Behind the Music
RE: Potential BTM subject
In response to your suggestion to think "outside the box," how about a show on Albert Belle, who was forced into retirement last week because of an arthritic right hip? Violent outbursts, battles with alcohol, feuds with the press-he fits the BTM formula perfectly. A quick breakdown of the proposed episode.
Segment 1: Humble origins. Slow-dissolve montage depicting Belle's childhood in Shreveport, La. We see a model American boy-sixth in his high school graduating class, Eagle Scout, all-state baseball player. Cue theme from The Natural.
Segment 2: Hints of trouble. While in the Indians' system, Belle has run-ins with managers over his bad attitude. He becomes a drinker and at one point smashes a porcelain clubhouse sink with a bat. (Video montage here-Pete Townshend destroying a guitar, Robert DeNiro as a bat-wielding Al Capone in The Untouchables, etc.)
Segment 3: Spiritual rebirth. In 1990, Belle emerges from two months in rehab for alcohol abuse and anger management, saying: "I have found a new way of life." He even changes his name, from Joey to Albert. But when an Indians fan taunts him in 1991 by yelling, "Hey, Joey, keg party at my house after the game," Belle plugs the fan in the chest with a ball from 15 feet away. Cue Pat Benatar's Hit Me with Your Best Shot.
Segment 4: Superstardom. Screen graphic: THE BELLE EPOQUE. From 1992 to '96, Belle is baseball's dominant power hitter, averaging 41 home runs and 123 RBIs per season. During that stretch, he makes four Ail-Star teams.
Segment 5: Fall from grace. Quick-cut sequence showing a raging Belle: On Halloween 1995, he runs trick-or-treaters off the grounds of his suburban Cleveland home in his Ford Explorer. (Belle's call to police: "You better get somebody over here, because if I find one of them, I'll kill them.") In '96 he throws a ball at SI photographer Tony Tomsic, bloodying Tomsic's hand. In July '98 Belle is arrested at the home of a female acquaintance and accused of hitting her. The charges are dropped.
Segment 6: Coda. Dissolve to graphic of headlines announcing Belle's five-year, $65 million deal with Baltimore in 1998. Then dissolve to Orioles press release announcing his retirement a little more than two years later. Freeze on image of stoic Belle, still refusing to talk to press.