Sunday, August 5, 2007
It's been a long time coming for both of them. Alex Rodriguez and Barry Bonds were both mired in their longest slumps of the year. But yesterday, they both got out of those slumps.
Barry Bonds and the San Francisco Giants were facing the San Diego Padres yesterday. Barry came up to bat as the lead-off man in the 2nd. He hit a opposite field shot that measured 382 feet! It cleared the left field fence easily. As Bonds ran around the bases, the San Diego crowd, a crowd that included Bud Selig gave Barry a standing ovation. When Bonds touched home plate, he lifted his son and carried him almost all the way to the dugout.
It had been eight days and 28 plate appearances since Bonds hit his 754th home run, and he came out for early batting practice Saturday, hoping to break his slump, which he did. Bud Selig talked about watching history unfold, and his plans to attend the next few Giants games. "No matter what anybody thinks of the controversy surrounding this event, Mr. Bonds' achievement is noteworthy and remarkable," Selig said in a statement.
Selig said either he or a representative would attend the Giants' next few games "out of respect for the tradition of the game, the magnitude of the record and the fact that all citizens in this country are innocent until proven guilty."
The other milestone yesterday also came via the home run. Alex Rodriguez, who was in a huge slump after hitting home run number 499 looked to finally get number 500. He was going up against a good team to do it against also. The Yankees were facing the Kansas City Royals, a team that he hit his 1st ever home run against.
Rodriguez came up with 2 men on in the 1st inning and didn't waste any time. He swung at the 1st pitch he saw and blasted to left field. Rodriguez just stood their in silence, looking at the ball to see if it was fair or not, as were all of the other players on the diamond and in both dugouts. When it finally went into the stands, Rodriguez trotted around the bases in excitement, giving high 5's to anyone he saw in pinstripes. When he touched home plate, his teammates mobbed him at the plate. When he took a curtain call, the Yankee crowd gave him the biggest cheer A-Rod had ever heard in a Yankee uniform.
Rodriguez is the is now the 3rd Yankee to hit 500 home runs, joining Mickey Mantle and Babe Ruth. "It takes a lot in New York. I've conceded the fact that you can't worry yourself to hit a home run," noted Rodriguez. "I tried hard for five days, and you wish you can shake every fan's hand and thank them, but it's great to hit the home run at home and do it in a winning situation. I think I got a good pitch and gave it a ride. It was a good swing."
"It means the world. I didn't realize that until a week ago that Mantle was the last one to do it at home," added the young slugger. "To wear this uniform and do it here, that is so special. I've had some good times and had some tough times, and a day like today brings it full-circle, and maybe there's a happy ending for me somewhere."
A-Rod is now the youngest player in MLB history to get to 500 home runs. Before today, Jimmie Foxx was the youngest player to hit 500 homers at 32 years and 338 days. A-Rod is only 32 years and 8 days old. Other notables on the list of youngest players to hit 500 is Willie Mays at 34 years and 131 days, Sammy Sosa at 34 years and 143 days and Hank Aaron at 34 years and 160 days. That is some elite company.
It seemed fitting that Rodriguez would hit his 500th on the same day that Bonds hit his 755th. Rodriguez will probably be the all-time home run leader some day, and may be the 1st player to 500 homers.
Next stop for A-Rod is 600, and next stop for Barry is the all-time home run record.