WITCH-HUNT BY THE BAY
Witch-hunts are a good time, but they never get the real witch.
We’re hearing quite frequently that the Barry Bonds steroid/pergury/obstruction of justice trial has a rascist element to it. However, when it comes to enduring racism, he’s no Hank Aaron. In today’s era of overplayed political correctness, and current environment of white guilt that has infested America, Bonds has actually been spared any sharp criticism by white sports writers, who are too afraid of bigot accusations to truly speak their minds. (Same thing can be said about Obama). Imagine for a second what would have happened if Hammerin’ Hank had been caught doping. Lynch mob anyone? In the arena of racism victims, Bonds is no Henry Aaron.
I don’t think this is a racism issue, but I do believe this circus is a misguided witch-hunt, orchestrated by traditional elements of our society that fear for baseball’s future. We have been told for so long that baseball is a symbol of America, along with apple pie and Chevrolets. However, it has become obvious that baseball is in decline, and baseball purists think going after steroid users will reverse this trend.
I’m going to be the first to say it: Baseball is soon to be as inconsequential as steam locomotives, vinyl records, and rotary phones. My great grandchildren will only witness baseball at county fairs, being performed by the same type of fat losers involved in Civil War Reenactments. Their fears are not without merit. Among all major sports in America, baseball now ranks 3rd in sales of logo gear, 4th in attendance, and consistently ranks beneath the NFL in fan polls. If you throw NASCAR into the mix, the rankings sink even further.
Baseball purists believe this downward trend is because its most unique aspects, statistics and records, have been ruined. Growing up, I knew Aaron’s homerun total, but couldn’t tell you Marino’s TD passes, Jabbar’s scoring record, or Gretzky’s either. This witch-hunt is targeting Barry Bonds because he symbolizes how modern science, nutrition, and training have made a mockery of the most coveted records in all of sports, but tossing out the old record books is not why baseball is in decline – Its because our country has changed and the game has not. We live in a world of instant, magnificent entertainment, and such a slow moving, pastoral game as baseball has little place in our Internet driven world.
Not only has what Americans crave as entertainment changed, the demographics have shifted, and it seems that everything around us is changing at breakneck speed. The Ipad I received for Christmas has already been replaced by a new version. Where the hell did Newspapers go? My kids turn up their noses at animated movies that aren’t 3-D. I can now see my wife’s face while she’s bitching me out on my I-phone. Anyone know what happened to Rock n Roll? At times, I feel I can no longer keep up – but things sure are exciting, which is something baseball is it. Even boxing is not entertaining enough for us anymore. Ultimate fighting has kicked it to the curb. If two guys repeatedly hitting each other’s bloody faces with giant red gloves isn’t fun enough for America, than how can guys standing around spitting with caps on survive?
I’d like to dispel the notion that Baseball’s records are sacred. Would Barry Bonds have hit 758 home runs if he had played in the cavernous Astrodome for most of his career? How many more games would Ferguson Jenkins have won if he had not pitched at Wrigley Field with crappy teams that gave him meager run support? And what do we do with any hitting record achieved by a Colorado Rocky player? Thin air allows the ball to travel farther. Cy Young didn’t pitch to black hitters. Babe Ruth didn’t face Latin hurlers. The pitching mound’s height was lowered in the 60′s to increase hits. So are baseball’s records valid when it’s ridiculous to compare them from era to era? The glue that holds this sport together is nothing more than wheat paste.
So leave Barry Bonds alone. Rubbing bovine hormones on your ass is a victimless crime, and the world’s a mess right now. Let’s go find the real witches.