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NEW YORK - AUGUST 04: Alex Rodriguez #13 of the New York Yankees runs the bases after hitting his 600th career home run in the first inning against Shaun Marcum #28 (not pictured) of the Toronto Blue Jays on August 4, 2010 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Alex Rodriguez
Shaun Marcum must have been as tired of all the attention being paid to Alex Rodriguez's long homerless streak as the rest of us. How else can we explain the 85 mph fastball over the plate during A-Rod's first inning at-bat on Wednesday afternoon?
A-Rod obliged Marcum and everybody else by drilling the thing into Monument Park, giving the Yankees a 2-0 lead and finally ending the wait for the seventh member of the 600th Home Run Club. He was also the seventh person in history to hit home runs 587-599, but America's fascination with round numbers meant that this one was causing him and his teammates undue amounts of pressure -- at least according to our fine local tabloid publications.
What will they say if the Yankees go on to lose Wednesday's game with the Blue Jays? Four of the last six times that the Yankees have hit two-run first inning homers they have gone on to lose the game. It will obviously be critical of A-Rod, so let's guess that it will be the way that A-Rod's homer took everyone's attention away from the game at hand.
On the other hand, if the Yankees win, and especially if they string together a few wins in a row, we can already see the headlines trumpeting the way that Rodriguez's homer has motivated the masses. It will, of course, be just as ridiculous as the notion that A-Rod's quest was playing a role in the team's recent run of four losses in five games.
As for A-Rod, the discussion will now turn toward whether or not he'll wind up hitting the most home runs in the history of baseball. It seems like a tall order given the way he's hit so far this season but he's certainly on the radar screen.
The best argument in his favor is probably the seven years he has left on his deal with the Yankees which all but guarantees he'll be in the lineup long enough to make a serious run at 763.