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Original Issue


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.

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.

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.

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, "Si,
tiene doce anos. Tiene papeles." (Yes, he is 12. He has papers.)


Age of Consent

In the rush to blame Danny Almonte's father and other adults,
let's not forget that Danny (above) knew darn well he was
cheating the kids on the other teams and risking the
accomplishments his teammates worked so hard for. He deserves to
be punished right along with the adults.