I spent 5 bucks in the discount bin Saturday and bought the movie 61*. I had seen bits and pieces, but I had never sat down and watched the entire movie until Sunday morning -- a powerful movie. I believe the movie to be a fair representation. According to reports, Billy Crystal took great pains to interview those involved. Mantle and Maris. Loved and and reviled. One was media savy, the other shy and not glib. Maris was crucified by the media. On a side note, the first "new" bat I ever owned was a Roger Maris autograph model. It was a Rawlings. I was pissed that it was not a Louisville Slugger, besides who wanted a Roger Maris Bat? Even a little kid, 10 years later, bought the story that Maris was an asshole.
I watched Barry Bonds hit with warning track power over the weekend. Was it his knee, his elbow, or father time holding back his bat? Like Maris, Bonds has no friends in the media. I suspect, like Maris, he deals badly with reporters. His words are twisted and taken out of context. I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. Yet, I feverently wish Bonds falls one home run short of Babe Ruth. I hope he does not come within spitting distance of Hamerin' Hank.
After reading the excerpts of the book in SI, I have no doubt in my mind Bonds used steroids. He cheated, but he cheated legally under baseball rules. We all know he was not alone. Even today players are willing to risk suspension and their health for a chance of Major League glory. Do we take away Denver's Superbowls because Romanowski took steroids? I cannot help myself, like Maris of old, Bonds is just not likeable. For most of the 1961 season Maris tried to be a public figure. Bonds is just arrogant. His repeated denials of steroid use are ludicrus, unless you believe his body just changed at 30 years of age.
The terribly sad and undisputed fact is that Roger Maris is not enshrined in Cooperstown. Nor is Pete Rose. It makes me sick to think Bonds will be. I can only hope the ravages of drugs and time will prevent his creaking body from powering 6 more home runs. We will see, midsummer, if the winds blow IN at Wrigley when the Giants come to call. We will then know what the baseball gods think about Barry Bonds.