I am now going to do something that I fear imperils my soul: I am going to help the New York Yankees.
Last night, Alex Rodriguez, an admitted steroid user and all-around questionable character, hit the 660th home run of his Major League career. This ties him with Willie Mays, an indisputably better player and human being, for fourth place on the all-time home-run list. Whatever. As Mays himself indicated in a congratulatory message to Rodriguez, records are made to be broken, milestones are made to be passed.
In this story, though, there is an interesting subplot--one that, for a longtime Yankee hater such as YNSHC, is somewhat delicious to observe. Years ago, when Rodriguez signed his current contract with the Yankees, he was promised large financial bonuses for reaching certain historic numbers. One of these was, in fact, 660 home runs. So now, after Rodriguez has served a year's suspension from baseball for violating the league's substance abuse rules, the Yankees have studiously avoided referring to the Mays-tying homer as a milestone--or, as much as they could, referring to it at all. They will do whatever they can to avoid shelling out a $6-million bonus to Rodriguez. Rodriguez himself is not really talking about the situation, either.
No one wants to see Rodriguez get this money, but many would also like to see the Yankees fork it over. Personally, I think if this matter goes to arbitration, the Yankees will lose: They signed a contract, Rodriguez is--like it or not--a player in good standing with the league right now, they have o pay up. But it seems to me that there's a good, face-saving solution for everyone.
Rodriguez certainly doesn't need the money--his base salary for just this year is something like $25 million. At the same time, the Yankees can certainly afford to pay: $6-million dollars is couch-cushion money to the Evil Empire from the Bronx. So both sides should just step up and state that they have reached an agreement to donate the milestone bonus to charity--maybe building little league ballparks or supporting anti-drug programs. Everybody gets great publicity, a worthwhile cause gets supported, and somebody gets a nice tax write-off to boot.
You're welcome, Yankees. Now rot in hell.