|An Asterisk for Barry|
Written by Jonathan Leshanski (Contact & Archive) on September 28, 2007
Until now.Â The fans have spoken and the baseball Barry Bonds hit to break Henry Aaronâ€™s all time home recordÂ will have an asterisk burned into it before being turned over to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.Â Â And best of all, MLB has nothing to do with it.Â Â While Bud Selig and the owners have turned a blind eye to the tainted records of the steroid era the fans, led by fashion designer Marc Ecko, decided to take the slugger to task for his use of steroids.
And Ecko, who won the ball at auction and paid over $750,000 for it, opted to let real baseball fans decide.Â Â Now when I say real baseball fans, I thinkÂ I need to qualify just who really voted here.Â While the poll was open to everyone, the fans who expressed their opinion most vociferously werenâ€™t the casual fans for whom seeing the record meant everything.Â Those fans never cared enough to look for the well publicized poll, or support Barry, by voting to send the ball unblemished to the Hall.
The fate of the ball was decided by the devout fans who clearly felt that Barry had shown a disrespect for the national pastime and had cheated his way to the record.Â And if the Hall displays the baseball, that displeasure will forever be known.
Barryâ€™s asterisk will be eternally on display, and will cause generation upon generation to question the manâ€™s integrity and talent.Â It will be a reminder that there are records on the book, and there are numbers that mean something real.
And thatâ€™s the way it should be.Â Â Baseball isnâ€™t called the ownerâ€™s game, or the Players Unionâ€™s game, or even the playerâ€™s game.Â Itâ€™s America's game - and this is a revolution which the owners, players and union should be aware of.
This vote is a wake up call that the fans are not happy with how performance enhancing drugs, testing, treatment and punishment are being handled.Â They feel Barry and others have cheated the game, have cheated baseballâ€™s best, and have cheated us.
If MLB wonâ€™t, or canâ€™t, come down on the cheats, the fans will.Â And Barryâ€™s record will always hang under that cloud, not just of suspicion, but of derision.Â This asterisk wonâ€™t be applied by a commissioner with an interest in seeing a record stay intact.Â Â It will say that some records really have never been broken.
This asterisk is a cry of outrage saying that Barryâ€™s record, and by that token Barry himself cannot be believed.Â The fans have spoken and theyâ€™ve spoken eloquently.