[Marxism] Bonds Hits No. 756 to Break Hank Aaron's Record

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Tue Aug 7 23:40:04 MDT 2007

When news of Barry Bonds having reached Hank Aaron's record was
posted, Richard and Sayan wrote me offlist asking me what that had to
do with Marxism. I meant to respond in more detail, but wasn't able
to til now.

We'll see tomorrow what the spin is, but up until now, everthing
points to more of the same attacks on Barry Bonds, a man who hasn't
been legally convicted, nor even legally charged, with any drug or
sports related offense.

It's pleasing to note, however, that two groups who usually don't see
eye-to-eye on many issues, understand that the racism which is one of
the main cultural building blocks of the United States is at the
heart of the hostility toward Barry Bonds. Socialists who want to win 
friends and influence people in the United States need a clear under-
standing of the centrality of racism in this country's culture. 

No amount of talk about class can eliminate the role which racism and 
social privilege plays in pitting different sectors of the working 
class and of the oppressed against one another.

Walter Lippmann
Los Angeles, California

ISR Issue 54, July-August 2007

The Unforgiven: Jack Johnson and Barry Bonds (excerpt)


BARRY BONDS: Home Run King. As the San Francisco Giants slugger
approaches Henry Aaron's record for career homers, this probability
seems to be turning otherwise rational people upside down, as Bonds
has encountered an almost surreal level of hostility. Sports has
always had its anti-heroes, but the antipathy directed at Bonds by
the media and some "fans" has been visceral and frightening. Some say
they can't stand Barry Bonds because they suspect -with the smug
certitude of having received holy writ -that he has used steroids.
(For a full discussion on the hypocrisy of anti-steroid hysteria,
please see my article, "The juice and the noose," ISR 50.)

Others say it is his "surly attitude," or "bad sportsmanship."

But much of the reaction to Bonds is simply bad old-fashioned racism.
Not since Jack Johnson has an athlete become the repository for so
much racial animus -and revealed broader gaps in Black and white
perceptions-as Barry Lamar Bonds.

In addition you have to take racism into account. The media is
white-controlled. The reporters are mostly white. Shouldn't we honor
those Black athletes who are "uppity" rather than those who are
"nice" and "cooperative" according to the big business media? The
slave that accepts their slavery and tries to adapt to their
oppression is not the individual that we'd expect to be "role models"
for our class. They are the "role models" that the ruling class wants
to hold up for the oppressed to imitate. We are obliged to defend
players like Barry Bonds and Rickey Henderson, also alleged to have a
"bad attitude." Rickey Henderson was one of the greatest players to
ever put on a uniform, yet he had to endure constant criticism of his
"bad attitude" and charges of "dogging it" when, in fact, he may have
been the best all-around player in MLB history when it comes to being
outstanding in every offensive and defensive category. When Rickey
Henderson played for the Yankees he was constantly in the shadow of
media darling Don Mattingly. Mattingly was a very good player, but
immeasurably inferior to Henderson, yet Mattingly was placed on a
pedestal by the white media, while the media was constantly critical
of Henderson's "bad attitude."

One last note: Barry Bonds has never been accused, let alone
convicted, of steroid use but Babe Ruth openly and brazenly violated
the law in an effort to hit more home runs. Prohibition was the law
of the land but Ruth defied the law by drinking beer because Ruth
said that he believed that it made him stronger. In addition, in an
effort to give himself more strength, Ruth ate sheep's testicles. Do
you know what a steroid is? It is a form of testosterone. I'll give
you one guess as to what is in sheep's testicles! Yeah, it's

-Mike Gimbel



August 7, 2007 
Bonds Hits No. 756 to Break Hank Aaron's Record 

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Barry Bonds hit No. 756 over the right-center
field wall Tuesday night, and hammered home the point: Like him or
not, legitimate or not, he is baseball's new home run king.

Bonds broke Hank Aaron's storied record in the fifth inning,
connecting on a 3-2 pitch from Washington's Mike Bacsik. Three days
earlier, Bonds tied the Hammer with a shot to left-center in San

Conspicuous by their absence were the commissioner and Aaron himself.

Bud Selig was on hand for the tiebreaking homer, deciding to put
baseball history ahead of the steroid allegations that have plagued
the San Francisco Giants slugger. On this night, he sent an emissary,
Major League Baseball executive vice president Jimmie Lee Solomon.

As for Aaron, he said all along he had no interest in being there
whenever and wherever his 33-year-old mark was broken. He was true to
his word, but he did offer a taped message of congratulations.

Absent, too, were the fans who held up asterisk signs, sure that
Bonds wasn't the real deal and that his power came from steroids.

Bonds didn't face such suspicions at AT&T Park, in front of a loyal,
home crowd that included his godfather, Hall of Famer Willie Mays.
Bonds has always denied knowingly using performance-enhancing drugs.

Yet even with Bonds at the top of the chart, fans will surely keep
debating which slugger they consider the true home run champion. Some
will continue to cling to Aaron while other, older rooters will
always say it's Babe Ruth.

"It's all about history. Pretty soon, someone will come along and
pass him," Mays said before the game.

A seven-time NL MVP, the 43-year-old Bonds hit his 22nd home run of
the year. Bonds broke Mark McGwire's single-season record by hitting
73 in 2001 and while he's no longer such a force, opposing pitchers
remain wary.

Bonds and Giants management bickered in the offseason over contract
issues. This big night was the main reason owner Peter Magowan
brought back the star left fielder for a 15th season in San
Francisco, signing him to a $15.8 million, one-year contract.

Bonds' once-rapid quest for the record had slowed in recent years as
his age and balky knees diminished his pace. He hit 258 home runs
from 2000-04, but has only 53 since then.

While steroids have tinged Bonds' pursuit, it was race that was the
predominant issue when Aaron broke Ruth's mark in 1974. Aaron dealt
with hate mail and death threats from racist fans who thought a black
man was not worthy of breaking the record set by a white hero, the
beloved Babe.

Former commissioner Bowie Kuhn watched Aaron tie the record but was
not present for the record-breaker, a slight that bothered many fans
of Aaron. Selig is a close friend of Aaron's and offered Bonds tepid
congratulations when he tied the record.

"I think Hank is his own man," Mays said. "I think if he wanted to be
here he would be here."

"When he hit 715, the commissioner wasn't there," he said. "You may
not blame him because he wasn't represented the right way."

Bonds was destined for stardom at an early age. The son of All-Star
outfielder Bobby Bonds and the godson of one of the game's greatest
players, Bonds spent his childhood years roaming the clubhouse at
Candlestick Park, getting tips from Mays and other Giants.

"I visualized him playing sports at a high level. He was 5 when he
was in my locker all the time," Mays said.

In a matter of years, Bonds went from a wiry leadoff hitter with
Pittsburgh in 1986 to a bulked-up slugger. That transformation is at
the heart of his many doubters, who believe Bonds cheated to
accomplish his feats and should not be considered the record-holder.

There are plenty of fans already hoping for the day that Bonds' total
-- whatever it ends up -- is topped. Rodriguez may have the best
chance, with his 500 home runs at age 32 far ahead of Bonds' pace.

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