FOLKS HAVE GROWN TIRED OF MY RANTS AGAINST BONDS, WHO IS CHEATING ALL OTHER PLAYERS, REGARDLESS OF RACE, CREED OR NATIONAL ORIGIN, SO I WILL LET THE NATIONALLY KNOWN AND MUCH RESPECTED, COLUMNIST, BRYAN BURWELL CARRY THE TORCH FOR ME -- WE HAVE THE SAME MIND SET ON THE ISSUE OF CHEATING AND BONDS' DESIRE TO BE GLORIFIED FOR CHEATING. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
As he draws so perilously close to the most romantic names in baseball's record book, Barry Bonds' race to dubious athletic immortality has turned into everything it shouldn't be.
Somehow, Bonds' pursuit of Henry Aaron and Babe Ruth has become his own private Bonfire of the Vanities, a twisted tale that veers way off the beaten path of truth with all the distractions of blind ambition, misplaced charges of racism, tabloid sensationalism and needless greed gone awry.
Through his perverse "reality" vehicle "Bonds on Bonds," the San Francisco Giants slugger has skillfully manipulated the truth of his drug-soiled pursuit of baseball's record books by slyly injecting race into the subplot.
On the verge of tying Ruth for No. 2 on the all-time home run list, Bonds has transformed himself into the new O.J.
He's a brother who has basically lived untouched by most of the normal strictures of blackness. Born to wealth, accustomed to privilege, impervious to racism's harmful limitations all his life, Bonds is now what I call a brother of convenience. He is conveniently casting himself in the role of the persecuted black man being undone by some unseemly plot by The Man, when the truth is, he's nothing but a cheating jerk caught redhanded.
I'm not buying into his phony act that baseball is ignoring his rush to greatness because he's a black man trying to overtake Babe Ruth, and neither should any of you (though lately, I've received far too many phone calls and e-mails that tell me that some of you are taking the bait).
Oh, brother, please.
Hank Aaron was the real victim in his chase of Babe Ruth.
The FBI had to open all his mail and an armed bodyguard was constantly at his side, even in the Atlanta Braves dugout. When Hammerin' Henry shattered the Babe's 714 home run mark in 1974, he did it in such a polarized environment of racial hatred that in his 1991 autobiography, he wrote, "I'm proud of the home run record, but I don't like to talk about it because it brings back too many unpleasant memories."
What Aaron endured was a vile reminder of the sorry social climate of an America rising out of the turmoil of the civil rights movement. What Bonds is dealing with is a self-inflicted wound rising out of the turmoil of baseball emerging from its own steroid era.
And now the price he's paying is the revulsion of the entire baseball world, save for the cozy comforts of San Francisco's AT&T Park.
So he fights back by spinning his failures of integrity into an O.J.- like pity party. But I'm not buying Bonds' act now any more than I did when Simpson tried to play this bogus race card.
As the rest of the world foolishly played along with Simpson and all the idiot racial opportunists who fashioned the O.J. trial into some referendum on the difference between black and white justice, thankfully there were some voices of sanity.
My good friend, the late Ralph Wiley, cut right to the quick on the silliness of it all when the brilliant author once said, "Even after the double murder, O.J. was treated not like a black person. I never heard of a black man being charged with a double murder having the handcuffs taken off him, and being set free, and being told he could turn himself in next Tuesday, or the Friday after Thanksgiving, or whatever."
Yet plenty of folks saw the Juice as a victim, and still do as he searches country clubs and municipal golf courses worldwide for his ex-wife's killer. And today I keep hearing from more and more ill-informed black folks who swear that Bonds' place in baseball history is being hijacked by a mob of media haters and offended baseball traditionalists on a racist-tinged vendetta.
Too many of them seem to have bought into the rambling, contradictory, well-edited soliloquies in "Bonds on Bonds" that turn him into a tearful, soulful victim of a high-tech media lynching.
But Barry is not the new Henry Aaron. He's a better packaged, less vile version of the Juice. And when it's all over, I'm sure we'll find out that the same guy who framed O.J. was the guy who leaked out all the BALCO grand jury testimony on Bonds.