What Is Offensive Anyway?

Peter Kerasotis, Florida Today (Melbourne), Aug. 16

I understand where Felipe Alou is coming from. I really do.

In a recent postgame rant about the San Francisco Giants baseball team that Alou manages, KNBR talk-show host Larry Krueger said the Giants have too many “brain-dead Caribbean hitters hacking at slop nightly.”

Alou, who is from the Dominican Republic, was offended. Over-the-top offended.

So offended that he publicly called Krueger “the messenger of Satan.”

After an initial suspension, followed by several days of deliberations, with increasing heat from Alou as well as a feeding frenzy from the Bay Area media, KNBR fired Krueger and two other employees.

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So, yes, I understand where Felipe Alou is coming from, and I can appreciate why he was outraged. But where was the outrage two summers ago when one of Alou’s own players told a national magazine this: “Baseball is in trouble. It’s becoming a Latin and all-white game.”

Who would say such a thing? Who would openly complain about the growing influence of Latin players in baseball? And who would do so even while his own manager is Latino?

Barry Bonds, that’s who.

The same Barry Bonds who, when asked before the home-run derby at the 1996 All-Star game whether he had a bet with other players, replied: “My agent is Jewish. They call me a black Jew. I guess I’m part Jewish because I don’t spend a lot of money or make a lot of bets.”

The same Barry Bonds who said he wasn’t interested in Hank Aaron’s record 755 home runs, but rather Babe Ruth’s 714 home run mark, because Ruth was a white player during an era when there weren’t blacks in the major leagues.

“The only number I’m concerned with is Babe Ruth’s,” Bonds intoned. “As a left-handed hitter, I wiped him out. That’s it. And in the baseball world, Babe Ruth is everything, right? I got his slugging percentage, I got him on on-base, I got him on walks and then I’ll take his home run record and that’s it. Don’t talk about him no more.”

Yes, the same Barry Bonds that former major leaguer Ron Kittle says refused to sign some autographs for him that would go to a charity auction for cancer victims, telling Kittle, “I don’t sign for white people.”

Does anybody else detect a double standard here?

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Contact Peter Kerasotis at [email protected]

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