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.