Today another Barry Bonds story has hit the wires and as usual the media is trying its hardest to spin the story against Bonds. The story is as thus; Some auction company called Mastro Auctions had a baseball memorabilia auction yesterday. Some of the items that were sold included an autographed Hank Aaron jersey, Aaron's signed rookie contract, an autographed Aaron rookie card, an unautographed Aaron rookie card, and Bond's 70th home run ball from the 2001 season. During the auction the Aaron items each sold for more than the Bonds ball. So as can be expected from the Barry hating media, here is a sample of some of the headlines of the story:
Sportsline: Aaron items outsell Bonds' No. 70 HR ball
ESPN: Aaron memorabilia fetches more than Bonds items
And then here is an excerpt from the AP story:
"The ball was one of only a handful of items that didn't meet its estimated selling price, while all the Aaron memorabilia met or exceeded expectations, Allen said."
Now for some perspective that is sorely missing from both the headlines of this story and the story itself.
Point 1. We are talking about home run ball #70, not the record #73. Why should #70 really be expected to break the bank in an auction? Because it is a round number? I concede that the ball didn't meet the expected price, but who the heck appraised it? Expected auction prices are not an exact science by any means.
Point 2. The comparison of a Bonds item to Aaron items is inherently unfair. The price of sports memorabilia is highly dependent upon time and historical context. So is it really that suprising that fifty year old pieces of rare Aaron memorabilia outsold a not terribly historically signifigant Bonds home run ball that is less than a decade old? Of course not.
Point 3. It is not like these were the only items for sale at the auction. The press merely chose to ignore the other items, focus on the Bonds-Aaron angle, and make a binary Good/Bad comparison. What a joke. Anyone who believes the press isn't biased against Bonds after reading a story like this needs a lobotomy.
Also, the assertation by the auction house spokesman that the steroid scandal will forever hamper Bonds memorabilia...please. The 10th best selling piece of baseball memorabilia of all time is Shoeless Joe Jackson's "Black Betsy" bat. I guess the whole gambling scandal really had a lasting effect there.