Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The fate of Number 756

Barry Bonds' record-setting 756th home run ball was sold at auction Saturday for over $750,000. Marc Ecko, the ball's new owner, is now asking the public what he should do with it. Go to and cast your vote for Marc to give the ball to the Hall of Fame, brand it with an asterisk, or blast it into outer space.

I say go ahead and send the ball to Cooperstown. As I implied in a lengthy exposition on the matter, I see no point in punishing Bonds for something that half of baseball was doing. Baseball should have dealt with this problem ten years ago, but at that time the owners were too enthralled with Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa selling tickets, and they didn't seem too bothered by the singles hitters who were turning into sluggers. We wouldn't be talking about slapping the all-time home run record with an asterisk today had baseball dealt aggressively with the problem when it first appeared. Of course, there was money to be made, so the owners chose to look the other way. The fans are also showing their displeasure at Bonds, one of the most unpopular players the game has ever seen, setting one of baseball's most cherished records. Barry Bonds set the record using tools that were considered acceptable at the time; there's no sense in denying him his accomplishment because he is a supreme jerk of a human being, or because baseball retroactively decided to make steroid use taboo.