Cast the First Stone

Barry Bonds makes me want to cry.

Not just tear up like Bambi, but flat out bawl.

To me No. 25 is one of the most tragic figures of my generation.

In Barry Bonds I see nothing but a truculent, self-centered cheater that has done more to damage the integrity of the American pastime than any Black Sock, Charlie Hustle or crack-smoking Strawberry.

In Barry Bonds I see wasted talent, deluded rage and the perpetuation of the haughty, “too good for you” stereotype that pervades athletes and celebrities.

According to an article in the March 29 USA Today, many people would see me and my opinions as racist.

“White America doesn’t want him to (pass) Babe Ruth and is doing everything they can to stop him,” Leonard Moore, director of African and African-American Studies at Louisiana State University, told the paper. “America hasn’t had a white hope since the retirement of (NBA star) Larry Bird, and once Bonds passes Ruth, there’s nothing that will make (Ruth) unique, and they’re scared. And I’m scared for Bonds.

“I pray for him every night,” added Moore.

It seems to me that there are more deserving recipients of our prayers.

The assertion that the hate mail Bonds receives is based upon racism and the innate fear that he will surpass Babe Ruth seems utterly ridiculous to me.

Didn’t Hank Aaron already break Ruth’s record, and didn’t Bonds himself break the once-sacred single season home run record?

Either the racist letter writers live in extremely inefficient postal districts or Bonds has brought this upon himself thanks to his absurd behavior.

Consider the evidence regarding Bonds’ steroid use. We have the leaked grand jury testimony, documents reported by the San Francisco Chronicle in the Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative (BALCO) investigation and more recently in the book Game of Shadows. The book reports that Bonds took human growth hormone and the anabolic steroid Deca Durabolin after the 1999 season and, before his 73-home run season of 2001, the BALCO-created “clear” and “cream” drugs as well as Clomid, a women’s infertility drug, and Modafinil, a narcolepsy drug used as a stimulant.

According to the article, the sources include “affidavits filed by government investigators, evidence seized from BALCO and memos detailing statements of BALCO founder Victor Conte and Bonds’ trainer and friend, Greg Anderson, to Internal Revenue Service special agent Jeff Novitzky.”

Barry Bonds, who makes $22 million-plus per year, is surrounded by a multitude of evidence uncovered by several sources that all point to him chemically enhancing his body and gaining an unfair advantage.

If Roger Maris, a white man from North Dakota who received death threats during his record-breaking season in 1961, had that type of baggage he would have faced a lot more than an asterisk in the record books.

What does the everyday American baseball fan make of the situation?

“The honest answer is that some of it is racism, I bet,” said David Ved, a senior marketing major, “however, he could better his cause by not being such a jackass to the entire baseball world. The whole ‘World against Barry Bonds’ thing that he has in his mind is getting old.”

Too often in our society racism pervades and ruins things that are otherwise genuine and innocent and one of the worst by-products of this plague is how it often becomes the easy answer, the only explanation, even when faced with logical discourse, and factual record.

Need proof?

When I was applying to colleges as a senior in high school, I didn’t apply to several upper level schools because I was convinced by several of my peers that certain institutions would never accept an Italian-American Catholic kid from Queens.

Never mind the fact that my SAT scores were probably a little too low and I couldn’t stack up against my competition.

When one of my black friends got into Columbia, friends of mine bemoaned affirmative action and the inequity of the system.

But that was too easy.

It’s just too simple sometimes to push the blame away from yourself and thrust it upon something else, especially something as amorphous and wicked as racism.

I have seen real racism, and though I do not pretend to be an expert or a victim, I have heard every name in the book and have seen far too much for a product of the New York City Public School system.

Have we become so blinded by political correctness that criticizing a man because of real allegations is now racism?

“To black America, this is just another example of the judicial system trying to railroad an African-American male," Moore told USA Today in the same article.

Maybe so, but calling this racism demeans racism itself.

“I’m a big believer in karma,” said San Diego Padres center fielder Mike Cameron in the article. “What goes around comes around. If you don’t treat people right, things come back to bite you.”

That’s more like it.