Archive for Friday, May 11, 2007

Commentary: Why isn’t it OK to just not like Barry Bonds?

May 11, 2007


In this new media era of Imus Lockdown, here's my concerned question for the jock kingdom version of the PC Police:

Is it OK if I just don't like Barry Bonds, while, you know, making it a personal thing?

If Bonds blew out a knee tomorrow, preventing him from doing what he's about to do, is it OK to gleefully hoot in public and print?

And when Bonds does do what he's about to do, what if I privately sulk, while also ignoring the landmark, yet tainted, achievement?

Not that my sensitive side has suddenly surfaced, but you have to be careful in these, well, sensitive times, even if Bonds is an arrogant jerk.

All along I've been openly hostile about all things Barry, who is also the best hitter of our time, and maybe the best player of all times.

I do greatly appreciate what's been seen at the plate, stretching over two decades, and appreciate what his overall game used to be.

But with Bonds quickly closing in on the most cherished record in all of sports - he will surpass Hank Aaron by early June as the home run king - that "other issue" has suddenly surfaced.

The race card has been dealt.

A national poll released last week said whites are overwhelmingly rooting against Bonds in this Aaron chase, while blacks support him.

On, I read an opinion piece Wednesday that was headlined this way:

"You Can't Discuss Bonds Without Race."


Written by Dr. Todd Boyd (his column mug told me Boyd is black), the closing line in the column was, "It would be great to see people put away their childish racial resentment of Barry Bonds and give the man his due ..."


Don't know Dr. Boyd, but his credit line says he's "a media commentator and a professor of critical studies at the USC School of Cinematic Arts. His next book, "The Notorious Ph.D.'s Guide to the Super Fly '70s," will be published in June."

Good luck on the book, Dr. B (big Super Fly fan myself back in the day), but on Bonds, can we agree to disagree, starting with your off-the-wall race-card ranting?

In appealing my case of immense Bonds dislike, these are questions for the PC Police:

Arrogant jerks come in all colors, all flavors. Why can't I dislike any color or any flavor? And nobody, I said nobody, will dispute Bonds is an arrogant jerk.

Is it OK if I agree with Mr. Aaron himself, and totally disassociate myself from Bonds' chase for Hank's record of 755 career homers?

If the Hammer, by choice, won't be there to pass the torch, what does that tell you?

Not even the commissioner of baseball will commit to personally attending Bonds' "record watch," and while Bud Selig won't say why, we know.

Could there be a federal indictment coming down this season against Bonds for grand jury perjury in that San Francisco steroids' case three years ago? And what other new evidence will eventually surface on Bonds? Selig is smart to put his plans on hold.

In the 'Roids Era of baseball, there is more evidence against Bonds than any other player. Documented evidence in last year's book, "Game of Shadows," nails Barry to the wall.

If the allegations in that book were not true, why hasn't Bonds sued the authors for libel? He didn't, and he won't.

Just an opinion, but Bonds cheated. He's an arrogant jerk who cheated, and who rats out teammates when he's caught cheating. Like last season, when Barry failed an amphetamines test, then said it was because of a substance he took from the locker of teammate Mark Sweeney. Nice guy.

Is it OK if I really just don't like Mr. Bonds because he's an arrogant jerk, he cheated and he's a rat?

Was it OK back in December when I didn't mark Mark McGwire on my Hall of Fame ballot? Just an opinion, based on far less evidence than the Bonds' case, that McGwire also cheated.

Is it also OK if I happen to personally like Sammy Sosa, who I've known since he was 16 years old? I openly cheer for Sosa to do well in his career revival for the Rangers, but as with Bonds and McGwire, don't deny his career is also tainted for the same reasons.

Is it OK to also marvel over Bonds for what we are seeing this season?

Assuming Bonds is being tested for steroids - a safe assumption - how does he continue to do what he does at age 42? And several e-mailers have asked if steroids were really an issue with Bonds in the first place.

The career numbers tell the story of a great five-tool player with good power, although not super power, meaning a home-run range of high 30s to low 40s.

But in 2000, there was a career-best 49 homers. In 2001, suddenly there's 73, the all-time record. As "Game of Shadows" says, with documentation, Bonds engaged that season in heavy doping, taking four kinds of steroids as well as insulin and human growth hormone.

Then the next three seasons after 2001, with Bonds in his late 30s, he hit 45, 45 and 46 homers, amazingly consistent numbers that may or may not suggest the cheating continued. But 73 that one season, when Bonds has never hit 50, otherwise? And before 2000, he hit 40 or more homers only three times in his entire career, yet has done it five times this decade.

Barry Bonds doesn't need steroids to hit long balls. Even now, he's a dangerous hitter. But to reach the home-run levels we saw at the start of this decade, at the very least you have to be suspicious, even if you want to ignore the evidence.

Then again, what's wrong with simply disliking an arrogant jerk?

Is it OK not to like Bonds, and make it personal, and root against him, and also root for a knee blowout by tomorrow?

Hopefully, the PC Police will have a prompt answer for me.


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