As time passed along, after the BALCO case, it was obvious to Bonds, the league, and sports fans, that Bonds' legacy was "safe" and "secure," as his innocence, as determined in a court of law, was maintained and never called back into question. Marc Ecko, however, being the ultimate opportunist in his determination to rewrite Bonds' sports legacy, purchased Bonds' record-breaking ball at auction, for a price of $752,467, and chose to put Bonds' legacy in the hands (and court) of public opinion. Following the ball's purchase, Marc Ecko set-up www.vote756.com, a website that would allow the "public" to vote on one of the following fates: to "bestow it" and give the ball to Cooperstown; to "brand it," by placing an asterisk on the ball — making a permanent footnote — and, then, send it to Cooperstown; or to "banish it," by launching it into orbit, so that it will be out of sight, out of mind.
While it must be noted that 10 million votes were logged on the Vote756 website, over an eight-day period, that number is hardly a fraction of baseball's enormous fan base or representative of the vast American public. Even so, when did online voting ever become a fair or accurate portrayal of public opinion? Had the votes been compiled in a more professional manner, it would have been very interesting to see a breakdown of the results by age, race, class, gender and actual ties to major league baseball.
Is this the future of sports history and "public debate?" I certainly hope not.
It is a dangerous precedent to set, in sporting (or any capacity, for that matter), to allow any individual's personal wealth or perspective to dictate the legacy of any person, especially over a disagreement over some aspect of their character, whether personal or professional. And, in this particular scenario, if a decision of this regard was necessary to be made, it should be made by the league, its players and the fans, in an easily accessible forum, not some website set up for personal gain and corporate publicity. The ultimate loser in this whole process is the public. We have finally met the real enemy: an individual whose money can truly buy anything, including the pen to write, influence, and alter another man's legacy.
Marc Ecko's tomfoolery, lo and behold, set a precedent. It now isn't far-fetched to imagine that anyone with enough money and/or a zany sense of humor can purchase the memorabilia and/or historical artifacts of ANY public figure and tag them with their own brand of personal politics. Whether or not one thinks poorly on Bonds or his legacy, it is unwise (and unfair) to allow such irreparable decisions to be made in the midst of one's career.