FanDuel - WFBC

September 26, 2007

Brand strategy: Fashion guy Marc Ecko put the fate of #756 into the public's hands... and the results are in.

posted by The Crafty Sousepaw to baseball at 02:51 PM - 35 comments

Previously discussed here. Disgusting. I'm beside myself. In my book, this is akin to signing your own name to the Declaration of Independence or adding a few extra strokes to your original Matisse so it goes better with your couch. The ball is history -- for good or for bad, it is what it is. Ecko is articially, but permanently, inserting himself into the history of the game, where he has no place whatsoever. That stupid brand is going to exist a lot longer than the context in which the record is viewed. What a jackass.

posted by The Crafty Sousepaw at 02:59 PM on September 26

Good Lord, man, overreact much? Your comparisons are absurd at best. The Declaration of Independence? Matisse? Sheesh. The Hall will likely figure out some way to display the ball that hides the asterisk, or they'll doctor it in some way to cover up the asterisk, or remove it altogether. Of all the travesties that have occurred in sport, this is one of the tamest and most ridiculous to gnash your teeth over. No, Ecko probably shouldn't insert himself into the game and its history like this, but you know what? It's his ball, and he can do with it whatever he damn well pleases. Besides that, Dale Petroskey, President of the Baseball Hall of Fame, knows what he's getting from Ecko, and says he's "happy to have it." "You bet we're happy to get it," Hall of Fame president Dale Petroskey said. "This ball wouldn't be coming to Cooperstown without Mark Ecko buying it from the fan who caught it and then putting it up to the vote of the fans." Doesn't sound like he's got nearly as much of a problem with the ball, or Ecko for that matter, than you do, and he's the HoF President.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 03:09 PM on September 26

Good Lord, man, overreact much? Sometimes it feels like you're coming after me quite a bit, but then I just assume that it's my oversensitivity kicking into paranoia mode. There was a 33% chance that the ball was going to be shot into space. Yes, the Hall of Fame is happy it's coming to them. Gift horses and mouths and all that. My comparisons stand, and I think Ecko himself would agree with me. From your link: "We're going to be working with the folks at the Hall of Fame. It is an historical museum. We want to treat this ball as such, as an artefact with respect," Ecko said on the Today Show. He acknowledges that respect should be shown to historical artifacts, but he thinks it's okay to deface it before he bestows it? He's a hypocrit and he is disrespecting the museum and the history of the game by making himself a character in both. I apologize to everyone who thinks I'm just too overraught about maintaining the integrity of historical artifacts and the preservation of baseball history. It's kinda what I do for a living.

posted by The Crafty Sousepaw at 04:00 PM on September 26

Crafty, I am completely in agreement with you. When you think about it, Baseball is almost as great a part of the culture and history of the United States as our historical documents. Mr. Ecko shows a great deal of arrogance in his "branding" of the baseball. I almost could agree with it were he to wait for conclusive proof of substance use by Bonds, as well as conclusive evidence that such substances do enhance performance. OK, before all the screaming starts, I know there are differences of opinion on this, but let's not rehash all that has been discussed here before. The good news is that the ball will be in the HOF. I'm sure that the exhibit can be designed so that the asterisk does not show.

posted by Howard_T at 04:22 PM on September 26

TBH, I'm with TCS on this one. The only reason Ecko has more of a say than the rest of the baseball-loving populous is dollars. It's like assholes spending a night in the Lincoln Bedroom. There are some advantages that money should not confer. Ingratiating yourself into a historic situation you couldn't earn your way into should be one.

posted by yerfatma at 04:29 PM on September 26

I'm sure that the exhibit can be designed so that the asterisk does not show. Won't happen. To mask or fail to display the brand is to whitewash the history of the ball. It is an irreparable fact that the brand, and Ecko, are now part of the story.

posted by The Crafty Sousepaw at 04:35 PM on September 26

Your comparisons don't stand Craft. Declaration of Independence? The cornerstone of America? (Or as Dennis Miller said, before he turned to evil, "a 200 year old to-do list") It's a fucking ball. That's all. Get over it. Unlike the items you've compared it too, without branding, they could easily substitute for a totally different ball and nobody would be any the wiser. Get over yourselves, all of you.

posted by Drood at 04:57 PM on September 26

Could they put the rhino in the middle of the asterisk? Because that would not only be a travesty, but a cool, branded travesty.

posted by worldcup2002 at 05:05 PM on September 26

Thanks for contributing Drood. For what it's worth, The Declaration of Independence is paper and ink. That's it. Get over it. I do agree that this shouldn't be taken all too seriously though. If Bonds really gave a damn about the ball he could have bought it himself. He makes $750K in a week or two. The ball could EASILY be displayed with the asterisk hidden from view. So, at the end of the day, it's really up to the HOF whether this ball has or doesn't have an asterisk on it.

posted by DudeDykstra at 07:19 PM on September 26

TCS correct me if I'm wrong but I'm pretty sure you work for the Hall of Fame (or something of the like). I know you said that they wouldn't not display the asterisk, but if the Hall of Fame were to attempt to hide it could it work?

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 09:02 PM on September 26

That stupid brand is going to exist a lot longer than the context in which the record is viewed. I can understand your anger and disappointment. But doesn't understanding the context bringer a richer understanding of history, baseball history or otherwise? Isn't context what makes Jackie Robinson's contribution to history, baseball and otherwise, so compelling and heroic? If I don't understand what race relations were like in 1947, I can't properly judge what he did. One day I will take my three year old son to Cooperstown and we will not doubt stop and check out Bond's baseball complete with asterisk. No matter what happens with Bonds, the asterisk provides a historical context for the summer of 2007 and the controversy surrounding Bonds home run chase. And who knows what the future will bring. Anything from "wow, you mean PEDS used to be bad for you" to "that's why his head exploded". It is, indeed, a marketing ploy, but an extremely successful one, and he did leave the decision up to the public, rather than making the decision himself.

posted by cjets at 09:18 PM on September 26

cjets- couldnt have said it any better myself.

posted by urall cloolis at 10:18 PM on September 26

Your three-year-old son is going to be bored at Cooperstown. Just saying....

posted by DudeDykstra at 10:40 PM on September 26

Your three-year-old son is going to be bored at Cooperstown. No doubt. Unless the Pink Panther is a recent inductee. To clarify, I meant when I take my three year old, years from now, the asterisk will serve as a vivid visual reminder of the historical context in which the record was set.

posted by cjets at 10:53 PM on September 26

Drood, Eeyore called. He lost the number for your therapist again. Unlike the items you've compared it too, without branding, they could easily substitute for a totally different ball and nobody would be any the wiser. I've seen Matisse prints. Just like the original. Your argument doesn't make any sense. Once the ball crossed the boundary of the outfield fence, I know you recognize that it's monetary value rose from roughly $5.00 to over $750,000. Why can't you accept that it's status also changed from ordinary, everyday baseball to historical artifact. As such, it deserves to be handled with respect, not stained by the whims of some narcissistic publicity hound. I know you said that they wouldn't not display the asterisk, but if the Hall of Fame were to attempt to hide it could it work? The Hall of Fame is dedicated to preserving the history of the game. The Ecko story is now part of the history of the ball -- it is inextricable. And we are not part of some secret society in on the whole Ecko thing -- anyone who has a Yahoo page knows about it. Mine is not an insider view (my realtionship with the Hall, while good, is more peripheral than it used to be), but I would be very surprised if the Hall attempted to deny Ecko's role in the story of the ball. Too many people would look for it and ask about it. And for good or for bad, this is the history of the ball. But doesn't understanding the context bringer a richer understanding of history, baseball history or otherwise? Absolutely. My point was that there is no telling how time will treat Bonds. Years from now he may become a sympathetic figure and the brand will be viewed as a rash and unfair judgment of his achievement. To me, it's like getting a tattoo of your girlfriend's name. Ask Johnny Depp how that works out. 20 years ago we couldn't imagine how our relationship with the Soviet Union would evolve. The right thing to do is to let the ball be what it is, and let time decide whether it has an asterisk over it.

posted by The Crafty Sousepaw at 12:26 AM on September 27

cjets, rereading your post I see I misunderstood what you were saying. I guess my response to your point is that the context of artifacts as they relate to specific achievements are stories that should be told aside from the artifacts, not branded on them. And that story should be "this is how the public viewed Bonds at the time" not "look what Mark Ecko did." My view on why Ecko doesn't deserve to be part of the story couldn't be stated any better than yerfatma's post above.

posted by The Crafty Sousepaw at 12:39 AM on September 27

My opinion on what should happen to the ball hasn't changed.

posted by squealy at 03:23 AM on September 27

The ball could EASILY be displayed with the asterisk hidden from view. So, at the end of the day, it's really up to the HOF whether this ball has or doesn't have an asterisk on it . You are partially correct here, but if you read the article the ball will also be accompanied be that god awful looking declaration page about the votes. Not to mention that there was 10 Million Votes. I guarantee that Ecko will make a big deal out of that alone.

posted by jojomfd1 at 03:32 AM on September 27

Has he already branded it? If not, I spy a loophole. He claims to have "engaged the country in a public debate", but he didn't do that - he engaged the internet in an anonymous vote. When I read about him first, I went to the site. I voted. The website thanked me. I'm Northern Irish. I live in England. I've never been to a baseball game in my life and seen about a fifth of one on TV once. I've read some column yardage about baseball thanks to links in here and enjoyed some of the subsequent discussions thrown up, but am I really to be permitted a vote in all of this? Also, I'd question whether or not he has gained the mandate he was looking for. He provided two realistic options and one laughable one (not unlike the British election system in that respect). The "launch it into space" option reduces the supposed gravity (no pun intended) of the question. In gaining 47% of the vote, branding may have gained more votes than either of the other two options, but 53% of the voters (which constitutes a majority in my book) didn't want it branded.

posted by JJ at 05:43 AM on September 27

This is what you get when you mix morons with money. For over $750,000 maybe he should've donated a portion of that to the "BornIcon: I want/need a 42"-50" flat screen plasma TV for my studio" foundation. It's for a great cause of course.

posted by BornIcon at 06:41 AM on September 27

And that story should be "this is how the public viewed Bonds at the time" not "look what Mark Ecko did." To me what Ecko did represents how a large portion of the public views Bonds. Whether they are right or wrong is a different matter. I also think Ecko will be the forgotten footnote to this story. The Monica Lewinsky, if you will, of the Bonds home run chase. I hope that his name isn't even mentioned in the HOF. And you're absolutely right, the story could be told in an accompanying text. But a picture, or asterisk in this case, is worth a thousand words. And, just to be clear, Bonds innocence or guilt is irrelevant in terms of the historical context. He is "perceived" to be guilty by a large portion of the public and that is the historical context. By that I mean the asterisk will provoke discussion. And that discussion will be anything from a cautionary tale about rushing to judgement/race relations (if he is cleared) to the a discussion about why MLB permitted so many players to use PEDS (if he is found guilty).

posted by cjets at 12:08 PM on September 27

I had to go back to August 8th to get this from one of Crafty's old comments. I'm sure he won't mind it being put back up again. It is one of the best articles that I've seen on this topic. Thanks TCS. To put an asterisk on this ball now is premature and just plain stupid IMO, and I am not even a Bonds fan. If you allow this to happen now, look at what you open the door for in the future. Well sure he broke this or that record, but ya know it just wasn't the way (insert old player's name here) used to do it. Lets mark that record with something to signify that.

posted by jojomfd1 at 04:56 PM on September 27

It is one of the best articles that I've seen on this topic. I've never read that article before but I'm sure glad I had the chance to read it. Mike Celizic is dead on about the different eras and the players that played in those eras. We all know that players of all eras did something in order to gain an advantage over the competion but guess what? There's no asterick's anywhere near those records. Leave well enough alone, Barry Bonds is the home run king until someone comes along and breaks his record.

posted by BornIcon at 07:15 AM on September 28

One day I will take my three year old son to Cooperstown and we will not doubt stop and check out Bond's baseball complete with asterisk. No matter what happens with Bonds, the asterisk provides a historical context for the summer of 2007 and the controversy surrounding Bonds home run chase. No, it provides one person's view of the historical context for the summer of 2007. Imagine this alternate history scenario: In 1939, the Baseball Hall of Fame is officially opened. At the entrance of the hall, there is a beautiful marble floor. Inscribed on this floor, in big gold letters is the phrase: Welcome to the National Baseball Hall of Fame Home of the greatest white baseball players of all time In 1939, that's all the National Baseball Hall of Fame was about. The historical context at the time would have been correct, but in the future, that context would have to be removed from the Hall of Fame because it would be very incorrect. Instead, they simply inducted players from their era and didn't provide any context of any kind (like "This record was set during the 'Dead Ball era'", or "He played during the 'Segregated era'") Or, another way to look at it, what if someone purchased a rare Babe Ruth Boston Red Sox jersey, and then had "Alcoholic Wife Beater" stained into the jersey and offered it to the HOF? How about someone who believes that Cal Ripken was a steroid user, and donates a Ripken bat with "Cheater" branded into the barrel of the bat?

posted by grum@work at 10:40 PM on September 28

I can appreciate that all of you are passionate about the game of baseball, most especially TCS. However,... ...baseball is just a game. The Bonds ball doesn't signify anything of great historical importance. The only people who will even know about Barry Bonds 100 years from now will be dedicated baseball fans. Some have said that the ball is an important part of history. I disagree. It certainly can't be considered a "historical artifact." A historical artifact is something like the Declaration of Independence or the Magna Carta. Sure, they are just pieces of paper with wrting on them. However, they signify a dramatic change in the world. Barry Bonds' can't even be considered to have impacted the steroids issue, never mind caused a change in anything, since it had already begun before his guilt or innocence became a question. I agree that the significance of the asterick on the ball is important to baseball. But don't fool yourselves into thinking that the rest of the free world knows, or even cares, about this issue at all.

posted by Lester at 09:53 AM on October 02

The Bonds ball doesn't signify anything of great historical importance. I'll call bullshit, it most certainly does. It marks the passing of one of the most cherished,and honored BASEBALL records of all time. To you it probably won't mean a thing because to you it is just a game. There are plenty of Historic Baseball Artifacts in the HOF right now, no not the magna carta or the declaration of independence. Artifacts that are important to the history of one of the most loved sports of our time, and the time before us. What do you think they call it when they dig up a piece of a bowl from an old culture that lived somewhere before we did. Now we know they already used bowls, but we still call it an ARTIFACT. That piece of bowl was no magna carta either, correct. Eventually Barry's record breaking ball and his last homerun ball will be a part of history, an artifact. AS far as the rest of the free world knowing, you must not have read the comments in this thread very well. Go and find out where JJ and squealy are from. This was put up on the World Wide Web, not the USA wide web.

posted by jojomfd1 at 10:43 AM on October 02

No, it provides one person's view of the historical context for the summer of 2007. Imagine this alternate history scenario: In 1939, the Baseball Hall of Fame is officially opened. At the entrance of the hall, there is a beautiful marble floor. Inscribed on this floor, in big gold letters is the phrase: Welcome to the National Baseball Hall of Fame Home of the greatest white baseball players of all time In 1939, that's all the National Baseball Hall of Fame was about. The historical context at the time would have been correct, but in the future, that context would have to be removed from the Hall of Fame because it would be very incorrect. There's a huge difference in what went on in 1939 and what is going on in 2007. In 1939, the segregation of the major leagues was not an issue. In 2007 Bonds home run chase was the controversy (emblematic of the steroids controversy) that plagued baseball. This is not about whether he did it or not. It's about public perception. I think it's historically dishonest not to mention the controversy surrounding Bonds when one mentions his record. And, by the way, the fact that the ML was segregated until 1947 is a huge issue that should be addressed by the HOF.

posted by cjets at 02:19 PM on October 02

And, by the way, the fact that the ML was segregated until 1947 is a huge issue that should be addressed by the HOF. In what way?

posted by The Crafty Sousepaw at 03:14 PM on October 02

And, by the way, the fact that the ML was segregated until 1947 is a huge issue that should be addressed by the HOF. In what way? Seeing as how you work there, I would leave it to you. And the suggestions I'll make are, I believe, suggestions that the HOF has already implemented. But here are two: The Negro Leagues should certainly be included, as well as the need for the Negro Leagues until the mid 50's or thereabouts (because of the segregation). And, as I mentioned earlier in this thread, the impact of Jackie Robinson on the roster of the Dodgers in 1947 can not be measured without understanding that the ML was segregated before him. Many people believe that Robinson's breaking down the color barrier makes him the athlete of the 20th century, in any sport. How does one explain his importance without explaining the segregation that existed and the racism that existed? In other words, the historical context. I'm sure there are other examples but those are the most obvious to me.

posted by cjets at 03:36 PM on October 02

Rephrasing TCS' question: "In what way that they haven't already done?"

posted by yerfatma at 03:51 PM on October 02

My fault for rushing a previous post. The sentence should have read: "The fact that the ML was segregated until 1947 is a huge issue that should be addressed by the HOF if it has not been addressed already." Not having been there, I can't answer your specific question. But methinks the Negro Leagues and Jackie Robinson both have much material and space devoted to them.

posted by cjets at 03:59 PM on October 02

That's a fair point, cjets. The Hall does have an entire exhibit dedicated to the Negro Leagues called Pride and Passion. They have inducted numerous Negro League stars, punctuated by an 18-person class in 2006, which came on the heels of a Hall-sponsored five-year study that attempted to assemble the statistics of Negro League and pre-Negro League players. The importance and context of segregation and Jackie Robinson's contributions are pretty well represented. You should check out the "Baseball As America" touring exhibition, which has a very well done section titled "Ideals and Injustices" that really dives into the heart of the cultural context of baseball as it reflects our national struggle with race.

posted by The Crafty Sousepaw at 04:22 PM on October 02

Initially I had no desire to look at this ball since it looks like any other ball. Now that an asterisk is being attached, it may be worth looking at - for 5 seconds anyway. Ecko spends 750Gs for his 15 minutes and gives the ball away. Apparently nobody cared enough about Bonds to try and save his ball by purchasing it from Ecko, who would have looked like a genius had he been able to double his money in a short period of time. So, the people have spoken and only 19% thought Bonds deserved the ultimate honor of having the ball launched into space in what would have been a super-steroids shot. It would be more fitting if Bonds and the ball were launched together and orbited around Earth. It would be ironic that a narcissist who thought the world revolved around him would actually revolve around the world.

posted by longgreenline at 01:59 AM on October 03

Aside from your apparent dislike for Bonds, and anything that represents him. Take that 19% and add on the other 34% that don't want the asterisk on the ball. You now have 53% that do not want the ball marked. This was stated earlier in this thread, had you bothered to read prior to commenting. Another point that was also brought up is the fact of the voters' location. It is too bad you dislike Bonds so much, you missed some really cool baseball moments when he broke that record. Don't worry too much, unless you hate A-Rod that much too. Boy, what will we mark his ball with. I know, *Not Enough Clutch Home Runs*.

posted by jojomfd1 at 06:47 AM on October 03

Apparently nobody cared enough about Bonds to try and save his ball by purchasing it from Ecko, who would have looked like a genius had he been able to double his money in a short period of time. Gilbert Arenas cares.

posted by bperk at 08:46 AM on October 03

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