* Marks the Spot

News broke yesterday that Barry Bonds says he will forfeit his future induction into the Hall of Fame if the Hall accepts and displays his record breaking 756th home run ball that was recently bought at auction by fashion designer Marc Ecko. The reason is because Ecko, after a much publicized online vote, will brand the ball with an asterisk and has offered the ball to the Hall of Fame which has allegedly accepted the offer and will prominently display the ball with the asterisk. The asterisk also happens to be a logo for Ecko’s brand of clothing and apparel. It is one of the most important features of this site. It appears the $752,467 that Ecko paid for the ball is mere pittance in relation to the amount of publicity he has received for his clothing line from this shrewd business move. This got me thinking.

Whether or not you like Barry Bonds is besides the point. I happen to like watching him play and admire his skills greatly and I really don’t care if he used steroids or not and I know I may be in the minority on this issue. However, if the Hall of Fame allows Ecko to deface a piece of baseball history in a clear sign of self promotion, which it is his right to do as he legally bought the ball, and it subsequently displays the ball in the most hallowed of baseball museums-then this sets a horrible precedent with corporations and their role in sports and moving forward in their role in sports history.

As if corporations didn’t have enough of a role in major sports, this type of thing will allow for any company in the future to buy pieces of sports history and permanently attach their logo or name to that piece of history. For instance, lets say that in 15 years Albert Pujols breaks Bonds or perhaps someone else’s home run record-Pujols endorses Nike products: Does that mean that Nike or even a non-related company can purchase that ball and put a swoosh or whatever they want on it and it will be prominently displayed in the Hall of Fame and shamelessly promoted all over TV as this stupid ball is currently. Additionally, if the Hall displays the ball then any person willing to pay the prices that these sports memorabilia are fetching these days can do any type of self promotion they want like putting a picture of themselves or their familes or anything.

The Halls stance has been that they are happy to have the ball no matter what. Good for them, I mean give me a break-as if baseball hasn’t had enough of a witch hunt with Bonds anyway-give the guy some slack. He has never tested positive for anything and has handled breaking the record with class and dignity. I understand people dislike him but put yourself in his place and think how you’d feel if you had never been proven guilty of anything and you were being crucified in front of the whole world constantly-this is America afterall.  Get your outdoor gear in this site and chek the  Thermo Gears for you.

I can see it now, if the Hall allows for this shameful corporate and self promotion, then what’s next. As if there aren’t enough ads everywhere in sports, soon we may have corporate logos prominently displayed on uniforms like they do in Europe. If you look at a Manchester United jersey, you don’t even know what their crest or logo look like-all you know is that AIG is their sponsor. Same thing for Arsenal with Emirates Airlines who also happen to sponsor their new stadium. Can’t you see the lovely interlocking NY logo of the New York Yankees, the most recognized team logo in sports with a big Coca Cola ad right under on the front of Derek Jeter’s jersey-I think I might puke.
The point is that this has to be stopped and it has to end. Corporations, agents, drugs and money are ruining sports and they are almost unwatchable for pure enjoyment even for the most die hard fan. I remember being 8 years old and in 1987 a Sports Illustrated issue came out with the headline ‘What They make’ and it listed the salaries of every single major league baseball player and I remember the league minimum was $67,500 a year and the highest salary was I think Jim Rice at about $2 million. I remember thinking that was amazing-I had a paper route when I was 8 and I made like $20 a week. Man how things have changed.

Alex Rodriguez just opted out of his Yankee contract that would pay him $28 million or so per year for the next three years. Instead, he is searching for a 12 year deal worth $360 million-yes that’s $360 million and he will go to the highest bidder. He is an amazing talent, one of the best ever, but he is impossible to root for. His agent, Scott Boras, is one of a handful of men who are ruining the game I love. The problem is that Alex isn’t calling the shots and anyone who thinks so is fooling themselves. He wonders why he is hated by fans of his own team and killed in the media and the reason is because he has no heart-he is just a patsy. I can think of another patsy from recent history as well; his name was Lee Harvey Oswald and in the end he served his purpose and then was killed. It’s obviously a bit different, but A-rod is serving his purpose for Boras but he certainly is getting killed in the media and in the end the fans will never like him-no matter who opens up the vault for him.

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  1. Interesting article, I completely agree with you about sponsors and promotions attached to teams and players. Another example you can put in would be the naming rights to stadiums, seems like stadium names change by the week across the country. If the new Yankees stadium opens and is called anything other than Yankee Stadium, then i may puke.
    Btw, i think you are the first person to compare Arod to Lee Harvey. congrats.

  2. I thought it was a keen analogy…stadium naming rights pisses me off too but at least I can understand why they do it-the problem is of course that it drives up the ticket prices as the corporate sponsorship drives up athletes salries and in the end-hurts the little guy going to the game when he has to shell out like $3-400 for a family of four to have decent seats and food-drinks at the game

  3. This whole thing with the Hall of Fame is so stupid. You can’t let this idiot fashion guy dictate whats on the ball when it goes into the Hall. Don’t display the ball-display the bat or something else. Really, who cares whats displayed. I agree with this Baumer guy that I will vomit blood if they name the new Yankee Stadium Bank of America Stadium or Adidas Stadium or whatever

  4. What if the asterisk wasn’t Ecko’s new logo? What if Ecko bought the ball and just marked it for the purposes of expressing his view (and since it was publicly voted, arguably the public’s view) on bonds? I’m not saying that’s what happened, just wondering if that would change your opinion.

  5. It wouldn\’t change my opinion that the hall shouldn\’t accept it. People should not be able to dictate the course of history when it has nothing to do with them. Whether it was his personal view or his business logo–the hall cannot judge this situation. History will judge it and people will always have their own opinions and thats how it should be-the story will always be attached–same as Pete Rose or Joe Jackson–let the people decide–museums like the hall cannot take sides and accepting that ball is an open endorsement for that viewpoint–right or wrong

  6. I totally agree with Lee and not just because my name is Barry. The HOF is the temple of baseball and displays artifacts from its history. These items right or wrong are displayed and people can and should make their own judgements. The HOF is not only for good people and non cheats…see Cobb and Perry but convicting Bonds is unfair and the Hall and its VP Joe Morgan who is friendly with Bonds should have this nonsense stopped.

  7. baseball lover says

    Ecko is an ego maniac who has no business getting invloved in this stuff–he is doing it all for his own personal gain and the publicity that it is bringing hima nd his company

  8. Get over it, the fans decided what should happen with the ball not Ecko. They decided it should have an asterisk which if anything shows a total sentiment of most peoples feelings towards bonds at this time. The Hall represents baseball history and it would be inappropriate to not display that at this time in baseball history there was a big asterisk over bonds and the game itself. And why don’t you start your protest by burning all the sports items you have with sponsors on it, that should take a few hours.

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