Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Barry's Stuff and the Hall

Given that no event has occurred, and no quotes appear in the article which actually support the headline, I'm sort of scratching my head at "Bonds might not donate prized items to Hall of Fame."

Bonds does say "I'm not worried about the Hall . . .I take care of me," but there's no indication that answer came in response to a question about whether he'll donate memorabilia. Indeed, it seems like an answer Bonds could give to any question that has been asked of him since 2003. I'm not a Bonds apologist, but it strikes me that the purpose behind this article is to add another Bonds-is-a-jerk log to the fire.

That aside, what to make of this "issue"? Not much, really. If I were a Bonds handler and was taking the long view regarding how to craft his legend in light of what will no doubt be a PR train wreck if and when the Baseball Writers decide to deny him entry to Cooperstown someday, I'd slowly craft the story to be one in which maverick Barry never needed the Hall of Fame before and certainly doesn't now. Ideal? No, but it certainly beats the Pete Rose beg-a-thon we've experienced over the past couple of decades.

Obviously, however, Bonds either isn't interested in spinning his life story in such a way or is simply unable to do, because if he was he wouldn't be the pariah he is now. No, I think the real answer can be found in this passage in the story:

Bonds is careful with personal items related to his home run pursuit. He makes certain that hats, jerseys and other things he wears are authenticated, and he keeps them in a warehouse.

He marks them, he said, "so people don't steal my stuff." By his count, he's already able to take care of his next three-plus generations.

Bonds has made nearly $200M in his career on salary alone, and no doubt tens of millions more from endorsements, licensing brick-a-brack, and other assorted revenue sources. Despite this, if you believe Game of Shadows, his whole impetus to juice was because guys like Sosa and McGwire were stealing the spotlight -- and the dollars -- that he thought were rightfully his.

No, if Barry is withholding stuff from the Hall, it isn't as protest, preemptive strike, or simply because he's difficult. It's because a jersey in Cooperstown is one that he can't consign and sell at a strip mall in Walnut Creek. Judge that how you will, but that's Barry.