The A-Rod 600th Home Run Hype

Bobby Curran
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Friday - August 04, 2010
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N.Y. Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez checks his swing July 27 in a game against the Cleveland Indians

The latest piece of manufactured hype on ESPN is the A-Rod 600th home run watch. On radio and TV, ESPN has been breaking in on every Alex Rodriguez at bat since he hit No. 599.

There are a couple of problems with that.

First, 600 home runs is not the awe-inspiring achievement it once was.

But the lack of widespread interest in this non-event is not stopping ESPN. Fresh off a ratings bonanza with the overkill of LeBron James and The Decision, the worldwide sports leader has decided it will determine what is important for you to watch.

OK, it hasn’t worked for the WNBA, but every-body’s entitled to one misjudgment.

* Last week’s WAC football meetings served notice that the conference race is apparently all but over. Boise State is the runaway pick, garnering all but one first-place vote in both the coaches’ and media polls, more understandable in the former as coaches can’t vote for their own teams. In the latter, some poor devil out in Las Cruces voted Nevada No. 1, one can only assume the result of a peyote experience out in the desert.


* The WAC mantra of “Play Up” has led many members to schedule better non-conference opponents. In addition to Hawaii playing USC, Boise State has Virginia Tech and Oregon State, Fresno State plays Ole Miss and Illinois, Idaho goes to Nebraska, La Tech visits Texas A&M, Nevada goes up against Cal and BYU, San Jose State visits Alabama and Wisconsin back to back (ouch!), and Utah State opens at Oklahoma and plays BYU.

While it’s a good thing to schedule quality opponents, it’s of dubious value if you get blown out. And if say, on Sept. 4, San Jose State gets blitzed by Alabama while Utah State is whomped at Oklahoma it could have the reverse effect.

But the big schools pay hefty guarantees and the financially struggling mid-majors have little choice but to endure the occasional shellacking in return for a payday while hoping for the perfect storm that produces an upset. But respect will only come if WAC teams can be competitive in most of these games. Anything less and “Play Up” has a chance to become a put down.

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