A little more than a month ago, I wrote the following email to the Baseball Hall of Fame, regarding Barry Bonds' record-breaking home run ball:
When I was a kid, my parents taught me to respect others, and one way to show that respect was to avoid defacing their property. I passed the same thing along to my kids, and if they have kids, I'll hopefully see grandkids with the same understanding. Baseball artifacts that are displayed at the Hall of Fame "belong" to all fans. If someone defaced Hall property, I would hope the miscreant would be punished. Because of this, I am extremely disappointed to read that the Hall is considering not only accepting a defaced Barry Bonds HR ball, but that they are actively working with Mr. Ecko in the defacing process. This is a serious mistake, and casts an extremely poor light on the Hall. Hopefully, you will reconsider your participation in this, so that future visitors to the Hall can see baseball history as it was made, rather than a publicity stunt for Mr. Ecko.
Today I received this reply:
Thank you for your letter regarding Barry Bonds’ 756th home run baseball which is being donated to the museum. Thank you for taking the time to express your views and we apologize for the delay in returning a reply.
We understand your consternation in the Museum accepting this donation, but we strongly believe it is a relevant and important artifact that belongs in Cooperstown. As an American history museum, our core mission is to tell the story of baseball history, both in the context of how it unfolds on the field, and also as it relates to American culture.
As you know, the baseball from Bonds’ 756th home run is being donated with an asterisk affixed to it. We do not condone defacing artifacts and would have preferred the baseball be donated in its natural state. We were willing to look beyond that in this instance, because of the historical relevance connected to the baseball. We will explain why it is defaced and what led to it being donated to the Museum in that condition.
In our opinion, the baseball speaks to many significant parallels between baseball and culture in 2007, some of which include: a representation of baseball fans’ sentiments about the home record, for a one-week period in September 2007; a symbol of the adversity Barry Bonds had to endure in passing Hank Aaron to become the all-time home run champion, and; the passion baseball fans have for baseball history, as evidenced by the popularity of the online poll, in which 10 million votes were cast during a one-week period.
When this artifact is eventually donated and placed on display in the Museum, the entire story -- from when the baseball left Barry Bonds’ bat and ended up in Cooperstown -- will be presented fairly and balanced with facts and not supposition: We share baseball history through exhibits and let our visitors interpret their own feelings.
Additionally, please know we have several other artifacts graciously donated by Barry Bonds from his career, including his historic 755th and 756th home runs.
We hope this sheds some light into our thinking. Thanks again for sharing your opinion, which we value.
I can't say I buy their justification. They note that the display will tell "the entire story ... presented fairly and balanced with facts and not supposition." Since they already plan this kind of display, why add to their so-called fair and balanced presentation by including a defaced artifact, the defacement of which makes a particular statement about said artifact? Why not invite that fucking prick Ecko to write a brief essay explaining the situation? That way, the Hall would have an unblemished artifact, and the fucking prick would still be able to extend his publicity stunt. I'm kidding, of course ... if they let any of that fucking prick's shit into the Hall, it would serve him right if someone defaced it. Heck, Ecko likes graffiti ... maybe people should go into stores that sell his shit and mark all of his product with asterisks.