No 600 No Sweat for A-Rod or Yankees

Six games and counting on the 600th home run watch

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    If there's one good thing about the prolonged wait for Alex Rodriguez's 600th home run, it's that it gives cranky columnists more time to come up with reasons why A-Rod reaching this particular round number is a national disgrace.

    Okay, that's not a good thing but it is nice of him to give the scribes out there a chance to get all their nasty feelings out before muting them with a mighty swing of the bat. That's pretty generous, but it isn't like A-Rod hasn't been keeping busy during the last week. He's still getting on base and helping the Yankees out without blasting balls into the ether, including a sixth-inning double on Wednesday that ended with A-Rod rolling around on the infield with second base in his hands.

    He also drove in what turned out to be the game-winning run in the first inning. A.J. Burnett brought his good self to Cleveland and didn't allow a run in six-and-a-third innings of glacially played baseball. The Yankees wound up running up seven runs on Fausto Carmona, which likely caused the Indians to wonder why they didn't just dig up another rookie pitcher to take his place.

    Off the field, A-Rod's got plenty to keep him occupied as well. His lawyers filed an objection to the bankruptcy plan put in place by the Texas Rangers because the prospective owners, including Nolan Ryan, haven't made it clear that they can or will honor the team's remaining financial obligations to Rodriguez. They are still on the hook for $24.9 million, not exactly chicken feed, but given his other sources of income it is unlkely that it is playing any role in his failure to reach a round number of home runs.

    The wait for the 600th home run is overshadowing much of what's going on with the Yankees right now, something that only serves to highlight the relatively meaningless nature of the accomplishment. Just as the news that Mickey Mantle had one fewer run scored than we believed did nothing to change the player that he was, one more home run for Rodriguez doesn't mean anything in the cosmic scheme of things.

    But it's a relatively dull stretch of the season without any other pressing matters, so we watch and we wait and play the game alongside everyone else even as we secretly wonder how absurdly amusing it would be if A-Rod never hit another home run over the final seven years of his contract.

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com. You can follow him on Twitter.