Andrew Marchand broke some upsetting news earlier today: Alex Rodriguez will hang 'em up after his contract expires in 2017. That means we have just two more seasons to enjoy Rod's Delicious Mashed Taters. As it stands now, A-Rod has mashed 687 taters in his career, putting him just 75 behind Barry Bonds for most all time. He is currently fourth on the list trailing Babe Ruth by 27. He should pass Ruth for sole possession of third place some time around April, but what about Bonds? When will Rod become the Home Run King? Let's check the schedule.
Looking at it conservatively, we've got to give him until at least the All-Star Break. The All-Star Game, at Petco Park, will be on July 12th this year and the Yankees get back into action that Friday, July 15th, against none other than the Boston Red Sox. As far as narratives go, this couldn't be more perfect. Imagine breaking the all-time record against the team you almost took a massive paycut to sign with, only to have the MLBPA void the deal and then you wind up signing with a hated rival, where you go on to have a long and storied career. But is it realistic to hit 75 and then a 76th home run by July 17th, a nationally televised game on ESPN? You never want to say never with a guy like A-Rod, but that's asking a lot.
Let's jump ahead to August 22nd, in Seattle. I mean, can you imagine? Sure, as a Yankees fan, I'd want to see him do it at Yankee Stadium, but you can't deny the satisfaction of the full circle; where the quest for greatness began is where it ends, a true hero's arc. Still, what if he goes into a slump at some point this year? We're trying to be realistic here, and even though it's A-Rod, it's still possible he doesn't hit 76 home runs by August 2016. The Yankees play at Fenway in mid-September, but I think we might be sacrificing reality for the sake of a good story to predict a drought so long that it takes Alex Rodriguez until the last month of the season to hit 76 home runs.
Which brings us to August 31 in Kansas City. The reigning World Champs. A-Rod—who is likely not even concerned with his personal accomplishments at this point—in a quest to win at least one more title before he calls it quits, will be ready to mash in a potential ALCS showdown. The date, August 31, is simply his jersey number transposed, and Rod is nothing if not august. It makes too much sense, A-Rod will break the all-time record by August 31, 2016 and then enjoy a farewell tour in 2017 as not only the Home Run King, but a World Champion.