Once, while watching a similar tribute to Cal Ripken after he broke the record for most consecutive games, Bonds confided to a reporter that he would be too scared to get so close to the fans -- '' If you could hear the things they say to me'' -- but now as the crowd beckoned him, Bonds appeared from the dugout, still in his uniform and cap.It was at this point, as he looked out at the thousands that had lingered into the early-morning hours just to see him, that he seemed to contemplate his redemption.The conclusion he came to seemed irrefutable, so I did begin with some assumptions that he had drawn, but the deeper that I got into it, the more those seemed to be borne out. The people who cannot afford proper representation have so little chance of surviving any kind of capital crime. I also knew that he was going to be a diligent researcher, and that he’d be a great collaborator because he had directed himself, since he’d written , and he knew the issues of being a director, as well.This case reminded me a bit of the case of the West Memphis Three, who were young guys that had their music, the books they read, and their own personal tastes brought into the case, with really no connection to the crime. Because you were involved with this project so early on, you had a hand in selecting the screenwriter. We spent many, many weeks trying to come up with a way to best tell the story, and it was really together that we came up with a notion of having the audience’s experience of the movie to be the same as the jurors, who condemned him quickly.By summer, as word of another possible strike spread, things had only gotten worse. Moreso than basketball or football, it is supposed to represent something larger than itself. Bartlett Giamatti once claimed, '' It is a dream of ourselves as better than we are.'' Although baseball actually began as a game played largely by urban toughs, its image was soon reconstructed to mirror the country's pastoral myth.After Bonds casually commented that baseball could survive its ninth work stoppage in the last 30 years ('' It's entertainment,'' he told The Washington Post. And in the constant search for meaning in the flick of a glove or a routine hit, most of the game's greatest players, no matter how ordinary or reprehensible off the field, were also transformed into something more than they actually were.That kind of thing really makes you start to wonder just how often a state could try to execute someone who’s innocent. What was it about Geoffrey Fletcher that made him the right person for the job? And then, if we could then create that experience for an audience, their participation in the rest of the movie would be active because they would be complicit in his fate.
But now as Bonds watched the pitcher go through his motion he didn't think about any of that.
Many in the press box, reporters and broadcasters who had often badmouthed Bonds publicly and privately, stopped typing and stood.
His teammates -- who in April, when Bonds hit his 500th home run, left him standing alone at the plate -- descended upon him as he crossed home and picked up Nikolai, his 11-year-old son and the team's bat boy, and pointed to the sky. Although the game didn't end until after midnight, a podium was set up near home plate and held a ceremony in Bonds's honor.
I also called him, and what he told me was that he went down to Texas with no preconceptions.
He had heard about the case, and he wanted to investigate it as a reporter would, without bias.