Wednesday, April 04, 2007

why slander aaron while defending bonds?

MSNBC sports writer Mike Celizic tells us to accept the inevitable, and give Barry Bonds credit when he hits his 756th home run, which barring injury, a late ban from baseball for steroid use, or alien abduction will happen some time this summer.

We will have to "accept" it in the sense that there's nothing we can do about it (unless you know some aliens looking to abduct a grumpy slugger). But we don't have to like it or celebrate it.

But in his column, Celizic manages to slander home run champ Henry Aaron. Celizic goes thru the tired litany of how many of baseball's stars were not necessarily wonderful human beings:

Ty Cobb, the first great superstar, was the most ornery misanthrope baseball or any game has ever seen, a man who could make Mike Tyson in his prime seem almost normal. Babe Ruth wasn’t mean, but he didn’t have a conscience, either. Joe DiMaggio was arrogant and cheap. Ted Williams was profane and supremely arrogant. Mickey Mantle was a womanizer and a drunk — although a fun one to be around. Willie Mays was often sullen. Hank Aaron was colorless. Pete Rose was something I can’t repeat on a family web site.

Steve Carlton refused to talk to the press. Randy Johnson is a surly lout, and Roger Clemens isn’t exactly a Tibetan monk.

Let me highlight Celizic's complaint about Aaron: "Hank Aaron was colorless." Since when does being quiet and maybe a bit dull become a character flaw on par with being a cheat or a misanthrope? Funny, because usually the adjective I see attached to Aaron's personality is "dignified." Which would certainly excuse him from the company Celizic throws him into.

Look, Celizic, you can go on about how great Bonds is (and even without steroids, he would have been on the short list of all-time great hitters) and all the rest of it. But slandering Hank Aaron in the process is completely uncalled for. In fact, it's arrogant and cheap and maybe something I can't repeat on a family web site, worthy of a sullen, surly lout or somebody who isn't exactly a Tibetan monk. I can't confirm whether Celizic was drunk when he wrote this column, but at least he avoided being profane and is presumably willing to talk to the press. Ultimately, criticizing Aaron for being dull seems the work of a misanthrope who doesn't have a conscience.



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