A-Rod's homer a milestone in more ways than one

August 15, 2010|By TIM SHEA

As the ball left the bat, I knew it was going to be a home run.

New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez swung at a 2-0 pitch from Toronto Blue Jays right-hander Shawn Marcum in the first inning of their Aug. 4 game and launched the ball toward Monument Park behind the center-field fence at Yankee Stadium.

This was no ordinary home run. For A-Rod, it was the 600th home run of his career, making him only the seventh player in Major League history to reach the milestone.

And I was there to witness history in person. It was the second time I had been to the new Yankee Stadium. The first time had been the previous night, when the Yankees sleepwalked their way through an 8-2 loss to the Blue Jays.


So needless to say, my second trip to the stadium was off to a much better start.

The crowd went wild and the noise seemed to get louder and louder as A-Rod rounded the bases, then received a hug from Derek Jeter at home plate and finally tipped his cap to those in attendance.

Once the noise died down, most of the 47,659 in attendance settled back in for some more baseball.

I think it's safe to say that 47,658 people at the stadium weren't thinking, "Hey, maybe I should call my local newspaper and tell them to get a breaking news alert on the Web site about A-Rod hitting his 600th home run."

Of course, I was the one person who was thinking about news. Even on vacation.

So once the noise died down enough where I could communicate via cell phone, I called The Herald-Mail and asked for Bob Fleenor, who serves as the newspaper's Web site updater during the day.

I got through to him and gave him the quick details -- Alex Rodriguez had just hit his 600th home run in the first inning. It was a two-run shot (Jeter had singled three batters before A-Rod came up) and the ball landed in Monument Park.

I could have given him more details about the historic moment, such as the fact that Marcum was the pitcher who served up the home run, but I wasn't thinking about that in the excitement of the moment. Plus, there was enough background noise still coming from the crowd that it was difficult to hear Bob on the other end of the line.

I'm not sure why I decided to make this call while I was on vacation. It's not like this was a major local news story that I was calling about.

Maybe I figured it was 1:30 p.m. on a Wednesday and it was a slow news day in the Tri-State area. Maybe putting this up as a breaking news story would catch somebody's attention.

Anyway, Bob told me when I came back from vacation this week that he was starting to put the breaking news alert on the Web site when The Associated Press sent its own news alert about A-Rod's historic moment.

I'm not sure if I beat the New York papers to the punch, but it felt good to at least beat the AP.

So while A-Rod was making history with his home run, I like to think I knocked one out of the park for The Herald-Mail.

Tim Shea is an assistant city editor at The Herald-Mail. He can be reached at 301-791-6097 or by e-mail at

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