The Baseball Hall of Fame is completing the final plan of having this douchebag’s publicity and advertising stunt with Barry Bonds’ 756th home run ball validated by possibly having it on display by Opening Day. I’ve spewed plenty of venom about this matter, but the statements by Hall reps are either naive or downright repulsive:
“We’ll display it, but the text accompanying the ball will cover when it was hit and how it ended up in Cooperstown,” Jeff Idelson, the Hall’s vice president for communications and education, told reporters. “It’s meant to be educational….The asterisk represents a one-week period in September 2007, through an Internet poll, on how fans felt about the ball. That doesn’t mean that’s the way we feel today. It also represents the stigma Barry had as he chased the home run record. The asterisk doesn’t implicate Barry. Fans will have to make their own decision. We would never suggest how they should judge things.”
Guess what, Mr. Idelson? You’re getting into the business of how fans judge things — in fact, you already are. Your goal is to chronicle the greats and the history of the sport; now, when people in the future see the ball, they’ll find out it was marked up by fans because they suspected the hitter had taken steroids — without having been able to concretely prove it. And if taking a ball marked with what is coincidentally the logo of the buyer’s clothing and apparel line isn’t bad enough, it’s done with absolutely no sense of irony or cognitive dissonance.
There are records held by racists, alcoholics, general assholes — and all done while the game aggressively excluded non-white players. Where are the asterisks for their records? Will they re-write plaques to imply that all their best numbers were less than what we imagined because they didn’t play against a level field with all the best players, regardless of color? “Doubt it” is probably being kind. The Hall of Fame is exercising judgment here — and it is deciding how Barry Bonds will be judged, solely by the tenor of public opinion, manipulated and encouraged by the press — while now, those same writers are the ones who hold reservations for Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, Rick Ankiel, et al.
The Hall has decided to serve as judge and jury; let us judge the Hall harshly for doing so.
Report: Bonds’ 756th HR ball, with asterisk, may be on display by Opening Day [ESPN]