Whether you love or hate KANSAS CITY STAR columnist Jason Whitlock, you’ve got to admit that the man knows how to get people talking. Fans seem to disagree whether he loves or hate their teams, and while he frequently writes about race, he often addresses the issue from unexpected angles. The one thing everyone can agree on is that his love for Jeff George is out of control. But I digress.
In today’s STAR, the man who introduced America to the concept of the “Black KKK” is at it again with a column pleading for the Kansas City Royals to add infamous slugger Barry Bonds to their lineup. Amongst some typically Whitlockian hyperbole comparing the plight of Bonds to that of Muhammad Ali are some pretty interesting quotes on the matter from various members of the Royals themselves.
Whitlock sampled the Royals clubhouse for quotes supporting his claims that Bonds would be a welcome addition to the Kansas City lineup, as well as his ulterior point - that Bonds has been made a martyr for the steroid era and is blackballed from baseball. Quoth the Royals:
I’d feel honored to play with him,” Royals catcher John Buck said. “You can’t take away what he’s done in the game.”Billy Butler added: “I wouldn’t have a problem at all. I’d work with him. If he’d help our team win, I think it would be good for our team. Whatever is good for Kansas City.”
“I have no problem playing with anybody,” said outfielder José Guillen, who was briefly in trouble for suspected steroid use. “What is the problem with playing with Barry Bonds?”
“It’s unfortunate he’s not playing,” Mike Jacobs said. “You hope it’s not some sort of collusion (by the owners). He’s no different from the other guys who were suspected of taking whatever. Obviously there’s something fishy with him not playing.”
OK, Jason, we get it. The players wouldn’t mind adding him to the clubhouse. But what Whitlock doesn’t seem to notice is that Bonds has had multiple surgeries in recent years, is 45 years old, and has a history of being difficult to work with, both in the clubhouse and at the negotiating table.
While Whitlock wants to paint a picture of a sinister conspiracy keeping Bonds from joining a team, the truth is much more obvious and mundane. The risks of adding a broken down, drug-free Bonds to a young, talented baseball team simply outweigh the rewards. For years, the Royals added worn-out sluggers to their lineup in a futile attempt to contend. Why repeat the past, when the future holds so much promise?