Sunday, 9 April 2017

61: A study of two guys and how they are perceived

In 1998, Major League Baseball players, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa were in a race to beat a hallowed record in the sport. That is the most number of home runs in one season. The record at the time was 61.

By the end of the 1998 season, McGwire had smacked 70 home runs and Sammy Sosa had whacked 66 home runs. Both breaking the 27 year old record of former New York Yankee player, Roger Maris.

I'm not going to profess to being a baseball expert by any means but I do enjoy watching sports related movies which is what I want to talk about today.

61 is a 2001 movie about the race to beat the W.G. Grace of professional baseball, Babe Ruth's record of 60 home runs in one Major League Baseball season.

The two protagonists are Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle.

In the movie they are portrayed as friends, which is quite true, however at the time the press thought that they actually hated each other so that was the prevailing opinion.

What was interesting for me was how the two players were very different.

Dare I say it, one player was extroverted and the other guy was introverted. In saying that they had a great relationship and created history in the 1961 season.

Mickey Mantle is portrayed as the media's darling. He is outgoing. He seems to embody the New York State of Mind. He lives in a upmarket hotel. He is seen out at all the trendy joints and seems to have a different woman every night. He is Mr. New York.

Roger Maris on the other hand is not so well liked and that is a real understatement. He is booed even though he is having the season of his life. He is unpopular and he is considered aloof and not a New Yorker at all.

This just goes to show of people's perceptions. If you are outgoing and have a smile on your dial at all times, people are going to take a shining to you not matter what comes out of your mouth. If you do say something inappropriate, people will dismiss it as that particular person being true to himself and telling the truth and they will say that most people are thinking that anyway.

People who like to keep to themselves or if they are shy can be perceived to be arrogant, egotistic, superior, pompous and conceited. (Thank you thesaurus.)

Roger Maris is portrayed this way which couldn't be further from the truth. He was a devoted family man. He had a heart of gold. (which is showed by him asking Mantle to move in with him during the season) His sin was that he didn't know how to deal with the press as he had never had that kind of exposure in his baseball career. He basically didn't know how to schmooze them. He didn't know what they wanted to hear and he spoke his mind which some people don't want to hear.

Nowadays, professional athletes have training on how to deal with the media. I think of the New Zealand example of Jonah Lomu. When he first started his rugby career, he had a very, lets say 'limited' vocabulary. However, at his untimely death he was articulate and knowledgable. This would be thanks to experience and I'm sure coaching.

Don't judge a person too quickly. Sure, they might not be the greatest conversationalist in the world but that might be because they just aren't that way inclined, as opposed to someone who chews your ear off at the drop of a hat. Don't think that they are stuck up because maybe they are not.

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