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The Ball That History Won’t Forget

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In addition to brilliantly stating that Bob Costas knows nothing about baseball, Barry Bonds has now taken his rage (insert ‘roid in there if you wish) out on Marc Ecko – the chap who bought ball #756. But Ecko did not have intentions of using the ball as a bragging mantle piece for empty dinner conversation. Rather, he had a novel idea – one that allowed the fans to decide the future of the ball.

Not surprisingly, Bonds thinks Ecko is an idiot for letting fans decide what to do with the ball. Turns out fans want an asterisk, as opposed to an exclamation point or dollar sign, put on the ball and sent to the baseball hall of fame.

There’s an irony in all this. I thought about idiots and came to Dostoevsky’s The Idiot. Part of the historical background of when the classic novel was written reflects the general disillusionment among Russians of Alexander II’s failing liberal reforms in the 1860s.

Has anyone checked the barometer of how fans view sports these days? Pretty jaded huh? The war on drugs seems so overwhelming that realists feel it will never be won. Comparing contemporary North American sports fans with those of 19th century Russia seems a tad ridiculous if not lame.

Still. There is a link there somewhere I am sure.

Personally, I think Ecko’s idea is swell – but what do I know? The ball has a shot at truly serving the interests of history. In this way, Ecko spent his money with a conscience.
Barry “Save my” Bonds wasn’t the only one lashing out at Ecko. ESPN baseball analyst Peter Gammons has also weighed in with pontifications of his own. Though he did not go quite as far as Bonds in calling Ecko an idiot, he did condescendingly dismiss him by suggesting history would forget his name.

I love it when sportswriters talk about what’s good for the fans and the game when it suits them. Now that the fans dare to speak their own minds, they are derisively derided and defecated on.

Sometimes the perception becomes the truth, and if Bonds or MLB have not explained themselves properly regarding the “cream” problem, then the fans have every right to express their feeling. After all, editors at sports magazines get to decide what we read. Consider this our own editing process.

This battle between fans, sportswriters and athletes is all beside the point. On the conglomerate, they form the ties of history. Individually, none are bigger than the tides of history. History is not about the good, bad or the ugly- it’s about history. Period. For a sport that revels in history they should understand this better than anybody.

So the ball is to be sent to the hall. For shame! Shame!


That’s what a museum is there for. In my mind, the Baseball Hall of Fame is correct in accepting the ball. Gosh, we take sports a tiny bit too seriously sometimes. Bonds broke a hallowed record. Congratulations to him. It’s a part of baseball folklore and heritage now. However, it was achieved under a cloud of suspicion. It seems to me this ball will serve as a great reminder of this.

In the end, history will judge. It really isn’t about the “asterisk” per se. It may very well turn out that we will remove the asterisk or forget Marc Ecko one day.

But that isn’t the point, now is it? The point is that the ball will record the mood of a people during this particular baseball era. If we are honest, progressive and as skillful as we claim to be, then perhaps we have arrived at some form or variation of the truth.

Does it hurt?

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About Alessandro Nicolo

  • RJ

    Marc Ecko is not an idiot. He’s a marketing genius. I eagerly await his line of Asterisk-brand fall fashion.

  • A marketing genius? Sure.

    A baseball fan? Hell no.

    I kinda agree with Gammons, Ecko is trying to push history on his side by calling Bonds’ record phony and circumventing time. Baseball has a funny way of deciding what is fit for its history and lore.

  • alessandro

    Tan the Man, but it was Bond’s (allegedly of course) who did the circumnavigating; Ecko is simply reflecting the tone of some people.

    Still, I see your point. One argument posited is that none of the stuff being used by modern athletes were banned ergo they broke no rules or laws. In this light, Bonds can be off the hook. On the other hand…well we’ve seen it.

    There is no right way to look at this. From the fans point of view, this is how they feel – right or wrong. Let history decide. Everyone tries to influence history. Bonds is guilty of this also.

  • The Haze

    Sorry RJ……Ecko really is an idiot, but America seems to be quite comfortable with idiots these days.”Look what they’ve done to our song,Nicolo”

  • alessandro

    Aw c’man, Haze. Cut me some slack! I’m looking at this from a strictly historical perspective.

    Ecko bought a ball. He took it to the streets; the people. He asked them their thoughts. They voted in the millions. In the process, he got publicity for his company. The BHOF accepted it and I agree with their thinking. You can’t get more democratic and capitalistic than that.

    Would I personally do it? Don’t know. I suspect probably not. Depends where I stood in life.

    That ball preserves what some people felt about #756. It’s a conduit into the thinking of many fans. You can’t suppress that. That’s being in denial or advocating censorship and/or revisionism if you do. The fact remains that Bonds did it under a cloud of suspicion – rightly or wrongly.

    It is what it is.

  • The Haze

    No way I’m disagreeing with you! and it is historic in more ways than I think we realize. I just think our society has become comfortably numb to idiocy. In todays age of everybody wanting their 15 minutes of fame, it just seems that people are willing to do whatever over the top act is necessary to get that spotlight on them. I just don’t see his act as beneficial,only superficial and selfish. What message is this supposed to be sending? That Bonds is a cheater? Shit! The Patriots get caught cheating and they still get the win! WTF??? Now their 4-0! I do think he can do what he wants with the ball, I just disagree with what he’s doing. You are correct….it is what it is…..and I think it’s sad.

  • alessandro

    I see your point.

    So here’s a question to your accurate “I just think our society has become comfortably numb to idiocy. In todays age of everybody wanting their 15 minutes of fame, it just seems that people are willing to do whatever over the top act is necessary to get that spotlight on them.”

    Is it possible to do so without being cynical? What I mean is what if Ecko is not seeking his 15 minutes? Have we become indifferent or incapable in being able to tell the difference between real democratic action on one hand and cynical fame on the other?

    It’s like saying all politicians are scumbags because of a few bad apples and so on.

  • The Haze

    I am skeptical of the motives of others(especially in the sports world)because,as you put it…it is what it is and we are what we are. There are many reasons why,just not enough time to tell you. I feel the sports media is a large component of that reason. I fear we have become a brutal sports society where winning at all costs is fast becoming the norm. The politician thing is a funny analogy.Don’t they all seem to speak out the side of their face?(lol) BTW-GO TRIBE!!!!!!

  • alessandro

    No doubt we’re a results driven society. You don’t win points for looking pretty that’s for sure.

    12-3. More importantly they beat up the Yankees best and most consistent pitcher all year. The trick with the Yankees is to force them to use their middle-relief. Once you do that you can beat them up.

  • The Haze

    Well they mauled ’em(12-3) and they took a close one(2-1).Now let’s test their mettle in enemy territory! On to the place that’s “so nice they named it twice”(UGH!!!) “The city that never sleeps”(PUL-LEES!!) “The place that all the worlds slime gravitates to”.

  • alessandro

    That they did and they even beat the Yanks at their own game in the second one – come from behind in the late innings. Beating Pettite was huge.