The orange-colored plaque at AT&T Park that honors Bonds' 756th career home run, the one that nudged him past Hank Aaron in 2007, has been missing for several days, San Francisco Giants spokeswoman Staci Slaughter said. Only traces of glue, in the rough shape of a 5-foot-tall badge, can be seen on the brick wall where the plaque was mounted in center field beyond on the home-run fence. By its placement, the sign is easily accessible by fans, although you'd think anyone trying to steal it would have been noticed. Looking at 150-200 hours of security footage ought to tell them something.
"We're in the process of replacing it," Slaughter said. "We're not sure what happened. We're reviewing video, but haven't found anything yet."
UPDATE: It's unconfirmed, but a Stew reader via Twitter says the Bonds plaque was in pieces in a dumpster at AT&T Park:
@bigleaguestew It was seen in pieces in a dumpster at the ballpark. Maybe someone TRIED to steal it, but the whole thing wasn't stolen
— Mike Heimowitz (@heimy25) April 24, 2013
So, are we to believe that a Hulk-like figure, probably all roided up on BALCO and Biogenesis, snatched the plaque off the wall and tore it to pieces before the remnants found their way into a dumpster? Can this be categorized as a hate crime?
If this is true, several of the following theories have been debunked:
Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle posits, perhaps half-seriously, that the team could be erasing the memory of Bonds because of his association with performance-enhancing drugs.
His uniform No. 25 hasn't been retired, after all, and there are only scant traces of evidence scattered around AT&T that he even played for the club. He might be the best hitter in the history of the Giants, and he's one of the best ever, period, but he's also considered a pariah because — many believe — his accomplishments are at least partially invalid.
Until the plaque is replaced, the glue serves as a reminder as to what a tragically ambiguous figure Bonds is.
The perpetrators probably aren't historical revisionists, though, trying to restore Aaron to his "rightful" place as the home run king. And the thieves shouldn't expect to make a buck off (what was) a one-of-a-kind sign; it's not like you can list it on eBay without giving yourself away. No, these sign stealers probably are devoted fans of Bonds, and their unique souvenir is going to be posted in the man cave.
[Editor's note: Unless they aren't!]
It's funny, but from the collective comments about the plaque being stolen, it seems like the Giants wouldn't even care to prosecute this, except for wanting to enforce the notion that you can't steal things from AT&T Park with impunity. That it's a Bonds-related artifact just makes it more of a nuisance. Imagine the call for the cavalry if somebody made off with the Willie Mays statue.
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