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If Ken Griffey, Jr. hit career home run #600 but only 16,003 people were there to see it, does that mean it doesn't matter?
More than 22,000 sports fans passed on the chance to witness history at Dolphin Stadium Monday night, when Griffey joined an exclusive club. Only Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Willie Mays and Sammy Sosa are members.
The story made the front page of ESPN.com and Yahoo! Sports (both sites featured a "Sweet 600" headline -- who's the mole?!), but where has all the buildup been? Where was the buzz?
For one, I think we're all experiencing a little milestone fatigue. We were all force fed Bonds' pursuit of 756, a chase that left most fans with a sour taste in their mouths. And fans were well aware of Manny Ramirez reaching the 500 milestone just over a week ago.
Maybe the bigger factor in our collective disinterest, though, is cynicism. The Mitchell Report (now that was an event that earned some buildup) taught us to disbelieve what we see on SportsCenter, and that many -- perhaps most -- of the greatest sluggers of our generation are also cheaters.
For the sake of argument, let's assume that Griffey is clean and always has been. You will never convince me that Griffey's 600 is the same as Sosa's 600. I would even go so far as to say that his 600 is more significant than Bonds' 756. Before Bonds, only Aaron, Ruth, and Mays -- three of the greatest of all time -- had hit 600. You can make the argument that he belongs in that company even without the benefit of steroids, but we can never know for sure.
Griffey, though (again, assuming he's clean), can rightfully stake his claim to presence in that elite company with tonight's home run. Home run #600 is not a record, not by anyone's counting. But it's a major milestone, achieved fair and square, by a good guy and one of baseball's all-time greats.