me. There's just no real contradiction between wanting to win and wanting to perform well individually in baseball, because of the nature of the sport. It's not like a basketball star who's more concerned with scoring 30 a game than with winning a game, because there's no passing or anything like that. You have X at bats in a game, and it's YOUR job to make the most of them. A player who isn't playing well but doesn't care because the team is winning is much more harmful to a team than a guy who isn't happy that he's slumping even if the team is doing well.

  7. There’s just no real contradiction between wanting to win and wanting to perform well individually in baseball, because of the nature of the sport.

    @Brien: From the 10,000 foot view, I completely agree.  However, there are more subtle nuances at play, such as trying to hit to a particular part of the field to move the runner over, that speak to wanting to win at the expense of personal stats.  Enough to move the needle?  Probably not.  Also, not saying that ARod didn't do this stuff back then, but not saying he did.

    And yes, the players from the "grainy black and white film age" were sucking down greenies and other amphetimines like M&Ms, and Gaylord Perry thinks HIS cheating was OK but PEDs are not.  It's a fuzzy, fluid, impossible-to-determine gray line.

  8. Actually, I find it EASIER to embrace Arod's home run pursuit now that he's been outed for steroids…


    I had heard whispers for years that he was on the juice, and it bothered me how everyone targeted Bonds and gave Arod, Manny, Ortiz, Clemens, etc. etc. free passes


    Now that the truth has come out, screw it, hit 900 home runs Arod

  9. I have to say, a good sign that A-Rod doesn't seem to be putting extra pressure on himself to hit 600 was the double he got in the eighth inning last night. This makes me think that the homer may come sooner rather than later.  If that makes sense…

  10. Totally agree, Tamar.  That double, for me, was much cooler than what I remember from the Hunt for 500; knowing he could hit a double, drive in a run – and doing it – PRICELESS.  (that's my definition of playing for the team, playing to win – doing what's needed, what you can do, when you need to do it.)


    Perfect sense.

  11. I'm pretty indifferent on this. As fans of baseball we get obsessed with stats and we get excited about round numbers. With 4 of the top ten all-time home run leaders either accused or had admitted using PED's are these records tainted, in some ways yes, in some ways no. The Steroids Era is as much of a product of baseball itself which includes the commissioner, the owners, as well as the players. It's hard for me to believe that all of these players were taking PED's in a vacuum, that nobody in the organization didn't know about it. I'm sure the players union knew something or else why would they fight so hard against drug testing? I'm sure ownership knew something too (or at least Rangers ownership think about their roster A-Rod, Conseco, Palmiero, Sosa too many players on one team for me to think that ownership was clueless) and MLB turned a blind eye to everything especially when McGuire and Sosa were on their single season tear. It created a culture that was detrimental to the game no doubt. The issue that I have a lot of this information was leaked from sealed court documents. People violated the law to out some big league athletes for selfish reasons (anybody who thinks that they for the integrity of the sport is dilussional). We wouldn't have known that A-Rod was on PED's if it wasn't for somebody leaking that court information we would still be thinking that A-Rod was the chosen one and there would be more fanfare about him approaching 600, but the way things are now it won't be until another 10 to 20 years when the next generation (who will be clean due to drug testing) until anybody gets excited about these stats again.

  12. The world needs more Yankees fans like you, Brien with an e.  I wish people would stop talking about baseball as if it's a team sport in the same way that the other major sports are.  You'll always get a big Amen from me when you harp on that!  It's why I get so fed up with the Yankees fans who put Derek Jeter on the highest pedestal while berating other players.  Jeter is a truly great player, of course, but for a lot of _real_ reasons having to do with his offensive skills, such that there is no need to make up fake ones about how he has some magical charismatic abilities that transform the team when he's in the dugout and some other guy is batting (or that he's a great defensive shortstop, which he isn't, given his tendency to do the big things well but the little things poorly).

    Anyhow.  Jason asked: "So, are you convinced? Or are you still skeptical that ARod has simply learned the right speech?"

    I never needed convicing, because, as I have made clear in other posts on this site, I have always believed that A-Rod is socially inept, not a mendacious person.  I was severely disappointed when it turned out he'd used steroids, and yes, it diminishes my joy at his 600th HR.  But it does not erase it — does anyone doubt that he would have reached 600 even _without_ steroids?

    A-Rod juiced when everyone else juiced.  It's bad but it is what it is.  I'm _far_ more upset by the taint on the single-season HR record than I am on the career HR record, and that's not because a Yankee had the single-season record in the pre-steroids era and a Brave had the career record (the Braves have long been my favorite team after the Yankees, from my many years living in Georgia, so I have a huge soft spot for the legacy of Aaron in my heart). 

    I think A-Rod stood a decent chance of breaking 755 without juicing, as the pace he's still hitting at long after his (comparatively brief) dalliance with steroids suggests, and even if he does, a clean player of a later generation may yet break THAT.  The career record can come clean someday.  What troubles me is that 73 in a season will probably NEVER be broken in the post-steroids era.  Admittedly, there's some unfair bias here.  However unlikeable A-Rod may be to many people, Barry Bonds is even less likeable to anyone outside the San Francisco microclimate, and maybe we'd be more forgiving if Bonds were a likeable guy who made a mistake (who's with me on the proposition that Mark McGwire, had he kept the record, would get at least a LITTLE more support than Bonds does, solely on the basis of being a warmer human being, at least when not speaking on Capitol Hill?)

    I wish I could hold A-Rod up as an example of a clean player who excelled during the steroids era.  I was so glum when that story broke, as it cost me a lot of cred with those to whom I'd consistently defended him, cred that I'll never get back.  But somehow I find myself in that minority that loves rooting for the guy.  To a certain extent, he has an advantage over Bonds, McGwire, and Sosa in that his career will extend well past the end of the steroids era, and he'll be better able to shake that mantle of "used roids at the tail of his career to extend his numbers."  He'll always be a guy who padded his numbers mid-career, but I think not for long and not terribly much.  But most of all, is there anyone more fun to root for than a guy who's finally outrunning his own demons?  What Tamar said.  Yeah, he has gotten a few more social skills, but he's also enjoying being a man playing a kid's game at long last.

  13. Let me ask you a question. What If, in 2010, Obama and congress pass a law stating that anyone caught not wearing a seatbelt will be arrested and thrown in jail for 5 days, would you immediately click it? Yes, probably.

    Ok what if someone sent the police a picture of you driving without a seatbelt on in 2005 and the cops showed up at your door with handcuffs? What happens then?

    That’s what seems to be happening in baseball right now. The rule was passed, so going forward no PEDs, but people being accused of taking banned drugs when they were not banned is ridiculous.

    Arod has every right to be proud of his accomplishments and no one should put an asterisk on something that was acceptable at the time, but is now illegal.

    That’s all I’ll say…

    …and one more thing. I’ll be watching 600, but I saw the breakdown of money he gets for each milestone and Damn! I wish I knew how to swing a bat well.

  14. It’s why I get so fed up with the Yankees fans who put Derek Jeter on the highest pedestal while berating other players.


    The great irony of this is that steroids (or, in Jeter's case, the lack there of) are a huge part of the reason why he is so admired by fans


    I'm fine with Brien, but the world does not need more people who don't hold other people accountable for his actions


    The bottom line is Arod went on 60 minutes and willfully lied to the nation.  I'm over it.  I could care less.  But spare me the lectures about how EVERYONE was doing it, because that's simply not true

  15. I agree with your second post, Brien. I mean, baseball has historically been a game about skirting the rules and not getting caught, but people mistakenly want to ignore that and see it as a rosy nostalgic perfect game.

    That said, there are at least two levels of offense: the simple edge and the permanently deleterious.

    Simple edge cheats are what every team, and probably player, has done at one time or another. These causes no lasting damage to the players except maybe in credibility. For example – stealing signs, placing pine tar on the brim of a pitcher's cap, or cutting and scrapping a ball on a catcher's leg guards or wedding ring (as Whitey has earnestly admitted to doing), or corking, or jumping into the stands for a miraculous foul ball catch that you never really caught (pretty sure Yogi said he did this once or twice), or even just moving your catchers glove the three inches into the strike box after catching a pitch. The list goes on and on, and while you can't condone them, they're part of the gamesmanship of baseball that happens all the time.

    Then there are the cheats that are permanently deleterious to the players physically. These of course included PEDs mentioned in the blog post and in Brien's comment, as well as famous cheats of old such as leaving stones in the outfield for the visiting defense and sharpening your cleats.

    This second category is not just more insidious because it can end a career and have long lasting effects on his health, but also because it's more difficult to pin down when its effects start and stop. How long after juicing does a player become 'normal' again? How would someone's stats be effected if a player gets injured or avoids injury using these tactics? Could he have hit all those dingers? Could he have made that amazing sliding catch in center? Could he have fanned all those batters?

    I think that's why people really get ruffled about PEDs. Not because Baseball with a capital 'B' was so pure fifty or sixty years ago and now it's tarnished, but because their baseball of ten or twenty years ago – the baseball games that their dad's took them to or they took their sons to – seemed so pure but are now tarnished.

  16. "If you had to face a lifetime of personal embarrassment/shame but were able to set your family up financially for their lifetimes and the lifetimes of your grandkids, would you do it?"

    If this was the exact scenario, I personally wouldn't.  How I am viewed by my family is far more important than personal accolades.  However, this wasn't the true situation these players were facing.  It was all that you mentioned and no fear of being caught, because no one was testing at the time(or didn't care).

    Honestly, with that scenario, I probably would.  I would like to think I'd only use it for a 3-6 month period and hope to parlay that into a long term deal that sets me up for life, but who knows?  Also, didn't Mike Schmidt say as much?

    As for Arod himself, I'm excited for him.  He was getting a terrible rap (see Lupica, Mike) for years in pinstripes when he was outperfoming everyone by a mile.  He constantly has his name linked with steroid users*, when others seem to get a pass? (why is Ortiz suddenly not always mentioned?  Seems like Manny gets a pass as well?  Not saying it's bias, honestly just curious).  He had to deal with the "choker" label for a long time when others were merely "struggling" or "trying too hard" (see the FJM article on Vlad).  I'm glad he got the WS ring last year, I'm glad he seems to finally be able to enjoy himself, and I'm glad he is continuing to produce, albeit at a lower level, because that contract is going to suck in a few years.

    *see the world series stories, the AP story from last night about 599, etc

  17. @GlennG: I've heard that argument before and it's flawed. Back in 1991, Fay Vincent included the word "steroids" in a memo declaring them among the illegal substances.  testing was instituted until a decade-plus later.

    On June 7, 1991, commissioner Fay Vincent sent a memo to each team and the players union that stated: "The possession, sale or use of any illegal drug or controlled substance by Major League players or personnel is strictly prohibited … This prohibition applies to all illegal drugs … including steroids." The seven-page document didn't cover random testing — that had to be bargained with the union — but it did outline treatment and penalties.

    MLB Commissioner Bud Selig reissued the policy in 1997. 

  18. @ChurchOTPO: Great posting.  Thanks for adding what I omitted.  Good catch and yes, that's a material difference. 

    As for other getting the pass… I struggle with this often.  I keep getting back to ARod being the highest paid, on the highest profile team and the most likely to leap over Bonds.

  19. @ Jason


    I won't really argue with the perception, but at the same time, I think the "little things" argument only goes so far. I mean, if you have a runner on second and no outs, do you want A-Rod trying to hit a ground ball to the right side? I mean, it's nice enough if he does, but I certainly don't want to see a clean-up hitter ever trying to give away outs, i want him trying to get on base/get hits, preferably extra base hits, because that's how you start rallies.


    On the other hand, if you're talking about something like "doing what you can with a pitch," then sure, that's valid, but I don't think anyone's ever credibly argued that A-Rod doesn't have great plate coverage or use all parts of the field well.

  20. Also, I'm not really sure there's a lot of "gray area" regarding past players either. To sum up my take on it, professional athletes have always done what they could/thought they could to increase their production, whether because they wanted to win that badly or because they wanted to make more money. I'm not necessarily saying that's bad. I mean, people went to see the Yankees to see Ruth hit home runs, so you can't very well blame Col. Rupert for building a stadium where Ruth would hit plenty of home runs, it's what put butts in the seats! To me, the only real difference is that science today is much better, so the stuff today's players are using actually works, unlike the stuff quacks were selling in the 50's and 60's. And at the end of the day, it's worth remembering that baseball is first and foremost a business, and an entertainment business at that.

  21. I just find that a lot of this mainstream commentary tries too hard to take cliches and narratives from more “pure” team sports like football and basketball and apply them baseball, which just doesn’t work.


    This is a bit of a straw man argument


    Sure, some do, but then again *some* belief do, say, believe anything.  The overwhelming majority of baseball followers understand that it is an individualized, statistical sport


    If anything, it's that other sports, such as basketball, ignore objective statistical analysis to a fault, because they are more "team" sports


    But in any sport, the players with the best statistics are typically the best players

  22. No, I’m not excited about A-Rod being one home run away from 600.  I probably should be more excited, but truth is I’m not.

    If I’m going to celebrate A-Rod’s 600th, then I’d also have to congratulate Barry Bonds for hitting 762, and Sammy Sosa for hitting 609.  I’m not about to do that.

    Jon is right – PEDs cannot transform ordinary Joes into elite athletes, or singles hitters into home run hitters.  I’m personally one to believe that the effects of PEDs are subtler than what the public imagines.   But you can’t ignore the numbers.  You have a guy like Sammy Sosa, a relatively ordinary hitter with some power, who up to the age of 28 had never hit more than 40 home runs in a season.  From 1998 to 2001, Sosa AVERAGES 61 HRs a season – that’s four years in a row of Roger Maris circa 1961.  Or Rafael Palmeiro, who before the age of 30 had one season with more than 26 home runs, then proceeds to hit at least 38 home runs a season for the next nine years. 

    Or Barry Bonds?  Do we really need to say anything more about Barry Bonds?  Well, consider.  We’ve been wringing our hands about 36-year old Derek Jeter, and how much salary a guy that old could possibly demand.  Well, the 36 year old version of Barry Bonds hit 73 home runs.  Here are the OPS figures for Barry Bonds from age 36 – 39: 1.379, 1.381, 1.278 and 1.422.  Does that seem normal to you? 

    Barry Bonds is the poster boy for the argument that only an extraordinary athlete can leverage PED use to become a record-holder.  More’s the pity.  The Bonds OPS numbers cited above are, respectively, the 4th, 2nd, 8th and 1st highest OPS numbers in the history of baseball.  Only Babe Ruth ever posted OPS numbers anywhere near Bonds: Ruth has the 3rd, 5th, 6th and 9th highest OPS numbers on record (three posted when Ruth was in his 20s, one posted in 1927 when Ruth was 32).  Ted Williams holds the other two spots in the OPS top 10. 

    Bonds proves the point.  It doesn’t matter that you have to be very, very good without PEDs to become extraordinarily good with the help of PEDs.  What matters is that NO ONE (no matter how talented, not even Ruth or Williams) is able to post three of the top four OPS numbers of all time, all after the age of 36, without the help of PEDs.

    It’s been argued here that no era of baseball is clean.  I agree, but that does not make all eras of baseball equally dirty.  Do you think that Barry Bonds would have set all those records if he’d just taken amphetamines.

    It’s probably unfair to compare A-Rod to guys like Bonds, Sosa and Palmiero.  A-Rod had his best HR years as a young player – he had 40 or more HRs a year every year from ages 22 to 27.  It’s entirely possible that A-Rod never needed a PED boost to break HR records.  But this does not change the fact that A-Rod DID use PEDs, and that PEDs are connected with the ability to hit HRs at unprecedented levels.

    The 600+ HR club contains some of the greatest names in the history of the sport: Aaron, Ruth and Mays.  The club also contains people who got there by using PEDs, with Bonds leading the list.  Maybe it’s too strong to say that the 600+ HR club is tainted by PEDs, but I can’t pretend that the club means much to me.  A club is made special by the quality of its members.  A club led by Barry Bonds is not special. 

    My reaction to the steroids era is to pay less attention to the historic career numbers.  500 HRs, 3000 hits, 300 wins, what have you: these numbers are not absolute standards to be carried from one era to the other.  Each player must be evaluated against his peers, based on the standards and norms of the time when the player performed.  600 home runs puts A-Rod among the elite players of his time. 

    So, it means something that A-Rod is going to join the 600 club.  It should mean more to me than it does.  But it doesn’t.

  23. "So, it means something that A-Rod is going to join the 600 club.  It should mean more to me than it does.  But it doesn’t."

    See, if I just consulted with you first, I would have had to spend an hour or two writing this whole posting. Three sentences could have been just as good.

    Damn you, Economy of Words Guru, Larry. Damn you to hell

  24. @Brien: this is “mice-nuts” in the grand scheme/argument so we can agree on this. I forget who said it (bonus points for anyone who can get the source) but the definition of a power hitter is a guy that is in scoring position when he steps up to the plate.  That’s ARod.

  25. Right, I’m not really trying to argue with you, I just always feel compelled to push back on that narrative that A-Rod didn’t “help the team” or whatever. Put bluntly, A-Rod’s job is (or at least was, at one point), to hit .300/.400/.570+ with 35-50 home runs. All I’m saying is that that’s how a hitter like that helps a team. He doesn’t bunt or go to the plate trying to give himself away to move a runner. Taking the bat out of the hands of a guy like A-Rod in his prime is decidedly not helping the team.
    I just find that a lot of this mainstream commentary tries too hard to take cliches and narratives from more “pure” team sports like football and basketball and apply them baseball, which just doesn’t work.

  26. these guys all took straight roids or HGH? Is there a diff? What is the diff? I always hear roids and hgh, they are not 1 in the same right? Or are they!? lol I haven't a clue. They always make roids out to be some super drug that gets u big over night and gives you super powers, HGH doesn't seem to be as bad but mostly all i hear is HGH. Maybe I'm listening wrong. We have better drugs, better everything! From training technology to medical. As time goes on you just get more and more advantages than the generation before. So I don't feel like anything is tainted, think of all the careers that could have been extend. Bonds comes off like an asshole but ehh so what? He can if he wants, being rich famous and athletic aint the end all be all. More money more problems as they say, well biggie did lol, hey im 26 that's who i quote. We got poor people problems and he got rich people problems. I really wouldn't give a hot damn what anyone thought of me if im making millions, so long as my wife n kids do. I too always felt Baseball was the most individual of all team sports. Hitting 2 home runs cannot ever hurt your team ever, scoring 40 points can sometimes. Specially if you did it shooting 38%, but 38% is a great number @ the plate.

  27. …well done as usual…and you know that some of HIM's old buddies would have used if they could, no question.

  28. On the idea of A-rod saying the right thing, I think it doesn't matter if he believes what he's saying, or if he's learned to say the right thing.  He's staying out of controversy, and that's all we can ask for out of a guy that took a while growing up and had a large boot in his mouth most of the journey getting there.  Do you really think Jeter believes everything he says?  Jeter loves having his name added to the list of Yankee greats, he loves hitting milestones, and I guarantee he thinks of the team they're going to meet in the next round of the playoffs, it's how humans think.  Yet, he knows when to say the right thing, and he knows how to stay out of trouble, which makes us not feel like fools for being fans of him and his team.