The Stadium Exhales as A-Rod Reaches 600

Bruce Beck was there as the Yankee faithful breathed a sigh of relief

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    NEWSLETTERS

    I was in the press box at Yankee Stadium, surrounded by security guards, office personnel and even the press dining room chef when A-Rod became the seventh player in major league history to belt 600 homers.

    They all got tremendously excited -- while letting out a collective sigh. Yes, the pursuit of 600 was finally, mercifully over!

    The stadium gave him a standing ovation, while his teammates mobbed him at home plate. He then took a curtain call and saluted the crowd while the scoreboard flashed a big 600!

    The roundtripper snapped a dreadful slump for the 35 year-old slugger, who had gone 51 plate appearances without a homer -- and 17 at bats without a hit. The homer comes exactly three years to the day that he belted his 500th career homer

    The build-up to this milestone was tempered by the fact that A-Rod has admitted to using performance enhancing drugs from 2001 to 2003, while playing in Texas. It was the first time I remember a superstar baseball player, gunning for a major achievement after we knew he did steroids.

    Still, here at the Stadium, the impromptu applause was more about saluting the player now, than reflecting on his past transgressions.

    For the record, the homer came in the bottom of the first inning at Yankee Stadium with one man aboard and Toronto pitcher, Shaun Marcum on the hill. It was an absolute bomb to centerfield on a 2-0 count.