Re "Jackie can't sub for Barry," Opinion, April 14
Zev Chafets unfortunately tries to characterize the animosity that most baseball fans have toward Barry Bonds in racial terms. What Chafets conveniently ignores is that Bonds is by no means the only recipient of these harsh attitudes. There is no question that Mark McGwire has Hall of Fame credentials, but he received votes on only 23.5% of the ballots. It is also apparent that Sammy Sosa, a Latino, will receive similar treatment when he comes up for Hall of Fame consideration. Americans hate cheaters, no matter the color of their skin. Bonds, McGwire, Sosa and the rest should be banned from the Hall of Fame and their ill-gotten records stripped for tarnishing the American pastime. Save the racial rhetoric for the truly important issues, not as a transparent attempt to deflect blame for a cheater who is getting everything he deserves.
Chafets' defense of Bonds is off-base. The "souping" of the baseball for Babe Ruth is quite different from Bonds' alleged use of steroids. The latter, if true, gives the advantage only to Bonds, not to all hitters swinging at the souped-up ball. This helps explain the general disdain of Bonds and his behavior.
If Bonds passes Hank Aaron this season and the feat is met with resentment, as Chafets predicts, it will be because Bonds is a self-absorbed jerk and almost certainly a cheater, not because of the color of his skin. If Bonds is the best baseball has to offer, then all fans, black or white, are probably better off without baseball altogether.
PAULA AND GREG RICE
I cannot speak for all African Americans, but I have never been a big fan of baseball. Growing up it just seemed like basketball and football programs were more accessible to us. As for Bonds, Major League Baseball will suffer when he is gone. There will not be another player like him for a long time. To snub Bonds is to snub the game itself.