No. 756: Chuck it or tuck it?
The bar has been set for Barry Bonds' eventual home run No. 756.
A Dallas auction house has already put a $1 million bounty on the historic souvenir. So we're already talking at least seven figures.
Famed comic book artist Todd McFarlane paid approximately $3 million for Mark McGwire's 70th home run ball from 1998 and $450,000 for Bonds' 73rd home run ball from 2001. Who knows what McFarlane or another wealthy collector might be willing to pay for the all-time record breaker?
But there are those dirty little steroid allegations to consider as well. Would you consider the prize tainted?
More importantly, if you were the fan who caught the ball, would you keep it? Sell it? Give it back to Bonds? Or chuck it back on the field in protest?
Mary Buckheit and Bomani Jones engage in a Page 2 debate over this hot-button issue:
|Chuck it||Tuck it|
By Mary Buckheit
I can already feel the seams splitting off my fingers as I smile. Satisfied and certain.
Heck yes I'd throw it back. It would be the political exclamation point of a sporting century. It's the only chance to take the bull(s---) by the horns. The commissioner, the media, the statheads, the purists and the Bonds backers will quarrel for decades to come about how to denote the infamous dinger, but the fan who catches the ball is the only one with the chance to stamp indelible displeasure on the story that's been stealing our spirit for too long.
Something this epic has got to be more than an impulsive heave, so I've meticulously choreographed my five minutes of JumboTron theater
I'd wear a Milwaukee Braves throwback to the ballpark -- or maybe just a Rage Against The Machine T-shirt.
The toss itself would be made with the unfaltering moxie of Uncle Rico hurling a T-bone steak clear over McCovey Cove. I imagine I'd accent the toss with an elongated follow through, then jump on my seat to dispatch a Nixon-patented two-finger salute while I beam at my ballpark brethren and mime, "I am not a crook!"
But the most important maneuver of what may go down as the single most important play in fandom of the opera will be what happens in those spellbinding seconds while 756* is in my hands.
I'd reach into my purse and seize what I'd like to call the Sharpie of Integrity.
I'd unhurriedly uncap the marker, revealing the stiff scent of permanent public statement, then I'd inscribe three bold intersecting lines to form an eternal asterisk on the ball whose cash value could make E*TRADE executives blush.
I'd give the scarlet insignia a gentle blow, then I'd hold it up and kiss the ball goodbye. Such a refusal would aim to deny a distraction that has consumed even the most basic ingredient of the game. A baseball.
I don't want that kind of dust on my mantel. Not for collection or posterity. Not for the fame or the fortune of a thousand suitors that would surely come calling.
It's a baseball.
That's why I'd throw it back with a sign.
To mark the day that a baseball is just a baseball again.
By Bomani Jones
Throw back Barry Bonds' record-breaking home run ball? I'd sooner throw my wallet.
Hell, that would make more sense. There's money in that ball. It's probably worth more than a couple of my major organs, let alone my meager stash. Straight to eBay, baby.
Am I supposed to be so appalled that Bonds may have used steroids that I protest by throwing legal money on the field? Have you seen gas prices? Is "sucker" written across my forehead?
The day Bonds reportedly decided to use was the day steroids officially got out of control. When the greatest player of his generation hit 37 homers, drove in 122 runs, stole 28 bases and posted an OPS of 1.047, then looked to the juice because he believed his accomplishments were ignored in favor of exploits by players who were on steroids, what was a problem officially became an epidemic.
That doesn't mean Bonds should have used steroids. I'm just not angry he might have. And I refuse to make him the official representative of illegal performance enhancement.
Or should I be outraged because Bonds is an ---hole? Leave that to his ex-wife. I'm indifferent toward him. Too many people in my own life aggravate me for me to waste blood pressure on a jerk I've never met. They can't all be Joe DiMaggio, right?
If Bonds' 756th homer floated near me, I'd knock someone down to catch it. I'd cherish holding a souvenir of the most significant homer of a legendary career. I'd thank the heavens he got rid of that messy, drippy Jheri curl, since activator would have gotten on the ball had he not. I'd be thrilled.
Then I'd get while the gettin' was good.
I'd fight every Bleacher Bum at Wrigley before I threw that ball back. No way I'm passing up dough in a misguided show of protest.
Photos: Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images
Mary Buckheit is a Page 2 columnist. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Bomani Jones is a columnist for Page 2. Tell him how you feel at email@example.com.