August 8, 2007

Barry Bonds' one sin that you don't hear about

Long before he started juicing in 1999, Bonds was widely despised for never sharing any of his baseball secrets with his teammate. His not unreasonable explanation was that many would soon stop being his teammates and start being his competitors. And Barry certainly had less to gain from exchanging tips with lesser baseball minds -- here's an article on how his pioneering armor-plating of his elbow against being hit by the pitch game him a big mechanical advantage. In the long run, Bonds will be understood as one of the games' most focused technical innovators. His father, Bobby Bonds, was a great physical talent but never quite fulfilled his potential. Barry carefully overcame all his father's flaws.

Strikingly, the one character flaw that Bonds is seldom denounced in the press for is for his racism. As I pointed out in 2006, the carefully documented book Game of Shadows explains the origin of his juicing: the adulation for the cheating McGwire who is white, was driving him crazy.


On that trip [to McGwire's St. Louis in May 1998] Bonds began making racial remarks about McGwire to Kimberly Bell [his girlfriend]. According to Bell he would repeat them throughout the summer, as McGwire and Sammy Sosa, the buff, fan-friendly Chicago Cubs slugger who also was hitting home runs at an amazing rate, became the talk of the nation.

"They're just letting him do it because he's a white boy," Bonds said of McGwire and his chase of Maris's record. The pursuit by Sosa, a Latin player from the Dominican Republic, was entertaining but doomed, Bonds declared. As a matter of policy, "they'll never let him win," he said.

As he sometimes did when he was in a particularly bleak mood, Bonds was channeling racial attitudes picked up from his father, the former Giants star Bobby Bonds, and his godfather, the great Willie Mays, both African-American ballplayers who had experienced virulent racism while starting their professional careers in the Jim Crow South. Barry Bonds himself had never seen anything remotely like that: He had grown up in an affluent white suburb of San Francisco, and his best boyhood friend, his first wife and his present girlfriend all were white. When Bonds railed about McGwire, he didn't articulate who "they" were, or how the supposed conspiracy to rig the home run record was being carried out. But his brooding anger was real enough, and it continued throughout a year in which he batted .303, hit 37 home runs, made the All-Star team for the eighth time and was otherwise almost completely ignored.


Compare the silence on Bonds' racism (despite how much the media hate him overall) to how, in the grand tradition of the Brezhnev Regime, Major League Baseball, to press adulation, bundled relief pitcher John Rocker off to a mental hospital for saying in 2000 about New York:


"It's the most hectic, nerve-racking city. Imagine having to take the [Number] 7 train to the ballpark, looking like you're [riding through] Beirut next to some kid with purple hair next to some queer with AIDS right next to some dude who just got out of jail for the fourth time right next to some 20-year-old mom with four kids. It's depressing."


Saturday Night Live's Colin Quinn commented, "I hate Rocker, but I have to admit the guy has ridden the 7 train."


My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

24 comments:

Mary Pat said...

If he had ridden the 7 train, where are all the Chinese and Korean people in his description? I'm not joking here. It's like not noticing all the Indian/Pakistani people getting off at Jackson Heights on the F train.

So I'm saying he hadn't ridden the 7 train. But I wouldn't be surprised if he had ridden the 6.

Anonymous said...

Well, you wimps are in luck! That racist, hulk of a baseball player doesn't have the advantage over you when it comes to attracting women. According to a FOX article "Women Prefer 'Feminine' Men for Long-Term Relationships". But remember this is just based on looks. Open your mouth & the effect could be negated.

Muswell Hillbilly said...

That SNL quote about Rocker is sublime. It's the perfect (admittedly tongue-in-cheek) exemplar of PC culture.

Namely, "all these things may be true, but being a member of the civilized elite is all about not acknowledging them."

Anonymous said...

Here's the best evidence of his attitude:

"The Bonds incident involved Ron Kittle and a meeting Kittle didn’t enjoy with Bonds at Chicago’s Wrigley Field in 1993. Kittle hoped to auction a signed Barry Bonds jersey at a golf event, with the proceeds being given to a children’s charity. Kittle has written a book, “Ron Kittle's Tales from the White Sox Dugout” and included Bonds reaction to being asked to autograph a jersey which would benefit needy children.

"I paid about $110 of my own money for them, so they could be auctioned off at the golf outing. I did that all the time for stars like Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Derek Jeter and Roger Clemens. When I tell them how their autographs help the cause, every player gladly signs — with one exception.

I walked up to Bonds at his locker in the Wrigley Field visitors' clubhouse, introduced myself and said, "Barry, if you sign these, they'll bring in a lot of money for kids who need help."

Bonds stood up, looked me in the eye and said, "I don't sign for white people." If lightning hits me today, I will swear those were his exact words. Matt Williams and other Giants were in the room and they heard what Bonds said."

from http://sportsbiznews.blogspot.com/2007/08/barry-bonds-quest-for-immortality-and.html

======

The difference between Bonds and Rocker is that Bonds hasn't given the media a really juicy quote. Steve, you gotta admit that's a big, big difference when you let your prejudices hang out in the open.

Adam said...

A few years back, Bonds expressed reservations (and, often, a lack of interest) in passing black Hank Aaron for the most home runs ever, 755, or black Willie Mays for number three, with 660. He said that what he really wanted was to pass white Babe Ruth for second most, with 714, and that he accepted that there was no way for him to get there except to also pass Mays. The way it came across to me was an us vs. them mentality, the only guy he was gunning for was one of "them".

As an SF Giants fan, I love Barry. I respect the hell out of his work ethic, his pride, and his baseball smarts, and his steroid use doesn't seem anything out of the ordinary from a generation of players. The one thing I really dislike in him is his evident racism.

Ron Guhname said...

"Bonds stood up, looked me in the eye and said, 'I don't sign for white people.'"

Damn, why didn't I think of that. The other day two Filipino students hit me up in my office for a donation to their campus organization. "I don't donate to Asians" would have saved me 10 bucks.

Jedster said...

Steve,

You keep trotting out Bell's comments.

It's possible she's not lying, but what's that saying....hell hath no fury like a woman scorned?

It's possible she's bitter; it's possible she's just trying to use Bonds to get ahead (after all, she's available nude in Playboy this month or next); it's also possible she is telling the truth.

One thing is undeniably true: she is white. Bonds is black. And they dated. So for however racist people might say Bonds is, the fact is that he married at least one white woman and dated another. (I seem to recall people saying his best friend, one of the Balco guys, was white, but I could be wrong about that.)

I wonder how many non-whites John Rocker has been married to or dated?

Another thing about John Rocker: I think that when he came back, people were willing to give him a second chance. I know I was -- and I'm no conservative, to put it mildly.

Anyway, even if Bonds is some sort of virulent racist, he seems to have kept it under wraps. But then again, his kids are mixed, right? One of them is called Asia for crying out loud.

If Barry Bonds is a massive racist, he is doing a bad job of it.

On the other hand, if he feels conflicted about race, that's normal. Hell, you're a perfect example of someone who obsesses about race. Maybe if more people talked about it, we'd all be in a better spot.

But I don't find what you're alleging to be convincing.

BTW, I realized today something funny. I am a huge Babe Ruth fan. I think he's the greatest that ever was or ever will be. Bar none. I've never had a black person call me a racist or an idiot for saying that even though Ruth played in a league that illegally bared blacks from playing.

But when I say Barry Bonds is a great player who deserves to go to the hall of fame, I get all sorts of static from white people.

I don't get it.

Do you?

Jedster

Proofreader said...

Jedster:
Part of being a Black racist seems to be marrying or dating White women. A way to stick it to the Man.

Proofreader said...

BTW, Rocker married a Black woman. http://www.aliciamarie.com/

Re-education was successful, it seems.

James Kabala said...

In Quinn's defense, his expression of "hatred" of Rocker was probably driven more by a desire to defend his home city of New York (which Rocker expressed hatred for in every way, not just in terms of its racial composition) rather than a need to be PC. Quinn is actually an outspoken conservative (although, unfortunately, not a very funny comedian).

Jedster: I'm not sure sleeping with, or even marrying, a white woman means Bonds is not a racist in other ways, but I agree that his ex-mistress's words shouldn't be taken as gospel truth.

roissy said...

bonds gets static because of his juicing and his assholery. baseball record comparisons are intergenerational so the fact that players alongside bonds have juiced doesn't shed any favorable light on bonds.
bonds takes pleasure in passing the marks of babe ruth, a player who never used roids. too bad the comparison is fraudulent.

Josh said...

Colin Quinn is weird! He did the SNL news for a while and basically he's a not-very-funny--seeming guy who occasionnaly says things that are really really funny. I only wish he had had the cojones to say the line about "Rocker DID ride the 7 train" without the qualifier "I hate him,but..." It would be a beautiful line! :) PS: I DO NOT hate Rocker,I feel bad for thew way he was mauled by the Gang of Idiots!

Josh said...

Ive GOT to respond to "Jedster" and his inane Bonds comment:Barry had sex with a white woman,so therefore that shows he is NOT racist?? Are you such a lame-brain you think a black M having sex with a WF is some kind of statement of tolerance and brotherhood? :D Wouldnt hostility to white men cause him to want to have WF's and prove that he is the superior man??? Because Barry chose to indulge his sexual desires---you want to give him a medal? You're out to lunch,Einstein! :0

Anonymous said...

Nike, the sports media, et al have been selling the rebel image for the last 30 years (promoting various "false rebels" such as John McEnroe). Sports fans have been buying it. Then the genuine article comes along and nobody's ready for it. Barry, with his inner direction and negative social energy, his anti-team homer fixation and his drug use, would seem to be the ultimate black hat hero.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to see how that "racist hulk of a baseball player" would fare against any of the heavyweight boxing champs (who are all white men).

Also, the Rocker comparison is not valid. He said nothing racist. It might be homophobic or mildly xenophobic, but he said nothing about blacks.

But, of course, we get the usual racial double standard.

Svigor said...

So for however racist people might say Bonds is, the fact is that he married at least one white woman and dated another.

So, I can cite the white slaveholder/ black slave relations from U.S. history as evidence against white slaveholder racism?

Finding white women more attractive than black women doesn't sound like much of a proxy for non-racism to me; proxy for good sense and/or good eyesight maybe...

Jedster said...

The fact that Bonds has half-white children certainly may not prove he is not a racist, but it certainly doesn't help prove that he is a racist. Strom Thurmond was quite racist for a long time and yet fathered a child with a black woman. I agree with those who think John Rocker was dealt with in an overly harsh manner by some, but he still is the guy who sent himself to the mental hospital. Many people, Bonds included, have dealt with far more stress and handled it just fine. Trent Lott managed just fine, for example. (And him getting pushed out says as much as the GOP as it does anything else.) Oh, and John Rocker's wife is pretty hot. I have to give him props. As for the Ron Kittle incident, it is the most credible allegation I've seen against Bonds, but even if it's true, you can't judge a person's entire character from one incident. (Is there any chance bonds said I don't sign for white sox?) Also, how much money has Ron Kittle made from making this claim? Who would have heard of his book if he hadn't said it? Why did he wait 10 years to mention it? You guys are grasping at straws, to some degree. Anyway, have fun.

cantinflas said...

proofreader, shurely more a matter of sticking it to the Wo-man?!

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised no one has commented on the article linked to in the first paragraph of Steve's commentary (Barry Bonds' HR Record Tainted by Elbow 'Armor'? by Michael Witte). This prosthetic device would seem to give Bonds a significant mechanical advantage in hitting. In fact, the design of this contraption seems to have evolved over the years for just that purpose. It hardly seems plausible that MLB couldn't be aware of the potential advantage. Why have they not banned this bionic device? Admittedly, I don't fully understand the kinesiology behind Witte's claims, or his motivations. But at the very least you would expect a full airing of his claims in the media. I also think it's noteworthy that the author Michael Witte is currently a consultant to a major league baseball team on MECHANICS, of all things. What's going on here? Is there something I'm missing? Why the resonating silence?

RICK said...

I'm surprised no one has commented on the article linked to in the first paragraph of Steve's commentary (“Barry Bonds' HR Record Tainted by Elbow 'Armor'?” by Michael Witte). This prosthetic device would seem to give Bonds a significant mechanical advantage in hitting. In fact, the design of this contraption seems to have evolved over the years for just that purpose. It hardly seems plausible that MLB couldn't be aware of the potential advantage. Why have they not banned this bionic device? Admittedly, I don't fully understand the kinesiology behind Witte's claims, or his motivations. But at the very least you would expect a full airing of his claims in the media. I also think it's noteworthy that the author Michael Witte is currently a consultant to a major league baseball team on MECHANICS, of all things. What's going on here? Is there something I'm missing? Why the resonating silence?

Anonymous said...

The maker of Bonds brace has debunked the allegations in witte's article. Witte never argued back, so apparently Mr. Silva was correct in his assertions. He also mentions he made the same brace for Henderson, Sheffield, and other ballplayers, so Bonds supposed "unfair advantage" is a moot point.

RICK said...

The “maker of Bond’s brace” would hardly be a reliable source on this subject. He might be the least reliable source, other than Bond’s himself. Would you rely on Balco for objective information on Bond’s steroid use? That the manufacturer of the brace made similar devices for a few other ballplayers does not counter the argument that the device confers an unfair advantage. It only means several other players may have had a similar advantage. Curious that you named Sheffield. He also used steroids supplied by Balco, and his home run surge more or less paralleled that of Bonds, only casting more suspicion on the real purpose of this bionic device. As for Witte, since he’s on the payroll of a major league club, I’m surprised he made the claim in the first place. Perhaps he’s reluctant to pursue the subject further because of his relationship with major league baseball. But that is only conjecture on my part. I read Will Carroll’s article in “Baseball Prospectus” on this topic, and certainly did not find it a satisfactory conclusion to this controversy. Why doesn’t Mark Silva, the maker of the brace, provide an exact replica of the device for examination by experts in the field (kinesiologists, mechanical engineers…) who can shed more light on the subject. Maybe there is nothing to Witte’s claims. I’m not qualified to say. But so far I’ve found the rebuttals cursory and unfulfilling.

Anonymous said...

McGuire was using a legal steroid pre-cursor openly. Calling him a cheater is absurd. McGuire described the effects as allowing him to recover from injuries more quickly and by golly, as soon as he stopped using the stuff he retired with an intractable knee problem!

Anonymous said...

Steve,

The fact that Bonds complained about how Mark McGuire was treated better than he was doesn't prove that Barry Bonds a racist. His observation may have been correct and complaining about racism isn't the same thing as being a racist oneself. Bonds certainly isn't the only player who probably used steroids; but he gets a vast majority of the bad press. McGuire's growth was pretty suspicious, too; but, until very recently, he got a free ride.

You really should know better than to throw around charges of racism in a cavalier manner. You certainly complain when people do the same to you.

~ Risto