Of Humane Bondage
Kudos to Rick Reilly for telling the rest of the country what we in the Bay Area already know (THE LIFE OF REILLY, Aug. 27). I got fed up with Barry Bonds's arrogant act a long time ago. For the amount of money he is paid you would think he could pose for a measly team picture, ride the team bus, stretch with the rest of the Giants and, most of all, run out all the ground balls he hits. Maybe then he would get a high five from someone other than himself when he hits a milestone home run. It would be nice if Willie Mays (Barry's godfather) would pull him aside and tell him to "get it, ASAP."
Larry Becker, Danville, Calif.
Since Bonds already has his own PR man, masseur and flex guy, maybe he should assemble a team of statisticians to document his postseason performance for Pittsburgh. This would provide excellent reading material for Barry in his recliner. Those rotten playoff numbers tell you all you need to know about Bonds.
Cary Forte, Attleboro, Mass.
I didn't expect my favorite SI writer to be a Barry Basher. What's the matter, Rick, Barry wouldn't talk to you?
Jim McGrath, Modesto, Calif.
Last summer my husband, our 10-year-old son, Aran, and I were lucky enough to visit the Giants' locker room at Pac Bell Park before an afternoon game. To our utter surprise, Bonds stopped to have a few words with Aran and pose for a photograph (and was quite patient while I fumbled with the camera). As he was about to leave, he gave Aran his batting gloves. Needless to say it was a day and a moment our son will never forget.
Carolyn Tanaka Wilson Honolulu
I was a Giants teammate of Bonds's for three years and saw firsthand what Reilly wrote about. What Reilly didn't write about was Barry's toughness. He plays every day. Even when Barry was hurting, he was not only on the field but also kicking butt. There were no excuses offered, no injuries hidden behind.
Other things I remember about Barry: his picking up huge checks at restaurants, embarrassing a magician at a team party by yelling out the secret to every trick he had, getting down on his hands and knees and playing with my then four-year-old daughter at a kid's birthday party and telling me, "She's the cutest little girl I've ever seen in my life!" So Rick, Barry isn't a villain in a Hollywood movie. There's good and bad in everyone. He wasn't the perfect teammate, but he's not a phony. He is who he is. More power to him—hopefully enough to get him to 71.
Todd Benzinger, Cincinnati
Watch Your Language
I just finished reading the NFL Preview issue (Sept. 3). As I read it, I soon realized that I needed to brush up on my Morse code, because many of the players' quotes were nothing more than a series of dashes. Your coverage of the upcoming season was f——— great.
John Bush, Kingsport, Tenn.
I noticed in the scouting report for the Falcons that they had drafted Alge Crumpler, whom the scout said was possibly the best tight end to come out of college in a decade, and that this was the only improvement Atlanta had made during the off-season. Farther down the page Crumpler was not even listed as the starting tight end. Call me a moron, but if you draft the best tight end in a decade and he's the only significant improvement you've made to your team, don't you want to use him?
Chris Haines, Haddonfield, N.J.
Not So Little League
Thank you for exposing the Rolando Paulino All-Stars (One for the Ages, Sept. 3). My son and his teammates on the South Shore National team were denied their dream of going to the Little League World Series because no one would listen to coach Bob Laterza, who had filed a formal complaint. My complaint has nothing to do with sour grapes or racism, but with the fact that real 12-year-olds were denied their chance at a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Christine Lompado, Staten Island, N.Y.
As a Peace Corps volunteer running a sports program in Latin America, I saw rampant cheating on birth certificates. Players use their brother's papers or have new ones made for $10 or $20. Many fathers wait two years before registering their sons' births. On my first Little League team, I allowed only true 10- to 12-year-olds to play but soon learned what I was up against when the pitcher for our first opponent had a moustache. When I told the opposing manager, "That guy can't be 12," he said, "S�, tiene doce a�os. Tiene papeles." (Yes, he is 12. He has papers.)
Francis Koch, Phoenix