I agree. The coverage of this home run chase has been racist, jingoistic and shameful. One man has been ignored in favor of the heroic native son. An entire nation owes this man an apology.
I only hope Mark McGwire isn't too hurt to accept it.
Hell, yes! In the Dominican Republic, homegrown Slammin' Sammy Sosa has received boatloads more attention than McGwire has. Television has shamelessly hyped Sosa over McGwire. Day after day Sosa stories have been longer than ones about McGwire. You talk about a bunch of homers.
In the U.S. we're much too PC for that. Anyone with the nerve to openly root for the American to beat the Dominican in the Greater Tater Race is a swine-breathed right-winger with all the racial sensitivity of pine tar.
In a USA Today poll asking people which player they would rather see win the race, 79% said McGwire, and columnists all over the country started pulling their hair out. Hank Aaron said he thought people favored McGwire over Sosa because Sosa is "from the Dominican and also happens to have black skin." In an Internet interview last week one of my colleagues, Gary Smith, wondered if "unconscious racism" was at work in the coverage.
What kind of numbers do you figure a similar poll would've had in Dominican Today? Sure, Sosa hasn't had as much media coverage in this country as McGwire, but he hasn't done badly. He has been on the cover of this magazine twice by himself. He is getting standing O's in every ballpark. He is a lock for National League MVP. Not bad for never having the home run lead by himself.
Well, O.K., he had it for 57 minutes, on Aug. 19, but got Macuumed up again. McGwire, meanwhile, has slept with the home run lead, and all the heat that goes with it, every night since May 16. You tell me, who are we supposed to cover more? Even Sosa expects Americans to root for McGwire. "Why?" somebody asked him.
"Because he's American," Sosa said.
Remember, this is how Sosa wanted it. He has called McGwire "The Man," rooted openly for McGwire to exceed 61 first and worked his ex-shoeshine-boy, just-happy-to-be-in-America shtick. Meanwhile, he kept free-swinging like mad, happy in the big man's shadow.