Tuesday, August 16, 2011
The Muted Celebration of Jim Thome
Jim Thome has 600 homers.
Great. Good for him. He seems like a nice guy and has had a terrific career.
Is he a Hall of Famer? I guess. I won’t have a problem if he is elected.
Is the 600th home run one of the great moments in baseball history?
Frankly I don’t even think it was the highlight of the night (Milwaukee’s bizarre triple play on the Dodgers had that honor with me.)
So why isn’t Thome’s home run a bigger event?
Thome seems like a good guy. You never hear a bad word said about him. He’s friendly, charming and humble in interviews.
And he has never been tied to any scandals. His numbers peaked in his late 20s and early 30s and then came down and didn’t suddenly spike again.
Why isn’t he getting the love? Bert Blyleven joked during the Twins game last night that Derek Jeter’s 3,000th hit celebration was so over the top that you’d think he was the first to ever do it.
No it isn’t fair that Thome didn’t get all the attention. But that doesn’t mean that it was wrong.
Jim Thome hit 600 homers in the wrong era. Sorry. That’s just the truth.
And the long term result of The Steroid Era is that the people who played in the post strike flurry of elite home run hitters are going to be scrutinized heavily.
No it isn’t fair that McGwire and Sosa got to be showered with accolades while Thome gets a nice golf clap.
But that is the price of people saying “We were burned but now we have our guard up.”
You don’t like that journalists go after politicians with brute force? Blame Watergate.
Thome is like the nice guy trying to date the pretty girl who is always burned. And when Thome does one or two things the old boyfriends used to do, HE’LL catch the blame. It’s not fair. And he’ll say “You are making me feel badly because of what Jason did!”
(FYI, every single woman in the world has dated an a—hole named Jason or Mark.)
But we have been burned. And 600 home runs, or at least the celebration for it, has been diluted.
There have been only 8 players to hit 600 homers… and 5 of them have been in the past 10 years. Think about that… from 1931, when Babe Ruth hit his 600th home run to 2002 when Bonds got HIS 600th homer, a grand total of 3 hitters reached the milestone.
3 in 70 years.
And 5 more in 9 years.
It isn’t as special.
There was a seven decade window where 600 was a jaw droppingly impressive number. But with Bonds, A-Rod and Sosa crowding it up, it no longer seems to mean as much.
Thome and Griffey are on the list and there is no reason to think they did anything. I personally don’t think they did.
But be honest… would you be STUNNED if they did? How can anyone be shocked by any name anymore?
So good job Mr. Thome. I’m a fan. If you get into the Hall of Fame, you will no doubt be a classy member.
Sorry you didn’t get the big celebration. Chances are the guys caught juicing WON’T be in Cooperstown. You might get the last laugh.