“There Is No Such Thing As An Asterisk In Baseball.”

This is what Barry Bonds declared during the first part of a two-part interview with Jim Gray that aired on Countdown with Keith Olbermann last night (the video is there with the article at MSNBC). This was combined with the usual forceful denials of steroid use, but the big part was this exchange below:

BARRY BONDS: I don’t think you can put an asterisk in the game of baseball and I don’t think that the Hall of Fame can accept an asterisk in their Hall of Fame. You can’t, you cannot give people the freedom, the right to alter history, you can’t do it. There’s no such thing as an asterisk in baseball.

JIM GRAY, SPORTS REPORTER: And if the Hall of Fame does accept that ball and display it?

BONDS: I will never be in the Hall of Fame. Never. I will never be in the Hall of Fame.

GRAY: You mean you personally-

BONDS: Me personally.

GRAY:… or as a visitor or your artifacts or your enshrinement?

BONDS: I won’t go. I won’t be part of it, I won’t be there, you can call me but I won’t be there.

And rightfully so. Marc Ecko’s stunt of “democracy” with #756 turned into the usual mob rule, deciding that the public, informed solely by a press that sees Bonds as distasteful jerk more than baseball player (and while he may be a jerk, that never merited such treatment masquerading as objective coverage), was truly the arbiter of a baseball record that the Hall of Fame should accept. If the Hall of Fame takes the ball, they should accept an asterisk on the building for such hypocrisy, as I’ve written previously.

I’m not quite sure why anyone would be surprised by Bonds’ response, if there is any shock out there. If you worked all your life for a goal that you had reached, and you had done nothing wrong or cheated (as Bonds believes he has not), and someone decides that your achievement deserves a mark because it was fraudulent, you would be pissed too, wondering what right he had to alter a historical achievement that you reached.

Many out there would say in response, “Good, it will keep Bonds away from the Hall of Fame; he never deserved to be there.” Fine. “He is associated with the steroid era; the whitewashing has to stop somewhere.” What has he been convicted of; when has he ever tested positive; when has he done anything other than forcibly deny the knowledgeable use of PEDs? The retroactive concept of punishment for the popular conception of Bonds as the Last Man Standing is laughable — especially considering the lack of scrutiny given to the lsser lights (Byrd, Ankiel, Glaus) who do not match Bonds’ talent, but have skated on having to explain themselves with the media in ways that Bonds could never receive.

I am listening to Tim Kurkjian say Bonds should not boycott the Hall, that he will change his mind down the line, even if the Hall accepts the ball — because it is the Hall’s club. I can think of nothing better for Barry Bonds than to tell the Hall of Fame to fuck off if they take the ball with an asterisk. Why should he grovel in their presence if they willingly accept a degradation of his historical record, one that, as of now, remains legitimate despite accusations and grand juries?

The Hall of Fame, baseball’s arbiter of history, wants and needs Barry Bonds’ memorabilia more than he needs it.


9 Responses

  1. S2N, good article and good for Barry Bonds!!! How can I put this… FUCK the Hall of Fame!!!

  2. S2N,

    Great piece. With HGH shipments and positive tests all over the game, Barry Bonds, who has tested positive for nothing, is still considered the poster boy for the steroid era. And if they accept the home run ball from Tommy Hillnigger, Jr., The Hall Of Fame itself will forever be tainted.

  3. I know you and I have long been in agreement on Bonds, so thanks for putting this post out there. No one is going to end up looking more foolish than Ecko, HoF, and asterisks everywhere.

  4. The HOF is basically where the history of the game is chronicled. Why can’t the hall accept the ball and explain its history? “Bonds hit it out, this guy bought it and branded it, this is the controversy, etc.” I understand Bonds’ reaction, but I do not understand YOUR outrage. If the ball is significant, which it obviously is, the HOF has a role is displaying it and teaching fans about its unique history.

  5. Beaz – My outrage has to do with Ecko deciding he is the arbiter under some false notion of democracy (obscuring his self-promotion) and the Hall sitting back and accepting it. Essentially, by accepting it, they are endorsing Ecko’s statement that Bonds’ record is “tainted;” accepting an incomplete version of the actual story — letting the visual provide the context whether true or not.

    None of the achievements of those who played prior to desegregation in baseball are tarnished by the Hall with explanations saying, “well, those stats may not be legitimate because they did not play against the best competition.” The inconsistency of accepting an asterisked Bonds ball would be staggering.

    MODI, des, and TSW – thanks.

  6. […] Signal to Noise Posted something interesting today on s2nblog.wordpress.comThe first few lines are here: […]

  7. Your last thought is a good one, but I don’t think you take it to its logical conclusion: if we want the HoF to acknowledge controversy and educate the public, well, it’s gotta start somewhere. Why with Bonds? Why not with Bonds?

    Unless you’re taking the position that Bonds has done nothing worthy of mention, which I don’t think you are, I think you have to at least make room for the opinion that past sweepings under the rug of bad behavior do not fully justify continuing this practice.

    If it matters and deserves mention in baseball’s most prestigious home that Ty Cobb was a racist drunk and Babe Ruth played in a segregated era against (arguably) inferior competition, we’re never going to get to a place where that happens until we allow people to throw light on the dark corners of the sport — whatever we imagine their motives to be.

    If it doesn’t matter, and doesn’t deserve mention, because a stat is a stat and a record is a record, that’s another story. But going down that road just brings you to a different set of questions, starting with “What about Pete Rose?”

  8. Hey S2N, first off, you are assuming he will be inducted into the HOF, the 756 baseball not withstanding.

    Secondly, as noted on PTI, is there not explanation about Maris’s record 61 occuring in more games than Ruth played?

    Lastly, if they don’t accept the ball with the asterisk, then they should at least document how Bonds had never hit more than 50 home runs is a season, then inexcplicably hit 73 at an age that defies not only logic, but all history combined.

    Also they should state his growth in body mass, growth of his dome, and the allegations from all the media, including the books, FEDERAL INVESTIGATIONS into someone he had close ties to, including the prison terms he served, and even the sorrid (even if the source has motives of her own) allegations of his mistress.

    Hell, even one our Presidents had to acknowldge the “Politics of Personal Distruction” in his Presidential Library.

    So Barry stating that he would boycott the HOF because of the mention or reference to his alleged misconduct just solidifies what a punk ass emmer effer he is.

  9. Sure Dummy, if you believe defying logic alone is enough to turn all the accusations into fact.

    If the federal investigations turn into charges and convictions, and at some point, proof of the accusations, then I will be more than happy to change my tone about Bonds.

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