As Sammy Sosa was shocking the world with his appearance on ESPN Desportes, Alex Rodriguez was sharing his 4 point plan to save baseball with Sports Illustrated.
Both men used steroids. Both men were freakish athletes in a predominately white man’s sport, but only one of them was banished from the game and the public eye in disgrace. The same comparison could be made between Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire. I could rattle off a bunch of stats here but that would not only be too easy but would not convince anyone who has made up their mind already and refuses to look at things from a different point of view.
During the race to break Roger Maris’s home run record in 1998, it was Sosa who was smiling for the cameras, laughing with reporters, and enjoying every moment of it. McGwire, on the other hand, sulked and came off as unapproachable. By his own admission, McGwire changed his attitude when he saw how much fun Sosa was having and how light hearted he was. McGwire finished the season with 70 home runs and Sosa finished with 66 that year. Both were on steroids but while McGwire was able to get himself back into major league baseball as a coach, Sosa was black balled out of the game and left the country.
ARod has had the same good fortune as McGwire, while Barry Bonds who is arguably one of the greatest hitters of all time with or without the juice, was inexplicably pushed out of the game. ARod has found himself a nice gig on television and is a lot more palatable to look at and listen to for the American public than Bonds is even though they both are guilty of the same thing.
I noticed the difference in the way these players were treated by the public and I’m sure some very smart people in the media noticed it as well, but they are either quiet about it or are laughing at how ridiculous Sosa looks with his now pinkish skin matching his pink outfit. The sad thing is Sosa has noticed it too, and has decided that maybe if his skin were the same complexion as ARod and McGwire then maybe he would get the same love that they are getting. As the saying goes, its not rocket science people, but the American public is just to damn cowardly to honestly talk about race so we will continue to be confused every time someone does something we see as odd in order to fit in.