Newspaper article International New York Times

Rodriguez Passes Mays but Still Does Not Collect a Bonus

Newspaper article International New York Times

Rodriguez Passes Mays but Still Does Not Collect a Bonus

Article excerpt

Alex Rodriguez hit his 661st home run to pass Willie Mays for fourth on the career list, but the Yankees were not planning to pay him a bonus for the achievement.

The person who first seemed to recognize that Alex Rodriguez had hit his 661st career home run Thursday night was Adam Jones, the Baltimore Orioles' center fielder, who took a few steps toward the wall in left-center and then stopped, as if he knew his chase was futile, knew the ball was gone.

The fans at Yankee Stadium began sensing it, too, and rose to their feet. Pitcher Chris Tillman realized what was happening and dropped his head. The last to know might have been Rodriguez, who kept his eyes on the ball until it sank below the outfield barrier just to the left of Monument Park. He was at first base by the time he raised both arms in the air, awkwardly stutter-stepping a bit but quickly regaining his stride around the bases, alone in the spotlight yet again.

Rodriguez passed Willie Mays -- the day after Mays's 84th birthday -- and the Yankees acknowledged the achievement briefly with a message on the video board. The message had disappeared before Rodriguez reached the dugout, and he said he never saw it. By then his teammates were greeting him with hugs and handshakes.

And the fans kept cheering. It was apparent that they wanted Rodriguez to tip his cap. He glanced to Manager Joe Girardi for approval; Girardi said go. So Rodriguez ran up the dugout steps, the frictional past between the slugger and the fan base momentarily forgotten.

"I certainly thought the days of curtain calls for me were long gone," Rodriguez said.

The Yankees have made clear that they do not plan to pay Rodriguez a $6 million bonus for tying Mays on the home run list, in exchange for the rights to market the accomplishment, which was in the terms of the 10-year contract Rodriguez signed with the team in 2007. Because the Yankees have the right to pay the bonus but are not obligated to, General Manager Brian Cashman said last week, the team was honoring the contract whether the bonus was paid or not.

Still, Rodriguez continues to chug up the home run ladder. His seventh homer of the season -- on a 1-1 changeup from Tillman in the third inning -- helped the Yankees win for the fifth time in seven games. …

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