With the Giants visiting the Red Sox tonight, USA Today’s Hal Bodley had the opportunity to quiz one observer who should’ve had something more interesting to say, and another who is apparently, beneath contempt.
“My guess is there will be boos audible in Cambridge,” says longtime Boston Globe columnist Bob Ryan. “If Barry hits one (home run), I don’t think there’s the slightest chance that ball doesn’t return to the field. Whoever dares to keep it will risk physical harm.”
Ryan says the media “often overrate the sophistication of the people here. Parochially, they like to think of themselves as enlightened, intellectual fans as a body. We allow them to perpetuate that myth and go out of our way to propagate it. But I’m often let down by them.”
The Red Sox were the last of major league teams to integrate, in 1959. It’s taken years for the franchise to shake its reputation of being racist.
“I think it’s pretty much in the past,” says Ryan. “It’s hard to support any idea we haven’t become enlightened. Look at the treatment Mo Vaughn got here and how revered David Ortiz is.
“But, this weekend will test it in terms of how ugly people can get. I don’t discount the possibility of it getting very ugly.”
With all due respect to Ryan, whom I genuine admire when he isn’t advocating beating up Joumana Kidd, it’s pretty easy to support the idea Boston is far from enlightened. How many black ticket holders can you find at Fenway? What other city in America would tolerate the continued employment of Dennis & Callahan after the former’s “Metco gorilla” remark — a quip that makes Don Imus seem downright culturally sensitive by comparison?
As for the treatment of Mo Vaughn that Ryan refers to, indeed the former Red Sox 1B was a fan favorite. Albeit one the former ownership was all too willing to see sign with Anaheim.
Bodley’s piece continues with the nonsensical ramblings of boycottbarry.com founder Daniel Kramer :
Kramer, a political consultant, says he wants to provide fans tools to help clean up baseball. He adds he’s spent “at least five figures of my own money” getting the project started.
“We’re going to be passing out Bondsfolds, a blindfold fans should wear every time Bonds steps up to the plate,” he says. “It’s our way of demonstrating a desire for authentic records only and an even playing field.”
Kramer believes “baseball is in danger of a downward spiral if it doesn’t address its most serious threat since the 1919 World Series, which was thrown by the White Sox. I submit the steroids scandal is the biggest threat of all time because the 1919 World Series was a one-time thing.”
Kramer rates baseball’s current steroid testing “as a joke. Baseball fans aren’t stupid. They went away in droves after the 1994-95 strike and, if there’s not serious action taken, they’ll do it again.”
Apparently, Kramer considers baseball’s enforcement of the color line to be a rather tiny matter compared to the 1919 Black Sox Scandal and whether or not Randy Velarde ingested PED’s.
As for the fans going away “in droves after the 1994-5 strike”, it might’ve escaped Kramer’s notice that not only is Major League Baseball experiencing unprecendented prosperity, but the catalyst for the current attendance boom, construction of new stadiums, etc., might well have been the exact sort of steroid use he decries.
While I can’t understand why Bodley would provide a vehicle for this knucklehead and his simplistic notions of “a level playing field”, it could be time to reserve the URL boycottpetermagowan.com with Network Solutions.