Look back about a month and a half ago and you’ll see a blog I posted here that suggested Barry Bonds should do precisely what he has now done as it relates to that jack-ass who is going to put a big asterisk* on Barry’s #756 home run-ball before shipping it to upstate New York.
Bonds has informed Hall of Fame officials that if they indeed display the ball with the * on it, he will NOT be present for his HoF induction ceremony and will no longer contribute items of memorabilia to Cooperstown to commemorate his record-breaking career. Bonds has every right to make that statement. The "American Public" decided it was OK to mark that ball with an asterisk? And that makes it right? I seem to remember a little incident in Atlanta where the government was quite certain Richard Jewell tried to blow up the Olympic Village and — well — we all know how that went. Let’s let smart people decide what to do with Bonds’ #756 home run ball and leave the simple stuff like buying tickets and drinking beer at the ballpark up to the American public. I feel more comfortable that way. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather not have baseball’s history* rubber-stamped via an internet-vote from a bunch of people with their own agenda.
There is one little issue with Barry’s threat about not showing up in Cooperstown for the induction ceremony – someone needs to tell Barry he doesn’t have a whole lot of leverage because…he’s NOT going to get elected into baseball’s shrine. Those old, clip-on tie wearing baseball journalists aren’t going to vote Barry in, so his threat of "not attending the ceremony" doesn’t hold much water. There’s not going to be a ceremony to boycott.
But that doesn’t mean Bonds should back down from his boycott statement, because he’s absolutely right in calling them out for this asinine decision they’re making about the baseball. Those stuffed-suits in Cooperstown should be ashamed of themselves for even hinting they would still take the historic home-run ball after it’s been defaced by some wanna-be sports lawyer whose only attempt at fairness was to question the American public on what THEY thought he should do with the ball.
This asterisk-on-the-ball thing is all about one item and one item only. It’s called – you guessed it – C-A-S-H. You see, the folks in Cooperstown would have quite a dilemma on their hands if they would have done the right thing from jump street and told Mark Ecko NOT to mark on the ball or they wouldn’t take it. Had they done that, and had Ecko followed through and placed an asterisk on the ball, the HoF would have shuddered at the thought that the ball might very well wind up at some coffee shop in Cooperstown or at Morty’s Card Shop across the street from the Hall of Fame. And Morty would have no doubt charged people $7.50 to take a picture of the ball and the poor people at the HoF would be missing out on all that revenue. Or, at the very least, Morty would be taking $7.50 out of the pockets of HoF visitors who might spend that on collectibles in the HoF during their trip through the shrine.
Bonds has absolutely made this king-sized bed he’s now lying in. For the better part of the last 10 years, he’s been a rude dude. He could hit 900 home runs and this steroids witch-hunt would carry on, and on, and on. And while there’s a pretty good case against ever giving him a fair shake based on the evidence we’ve seen, there’s a difference between a guy "paying the price" and people just being downright mean for the sake of humiliating someone. Marking that ball* is doing nothing more than trying to humiliate Bonds – as if the last six years or so of daily delving into his life hasn’t embarrassed him enough.
I called up to Cooperstown today and asked them if Gaylord Perry’s plaque has an * on it since he was a cheater and people who visit the HoF should be aware of that fact and I was told, "no, Mr. Perry’s plaque has no such designation." I figured as much.
So I’m here to say Barry Bonds is finally in the right. It’s probably been a long time since someone defended Bonds, but in this case, his anger and position against the HoF is completely justified. Once the evidence is completely posted for the public to digest – and if Bonds is ever criminally charged and found guilty of steroid use/possession, etc., then, and only then, does the Hall of Fame have the right to make a notation* on all of Bonds’ items in their facility and label him a "cheater".
I just wonder if they’ll use the same Sharpie to mark Gaylord Perry’s plaque? Oh, that’s right, Perry didn’t cheat. Those spitballs he threw were nothing more than "chicanery", right? Baseball hi-jinx? Fun and games? Wink-wink? No, he cheated too, just like Bonds presumably did – along with about 100 or so others who will be revealed shortly in the much-anticipated "Mitchell Report".
I* can’t* wait* to* see* how* many* prospective* Hall* of* Famers* are* on* that* list*.