UPDATE 9:11 P.M. ET: Turns out Ecko IS donating the ball to the Hall of Fame, no strings attached. The agreement was just announced, though I wish they could have told me a few hours earlier so I wouldn't have wasted my time writing the post below. However, my sentiments still apply.
If you're planning a summer road trip to Cooperstown to see Barry Bonds' record-breaking 756th home run ball — and, really, why wouldn't you be? — you're better off just saving the thousand or so bucks in gas money.
The l'il white orb, which is believed to be marked with a giant asterisk by owner Marc Ecko, won't be there. Or so say the fine people at Baseball's Hall of Fame, who are in the middle of stalled negotiations with the fashion designer.
The Hall said Tuesday recent talks with fashion designer Marc Ecko, who bought the souvenir for more than $750,000 last September, had “unfortunately reached an impasse.”
“The owner’s previous commitment to unconditionally donate the baseball has changed to a loan. As a result, the Hall of Fame will not be able to accept the baseball,” the Hall said in a statement.
“Should the owner choose to unconditionally donate the ball to the museum at a future date, we would be delighted and of course, accept his offer,” it said.
Nearly all of the Hall’s 35,000-plus artifacts were presented on a permanent basis. The shrine does make exceptions, especially when it has nothing else to illustrate a story — Willie Mays loaned the glove he used to make his famous, over-the-shoulder catch in the 1954 World Series.
Bonds donated the batting helmets he wore when he hit his 755th and 756th home runs last August, breaking Hank Aaron’s career record.
Frankly, I don't think any of us are at a loss here, because I've never understand the allure of wanting to see "famous" baseballs from history. Mostly because they all look EXACTLY THE SAME.
Want to display the jersey from a famous game? The glove? The bat? A pair of spikes? The lineup card taped to the dugout wall? Yeah, I'd be interested in seeing all of those, because they're all unique and can tell different parts of the story. You can tell how big the bat is, what the jersey was made out of in those days, etc ...
But when it comes to baseballs, they could slip any ol' Rawlings in there and we wouldn't know much of a difference, sort of like when the Olsen twins were on Full House. I can't see Barry Bonds' No. 756 ball? Well, I'll go look at any of the other thousand baseballs the Hall of Fame has just like it.
All of that is to say ... I won't be struggling to sleep tonight. I'm betting you won't be, either.