Tuesday, April 17, 2007

I'm Not Sure if Jackie Would've Wanted This

I think it's official now. Hank Aaron is a hater.

It pains me to come to this conclusion, but it's impossible to think otherwise at this point.

Last week, Hank Aaron said he wasn't going to get on a plane for anybody. But there he was, all the way across the country in Los Angeles for Jackie Robinson day.

I must confess. I know Hank doesn't owe Barry anything. Still, I wish Hank Aaron would be more supportive of Barry. I was raised to stick together with my folk. And given that Hank Aaron lives just a few miles down the road from my childhood home, I know he's been exposed to the same community values. Aaron's shunning of Bonds is all the more tragic in this moment when Black players in the MLB are supposedly an endangered species. Division will not help remedy that. Excommunication of Black baseball icons will not remedy that.

To put it mildly, Barry has his flaws. Still, he is one of the most talented major leaguers ever. And it's sad to contemplate, but whose to say he won't be the last Black baseball icon? If it's so, he should be celebrated while he's still in the game. And Hank Aaron should be at the party. I guess grumpy old men are the new Black, but my gut tells me that it's not that Barry is surly or that Barry juiced. It's just that someone's breaking the record that identifies Hank Aaron. And Hank doesn't like it one bit, as human as that inclination may be.

I am cognizant that some see Barry Bonds as a pariah. But he is not the devil. He is a gifted player. He's given a lot to the game. It is unspeakable that MLB is still considering whether they will acknowledge Bonds' breaking of the greatest record in sports. I guess Barry brought it on himself though. He talks back. He is not the quiet, "heroic" Black person that White people prefer. Ironically, "classy" has become just as loaded as "thug" when it comes to describing Black athletes. I guess it was just me that assumed Jackie Robinson opened the door for all Blacks, not just the friendly, sanitized ones.

I don't think the intent of the Jackie Robsinson cermeony was to upset me. But I couldn't help but become increasingly angry as the festivities went on. Will Selig even be in the time zone when Barry breaks the home run record? It's disappointing to me as a baseball fan and a Black person that Barry will be break the home run record in a matter of weeks without a sliver of the hero appreciation MLB showed on Sunday. It's no wonder that Willie Mays skipped MLB's showcase of hypocrisy. He must have been thinking the same thing I was. Can't a brother get a gospel choir?


Signal to Noise said...

Yeah, Barry's probably an asshole, but given what he saw his dad go through as a player, plus the unrealistic expectations of fans and media for him to behave as they would like him to rather than what or who he is, you'd be too.

Joe said...

It looks to me like Aaron is expressing his opinon on the taint (steroids/HGH) that Bonds currently is painted with. It would be classy for Aaron to be there, but the message is being sent loud and clear.

nation_of_islam_sportsblog said...

Ma'am, Aaron is from a different era. He isn't a hater. He just doesn't believe it is appropriate to pay homage to a cheater.

The haters are the ones getting on Aaron's case for not wanting to be a part of a tainted accomplishment.