It's five home runs. Five home runs and Alex Rodriguez is propelled into history, though in a sense he already has been, just not for the right reasons.
Rodriguez currently sits at 595 homers over his career between Seattle, Texas, and New York. In a few weeks, Rodriguez likely will be seventh player to join a club that features only the most legendary players the game has ever seen.
But what hangs over his head as he reaches his historic moment is the historic moment he already experienced is his admission of being a part of the steroid era of baseball.
A-Rod is one of the players who admitted to using steroids during his career, and it has since put a cloud over an already questionable reputation among some fans.
The admission has placed his milestone in a peculiar context. Forget about the six legends he would be joining in the 600 club — Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Ken Griffey Jr. and Sammy Sosa. Look at the Yankees’ home run legends that A-Rod will be associated with — Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio, Lou Gehrig and Reggie Jackson.
What does it mean in a city like New York when a player like A-Rod joins such an exclusive club of New York sports legends?
To Red Sox fans, A-Rod will never deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence as such legends. But that response is obvious for the simple fact that, to Bostonians, A-Rod will forever be the enemy.
What does a typical Yankee fan think, though?
It's not rare for a so-called "tainted" player to still draw the love of the home crowd. Bonds was praised in San Francisco when he became the home run king. Yankee fans themselves already have forgiven players like Andy Pettitte.
Is A-Rod any different?
History will tell the full story in time, but for now, A-Rod will just continue to show up for work and work the same way he has been over the course of his career.