Monday, May 7, 2007

Barry Bonds

Barry Bonds, perhaps the greatest baseball player of all time, is on pace to add the career record for home runs (755) to his trophy chest this summer. Unlike the home run race between Mark Mcguire and Sammy Sosa which saved baseball after the '94 work stoppage, there are mixed emotions this time around. A poll given by ESPN tried to determine why so many people dislike Bonds. In it they ask, "Overall, do you think Bonds has been treated fairly or unfairly?" and then the followup question asked to those answered unfairly: "Do you think he's been treated unfairly mainly because of his (race), mainly because of his (personality), or mainly because of his (alleged use of steroids)?" Certainly each of these factors has an effect, but which is the "main" effect? The results show that of the people who think Bonds is treated unfairly, 27% of Blacks vs 1% of Whites say it's "mainly because of his race". To me, this just doesn't make sense. I don't have any numbers to back it up, but the anecdotal evidence leads me to believe that people treat him how they do primarily because he did steroids and because he's a huge jerk. The fact that he's black seems to me to be a distant 3rd. Am I missing something? I'm certainly not an expert on racial bias so maybe I'm totally wrong.

Here's the evidence as I see it.

1) People were captivated by Bond's chase to hit 73 HRs, before the steroid scandal hit. Only after it become clear he used steroids has he really gained widespread hatred. (although people did think he was a dick before that) This supports steroids at the main cause of his treatment.

2) People loved McGuire, but as soon as he refused to say if he used steroids while testifying before congress people turned against him. Now people hate him. I doubt anyone would claim that people have treated Mcguire unfairly because of his race. Another point to steroids.

3) Bonds is widely regarded as one of the biggest jerks who has every played the game, and was already regarded as such before steroids was even on the radar. According to Jeff Pearlman, the author of the unauthorized biography Love me Hate Me, Bonds was even voted off his college team by this teammates but it was overridden by the coach. Somehow I doubt that was bcause he was Black. Point for "mainly because he's a jerk".

4) If race was the main factor for Bonds' treatment, even though Bonds is a steroid using d$ck, it would imply that even if bonds were a nice, steroid-free player he would still be treated with much of the hatred he is now, just because of his race. That certainly was the case in baseball at one time, and I'm sure race is still is a factor to this day, but clearly black players are no longer hated simply because they are black. (Ken Griffy Jr, Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard)

1 comment:

dave hiller said...

I never used to like Bonds, but now I'm a little on his side. It might not be race, but it's still a double standard. We (well mostly the idiotic sports media) use our gut to decide whether to like someone and seek out the facts to justify it.

Why have all four major league players to test positive for steroids been pitchers? Because steroids are a great way to speed recovery. God forbid we use them to help people who tear their arms to shreds pursuing the big leagues - better to dish out some self-righteous fear-mongering.

Don't even get me started on cycling.

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