Alex Rodriguez finally hit his 600th home run this morning, in the first inning of the Yankees/Blue Jays game off of hurler Shawn Marcum. It was the 46th at-bat since he had hit #599 last week, and, if you had to judge things based off the reaction of the New York media, this might have the been biggest nationwide disaster since Pizzeria Uno tried to claim that Chicago-style pizza was better than New York-style.
But did the long wait and obsessive media affect him as he celebrated his milestone in those 30-seconds he had to himself? And how did his 600th home run trot stack up against some of the other more memorable home runs of recent years? Rodriguez isn’t exactly known for sprinting around the bases, after all.
A-Rod’s milestone home run trot clocked in at a respectable time of 25.57 seconds [video]. His average trot this year has been only 23.32 seconds, and this trot would be his slowest of the year (his previous slowest was 25.46 seconds on April 20). Considering we’ve already had over 160 trots slower than that so far this year, that doesn’t sound all that crazy of a trot time for such a large milestone. His 500th was a good 28.87 seconds [video], so he certainly sped things up today.
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When Ken Griffey, Jr. – the last player to reach the plateau – hit his 600th home run last year, he was able to run it out in 25.62 seconds [video], nearly identical to A-Rod. His 500th trot was even better, coming in at only 24.3 seconds [video].
Sammy Sosa, who joined the 600-club prior to Griffey, came in at 25.27 seconds [video]. Barry Bonds, the only other member of the 600-club since the time of Willie Mays and Hank Aaron, is the most likely member to have a worse trot time, but, no matter what this website claims, his 600th trot is not online (neither is his 500th or Willie Mays’s 600th).
Bonds’ other milestone shots are, though. For number 660, when he tied his godfather Mays on the all-time leader list, his trot time was 31.32 seconds [video]. Number 700 must not have been as special to him, because it came in the fastest at 26.55 seconds [video]. When he finally passed Babe Ruth with number 715, his trot was a good 30.06 seconds [video]. Number 755 was his slowest so far, at 31.95 seconds [video], but he passed even that with number 756 – a
32.8232.75 second trot [video].
Not that I’m complaining. These players are celebrating important, once-in-a-lifetime personal milestones that they’ve worked towards for twenty or thirty years. If we can’t allow them to take an extra five-to-ten seconds to soak in that moment, then we’re terrible fans who might need to learn to watch another sport. Alex Rodriguez has every right to take 25 seconds – or even 35 seconds – to run out his milestone. It is a game, after all.