In a Sotheby's auction, fashion designer Marc Ecko paid $752,467 for Barry Bonds's 756th home run ball. He visited Matt and Ann this morning to talk about it. WATCH VIDEO
Photo by Buck Ennis
Instead of keeping the ball, he has created a website -- vote756.com -- where he has asked people to vote on whether they want him to a) donate the ball to the National Baseball Hall of Fame; b) brand the ball with an asterisk, then send it to the Hall of Fame; or c) send the ball into space.
I think I would vote for "b" myself, since the ball definitely belongs in the Hall of Fame, and branding it with an asterisk would force the curators there to address the performance-enhancing drugs issue when displaying the ball.
After the segment, I chatted with Marc for a few minutes. Here's our conversation:
Q: You obviously know a lot about the Bonds controversy. Are you a baseball fan?
ME: I'm a fan. I'm not part of any baseball or football fantasy leagues, but I'm a fan. I'm more a fan of popular culture, and that's what this is about. This is about the collective debate that we, as a country, have had about what to do with this ball.
Q: You mentioned that you're a "collector of pop culture." What exactly does that mean?
ME: I geek out on all kinds of pop culture things. Star Wars, comic books, video games, art, pop art, I'm fascinated by it. It's a wholly and uniformly American phenomenon.
Q: What in particular interested you about the Bonds ball?
ME: The ferocity of the debate within our collective conscience, and the wide range of opinions. I wanted to bring an Americal Idol-ization format to this, to open it up to the public. It's something that's an interesting convergence of pop culture and hard news. I liked that it could get people to engage and validate what could be done with this.
Q: You said you would do "whatever it took" to win this auction. How high were you willing to go?
ME: I had the resources and the means, and I told my friends I was going to win it. And I did. I wanted the ball, so I didn't put a ceiling on it.
Q: Did you consult your financial adviser before you went into this?
ME: Honestly, no! I didn't consult my wife or my marketing department either.
Q: You went into the auction bidding anonymously. Why not go into with people knowing you were going after the ball?
ME: This wasn't about that. There was no upside to advertising that it was me. This was wholly about the moment, about the right to get people to vote on what should happen to the ball.
Q: You're a self-proclaimed pop culture geek -- did you happen to watch "Curb Your Enthusiasm" last night? Anonymity and a large monetary donation figured into the plot.
ME: No, not yet! I Tivo'd it, so don't tell me what happens.
Q: Is there another pop culture moment out there waiting for you?
ME: Given the moment and the opportunity, yes, there is. If you know me and have followed my biography, you know that this wasn't the first and won't be the last.