Loving the asterisk

July 2, 2008 at 11:49 pm | Posted in Baseball | Leave a comment

As ESPN and Wax Heaven both reported today, the ball hit by Barry Bonds for his 756th home run last year, that wealthy designer Mark Ecko bought for $752,467 and branded with an asterisk, has been donated to the Baseball Hall of Fame. The news has rejuvenated the debate about the asterisk being placed on the ball. I saw pictures of the ball for the first time today, and I have to say that I actually like it:

While driving home from work, I had the radio tuned to the “MLB Home Plate” channel on XM radio, and listened to Kevin Kennedy and Rob Dibble rant and rave about how the ball had been “desecrated” and how terrible it all was. Many fans called in and all of them agreed. But really, what’s the big deal? Everyone knows that the home run record is, to put it lightly, tainted by the performance enhancing drugs that Bonds used. The asterisk on the ball is actually a very fitting way to commemorate the controversy surrounding the record. It took balls for Mark Ecko to spend a ludicrous sum of money on the ball and then mark it with the asterisk. It is also incredibly generous of him to turn around and donate the ball to the Hall of Fame, where it can be enjoyed by generations of future baseball fans.

I am personally very much looking forward to my next visit to the Hall so that I can see the ball. It will probably be the first thing that I try to see when I go. When I have kids, showing them the asterisk on the ball will be a great way to bring up the subject of the steroids controversy. I’ll be able to tell them that cheating has consequences, and that even though Bonds broke the record, the fans of the day recognized that the record was tainted and the asterisk on the ball symbolizes that.

When I first heard about the asterisk being placed on the ball, I envisioned someone taking a sharpie and drawing the asterisk. The way it was actually done makes it look pretty cool, in my opinion. So I extend my personal “thank you” to Mark Ecko for what he did. Now here’s an idea … Upper Deck Sweet Spot cards autographed by Bonds, McGwire, Palmeiro, Clemens, and other steroid users with asterisks branded into the ball. I would spend a lot of money to have those cards in my collection!

Update: If you’re interested, here are the comments from Kennedy and Dibble about the ball. As you’ll see, their thoughts are much different from mine!

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