Tuesday, June 13, 2006

That Bastard Barry

Baseball is the only sport that has somehow managed to weave its way into the mythology of American culture. Sure, the Super Bowl is pretty much a national holiday, and the NBA brings in a lot of money on a good year, but they both pale in comparison to the mythical status that baseball has achieved.

Maybe it’s the outright age of baseball that gives it its supremacy over the other sports; so many legends over so many years give baseball an edge over every other sport- there’s a reason its called “America’s Pastime”. In a world so full of brutal complications, the game of baseball has remained unchanged through the ages- it is still nine guys, a hitter, and a wall in the back. The fields of Fenway smell exactly the same on the warm spring days as they did in the 1930s, and, though the batters have changed, the goal is still to knock it over the Green Monster in far left field.

There was a time once when I sat in box seats at Yankee Stadium, and they were by far the most phenomenal seats I'd ever been in. Great view, free food, and, most importantly, free beer. (they even had a bartender in the damn box). What was cool thought was the height of the seats- far enought that you could see the whole field, but close enough to actually know what twas going on. From this vantage point, and in my beer induced haze, I was able to look past the fact that I was watching the hated Yankees, and see baseball for what it is. A guy hits the ball, the people cheer, the runners take off. A throw home, a safe call by some fat umpire, and the crowd goes wild. That's it. So simple, so easy, yet so hard to master.

Some will say that the sport goes back to a simpler time. As I think about it, even a cynic like me has to admit that in a way, they're actually right. The sport is slow and suspenseful, there are no time limits, and it certainly doesn't translate to TV well. In a fast paced world where basketball and football have risen with dancers, halftime shows, quick action, and big plays, baseball remains that old man's sport. No cheerleaders, no smoke and mirrors, just a guy hitting a ball. The simplicity of the game itself reminds us, I think, of what has come to be known as "a simpler time".

Now, though, things are getting complicated. Dark clouds have come over my beloved sport, and are ruining the mystic aura that has surrounded the game for the past 110 years. This is the steroid scandal, and the face of this crime is that of Barry Bonds. This one arrogant, selfish, condescending prick of a guy has managed to turn the entire game into a joke. Sure, other asses like McGuire and Sosa have had their hands in it, but Bonds has more blood on his than any of these other clowns. If anyone has destroyed the dream that was baseball...it's this dick.

Barry is a bad guy. Let’s get that out of the way. He treats his teammates like garbage, he treats the fans like garbage, he treats the media like garbage, and he does massive amounts of steroids. Regardless, he’s going to break that record if he plays this entire year, there is no doubt about that. Do I like it? No I don’t. But more importantly, do I not like it because he’s black? Ha. No, I don’t like it because 1) he’s on steroids, and 2) he’s on steroids. His being black, or being a bad guy, has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that I don’t want him breaking the home run record. Hell, most of the time I like guys who are mavericks, who don't sing bullshit songs for the media, and who aren't nice just because they're supposed to be; I dig people that play their own way. I think there's also a good amount of people that think like this, but Bonds has turned so many off in the past year that this actually plays against him now.

In the past three weeks, I have heard all over Sports Radio that whites don’t want him to break the record because he is black. Bonds himself has stated that he thinks white America does not want to see him take over Ruth, because Ruth is white. Hey Barry – get a fucking clue you arrogant prick. Babe Ruth has 708 home runs, and he is number two on the career list. Hank Aaron has 755, and he is a black man. A black man already holds the record- so what the fuck is Bonds talking about?

Does he really think that whites don’t want him to break the record because he is black? Is that really how his mind works? Bonds has said himself that he only wants to pass Ruth’s record because he is white! So who is being the racist here? If a white man said that he wanted to break Aaron’s record because Aaron was black, there would be riots in a hundred cities, and would ruin the career of said player.

Either way, I don’t want to get into the semantics of what a person can and can’t say regarding race- as a bleeding heart liberal myself, I understand the reasons why blacks can say certain things that whites can’t; if that’s the price white Americans have to pay for three hundred years of oppression, then we should consider ourselves lucky.

But there is a reason that Bonds is making this a racial issue: to hide the steroid scandal. When being attacked for a crime, the best thing to do is pull the race card I guess. The more Barry Bonds can make it seem like the media is going after him because he is black, the more he pushes the argument away from the true question, which is that of steroids, and, particularly, his own use of them. This is a great tactic, and apparently, it works wonders. The more he can get people to fight over the non-existent race issue, the less people are going to pay attention to the fact that this guy broke laws left and right to get to where he is. It is, in reality, a classic slight of hand; while you're looking over here, something is happening way over there. I have to say that I'm truly amazed that people don't realize this, and that the media, who do seem to hate him, are even playing a part in it.

Bonds should have learned from the old aphorism that I often quote when talking politics: “Its not the crime that gets you in trouble, it’s the cover up”. If Bonds had done steroids, he should have owned up to it like a man, and said, plainly, that he made a mistake. Now, it is too late for that. He’s so far into the shit that there is no way out except plowing right through; this means continuing to deny everything. And it is a shame, because had he come clean, he might even be able to dispel some of the ridiculous falsities that have come with the steroid scandal, and even, maybe, been a spokesman for some kind of testosterone replacement, which I believe would benefit males later in life.

But no, he was a jerkoff to his teammates, to the press, and, most importantly, to his fans. He's an outright cheater and a closet racist. In effect, it is twenty years of terrible karma that are coming back to bite Barry Bonds right in his GH filled ass, and I can’t say that I feel sorry for him. Not in the least.

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