Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Shot Heard 'Round The World May Have Come From A Syringe.

From the AP:

Now branded with an asterisk, the ball Barry Bonds launched for his record 756th home run nearly a year ago landed Tuesday night in the Hall of Fame.

The souvenir arrived in Cooperstown, N.Y., after a strange day of back-and-forth statements between its owner, fashion designer Marc Ecko, and the shrine.

"We are very happy to receive the baseball as a donation, and not as a loan," Hall spokesman Brad Horn said. "We look forward to adding this ball to our permanent collections."

Ecko paid $752,467 for the prize in an online auction in September. Soon after, he asked fans to vote in an Internet poll on what he should do with the ball.

Bonds called Ecko an "idiot" when the designer announced plans to hold the vote. The slugger later said he would boycott the Hall if it displayed the ball with an asterisk.

It seems likely that Barry Bonds juiced. It's a fact that he didn't need to. 

Bonds was already Hall of Fame-bound before his prickly personality and rampant jealousy apparently got the best of him. Fellow (alleged) juicers Mark McGwire's and Sammy Sosa's single-season home-run chase in 1998 is thought to have (allegedly) caused Bonds to reach for the syringe.

Unlike McGwire and Sosa, Bonds was an actual 5-tool ballplayer before he (allegedly) juiced. I don't think McGwire or Sosa belong in the Hall, even if they were steroid-free. They were both one-trick ponies, and their gaudy home run numbers don't make them Hall of Famers to me.

Bonds? Tough call, because he was a lock for first-ballot honors before he (allegedly) lost his mind and potentially threw it all away in the name of ego. 

Baseball will have to figure out how to deal with the "Steroid Era". From the commissioner, to the owners, to coaches, managers, and players, it's been a pumped-up ride on the homer gravy train. More fannies in the seats were watching Paul Bunyan-like freaks shatter legendary records, resulting in more money for everyone. 

Except the fans, of course.

Baseball fans can curse the players all they want. Curse the commissioner and the owners while you're at it, though. Don't pretend to be shocked that the game isn't pure; players were puffing up to cartoonish proportions right in front of us, from the box seats to the bleachers.

But it's hard to notice when turning a blind eye to everything but a tape-measure home run.      




gdahimself said...

America's (alleged) Pastime has a long history of being something less than pure. It's simply that now were more likely to known about it sooner than some vague rumour floating up years if not decades after the fact.
How many injured players who should of been sidelined got through the game(s) on painkillers? How many used steroids before they were illegal?
For something that's just a game, it's been cutthroat pool of money grubbing sharks and unchecked egos in comparsion to the fair tale of being merely a pastime.
There are far fewer secular saints in the Hall of Fame than we would wish to believe.
Maybe the asterick belongs on the Hall of Fame sign instead.

JohnnyRussia said...

I don't disagree with a word you wrote...

Anonymous said...

I think we should hold events that encourage the use of performance enhancing substances. I for one would like to see how far science can push human performance. Let the participants have their own records as enhanced performers. Tour de France in 3 days, pick a 70 buick over your head. Just think what they could do. Step aside Lee Majors!

gdahimself said...

"Anonymous said...
I think we should hold events that encourage the use of performance enhancing substances. I for one would like to see how far science can push human performance."

Interesting concept, but with team sports, who in theory, are supposed to be playing on a level field, I don't see how it could work.

It all could be quite interest, if not impressive, but it would seem the only judging that would be valid was if the performer was competing against their own record and nothing else, since every contestant would be imbibing in their own, ever changing cocktail of chemical enchancements.

It would kind of create a modern version of the circus side show. An exhibet of atypical people of usual traits to gawk at, but don't really mesh into reality of the world as most people preceive it.

JohnnyRussia said...

I'm sure FOX would broadcast it. They hear
the words "circus side show" and "steroids", and they're probably already scouting for locations...

Anonymous said...

You have to admit though that sports are mere entertainment and nothing more. Having said that, sports are more interesting when there is controversy and cheating drives controversy. If "cheaters" are ignored there's no controversy and all you're left with is stats. In the "cheating" there is humanity without it there is none.

I absolutely love that Marc Ecko put the asterisk on the ball and that it's in hall as such. That will always drive controversy and interest in the game.

And check out this twist... Bonds has announced that since the ball is being displayed in the hall he, Barry Bonds, will boycott the hall!!!


JohnnyRussia said...

The HOF is filled with nuts, psychos, drunks, and maniacs. I can't wait to go back someday!

gdahimself said...

Sports figures were once regard as clean living heroes to the youth of America who the press assisted in maintain the public image almost as much as the teams did. These days, I think, people want the dirt on everyone in the public eye to the point if they could find something besmirching Mother Theresa and blow it all out proportion, they would if it sells to the public.
These days not even the dead are exempt.

"I absolutely love that Marc Ecko put the asterisk on the ball and that it's in hall as such. That will always drive controversy and interest in the game."

The asterisk will just keep the controversy alive and a shadow lurking behind Bonds ad nauseum until one day it's all alot of casual baseball fans will know about him.
He gets the distinction of being the foremost poster child to most people of what they think is wrong with baseball, while everyone else's transgressions get to fade away, much like most people now first think of Michael Jackson as a pedophile rather than as a singer and entertainer who's past his peak.

"The HOF is filled with nuts, psychos, drunks, and maniacs." Don't forget anti-social bastards (Cy Young), abusers, and other people who have only their baseball career to commend them as people, in some cases, just barely.

Anyhow, someone had a sense of humor to put this particular barrel of monkeys in Cooperstown (probably Cooper's Town originally).
Cooper is a person who makes barrels for a living.

Anonymous said...

"if they could find something besmirching Mother Theresa"...

Dude you need to say current with the news!!! She had issues.

It's not that we want dirt, it's just that everybody is a little dirty. And that's okay by me.


JohnnyRussia said...

Barry Bonds--much like the pedophile priests Mother Theresa surely knew of--made his own bed, as we all do, and if all that "casual baseball fans" someday know about him is that he was a fabulous ballplayer and a world-class cheat, so be it.

And "Billie Jean" still kicks ass, too.