It is official: Alex Rodriguez is the newest member of the 3000 hit club with a solo homerun off of one pitch from former Cy Young Award winner and Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander in the bottom of the first inning. He is the 29th player ever to have accomplished the feat. Rodriguez follows his former teammate Derek Jeter, who also hit a homerun for his 3000th hit back in 2011. While this accomplishment is a major milestone for any baseball player in the MLB, the million-dollar question still remains for a number of parties including the MLB, the New York Yankees, and Yankees fans: Should the accomplishment actually be celebrated?
Why the Accomplishment Should be Celebrated
Performance-enhancing drugs or not, obtaining 3000 hits over the course of a career is really difficult to accomplish. Only 29 players have ever done it. Many more players were caught taking PEDs and never came close to reaching the 3000 mark including Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, and the ‘Godfather of Steroids’ Jose Canseco.
However you look at it, great hitters are the only ones that can hit a baseball 3000 times. Remember, a drug isn’t hitting the ball for Rodriguez. He still had to work extremely hard to get to where he is now. Besides, no one other than Rodriguez himself knows how long he has cheated. It isn’t like there is a blimp in the sky going past MLB officials stating the exact years in which Rodriguez has cheated. Even if they knew those exact years, they have never erased a player’s statistics so why start now?
Why the Accomplishment Should Not be Celebrated
The short answer to all parties involved: hypocrisy. It is hypocritical for anyone including Rodriguez to celebrate this achievement. Back in 2009, A-Rod admitted in an interview that he took PEDs during a three-year period when he played for the Texas Rangers back in 2001. Just about everyone believed he was telling the truth when he said he only took PEDs during those years until his name became associated with a little-known organization by the name of Biogenesis four years later.
The MLB, which has stated many times that it wants to clean up the game, basically painted Rodriguez as the face of steroids during that time. For the MLB to celebrate him when they have vilified him for his actions is hypocritical.
If the Yankees organization celebrates A-Rod, they will show that they do not care about their own players being caught using PEDs. Then again, he did help them capture a World Series so maybe they shouldn’t complain at all. In a previous article, I mentioned how fans contribute to cheating in sports. Whelp, so do sports teams as well.
Think about it, when a player is suspended from his/her team, the team usually just accepts that player’s punishment. When the player has finished his/her suspension, he/she is free to join the team as if he/she just took a really long vacation. Behind closed doors, maybe the coach or owner has a talk with that player, but he/she isn’t publicly shamed for the suspension. The team usually forgives the player and moves on. Until that all-is-forgiven mentality is replaced with a harsher attitude, sports teams will always contribute to cheating.
Last but certainly not least, let’s not forget about Yankees fans. Yankees fans generally acted as if they were against A-Rod when the Biogenesis scandal made headlines and he was once again involved with cheating. Now that he’s served his punishment, Rodriguez is back within the good graces of the fans and life goes on. I wonder if that championship that he helped the Yankees win had anything to do with that? ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, a self-proclaimed “diehard Yankees fan” has joked many times about how he was only upset with A-Rod because he didn’t continue to cheat after being caught with Biogenesis. Who’s to say that many other Yankees fan don’t feel that way too?
At the end of the day, the choice to celebrate Rodriguez’s accomplishment isn’t the end of the world. I just hope that those of you who choose to celebrate have all of the cards on the table before making that decision.