It seemed like it would never come, although of course that is unrealistic. He usually belts one every 14 at-bats. But for some reason, his power-outage was extended. Maybe it was all the hype. Maybe it was the crowd signs. Maybe it was the flashbulbs. But after 46 homerless at-bats, it was all over.

August 4, 2010 at Yankee Stadium – exactly three years from the day #500 was hit against Kyle Davies of the Kansas City Royals. Only for a Yankee, it would be this dramatic. That 2-0 pitch by Shaun Marcum connected to the sweet spot of his bat, and landed in centerfield’s Monument Park. He had done it. Alex Rodriguez made history with that 2-run home run in the first inning. Alex Rodriguez became the youngest player ever to reach the 600 home run plateau.

To many, this milestone means nothing. After all, Rodriguez admitted last year to steroid use in his years with the Texas Rangers, so some don’t appreciate his home runs. I don’t appreciate his steroid use. But at least Alex had the guts to admit he was wrong, unlike others at the top of the home runs list. Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, and Mark McGwire failed to admit it, leaving me with not even an ounce of respect for them. I respect Alex Rodriguez. And I want him to be the home run king.

Don’t get me wrong: I do not approve of what Rodriguez did. Steroids are wrong, and anyone who used them cheated. But unlike those other guys, A-Rod, who the media already loved to slander, confessed to the world that he cheated. People loved to hate A-Rod – for whatever reasons: his money, his celebrity status, his anything at all. But now, they had a real reason. He could have just denied it like the rest of those guys, but no: Alex Rodriguez did what a real man should have done, and he admitted he was wrong. And for that, Alex Rodriguez deserves some respect.

I wish A-Rod never did steroids, but he did, and there is nothing that can be done about that now. But if people are people, and have hearts like people should, then maybe they can have the heart to forgive him. Rodriguez still has at least 7 years of baseball, clean baseball, left in him. Alex Rodriguez can redeem himself, if people are willing to leave the past behind and look to the future.

That is what should be done about this entire Steroid Era: leave it in the past, and look toward a brighter, cleaner future in baseball. There is no way each player who cheated will be named. There is no way each record broken by a steroid user will be changed. Who knows how many players and their numbers were corrupted by steroids? No one.

So if these corrupted records have to exist, then I want Alex Rodriguez to be the home run king. He is on pace to do it, so I want him to. He’s better than Bonds. At least Alex Rodriguez confessed. He was wrong, and what he did will never be fully forgiven. It was wrong to use steroids. But at least he knows that.

 At least Alex Rodriguez knows how to be a man.

by Virginia Califano

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