"I'm black. They don't build stuff for blacks.": Barry Bonds gives his perspective on: Racism in Boston (which he says doesn't come from first hand experience); his continual walks; statues, and other things.
posted by bcb2k2 to baseball at 12:43 PM - 34 comments
From Sports Illustrated article some years ago: "All Bill Russell did was win 2 NCAA championships, an Olympic Gold Medal, and 11 NBA titles in 13 years...and they named the tunnel after Ted Williams."
posted by filthyboy at 12:54 PM on June 18
"Boston is too racist for me,'' he said. "I couldn't play there.'' He's never been here, he's going on second hand information (from his dad's playing days and before) and to me, that comes off as an ignorant thing to say. Is racism a horrible part of Boston's past, yes. Boston isn't the city it once was. "How can 70 home runs [the number hit by Mark McGwire, the first player to reach that number] outdo 73? And don't blame 9-11 for nothing, dog. Don't try that. You know what I mean? Blame 9-11 for what?
posted by jerseygirl at 01:53 PM on June 18
Speaking personally, my hatred for Barry Bonds has nothing to do with the colour of his skin. Or 9/11.
posted by DrJohnEvans at 01:58 PM on June 18
It's a little off topic, but I'm kind of glad to see an athlete say something (ANYTHING) that isn't full of cliches. You can hate Bonds for almost any reason, but not for being a boring interview. Blame 9-11 for what? I think what he means is that he hit his record 73HR in 2001, and he doesn't want people to try and use the 9/11 attacks as an excuse on why he doesn't get the same publicity/press for his record like McGwire got for his (inferior) 70HR.
posted by grum@work at 02:09 PM on June 18
I've got a simple reason his 73 didn't get the press McGwire's 70 got: the record McGwire broke stood for a long time. I agree jerseygirl: talking shit about a place you've never visited is ignorant.
posted by dusted at 02:12 PM on June 18
"How can 70 home runs [the number hit by Mark McGwire, the first player to reach that number] outdo 73?" That's easy. 70 home runs by a decent human being outdoes 73 by a jerk. In fact, 7 home runs by a decent human being outdoes 73 by a jerk.
posted by dzot at 02:12 PM on June 18
I've always loved Barry Bonds. I love that he's perceived as a jerk, and that he walks to his own beat. I think that more than just about any other athlete, he recognizes that what he does is a job, and he just wants to go to work and do his job the best he can. He doesn't care about interviews, he doesn't care about endorsements. He doesn't care about being famous. He just wants to play ball. That's so awesome.
posted by rocketman at 02:20 PM on June 18
j-girl, can you explain how Boston isn't the city it once was, for those of us who still think of Boston as a white town?
posted by garfield at 02:33 PM on June 18
He's not a boring interview, no. He's usually more of a prickly, arrogant, inflamatory interview as far as I've seen. I just take issue with it because he's never even been here. He didn't even play in the 99 ASG because he was hurt, so he didn't make the trip. The color of your skin does not make you an expert on the race relations in a city you've never been to. I strongly, strongly believe he's basing it off Willie May's 1949 tryout, subsequent rejection and (blatantly wrong and blatantly racist) treatment at the hands of former franchise owner and notoriously racist, Tom Yawkey. It was 50 years ago, the Yawkey regime is lone gone and Yawkey is dead -- most likely, applying copious amounts of sunscreen in hell. I'm not apologizing for the past sins of the team and the Yawkey regime. It's ugly. Really really ugly. Not many people realize just how bad it was, but you know, it was bad all over -- NY, Philly, Boston... the list goes on. Racism in baseball, in my opinion, was just that much worse in Boston because of Yawkey. But I take a look at the calendar, and it's 2004. The new ownership has been making a lot of effort to try to repair the image. The comment about not building stuff for blacks... It took decades to get a structure named after Williams in Boston, and believe it or not, they just put up a statue in his honor at the actual park a few months ago. To me, these honors seem to come posthumously. You expect it posthumously, maybe. Bonds' doesn't have a statue in Philly either, and he played there for years. In the future, and as long as the steroid issue doesn't become an official confirmed indictment on him and his legacy, I'll bet that SF will erect a statue in Bonds' honor. I think what he means is that he hit his record 73HR in 2001, and he doesn't want people to try and use the 9/11 attacks as an excuse on why he doesn't get the same publicity/press for his record like McGwire got for his (inferior) 70HR. Oh. The date on that HR record didn't even occur to me. I thought he was trying to lump his race into the post-9/11 anti-arab sentiment. Well that's kind of a stupid arrogant remark then. Was the country suppose to halt after a national terrorism attack and national mourning and suddenly focus with the same diligence on Barry Bond's HR record? If I recall correctly, the superfluous stuff, sports included, didn't mean shit for a while after 9/11.
posted by jerseygirl at 02:38 PM on June 18
It's worth noting that the biggest sports stars in Boston now (excepting Curt Schilling) are Pedro, Nomar, Paul Pierce, and Manny Ramirez...all brown fellas. Oh, and Tom Brady. There goes my whole point.
posted by filthyboy at 02:41 PM on June 18
The color of your skin does not make you an expert on the race relations in a city you've never been to. No, but living in or around the area in question doesn't make you an expert in what it's like to be black in Boston either. Also, I take issue with Tom Yawkey being "notoriously racist". Tom Yawkey was a Southerner who surrounded himself with a bunch of racist pricks (see Higgins, Pinky) and he did nothing to curb their excesses. <rant type="crazy"> I think the Bill Russell/ Ted Williams thing is a false dichotomy. Bill Russell was a winner on a winning team. And I'd say (putting racial issues aside for a moment) that's the problem. Boston is an Irish Catholic town at its roots no matter how the Brahmins on their Hill feel about it. There's a heretical strain of Catholocism called Jansenism that says all flesh is evil and only in dying to we find an eternal reward. Unsuprisingly, this took hold in Irish consciousness with it's fatalism and British oppression. Think of Cuhcullain beating back the waves, fighting that unwinnable battle until even He, the great hero, succumbs to fate and then think of Ted Williams alone at the plate doing everything he could and losing. To me, that's why Sox players of any color are so popular. The popular players were white. All the players were white. Management made it so. It's an unpardonable sin because Jackie Robinson and Willie Mays could have made an incredible difference in Boston's racial relations just when it mattered most. </rant>
posted by yerfatma at 02:55 PM on June 18
It seems to me that most of sports athelets who are outspoken and and have an opinion will always be labeled as being ignorant or bitchy or whatnot. It's very easy for us to sit here and take shots at what they say when they have no real oppurtunity to defend themselves. Love them or hate them, I find it refreshing what a sports athlete isn't afriad to speak his/her mind.
posted by jmd82 at 03:03 PM on June 18
Granted, I only lived in Boston for two years, but I feel comfortable stating that it is the most racist big town I have ever visited. My girlfriend isn't white like me, and together, we've visited cities on both coasts and even in the South, and we both agree that the level of causal racism in Beantown is higher than anywhere else. People would unabashedly stare at the two of us whenever we were out on the town, and while some places, like Cambridge were totally cool, other places, like Arlington made us feel completely unwelcome. Sad to say, even towns like Houston were more progressive.
posted by thewittyname at 06:44 PM on June 18
"How can 70 home runs [the number hit by Mark McGwire, the first player to reach that number] outdo 73?" That's easy. 70 home runs by a decent human being outdoes 73 by a jerk. In fact, 7 home runs by a decent human being outdoes 73 by a jerk. Mark McGwire used to be considered a "jerk" by the media as well. He was part of the arrogant "Bash Brothers" and used to be derided by lots of people for being on steroids because of his huge size and prodigous home runs. Sound familiar?
posted by grum@work at 07:09 PM on June 18
I feel comfortable stating that it is the most racist big town I have ever visited. Well, good luck with that. Boston's more like a series of small towns and there's a big difference between the suburbs of Newton and the projects of Charleston or hanging out on Dot Ave. Take a tour of the Deep South and let me know if Boston is still #1 in your heart.
posted by yerfatma at 07:20 PM on June 18
Come on yerfatma, that's pretty lame. "If you think here is bad, you should check out there". At least you said "deep" south. I realize the south is everyone's whipping boy. Hell, I've heard people who have never been to the states talk about how bad the racism is in the south. And I Know I'm wasting my breath here, but the south I live in isn't anything like the south of the 50s or 60s. Yes, if you want to go to the deep woods south, you will find rebel flags to your hearts content. I live in birmingham, al which is about as "deep" south as you can get. Black Mayor, black female police chief, 70 percent black. Growing up in the 80s my family would visit a small town in NH every summer. All white until one day a black man moved into town. He left within a year tired of all the stares. That's just one town. i certainly wouldn't paint all of New England with one brush. Visited a girlfriend in california and while meeting her father for the first time the N-word came out of his mouth. Maybe that was "deep" california? Really, racism is everywhere. Rodney King didn't happen in alabama. Pointing fingers doesn't solve anything. The south certainly has the biggest blight on its history when it comes to racism, I'm not denying that. The history books will always remind us. But boston has its own well documented racist history. Far more effective than pointing at the south would be to demonstrate you've straightened things out in your own back yard. On topic: He's an athlete, a very rich athlete who lives a life unlike probably anyone we know. How to hit a curve ball? I'm all ears. His opinion on god, the president, or the racism of someplace he's only heard about? Who cares. Bonds seems to have taken quite well to his 'bad guy' persona. I think he enjoys it. He knows he'd never go to boston anyway, so why not create some attention for yourself. He enjoys it. He doesn't care about interviews. He just wants to play ball. That's so awesome. He seemed to enjoy doing this one.
posted by justgary at 09:02 PM on June 18
Barry Bonds gives his perspective on: Racism in Boston (which he says doesn't come from first hand experience); The New York Democratic delegation doesn't have first hand experience with racism in Boston, either, but that sure isn't stopping them from knowing all about it.
posted by lil_brown_bat at 09:32 PM on June 18
Granted, I only lived in Boston for two years, but I feel comfortable stating that it is the most racist big town I have ever visited. My girlfriend isn't white like me, and together, we've visited cities on both coasts and even in the South, and we both agree that the level of causal racism in Beantown is higher than anywhere else. Two years? I'm surprised you lived there two days, if you call it "Beantown". No one who lives/lived in Boston calls it "Beantown". Anyway, your mileage does vary. My nonwhite boyfriend and I didn't get funny looks in Boston; we did get them in San Francisco. Bet you liked San Fran better than Boston, didn't you? Moral of the story? One person's individual experience isn't the final truth. And Barry Bonds doesn't even have experience to go on. I hope you got a big salt shaker.
posted by lil_brown_bat at 09:42 PM on June 18
One person's individual experience isn't the final truth. Truer words never spoken.
posted by justgary at 09:51 PM on June 18
that's pretty lame. "If you think here is bad, you should check out there". It's not a big deal, but he said it was the most racist big town he'd ever visited. I feel an enormous amount of Boston's racist image is a legacy of the 70s busing ugliness. Is Boston an insular town that has pockets of small minded people? Sure. But it beats the shit out of here in New Hampshire in terms of racial relations. You cna hate whomever you want, but it's way easier up here where you'll never run into a black person so you'll never be challenged.
posted by yerfatma at 09:57 PM on June 18
You can hate whomever you want, but it's way easier up here where you'll never run into a black person so you'll never be challenged. I agree. I've been to many places where people wanted to talk about how bad racism must be in the south while living in a black free world. That NH town I was referring to was one of those towns.
posted by justgary at 10:12 PM on June 18
"I'm black. They don't build stuff for blacks." Ty Cobb doesn't have anything named after him, does he? I suspect that when "Field of Dreams" is remade in 50 years, the line will go like this: "Yeah, Barry Bonds wanted to play here, but none of us could stand the sonofabitch when we were alive so we told him to stick it!"
posted by mr_crash_davis at 11:37 PM on June 18
"I realize the south is everyone's whipping boy..." posted by justgary at 9:02 PM CST on June 18 Excellent rant, justgary. I grew up in the upper Midwest, but now live in North Carolina and I can say, without a doubt, that where I grew up is populated by just as may racist douchebags as there are down here. Just because Jim Crow wasn't on the law books up there doesn't mean it could not have happened. Back to the interview with Barry: "How can 70 home runs [the number hit by Mark McGwire, the first player to reach that number] outdo 73? And don't blame 9-11 for nothing, dog. Don't try that. You know what I mean? Wow, that's a pretty good sized ego there Barry. The lives of thousands of your fellow countrymen/women mean nothing compared to a batted ball? Fucking sweet. Wish I could live that world.
posted by NoMich at 01:04 AM on June 19
"How can 70 home runs [the number hit by Mark McGwire, the first player to reach that number] outdo 73? And don't blame 9-11 for nothing, dog. Don't try that. You know what I mean? Wow, that's a pretty good sized ego there Barry. The lives of thousands of your fellow countrymen/women mean nothing compared to a batted ball? Fucking sweet. Wish I could live that world. You are trying to twist Barry's words into something they aren't, which would probably put you right up there with Rick Reilly. He says don't use the 9/11 attacks as a reason why he didn't get the press that McGwire got. Mainly because he was making his charge on the record for most of the summer (before the attacks) and still didn't get anywhere close to half the hype of McGwire.
posted by grum@work at 10:01 AM on June 19
What grum said
posted by yerfatma at 03:28 PM on June 19
Though grum is right about twisting Barry's words, Barry should get off of any racist bent about why he did't get any press. Aside from the added attraction of the two man race, flip flopping throughout the season, and the fact Mac/Sosa were chasing a much older record, Barry is an ass. Especially to the media, he is a surly, pouty, and all around difficult. It can be argued whether or not he is on steroids, if he's as good as player X, if he should be pitched to, but he is an unequivocal ass. That is why he got little media fanfare for his homerun chase, no one wanted it to be him who got it.
posted by pivo at 04:47 PM on June 19
Mainly because he was making his charge on the record for most of the summer (before the attacks) and still didn't get anywhere close to half the hype of McGwire. I don't read SI so I don't get the Rick Reilly reference. If he's a Barry hater in general, then don't put me in that class. If Barry meant the entire season (or at least the second half of it), then yeah, I'm wrong. However, I thought he just meant the time right around home run number 70.
posted by NoMich at 04:54 PM on June 19
Aside from the added attraction of the two man race, Actually, it was a two man race for most of the summer of 2001 as well. Sosa ended up with 64HR at the end of the season. It wasn't as close as the 1998 race, but Sosa was right behind Bonds most of the way. I don't read SI so I don't get the Rick Reilly reference. If he's a Barry hater in general, then don't put me in that class. Okay, I won't lump you with him. That was a hasty judgement. But for reference, here are the Rick Reilly vs Barry Bonds articles that are generally considered by many as "hack jobs": He Loves Himself Barry Much where he chastises Bonds for not showing up for a team picture two years in a row, and uses quotes ONLY from Jeff Kent about how nobody likes Barry. What Reilly conveniently forgets to mention is that Kent skipped the team photo the year before, just like Barry. Back Off Or I'll Snap is where he says "The next night, Game 7, left Bonds's dream dead at the Ed, and a few hundred reporters had no choice but to go to his locker to ask him about it. He greeted them with, 'Back off or I'll snap.' What Reilly doesn't mention is that the whole line Bonds said to the reporters was: Back off. You're stepping on my son. Back off or I'll snap. But then, protecting your son from being injured makes it hard to write biased article. It's widely assumed that Reilly is still fuming for being stood up for an interview with Barry Bonds from WAY back in his career.
posted by grum@work at 10:37 PM on June 19
My experience of Boston is from twenty years ago but in my experience it's an incredibly racist city. There were areas of the city I couldn't go to without being threatened. Downtown clubs suddenly developed dress codes when I showed up. I have no idea about the truth of Bond's statement but I do know that twenty years ago Boston was the most racist city I ever lived in.
posted by rdr at 11:45 AM on June 20
thewittyname, exactly when did you spend those two years in Boston?
posted by cg1001a at 12:22 PM on June 20
One has to wonder if Bonds counts the 46 percent of nonwhites in Boston and 17.4 percent in the Boston metro area (according to the 2000 census) as "too racist" also? Those are the kinds of things you should think about before making a declaration as damning as Bonds did. -- More at Mercury News
posted by jerseygirl at 11:41 AM on June 21
jgirl, thanks for those numbers.....
posted by garfield at 12:15 PM on June 21
(yeah sorry about that delay getting them to you. I started looking into some census info over the weekend, admittedly with half assed effort. it was too nice out :) )
posted by jerseygirl at 12:27 PM on June 21
no one is reading this anymore, most likely, but for the sake of someone who might be... Moments ago, the sports station started an interview with Mo Vaughn for his perspective on Bonds' comments... Pardon my on the fly transcription... I know I'm just getting bits and pieces of the entire thing. Boston gets two thumbs up from Mo Vaughn, basically. Everyone treated him well, described the relationship between the city and Mo as a "love affair". He doesn't understand why any athlete wouldn't want to play in Boston. "For him (Bonds) to say that, it's misinformation that he got." He said something along the lines of Bonds should want to play there, because they'd love him. Says as long as you play well as a player, they're going to love you no matter. Vaughn doesn't perceive it as a problem anymore. Vaughn said he never experienced any problems in Boston, ever. He says that the people in Boston shouldn't take it to heart, and Vaughn says people realize things are different now. "No way is it a perception now". He states the mixture of people of different races on the team. Vaughn talked to Ellis Burks on the cell today and Burks has no problem with Boston either. "When I came here, there were not a lot of minority people in the stands, when I left, there were a lot more." "We're doing fine in Boston now. There's no problem at all" Bonds shouldn't be taking information from his father's (Bobby Bonds) playing days. It should be noted that Vaughn, even after leaving the Boston Red Sox, chose to make his home in the Boston area. And says the Red Sox organization has extended a hand to Vaughn for when his contract with the Mets is done. The audio file should show up as a link tomorrow, here.
posted by jerseygirl at 04:28 PM on June 23
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