View Full Version : Protest 'blacklisting' of Barry Bonds

lord patch
05-13-2008, 01:39 PM
Appeal to baseball fans
Protest 'blacklisting' of Barry Bonds
By Mike Gimbel

Published May 10, 2008 7:01 AM
The following appeal against the “blacklisting” of Barry Bonds has recently been circulating throughout the media. The appeal has been posted by The Black Commentator, Black Athlete Sports Network, and San Francisco Bay View Web sites as well as the Baseball Think Factory Newsblog. These postings resulted in a number of supportive e-mails from readers. The writer is a former consultant on player evaluation for the Boston Red Sox and the Montreal Expos.

How is it possible for the best hitter in the National League in 2007, Barry Bonds, to be unable to find a job with any team in Major League Baseball in 2008? How is it possible for the greatest hitter in the history of MLB, Barry Bonds, after being the best hitter in the NL in 2007, to be unable to get a job with any MLB team in 2008?

Run Production Averages (RPA)
for the top 27 hitters in
MLB’s 2007 season
Minimum 400 computed plate appearances, as per RPA method

Alex Rodriguez 205
Carlos Pena 205
Barry Bonds 204
Chipper Jones 197
David Ortiz 194
David Wright 190
Jack Cust 185
Ryan Braun 183
Prince Fielder 176
Jim Thome 176
Magglio Ordonez 175
Curtis Granderson 175
Mark Teixeira 174
Hanley Ramirez 173
Adam Dunn 171
Chase Utley 171
Rickie Weeks 171
Grady Sizemore 170
Albert Pujols 169
Chris Duncan 168
Matt Holliday 167
Carlos Beltran 167
Corey Hart 165
Jorge Posada 163
Lance Berkman 162
Pat Burrell 162
Chone Figgins 160

Here’s my computed Run Production Averages (RPA), see table, for the top 27 hitters in MLB’s 2007 season (minimum 400 computed plate appearances, as per RPA method). My method shows the season-adjusted value of each plate appearance in terms of the runs produced by that batter per the RPA formula that I previously described in my annual player rating books.

Are you going to tell me that there isn’t a single team that could use Bonds’ big bat? Tell me just one team that doesn’t have room on their 25-man roster for the greatest hitter in MLB history! Bonds has not been convicted of anything. He has not been accused of betting on games or throwing games. He has not been accused of assaulting anyone. Bonds has been accused of not being a nice guy by the media, but is that a crime?

Bonds has been accused of not telling the truth to a grand jury investigating BALCO. He does not own BALCO and does not distribute steroids on behalf of BALCO. Why was the grand jury investigating Bonds? Weren’t they supposed to be investigating BALCO? How did that “investigation” of BALCO turn into a witch hunt directed against MLB players? Clearly, BALCO wasn’t the real target in the racist campaign against Bonds.

I am my union’s delegate to the New York City Central Labor Council. During my union work I have been a grievance representative. I have often represented union members who have been brought up on charges for both minor and major infractions. Members could get fired for directly disobeying an order or for incompetence or for various serious infractions. The only time that the member faced suspension, however, was when the member posed an immediate danger.

What “immediate danger” to MLB does Barry Bonds pose that requires Bonds’ suspension prior to a decision in Bonds’ upcoming trial? In fact, wouldn’t the presence of Bonds on a MLB team roster—the Baltimore Orioles, for instance—be an immediate big boost to that team’s attendance as well as a big boost to their chances of winning?

In effect, MLB teams are willing to lose money rather than hire Bonds. Isn’t that the definition of a “blacklist”? The actors, singers, directors, etc., who were “blacklisted” during the McCarthy era witch hunt were money makers for the entertainment industry, yet no owner would hire them! Isn’t that exactly what is happening with Bonds?

Weren’t many of these talented performers indicted and some convicted for refusing to cooperate with grand juries and dragged before government-staged hearings in front of hundreds of cameras and reporters? Years later many of those “blacklisted” were apologized to, but did that apology make up for the destruction of their livelihoods and their personal lives during the McCarthy “blacklisting”? Of course not!

I have a special disgust for the owners of the San Francisco Giants. They made millions of dollars off of Barry Bonds. They were able to build a moneymaking stadium based, to a great extent, on Bonds. Where is their gratitude? Nowhere! He was their star player who was loved by the fans in the Bay Area, yet the Giants’ team owners shamefully released Bonds after the 2007 season so as to do their part in the “blacklisting”! They deserve a “Hall of Shame” of their own!

Years from now, when MLB is forced to apologize to Bonds for their actions, that apology will never make up for the crime that it is inflicting today on him and on the many fans who admire the athletic greatness that Bonds has personified as a player. I also admire him for his unbending, “in your face” attitude, as he’s been enduring this constant attack from the big business media, especially the sports talk radio and cable channels that have to fill 24-hour-a-day air time by creating controversy and scandal where there would have been little or none before those media outlets were created.

The following wording could be used for a petition to be circulated inside and outside stadiums to all concerned fans: “I appeal to the fans of MLB to bombard their team owners with letters and e-mails and petitions demanding that their team hire Barry Bonds. Imagine, for instance, Bonds added to the roster of the woeful offense of the Baltimore Orioles. Imagine the magical confrontations in the American League East with David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez at Fenway Park and Camden Yards and with Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter at Yankee Stadium and Camden Yards. Wouldn’t that do wonders for attendance for a Baltimore Orioles franchise that has been down in the dumps for so long?

“An historic wrong is being committed by the owners. Do we want to have a posthumous apology to Barry Bonds, as was done for Jim Thorpe, or do we correct this wrong NOW? Bonds is this era’s Babe Ruth. He’s the biggest star in our national pastime!”

While ending the Iraq occupation and fighting for a moratorium on home foreclosures take precedence, millions of you will still be in attendance at MLB games. While there, couldn’t you also do your part in fighting against the shameful “blacklisting” of Barry Bonds, the greatest hitter in MLB history? I want to see Barry Bonds playing baseball in 2008!

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October 5, 2005

When Sportswriters Come On Like David Duke
Barry Bonds Laughs Last

"I think we have other issues in this country to worry about that are a lot more serious. Talk about the athletes that are helping Katrina victims....You know what? There are still other issues that are more important (than steroid use in baseball). Right now people are losing lives and don't have homes. I think that's a little more serious, a lot more serious."

So said Barry Bonds in Washington DC last month, hours before crushing a home run in cavernous RFK stadium. The seven-time MVP was back in fighting form with his whipsaw bat and scabrous tongue after spending the season more hidden than Jimmy Hoffa. For those of us who love Barry Bonds, we do so precisely because he is so unlovable. He possesses more than intergalactic talent. He is one of a select few modern athletes with a fearless comfort telling uncomfortable truths. He is the Sean Penn of Major League Baseball, a Sean Penn in a Tom Hanks world.

Predictably, the anti-Bonds furies - surely Tom Hanks fans all - went to work immediately. Drew Sharp of the Detroit Free Press sniffed, "The man is a phony, believing that smacking a ball 450 feet gives him latitude to talk smack about his enemies -- real or imagined. Bonds still doesn't understand that he alone created the environment of distrust that engulfs him."

David Whitley of the Orlando Sentinel wrote, "When he faces New York media, Bonds will say people should be more concerned about 9/11. In Pittsburgh, he'll defer to the memory of the Johnstown Flood. By July, he'll be traveling with Cindy Sheehan. If only Barry's persecution complex allowed him to feel shame. He's reached a state of denial previously occupied only by O.J. and Michael Jackson fans." [Whitley's lumping Bonds in with an accused murderer and child molester is actually tame compared to some of what is on the blogosphere which seems to have been ghostwritten by David Duke.]

But with every barb as the season winded down, Bonds seemed to grow in strength. He led the San Francisco Giants to an unlikely playoff run, putting heat on the pitiable San Diego Padres in the National League West. In a fourteen game stretch, the seven time National League MVP rolled out of bed to hit five home runs with a monstrous .670 slugging percentage. All on knees a team doctor described as "cartilage on bone."

Bonds's success was both startling and satisfying. Startling because you just aren't supposed to slug .670 after not playing a whole year and being on the wrong side of 40. Satisfying because he looked terrific doing it. Many a dime-store pundit had gleefully predicted Barry would be a physical shadow of his former self. Since steroid testing kicked into full gear, several players came into spring looking like they spent the winter in a sauna. Bonds, they crowed, would show up resembling Jimmy "J.J." Walker. Instead he came back even bigger, a happy roll of proud middle-aged flab coating his muscled frame. Bonds looks like he has spent this off-season spending far more time with olive oil than the flaxseed variety. He was smiling and talked openly about chasing down Babe Ruth's magic 714 home runs early next season.

His state of mind seems miles from the Bonds six months ago who seemed on the verge of retirement when he said to reporters, "I'm tired of my kids crying... you wanted me to jump off a bridge, I finally did. You finally brought me and my family down... so go pick on a different person." That Bonds was a defeated person, guilty before proven innocent. He was treated like anabolic carrion by a cadre of media vultures. The sports radio harpies, who know less about medicine than Dr. Pepper want Bonds buried. [I'm not saying steroids aren't harmful. I just believe we need to stop treating "Mike and the Mad Dog" like they represent the American Medical Association.] This should be an affront to every fan in the game. They want to bury the only living player with 500 home runs and 500 stolen bases, a player who averaged a 30/30 for the entire decade of the '90s; a player who has never failed a drug test; a player whose home town fans in the Bay have his back by the thousands; a player without peer. They want to bury him, but Bonds is proving to have more lives than Freddie Krueger. Now every spiteful reporter, congressional jock sniffer, and - it must be said - racist "fan" who doesn't want to see the mean Black guy pass the Babe, gagged on his late season success.

The icing on the cake was the comment from Dave Marin, the spokesman for House Government Reform Committee chairman Tom Davis, who is leading the congressional steroid media circus. Marin heard Bonds' comments and said, "It's the type of response folks on Capitol Hill hear all the time from those who wish attention was focused on other things," Actually, Mr. Marin, it's the type of response that is desperately needed. It's frankly criminal that your attention is not "on other things." A government able to destroy and occupy other countries but unable or unwilling to repair levees should probably get their heads out of the damn sports pages. If there is any justice in the world. we will see George W. Bush under the congressional hot lights long before Barry Bonds.

Dave Zirin's new book "What's My Name Fool, Sports and Resistance in the United States (Harmarket Books is now available. Email the author back at dave@edgeofsports.com.

05-13-2008, 10:37 PM
Why should anyone protest for that man?

After all of the money and fame he has received, what did he give back to people that they should feel the need to try and save him?