Updated: September 21, 2012

Gary Norris Gray BASN Staff Reporter

OAKLAND, CA. (BASN) — In 1993 Janet Jackson recorded a song entitled “IF” on her 5th hit album called “Janet” this may be what many African American baseball fans might be telling Major League Baseball today.

“IF” Roger Clemens pitches one inning of baseball in Houston, Black fans should not be walking into another MLB park. The hypocrisies in baseball are very clear. As baseball becomes “A Whiter Shade of Pale” with each passing year, the statistics remain stable with an 8.1% of African American participation on the field, a far cry from the days of the 1970’s and 1980’s. The Pittsburgh Pirates fielded an all Black team in the World Series and (NLCS) National League Championship Series with the help of Black Latinos. Pitcher Dock Ellis and catcher Manny Sanguillen made this a reality. It probably will never happen again.

Currently the sports media is trying hard to make a success story about a 50 year old pitcher coming back to the majors, who allegedly cheated years ago. “IF” this were true, Mr. Clemens should not be allowed to pitch.
The Sports Channel ESPN devoted hour upon hour on Mr. Clemens minor league starts, cutting in on regular programming to report his accomplishments. The Sports media want to make Mr. Roger Clemens, the new American Hero for senior citizens. That’s fine, but are we forgetting the Clemens testimony in Washington D.C. on the issues of drugs in Major League Baseball?

“IF” Clemons told the congressional committee the truth, MLB would not be having this problem today. This will be the third person not of color who walk back into the graces of baseball havens with the massive steroid scandal still prevalent. This was the third person to escape the clutches and critical eye of the sports media.

The serious suspensions started on April 3, 2005 with Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Alex Sanchez, Barry Bonds, Jose Canseco, and Sammy Sosa, started the parade early at the turn of the century then Rafael Palmeiro, Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz, thus ending the vague drug policies MLB had put in place. In 2012, San Francisco Giant Melky Cabrera and Oakland Athletic Bartolo Colon continue to get raked over the coals for the same offenses.
MLB is kicking and screaming. “IF” they are serious about cleaning up the drug issues, MAYBE they will clean up their act. Since 2005 there has been 67 suspensions, 52 Latino, 10 African American, and 5 Caucasian. The last seven suspensions have been Latino.

It’s still not sufficient.

Retired outfielder Jose Canseco stated time and time again who had taken drugs while playing America’s favorite game in Oakland, California and Arlington, Texas. Writers, Sports-casters, and media hounds laughed at Canseco and tried to characterize him as a player scorned. They said that Jose was a player with sour grapes; Jose was a crazy person that wanted to retaliate against MLB. No, Jose Canseco wanted a clean game to be played without advantages. Mr. Canseco has not been proven wrong yet and the sports world still has not taken him seriously.

In the 2008 season teams did not inquire about Homerun King and record breaker Barry Bonds who was a free agent .He was healthy and waiting for a team to ring his telephone at the time. Bonds could have broken every offensive baseball record in the book “IF” number 25 went on the field.

The New York Yankees, The Boston Red Sox, and The Minnesota Twins all needed a (DH) Designated Hitter. Injuries hurt New York at the time. The Yankees passed and did not make it to the American League playoffs, just as the Twins and Red Sox. Other teams followed suit.

The New York Mets fell three games behind the Philadelphia Phillies while the Arizona Diamondbacks could not catch the Los Angeles Dodgers. “IF” they had elected to include Barry Lamar Bonds on their roster, maybe they would have made it to the playoffs. But Barry Lamar Bonds was secretly Black-balled by MLB and not a soul said a word.

However that same door opened for former Oakland Athletic- St. Louis Cardinal Mark McGwire to re-enter baseball after he allegedly cheated. He is currently the batting coach for the 2011 World Champion St. Louis Cardinals while Chicago Cub- Texas Ranger, Sammy Sosa cannot be found in any position on a Major League organization. Both of these players created the “Summer of Love”, home run chase. Baseball fans all over the world fell in love with the game again. Fans wanted to see the long ball and they got their wish. That same door slammed shut on Sammy Sosa’s face.

The double standard continues with the recent Ryan Braun drug allegations. Ryan Braun, outfielder for the Milwaukee Brewers received a get ‘out of jail free card’. Mr. Braun was allegedly caught with elevated testosterone in his blood stream during spring training. This sad episode continued for months before a decision was made by MLB. We have been told that it is very difficult to find the high grade of synthetic testosterone in the body without injection. So what really happened to his sample?” Nobody really knows now and the case was appealed.But why ruin a good story pertaining to the 2011 (MVP) Most Valuable Player. Last year Mr. Braun became the face of Major League Baseball. His face was on breakfast cereal boxes, television, and baseball, commercials. A suspension and a fine would have given baseball another big black eye. This is the hypocrisy of MLB because at the same time Oakland Athletics outfielder Manny Ramirez was suspended for 50 games for the same offense.Braun is still the only player in MLB to challenge the results of a drug test via an appeal and win. Major League Baseball has yet to explain what happened to the testing results. MLB tried to blame the carrier for contaminating the test but that also was misleading because MLB have kept urine samples for years in their safe house. Why are these samples not contaminated?

Question were Manny Ramirez, Barry Bonds, or Sammy Sosa afforded the same courtesy to appeal? When Boston Red Sox first basemen and DH, David “Big Papi” Ortiz, asked MLB what was the alleged drug, MLB officials backed off and never answered Mr. Ortiz questions because they feared a lawsuit if they pursued this quest.
“IF” all of these players would come together and file a class action civil case against MLB the truth would be uncovered.

Next question, “IF” MLB really wanted African American participation in this sport, they would open more baseball camps.

Currently there are only two inner city camps. One in Compton, California and one in Newark, New Jersey. However MLB has built camps throughout South America, Asia, and the Caribbean resulting in Latin and Asian players filling the rosters of teams.”IF” African American youth were given the same opportunity in MLB Camps they would be eligible to fill the team’s roster as well. The MLB (RBI) Reviving Baseball in the Inner Cities Program is not cutting the mustard as race continues to be a problem in Major League Baseball.

“If I was your girl
Oh the things I’ll do to you
I’d make you call out my name
I’d ask who it belongs to
If I was your woman,
The things I’d do to you
But I’m not, so I can’t,
Then I won’t
But, if I was your girl”

Baseball will never again be African American’s girl “IF” they continue down this path of Hypocrisy.

©Copyrighted Gary Norris Gray @ Gray Leopard Prod

Gary Norris Gray – Writer, Author, Historian. Gibbs Magazine-Oakland, California and New EnglandInformer- Boston Mass.THE GRAYLINE:- The Analects of A Black Disabled Man, The Gray Leopard Cove on Blogtalkradio.com Disabled Community Activist. Email at garyngray@blackathlete.com

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