A-Rod finally overcomes a nasty case of unclutchitis to hit No. 600

Alex Rodriguez became the youngest player to hit 600 home runs when he launched a Shaun Marcum 2-0 pitch over the centerfield wall during the Yankees’ game with the Blue Jays on Wednesday afternoon.

Excuse me while I wet myself.

The blast broke a string of 12 games in which A-Rod was so overcome with pressure that he managed to hit only .177 with no home runs. While I can’t prove that pressure was the thing that was holding him back, rumor has it he hasn’t slept in nearly 10 nights and has often been seen shaking uncontrollably at the mere mention that he has to perform. (All right, so I can’t prove that either.)

A-Rod now joins an elite club that includes Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755), Babe Ruth (714), Willie Mays (660), Ken Griffey Jr. (630) and Sammy Sosa (609) to have accomplished the feat.

Too bad only four of those seven players didn’t need to enlist the help of performance-enhancing drugs in order to reach the milestone.

So way to go, A-HoleRod. Congratulations, or something.

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In a game filled with cheaters, Ken Griffey Jr. did it the right way

I’m not sure Ken Griffey Jr. knows how to inject HGH or even know how to get it. I don’t think he knows what “the clear” actually is or what it does, and the same goes for “the cream.”

I don’t think taking steroids and cheating the game of baseball has ever crossed Griffey’s mind. And that’s why he’ll always be viewed as a true hero during the darkest days that baseball has ever seen.

Griffey announced his retirement on Wednesday night. He’ll leave the game with 630 home runs (which rank him fifth all-time), 13 All-Star appearances, 10 Gold Gloves, seven Silver Slugger Awards and one MVP honor (1997). He’s a sure-fire Hall of Fame inductee and as I’ve alluded to above, one of the few sluggers whose name has never been mentioned for steroids.

I’ll always remember the days when people would compare Griffey and Barry Bonds in terms of what young outfielder was better. People always said Griffey until injuries started hampering his career and Bonds started crushing 500-foot home runs (while his head grew to the size of a grapefruit). But looking back, Griffey will always be remembered as the better player because he didn’t have to cheat to have his success. Bonds has better numbers, but we all know how he got them later in his career. We also know how Griffey got his: pure, God-given talent.

Griffey’s retirement doesn’t come as a surprise. He wasn’t getting regular at bats in Seattle and wasn’t a part of the Mariners’ present or future. He’s also 40 year’s old and it’s harder for players to balance baseball and their family life when they get to be that age. It was time and I found it appropriate that he made the announcement rather quietly. He’s never been flashy.

Thanks for all the memories, Junior. You never let us down.

Is the end near for sleepy Griffey?

It appears as though Ken Griffey Jr.’s days in baseball are numbered. Not only is he hitting .208 with a dismal .234 slugging percentage with no home runs and just two doubles through the first month of the season, but reports have also surfaced on that he missed an opportunity to pinch hit in a recent game because he fell asleep in the clubhouse.

The clubhouse nap incident is certainly troubling, but not necessarily the main issue when it comes to Junior. (Especially considering that most of us would fall asleep watching the Mariners play these days.) The bigger problem is that he’s 40-years-old, he can’t play the outfield any more and is a DH that can’t hit. For a team that has struggled as much as the Mariners have offensively this year, there’s simply no reason to keep Griffey on the roster.

That’s why Tacoma News Tribune columnist Larry LaRue’s report about Griffey’s eventual release in Seattle holds a lot of water. LaRue writes that Junior could be released sometime this month, although maybe he’ll save the club some trouble and just retire.

Either way, the writing is on the wall for the beloved player. While the report of him falling asleep in the clubhouse is embarrassing, it won’t be what he’s remembered for. He’ll be remembered for playing the game the way it was supposed to be played, treating fans and teammates with respect, and the fact that his name has never been connected with steroids. The anti-Barry Bonds if you will.

If this is the end, Junior has amassed one hell of a career.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

A-Rod passes Jackson on all-time HR list

Mr. April has officially passed Mr. October on baseball’s all-time home run list.

Alex Rodriguez hit home run No. 564 to help the Yankees beat the Mets 9-1 on Friday night, moving past Reggie Jackson into 11th place on the career list.

“The negativity that surrounds the steroids is certainly not something that I carry over to him,” Jackson said. “I do appreciate the fact that he admitted his mistakes, so from here we move forward. Judgment on him will be passed with the next 7 1/2 years of his time with the Yankees.”

Jackson was sixth when he retired in 1987, trailing only Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Frank Robinson and Harmon Killebrew. He’s since been passed by Barry Bonds, Ken Griffey Jr., Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro and A-Rod.

“You get used to it really,” Jackson said.

Remember when A-Rod was supposed to save us all from Barry Bonds and “legitimize” the home run record again?

Moments like Rodriguez hitting his 564th mean very little now. Maybe Griffey will keep playing until he’s 80 and pass everyone.

2009 MLB Preview: #26 Seattle Mariners

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Offseason Movement: The M’s will bring back a familiar face this season after signing OF/DH Ken Griffey Jr. The club also made a slew of trades, adding outfielders Franklin Gutierrez (Indians) and Endy Chavez (Mets), as well as pitchers David Aardsma (Red Sox) and Garrett Olson (Cubs). Seattle also signed free agents Tyler Johnson, Tyler Walker and Russell Branyan.

Top Prospect: Greg Halman, OF
Some feel as though infielder Carlos Triunfel is the Mariners’ best long-term prospect and that very well might be the case, but Halman is closer to making an impact at the big league level at this point. Halman has flashed an outstanding array of power and speed and with Seattle not expected to contend this year, he could be a late season call up. Along with Halman and Triunfel, pitcher Phillippe Aumont is another prospect worthy of keeping an eye on.

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