Workers Vanguard No. 943

25 September 2009


On Sports, Steroids and Race


11 August 2009


Last Saturday (8 August) I intently listened to a press conference in which David “Big Papi” Ortiz and the Major League Players Association General Counsel Michael Weiner spoke to the issue of steroid use in baseball and the continuing victimization of Major League ball players by the Commissioner’s office, the U.S. Government and the media. Ortiz flatly stated he did not use any banned substances but rather bought vitamins and supplements across the counter.

To many of us following the turmoil surrounding the issue of the use of banned substances by Major League ball players this appearance of Ortiz, a well liked and respected player (except, of course, in New York), publicly fighting back against scurrilous and career damaging attacks with his union representative at his side was a positive event. For the last 4 or 5 years not a week goes by when some hack politician or corporate media flak has not attacked the baseball accomplishments and integrity of some Major League ball player. Obviously the bourgeoisie is attempting to intimidate the youth of this country by demonizing steroid use and attacking the Players Association.

I, for one, could care less what a baseball player does with his body. I don’t hear any puffed-up politician or corporate media hack bemoaning the fact that Hollywood has plastic surgeons on speed dial to perform a breast implant, butt enhancement, hair implant, face lift or whatever some star thinks it will take to get him or her in front of the camera. We all know of one Governor who “enhanced” his way to stardom and I don’t hear many complaints from the horse racing industry about all the drugs and supplements given to jockeys and horses to keep the weight down or the speed up.

Most of us have no doubts that a lot of the bad publicity and attacks are racially motivated as the persecution of Barry Bonds makes clear. Personality aside Bonds was the most feared batter of his era and has now been effectively blackballed from baseball before he could reach 3,000 hits, faces Federal charges and has had his name and career disparaged by every two-bit journalist in the country. The man has won seven MVP’s, hit 762 home runs and intimidated opposing managers so much he was intentionally walked with the bases loaded more than once. Fact is that the baseball and sports establishment does not like to admit that Henry Aaron and Barry Bonds, Black players, both broke the most hallowed record in American sports. The game of baseball is entertainment not life or death and management will promote whatever it takes to put butts in the seats and money in the till. (Just ask U.S. Senator Jim “Buckles” Bunning who in his Major League pitching days was known to groove the baseball with the help of his uniform belt buckle to give him an edge on the mound.)

I could say a lot more on this issue because baseball is dear to my heart and has been since the 50’s when Mantle, Berra and Whitey Ford were playing on the transistor radio stashed under my elementary classroom desk. The bourgeoisie has corrupted everything they touch with the climate of greed they promote and now want to act as if they are crusading protectors of the youth of the country when we know that some of them rank right up there with the most slimy banker or derivatives trader. Just sending this along to you in the hopes it might elicit an article on the subject.

Yours in struggle

For Pete Rose and Barry Bonds
in the Hall of Fame

A Revolutionary Socialist
and Baseball Fan