A-Rod currently has 655 - HRs that is, not lawyers - just five below Willie. At his current rate, Alex should pass Willie around May Day, meaning the Yankees are supposed to shell out a $6 million bonus. This stems from the ridiculous contract A-Rod signed in 2007, just six weeks after he opted out of his Yankee deal during the World Series and prompted then the then oafish son-of-destiny, Hank Steinbrenner, to tell him to go to hell.
Who ever thought Hank was the smart son?
After this season, A-Rod will make $60 million over the next two years, playing until age 42. After he beats Willie, he'll need 54 HRs to pass Babe Ruth - and get another $6 million. He'll then need another 41 to tie Hank Aaron, and then just seven to beat Barry Bonds. Odds are, Alex will end up third. And if you think the man is hated now, wait until he closes in on the Babe.
I understand now why MLB installed the metal detectors.
Then again, who likes A-Rod? Last night, he experienced the sound of away games, which will be the noise Kevin Youkilis generated in Boston. One fan simply stood and turned away. The Baltimore Gammonites interviewed the guy. God help Alex if his batting average dips into Carlos Beltran range. Then he'll hear it in NYC, too.
But somewhere here, the two Evils need to recognize one truth: They not only deserve each other, but they need each other. If the Yankees can make a run at anything, they need Alex Rodriguez in the lineup and hitting. If a legal battle slows his bat, it's yet another sign of the penny-pinching mediocrity atop of the Yankee masthead. A fish always rots from the head down.
It's amazing to think that the Yankees - with their still new stadium and YES network billions - would go to war over the kind of money that brings the likes of Gregorio Petit and that Tracy pitcher, the one who came up Saturday and then was released Sunday. That Hal will chase $6 million from A-Rod is the perfect symbol of this season and this organization. They will fight over lice.
So here's the solution, folks - free! It's simple. A-Rod should designate all or most of the HR milestone money toward a charity - chosen by Willie Mays, I say. Alex should take the tax write-off, and the Yankees should honor the contracts they sign. (It might be the difference in a future free agent choosing to come to NY.) They should put this thing behind them before it starts to pinch. This team will have plenty of crises. There's no need to create them for the sake of movie money.