by Saeed Shabazz
NEW YORK (Finalcall.com)–The San Francisco Giants landed in New York on
August 24 for a four game series with the New York Mets. This would be
the last time this season that New York would see Barry Bonds, as he
tries to hit more home runs in one season than Sammy Sosa and Mark
McGwire did a few years ago.
But Bonds is feeling the added pressure of the attacks in the papers
and the racism from some fans whenever a Black man approaches a record
held by a white player.
A headline in the Daily News Express, an afternoon give-away-paper
published by the Daily News company, said: "Hard-to-like Bonds brings
show to N.Y."
In the third paragraph of the story the article with no byline says,
"He [Bonds] is being portrayed nationally as a player so selfish that
his teammates can barely tolerate him."
"Writing something like that is so silly. None of us is perfect, that
is why Christ died on the cross for us," Barry Bonds told The Final
"Do they write these things because you are a Black man?"
"Probably, I mean reality is reality," he said. "Is it preventing me
from succeeding, no. What they write are individual opinions or
perceptions. I turn that light switch off and move on. If you allow
stupidity to set you back, that makes you a little bit dumber than
Ken Griffey Jr. once said that Barry Bonds had become the "greatest
player of his generation." Barry Bonds’ domination of baseball started
in 1990, when he won the first of three National League Most Valuable
Player awards. He also has been selected to the All-Star team nine
times, and is the second player to hit 30 home runs in 10 consecutive
A ball player has to set goals and depend on his inner strength,
knowing who you are as an individual, that allows one to accomplish
one’s goals, Barry Bonds reflected, during an exclusive interview.
Religion plays a vital part of his life, he said, because "I think a
lot of the holdback in my life, in not winning a championship, was that
I always wanted the championship first, but I will never put that before
God again," Barry Bonds told The Final Call.
"If you look at the success that I have had in my later life, it is
because I learned to put God first in my life. Baseball is a game," he
Barry’s grandmother always talked about the importance of God, and so
did his parents, he said, opening a door into his private life.
His father, 14-year baseball star Bobby Bonds, and his wife Pat
taught Barry and his brother Ricky, 31, to read the Bible. "My father
said it is the most powerful book in the world today," Barry Bonds
"While we are talking about my parents, let me say something else
about them," he demanded with a smile. "My parents are not racists, and
they did not raise me to be a racist. They always said that there is
reality and you must deal with that. But my parents also said that
nothing should stop you in today’s era from excelling."
"Barry is intelligent and very confident. Some reporters take that as
arrogance because Black athletes are not suppose to think," teammate
Eric Davis said.
When he responds to reporters a certain way, he is accused of being a
racist, Davis said.
Barry Bonds has been bold enough to suggest to the press that there
are those who do not want him to break a white man’s record, referring
to Mark McGwire’s record 71 home runs in one season. There is talk that
he gets hate mail, just as Hank Aaron did in 1974 when he hit home run
number 715, breaking Babe Ruth’s record.
"Not much has changed since then," Dusty Baker, the Giants’ manager,
told reporters. Dusty Baker was a teammate when Mr. Aaron hit number
715. "I get hate mail, too," he revealed. Barry Bonds has said
repeatedly that he is not reading his mail.
Hitting home runs is not important, winning a championship is, Bonds
"Let me tell you what else is important," he said. "It is time for
the kids to go back to school. In our home it is mandatory that you do
homework first before anything else." His son Nikolai, 11, and daughter
Shikari, 10, both by an earlier marriage, speak Swedish and French. They
will soon take Spanish. "It is important for them to learn other
cultures," Barry said, adding that he helps with the homework, although
as they get older, the lessons get tougher.
He currently is married to Elizabeth Watson from Montreal, Canada,
and they have a daughter, Aisha Lynn. "Fatherhood is a responsibility,
but the real key is parenting, and my wife and I work well together," he
When he is not talking about his family, he talks about his program,
Link and Learn to Minority Schools, that helps children to improve their
educational skills level.
"I am also interested in working with other African Americans in
buying land and property in our communities, as a way of building
wealth," Barry Bonds said. "We as a people need to go forward, and
buying back our land is a very good start."
Photo: Barry Bonds
by Saeed Shabazz