By Stan Silliman
Bond's Bats in Demand
Barry’s at 708.
Baseball’s investigating, fans are booing and the Hall of Fame is begging.
They want Barry Bonds’ home run bats, his uniforms, discarded syringes.
Cooperstown wants history. They want the homerun 714 and 715 bats when it comes.
They want four bats from the 2001 season when Barry hit 73. They want a total of six of Barry’s bats…. So they can mount it on the wall in the shape of an asterisk.
That takes guts, to ask for Barry’s things. More than one baseball memorabilia collector had asked Barry for one of his treasures and received instead up close and personal ‘roid rage for his trouble. It’s like trying to reason with a button-poppin’ Incredible Hulk right after Dr. David Banner was wearing Armani.
Cooperstown has the bats of Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire from their home run race of 1998. They’re displayed prominently in the “Andro Room.” Right next to the bathroom stall depiction of the pants-down Mark with Jose Conseco injecting his buttock fill of “homer juice.”
Parents who are purists will say, when the kids ask what’s going on here, “Oh, don’t worry, they’re just gay.”
But Cooperstown pulls no punches. Whether the records stand or not, they’re still part of baseball history. And to ask Cooperstown not to display history, good or bad, would be like asking the Hall of Presidents to only display the busts of elected presidents, thus leaving Gerald Ford and George W. Bush out in the cold. You could do that but it would be wrong.
Dale Petroskey, Hall of Fame president, says as much “We’ve got to address steroids in the Hall.” Now we guess trips to Cooperstown in 2010 will include a juiced wing: Let’s move into the simulated Senate Hearing Room where baseball stars wear suits, swear in and can’t remember taking steroids. You’ll have Rafael Palmeiro uttering his famous “I’ve stuck so many things up my butt who can remember steroids.” Once again, kids will be tugging on daddy’s sleeve.
Last week’s scene at San Diego’s Petco Park will be available on film at the Hall. This is the one where fans are yelling at Barry things like “Asterisk,” “Steroids,” “Big head” and one fan throws a syringe at him. Others hold up signs reading “Barroid” and “Cheaters Never Prosper.” Barry will remark “You have to have some serious talent to get 53,000 booing you.”
Some will argue that the Hall of Fame should be less historical and more memorial. They say if you’re going to bring drugs into the equation where records could have been enhanced if you place syringes and special creams next to the players of the 90s and early 21st century, then you’ll need to add whiskey bottles next to Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle. You’ll have areas like the “Andro Period,” the “Balco Period” and then way back the “Boiled Liver Period.”
The Hall will pull no punches. We wonder if there’ll be a “Cheater’s Room” where the ‘roid rangers line up with the spitball throwers and the bat corkers and the ball scuffers. It may become the most popular room. They’ll be all kinds of slogans on the wall including Conseco’s: “It’s not cheating if the drugs cleared your system.” Once again purists will answer their kids questions with “Oh, don’t worry, he was just a heroin addict.”
2405 Wilcox Drive
Norman, OK 73069
Website by Alliance Team