Homers and homers

Alex Rodriguez is one homer away from 500 on his career. When he hits it, he’ll be the youngest player ever to hit 500 home runs. Everyone is going nuts over Barry Bonds’s pursuit of Hank Aaron’s 755, but I think A-Rod’s achievement is even more impressive, especially given the fact that Bonds was on the juice for the last few years, and A-Rod (probably) is not.

Bonds’s story is kind of too bad — he would have been known as one of the all-time greatest players even if he hadn’t juiced himself up but because he did, now he’s a joke. He has over 500 career stolen bases, and is the only member of both the 400-400 club and the 500-500 club, but will people remember him as a base stealer? Not likely, because of the home run records, the juice, and the fact that he’s only averaged 5 steals a year over the last 6 years. Sure he’s got the single-season homer
record and he’ll soon have the career record, but everyone knows what he did to achieve those records, so even if there isn’t an asterisk next to the numbers in the record books, there is in most people’s minds.

Even Bonds, however, has acknowledged that assuming he does break Aaron’s record, the most likely player to break his record would be Rodriguez and barring injuries, I think A-Rod is a lock to do just that. Bonds is probably done after this year, so let’s say he ends up with 765, and say Rodriguez ends up with 515 by the end of the season. Rodriguez would then be behind by 250 at the age of 32. Five years of fifty homers each might be a stretch, but can A-Rod average over 35 a year for 7 years, or 25 a year for 10? Sure he can.

There’s a report today that a group of local businesspeople in Nashville is close to a deal that would see the Predators stay in Nashville. They would buy the team for something like $190 million, which is something like $30 million less than what was offered by Jim Balsillie. I see this as proof that Gary Bettman does not want any more NHL teams in Canada. What owner who is actively trying to sell his team would take $30 million less than what he was offered? If he’s considering bids that were almost the same amount, he might decide to go with the one that keeps the team in Nashville, but no owner is going to say no to an extra $30 million out of the goodness of his heart. The big question is what has Gary Bettman promised him in order to keep the Preds from coming north of the border?


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