Yankees star Alex Rodriguez hit his 655th career home run on Thursday against the Blue Jays, leaving him just five home runs shy of tying Willie Mays for fourth on the all-time home run list. Rodriguez tying Mays seems inevitable, and when he does accomplish the feat, a lot of controversy is sure to follow.
Fans and columnists are already unhappy a baseball icon will be mentioned in the same breath as Rodriguez, who has admitted to performance-enhancing drug use and had involvement with Biogenesis, resulting in his suspension for the 2014 season. The Yankees are threatening to take Rodriguez to an arbitrator to get out of paying him each of five $6 million “milestone” awards, starting with his 660th home run.
Perhaps the only player more polarizing than Rodriguez is Barry Bonds. And Bonds, Mays’ godson, is now publicly in Rodriguez’s corner, as he’s quoted heavily in this excellent piece by Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY:
“My godfather means the world to me. I love him to a T,” Bonds told USA TODAY Sports in an hour-long telephone interview, “but when Alex hits No. 660, I’ll be happy for him. Willie will be happy for him. Everybody should be happy for him.
“Any time anybody in the game does something that’s a great accomplishment, the game of baseball should celebrate that.
“No matter what. Baseball is benefiting from that person’s hard work, so baseball should at least celebrate.”
Bonds added, “I can’t wait until he hits 660. I know I’ll celebrate.”