(from the secret online diary of A-Rod)
Finally!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (I would write even more exclamation points, but you get the idea.) I am so RELIEVED. I'm happy, too, but omigosh I thought it would never come. I finally hit number 500. On Wednesday, the crowd sort of muttered when I didn't come through for the fans (I was trying SO hard to hit a home run) and I thought, "Oh my God, are they going to boo me for NOT hitting a home run? That is so unFAIR! But the fans were really really understanding, even if those flashbulbs were pretty annoying. (I'm sorry, but don't they know flashbulbs are pointless in a big open space like Yankee Stadium. Though when I watched the game on my Tivo, I have to admit it looked really cool. I wonder if I could get one of those images done up like a poster?)
If I left Yankee Stadium without hitting a home run, I just know people would say I was being selfish or not thinking of the fans or something. As if! I really really wanted to hit a home run at Yankee Stadium. I mean, who wouldn't? I thought it was going to happen Friday night. It was just about to rain and the skies were darkening (is that a word?) and lightning had been shattering the night for about ten minutes and DJ hit into a double play but of COURSE the second baseman rushed the throw and Derek got to first and the ball sailed over the first baseman's head and everyone applauded as if DJ did something great when really it was just an error. How does he always manage to turn something bad into something good like that? But anyway, it was the bottom of the 8th and I came to the plate because DJ got lucky or really to be fair he hustled really hard and made that happen I guess.
So I came to the plate one more time when the inning should have been over and the wind was swirling and the lightning was striking and it was like a movie (man, I would love to be in a movie, like one of those action films or a romantic comedy) and I just knew, I just KNEW it was going to happen. And then I was so bummed because it didn't. DJ didn't say anything to me afterwards like "That was too bad" or anything but I can never tell if he didn't say something on purpose or not. Because if I say something like "too bad" if he didn't get a hit he just sort of doesn't understand why I'm saying it. I mean, he understands but it's like it's already in the past and he isn't even thinking about it anymore and he's just focused on what's next but if I don't get a hit or mess up I can't stop thinking about it the rest of the day and it just bothers me so much and I think about it over and over and over and over and try to visualize myself doing that play or hitting that ball into the gap and I don't think DJ ever visualizes even though I explained it to him and how useful it is and he just said, "That's cool if it helps you." I don't think he even tried it once.
After the game, I made a joke about "The Natural" and how I was looking for my Wonder Bat and all the reporters really laughed and it seemed to go over well, which really relieved me because I was so disappointed about not hitting it out. I mean, gosh, I was on a 0-22 slump (even though it was really 0-21 because one of those at-bats was a make-up at bat for a game from earlier in the season so it really shouldn't count in that slump but man, I'm not supposed to go 21 at-bats without getting a hit.)
And today I finally did it. (AND it was when we needed a hit even though I guess it doesn't count as clutch in the first inning. Whatever.) Boy, I was so relieved I couldn't stop smiling and I pumped my fists in the air but then I was worried people would think I was showing off too much. But I just couldn't help it!! I am the youngest player to ever reach 500 home runs. I know McGwire and Babe Ruth did it in a lot fewer games, but why should I be penalized for starting younger? And I reached home and everyone was applauding me and it was really fun. I thought maybe they were going to stop the game and have a little ceremony or something but then they didn't and I was really glad because it shouldn't interfere with the game. DJ totally high-fived me and back in the dugout he was smiling and laughing and he rubbed my head and he seemed really happy for me. I can never figure him out. I mean, is he really happy for me? I wanted to ask him if he wanted to go out and grab a bite to celebrate after the game because it would have been fun and maybe we could be pals again, you know, not like super best friends but at least FRIENDLY. But what if I asked him and he said he couldn't make it because of some other plans? I wouldn't know if he really had other plans or just didn't want to hang out with me on like the biggest day of my life practically (except for the birth of my daughter because it's true but even if it's not true you have to say it or people think you're a dick) and whether he wanted to hang out or not if I asked him and he said no it would totally ruin the day for me and I'd have to remember that forever so I didn't ask him and of course he didn't ask me if I wanted to go out and celebrate so we didn't.
After the game I called myself goofy and did a really good job with the reporters except I messed up when I said, "You wish you could pay each fan back by shaking their hands but all I could do is hit a home run and win a game." That was so stupid. I know I didn't win the game all by myself. I should have said that I was so happy I hit it at home for the fans and that the most important thing was that the home run helped THE TEAM win a game and winning games was more important than anything because that's the only statistic that matters. I totally practiced that and then I blew it by saying I won the game which is never the case even if you hit a walk off home run (which I've done, by the way) because there are nine guys on the team. Or really 25 or 40 or whatever the roster is right now and then there's Joe Torre and the coaches and the home office and Mr. Steinbrenner and oh my God I think too much but you know what I mean. Or what I meant, I mean. I'm doing it again :)
I'm sorry Diary, this is a really really long entry but you only get to hit 500 once. I promise to be quicker in the future.