Barry Bonds hit his 715th home run on Sunday, and also disappointed me. Not by hitting the home run, but by what transpired in the subsequent press conference. The usual sarcasm and berating of reporters didn't faze me, nor did I mourn Babe Ruth's relegation to the #3 all-time spot. What bothered me was that Bonds wore a 715 hat during the whole post press conference, presumably because he wants to sell it on his website. Later, he stood up to reveal that he was wearing a 715 t-shirt as well.
That kind of fashion decision reminds me of Pete Rose. Pete Rose wears hats celebrating his own records as well. His hats say, "Hit King" or "4,256", a reference to his all-time record for career hits. Rose has embraced the "Hit King" moniker so much that his kids call him "HK", instead of "Dad".
As obnoxious as that is, at least Rose beat a record. Barry's hat commemorates nothing more than second place. Rose also doesn't wear a hat that says "4,192", because the number that matters is the one you end up with, not "Old Record + 1". 715 was an important number when Henry Aaron did it, because it meant he was first.
Second place is simply not a big deal in the context of baseball records. When Bonds was stuck at 713 homers, there were sportswriters who speculated about which pitcher would "go down in history" like Jack Billingham. Who was Jack Billingham? He's the guy who gave up Aaron's 714th home run. I had to look it up. Even still, no one remembers who gave up Sammy Sosa's 62nd home run.
Rose passed Aaron for #2 on the all-time hits list, and he didn't stitch 3,772 on a hat. Even Pete Rose wouldn't do that. OK, he probably would if he thought he could make a buck off of it, but he didn't.
Who is going to buy this 715 gear? Aren't you branding yourself an idiot by rocking clothing celebrating a meaningless home run, in a game your favorite team ultimately lost? I imagine that Barry sees them as a set. What goes well with a 715 cap? How about a 715 t-shirt? Pair them with a Say No To Drugs wristband and you've got yourself quite an outfit.