A few weeks ago Milton Bradley very publicly decried the racist
comments hurled at him from the bleachers at Wrigley. But since he
wouldn’t give specifics the press has been having a field day, claiming
he’s making it all up. It blows my mind how blind they are. I’m no
fan of Milton’s, but you can’t walk through Wrigleyville without seeing
someone in a “Pujols Mows My Lawn” shirt, or those famous “Horry Kow!”
Fukudome shirts. I think in this case he’s absolutely right, and the
press would rather continue to crap all over the guy than grudgingly
admit that he has a point.
As much as soccer is the world’s game, baseball is still America’s game. And as games and culture tend to do, it reflects much about a nation’s character. If you watch soccer you know that the Germans play a very methodical game much like the methodical German people. Same goes for the “beautiful game” played by the Brazilians.
But what does this recent statement from Milton Bradley say about the state of our nation? Well, if you paid attention at all during the Presidential race last year, you know that Ted and Milton definitely have a point.
The state of race relations in this country has not come all that far since the times of the king of the racists, Ty Cobb, or Jackie Robinson’s first foray across the color lines. We may pretty it up these days with Rainbow coalitions and politically correct buzz-words but the fact of the matter is, there has never been an actual, frank discussion about race in this country despite what we’d like to lead ourselves to believe. As much as it pains me to say it, Cubs’ fans are not the problem. They’re nothing more than a symptom of the problem.
It’s not exactly the same thing but this reminds me of being in Wrigleyville a couple years ago late at night. I was walking with a few guys and there had definitely been some drinking going on. As we walked to find a cab, some thin young guy came hurrying down the street toward us and one of the guys in the group jumped at him and then started harassing him, calling him “f@g” this and “f@g” that. This poor guy was scared sh!tless and the rest of us were too stunned to even say anything. Finally someone pulled the guy from our group away and he looked around at us like it was the funniest thing ever. As the guy who had been getting harassed walked away as quickly as possible, the rest of us just stared at this d0uchebag standing there obliviously with a huge grin on his face, all of us still shocked at what had happened.
And again, it’s symptomatic. Racism and homophobia come from the same place and the fact that neither one has ever been dealt with directly in this country means that it will continue to go on. Whether or not someone said what Milton says he heard is not the point. The fact that we really shouldn’t be surprised that it happened is.