There is a Web site that had no reason to exist before August, 2007, yet has become one of the best examples of modern democracy, and best uses for the Internet, ever.
Maybe I’m overstating its importance, and maybe there’s no possible way to accurately vote for anything online, but www.vote756.com indisputably represents a stroke of genius. If you caught it, what would you have done with Barry Bonds’ 756th home run ball? Looks like you‘ve got three choices (send it to Cooperstown, send it to Cooperstown with an asterisk, blast it into space). That’s three more choices than Joe Fan has ever been afforded with a piece of sports history. A least, that vast portion of sports collectibles that belongs to our soul, and not our legal possession.
There will be ballot-stuffing, word-of-e-mail campaigns, and various other rumors that will render the poll results controversial, but still, I dare you not to vote.
Such a thing wouldn’t be possible without inspiration striking someone with deep pockets and a creative mind, and Marc Ecko appears to have both. He founded the Ecko shoe/clothing company, and while he looks too young in his photo to have that kind of money, I’ve never bought a piece of Ecko merchandise so I really have no opinion on Marc Ecko either way. Until now. In the spirit of this online campaign, in the spirit of baseball fans everywhere, I will drink one beer in his honor. Then vote.
(My recommendation? Throw an asterisk on the ball, then send it to Cooperstown. For a number of reasons I find it impractical, if not impossible, to attach an asterisk to any baseball statistics recorded over the last decade. Yet to leave Bonds unquestioned at the top of the all-time home run list is to ignore America’s collective reaction to the record — which is just as significant as the record itself. Both are important to baseball history, so I’d hate to see the ball blasted into space. And the ball’s come too far just to head back to Cooperstown, unmarked. Booooor-ing. But an asterisked ball in the Hall? That I like.)