Barry Bonds Watch / Barry and the Babe

BondsWith every sweet or painful swing (depending on the eyes of the beholder) of Barry Bonds‘ Hall Of Fame bound bat, America will be forced to look directly into the mirror. There is no avoiding the reality of the cultural divide. How this historic moment is viewed, and the opinion of the viewers will cause a room to go silent like verdict day of the OJ trial. You will witness anger and iniquity. Friends will stop talking for a season. Multicultural bowling teams will be missing members on league night, who won’t to avoid discussing the topic of Barry and the Babe. I am pained that the game I love, respect and was reared in, will now come under attack.

Baseball was already suffering from it’s inability to capture the imagination of the minority youth of today. While it’s worldclass leading and cutting edge video on demand website and services deserves the highest accolades, it’s old-fashioned, out-of-touch, old-media marketing approach to the minority youth of today needs an update. I love baseball and I hate to see the game suffer. The old "sports" media guards will push the envelope to the detriment of society. Old wounds will be opened and fresh blood will flow from the new cuts that will be made. I always laugh and wink at the shallow opinion pieces that are written as fact, that underestimate and insult my intelligence.

Bittersweet is this season. I walked the stadiums of baseball America in the ’70s as a kid. I flew on private chartered jets with the fighting, moustache gang Oakland A’s. We were a family. Cubans, Dominicans, Latinos, Italians, Irish, Europeans, Caucasian, African Americans, **** and Gentiles. This was my life. I will not sit idle while new journalist who are in need of a ratings bump, and a book sale, taint the game and divide America. I said in my earlier open letter to Barry Bonds that this is not about steroids and I stand by that statement. The real question is, Is It Worth It? What will be accomplished by making Barry Bonds the proverbial scapegoat?

Man, buy me some peanuts and cracker jacks, I don’t care if I ever get back! I miss Harry Caray! I miss the innocence and warmth of the seventh-inning stretch. I miss catching foul balls and bat day. I miss cap day, and yes I miss hot pants day! The Oakland A’s actually had such a day! I miss heckling the pitchers! And swing batter swing! I miss George and his Yankees, and Reggie Jackson and the All-Star blast! Come on guys, go report on wrestling and "Leave My Game Alone"!

But noooo! U want me to talk steroids, drugs, and racial divide. I could have stayed home and watched a good movie. Have U forgotten that baseball is entertainment!

13 Comments

I agree completely, Hammer, you are a great person and a very passionate one, too. You should write more, I was getting a little choked up!!

But I got to say, GO RED SOX!! There’s your tradition right there–FENWAY PARK, ain’t no place like it…

Hammer,

I like and respect you, for moving albums out the back of your vehicle when you were on your way up. I also like and respect you for giving anybody who ever knew you a job when you were big. I also dig those “MC” gates to your pad.

It is foolish to claim that there isn’t a racial component to this; I have seen people that hate Barry for that reason. But in and of itself, the preservation of the status quo is not a sufficient reason to avoid the issue altogether. As you pointed out in your post, the status quo is less than desirable. African-American participation is baseball, it seems, has dwindled significantly. But here’s what you’re forgetting:

1) Hank Aaron is an African-American. Allowing somebody to cheat by Aaron’s mark is the equivalent of marginalizing what Aaron had to go through to get the record. The racism that Hank Aaron faced was much, much worse than anything that Barry has ever had to face.

2) Barry has spent a career alienating people. To see what’s going on here, we need a control to compare Barry against: How about Ken Griffey Jr? Both are the African-American sons of prominent major leaguers…although by all accounts, Ken Griffey Jr. is the exact opposite of Barry Bonds. Where Griffey is warm, Bonds is cold. By all accounts, Griffey is one of the nicest guys in baseball. But Bonds is not, although they have similar backgrounds. I have heard that Barry was spoiled growing up, something that could conceivably lead to him demanding his own way on things.

3) Bonds probably (but not yet officially) lied to a grand jury. You can’t do that, regardless of the color of your skin. If we start granting free passes on perjury, the entire criminal justice system breaks down. I don’t want to see that. Do you?

4) Bud Selig specifically said that Senator Mitchell has been granted authority to investigate steroid allegations regardless of where they go. This means to white people (Mark McGwire, Jason and Jeremy Giambi, Brandy Anderson) and Latinos (Raffy Palmeiro, Benito Santiago).

To sum up, there is a portion of the population that hate Bonds because of his color, but that is hardly the dominant effect. The desire for a level playing field, the need to keep the record book intact, the probably violation of federal laws all figure into the equation.

What Up Hammer,

Nice piece — got to shout out an “AMEN!”

I miss watching those A’s back in da day in their “day-glo” uniforms with the white Tony Montana spiked loafers just playing the game.

As a kid growing up in the Bay Area, I remember when Reggie Jackson played for the A’s and how much fun it was watching him tear it up there.

I was so convinced that REGGIE was the man that I followed him to NEW YORK as a YANKEES fan.

Contrary to popular belief, the REGGIE bar didn’t make little league hits sail over the wall and it didn’t taste too good, but I crammed them down hoping to be like Reggie – Mr. October.

I know you must have some Charlie Finley stories to tell! —come on Hammer!

Keep keeping it real!

G-Deuce

DA BRONX BOMBERS

http://daboogiedownbronx.mlblogs.com/

HAMMER!

sorry that’s all I got.

welcome to MLBlogs!

bobby

http://marlins.mlblogs.com

dear mr. hammer—-you hit the nail right on the head!!
i hurt for barry bonds and i am not even a fan of his(i am a die-hard braves fan). what is being done to him is wrong.

i am not sure why the attention to barry–so he hasn’t been the easiest guy to get along with–and so you might not like him…but geez..do you ruin a man’s life just ’cause you can?

steriods or no steroids/lies or no lies….those are no longer the questions for me….the delight of those that like to see failure in those that succeed raises all kinds of questions….not about barry–but about those that are trying to bring others down.

i choose to turn the sound off each time the discussion is started about barry. i have no interest in hearing others enjoy the anguish of others…i wish i could watch the games with the radio on because the radio announcers tend to call the game play by play instead of giving all of their personal opinions about the subject of barry. are we not teaching a type of cruelty and yes even hatred when we discuss things that no one who is listening can respond to? it isn’t like they are discussing it like my family does politics around the supper table….we all have a say about our opinion at the supper table… please, let’s

just play ball—the rest will take care of itself—i hope barry knows that there are those of us out there that are angry about this and yet have no way to voice our opinion…i have written to msnbc sports twice but it gets swallowed up by so much anger from others…why do they really care…they need to get a life and quit being angry about something that doesn’t even effect them….saying that barry’s records should be removed is the most rediculous thing i have EVER heard of….By the way mr. hammer…your writing is quite good.

I have not forgotten baseball is entertainment. Some seem to have. But i’m not one of them.

Please, Hammer, Dont Hurt Em (couldn’t resist).

Good post, but I’m going to disagree with you.

I am a Dodger fan. I am, surprisingly, a Bonds fan. A guy on the Bonds on Bonds show came out (in full Dodger garb) and said in order to be a diehard Dodger fan, you had to hate Bonds.

Au contraire.

Still, we agree that the Bonds scenario isn’t about steroids. Where we disagree is that I do not believe it is RACE that is an issue. Your namesake (Hammerin’ Hank) isn’t white, right?

It is about the media picking at straws because Bonds has always been a jerk to them.

It isn’t right. But, certainly we can’t argue that race relations were better in the 70’s when you were a bat boy, can we?

Looking forward to your future entries… any interest in an interview on our baseballgeeks.com podcast on this issue? We would love to have you…

Very well thought out and written. I have been pursuing some of the same notions on my blog, Some Ballyard (http://someballyard.mlblogs.com/). Indeed, my justification for writing a blog on baseball in the first place is the worthiness of exploring the cultural divide you refer to, which is always just under the surface demanding resolution and defines America in our time. Ever so often it erupts into the public consciousness. This is one of those times.

Michael

http://someballyard.mlblogs.com/

“I will not sit idle while new journalist who are in need of a ratings bump, and a book sale, taint the game and divide America.”

Umm… actually it was Barry Bonds who has tainted the game and is dividing America, not the journalists who’s job it is to report on one of the biggest sports scandals of all time. You seriously cannot possibly thing they are to ones to blame.

I can not believe that you are hung up on the idea that RACE is the issue. The issue is that Bonds is a jerk and CHEAT and always will be. I feel for the Giants fans who have been loyal, however, duped by Bonds. In closing, it is a shame that the media and MLB are so hiped up on Bonds passing Ruth in HR’s. Shame on you.

What a coincidence. Bonds blames his healing knee for not being able to break Aaron’s record. Undoubtedly, it’s all this attention to his taking steroids. Thank God, they caught him before he disgraced Aaron’s record (that one deserved TWO asterisls !)

That bcheater oughta be banned for life ! Pete Rose ain’t got nothin’ on that cheater Bonds !

Babe Ruth AND Hank Aaron accomplished their feat naturally (I don’t think steroids were available in the 1920’s and Aaron has too much class to ever stoop to that level, even if they were available during his tenure.

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