Isn't the Internet wonderful? It lets baseball fans vote in an All-Star game player and now it lets people around the world decide what to do with a historic ball. After purchasing the ball that Barry Bonds hit to break baseball's all-time home run record, fashion designer Marc Ecko has decided to give the public a vote on what to do with the ball. On the website Vote756.com, Ecko gives voters three choices, "Bestow it. Brand it. Banish it." That's bestow it to Cooperstown and the Baseball Hall of Fame, brand it with an asterisk and then send it to Cooperstown, and banish it to space via rocket.
Ecko, who's no stranger to publicity stunts, was on the Today show yesterday discussing his idea, telling Matt Lauer and Ann Curry that he wanted "to democratize the ball and to give the ball to the people, give the ball to America." Democracy is expensive! Ecko paid $752,467 for the ball last week and was willing to pay whatever he had to in order to get it. As a "collector [and lover] of popular culture," Ecko wanted us all to have a moment together. For the record, Ecko voted to brand the ball with an asterisk.
Voting started yesterday and runs through 11:59 PM next Tuesday. Bonds broke Hank Aaron's home run record on August 7th in San Francisco, where Queens resident Matt Murphy caught the ball and decided to sell it because he was unable to pay the taxes to keep the ball. What does Murphy think of the voting? "This either makes him a lunatic or a genius, one of those two. I'm leaning toward genius." We're going with marketing lunatic. Murphy said he plans to bestow it.
Photo of Marc Ecko with Barry Bonds' 756th home run ball by AP/Mary Altaffer