I guess I feel vindicated. I am fucking infuriated that they signed this guy for three damn years, and let Chad Bradford go because three years was too long of a contract for a relief pitcher: the Mets were Chad Bradford away from a playoff birth.
Gilbert Arenas (whose blog is excellent)feels very strongly that the Marc Ecco/Barry Bonds baseball/ asterisk incident is a travesty for a variety of reasons, some of them valid and some of them unhinged. I pretty much agree; I think that Ecco’s involvement is moralistic, pompous and obnoxious. First off, the thin pretense of making his judgments a popular decision is crummy and degenerate: of his three options, the asterisk is the only one that could ever conceivably be chosen by a popular vote. Shooting something to into space could never appeal to a large enough mass of people: the voters have been told by the baseball establishment, the media, themselves, and even Mark Ecco’s stupid poll that the ball is valuable, they want to keep it on earth—relinquishing it to the void of space would never gather enough popular support. Also, doing nothing to it is not an interesting enough option to get people to vote for it en-mass. Because the poll was conducted by voluntary participants, the only people likely to vote were those who felt that Bonds had tainted the legacy of baseball, and that his ball needed to be marked by an asterisk, to ensure his infamy into the age of the robot ball-player.
The asterisk is fucking stupid. Look, one hundred years after the fact I know that Ty Cobb was a racist motherfucker; I also know that he probably bet on and fixed a game or two; I know this despite the fact that there was no interest or effort made by the baseball establishment or anyone else to keep either of these aspects of Cobb’s history in the public consciousness-- the latter fact was actively suppressed by Commissioner Kennesaw Mountain Landis, who banned all the Black Sox participants for life, in order to avoid the disastrous fallout that would come from the utter disgrace of the best (white) baseball player of all godamn time. I somehow think that people will be able to remember the doubts about Bonds and his record for as long as there is an interest in the sport.
And really, Marc Ecco, how do you see the asterisk functioning? Eons in the future when archaeologists or aliens uncover the Hall of Fame, do you actually imagine some pith-helmet wearing motherfucker picking up the ball and saying “well, other artifacts indicate that this was a baseball, part of a vaguely incoherent game played on a diamond shaped field—however, the presence of the branded on asterisk indicates that the player who hit this ball might have done so with the aid of performance enhancing drugs.” Does this strike you as fucking likely? If that is the scenario that you are preparing for, they should start branding all of Babe Ruth’s bats with a hotdog, just so the future archaeologists will have more insight into our ancient sport. Or are you more thinking: “look, son, that asterisk got on the ball after Marc Ecco bought it and let people vote on the Internet.”
In conclusion, Scott Schoenewies is a crappy pitcher, a fact that was completely unchanged by his taking steroids. This, and several other things, indicates that the relationship between taking steroids and not sucking at baseball is a little more complicated than any idea that can be effectively conveyed by an asterisk.
If Scott Schoenewies feels like proving me wrong and being amazingly damn useful for the Mets next year, I’ll send him a letter of apology.