Sunday, July 29, 2007
Today I took my daughter to see Barry Bonds try to tie the home run record of Hank Aaron. The record will eventually fall, but not this day. However, the afternoon did give me motivation to catch-up on the latest discussions of Mr. Bonds, steroids, baseball, and racism.
I have seen numerous headlines asking whether Bonds is being subjected to a double-standard of behavior vis-à-vis white players who have alleged to, or admitted to, use of performance enhancing drugs.
I have also heard blacks say that if Bonds gets an asterisk by his name in the records books, so too should Babe Ruth. The logic here, which I needed help to comprehend, was that Ruth set the record during a time when blacks were barred from the majors, therefore all the records of that time are suspect in similar fashion.
Regarding the asterisk defense, I would say that everyone knows that Ruth never faced the likes of Satchel Paige, arguably the greatest pitcher in the Negro Leagues, for reasons having nothing to do with either man, but rather the times. Baseball history will forever suffer the consequences of those times. But beyond this loss, sometimes the times should simply rest in peace. Put the shovel away, declare victory and move on.
Regarding the Bond’s double standard, it’s too bad that race goes so well with every argument. If we do not like someone who is black, it must be because we are racist, or self-hating, no matter what form of behavior that person presents to the world. Race is like the joker in a deck of cards, it trumps everything to the point of uselessness.
I have said it before; I am no fan of Bonds because he is as bad a sportsman as he is a great hitter. Blackness has nothing to do with it. I do not think anyone should have to pretend to like him or lay off him in any way, in some guilt-induced attempt to prove they are not racist. This would be insulting.
I think the absence of Aaron himself, a classy guy if ever there was one, says it all about the validity of this record breaking event.
James C. Collier
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