Marc Ecko is of course the very successful founder and president of Marc Ecko Enterprises. He started out as a t-shirt designer and turned his business into what is now hailed as the most succesful urban clothing line. What is most unique about Ecko is that his background is far from that of his current customer base. While his clothing tends to be worn by those most affiliated with the "Hip-Hop" culture, Marc grew up as a Jewish kid in a New Jersey town outside of Manhatten. His parents were real estate agents and his life was far more suburban than that of most of his customers. But, through hard work and uncanny "street smarts", Ecko went from nearly bankrupt to the No. 1 designer in his field.
So what does all this have to do with Barry Bonds? Well, Ecko was the winner of the auction just recently held by Sotheby's for Bonds' record-breaking, 756th home run baseball. And he has decided to let the fans vote on what should be done with the ball. He set up a website, http://www.vote756.com/, where fans can vote to either "Bestow It" to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, OH, "Brand It" with an asterick and then send it to Cooperstown, or "Banish It" by reportedly shooting it into outer space. And yesterday, The San Francisco Chronicle (which you may recognize as the newspaper whose reporters wrote the book on Barry Bonds' alleged steriod use - you can read my review of the book, Game of Shadows: Barry Bonds, BALCO, and the Steroids Scandal that Rocked Professional Sports, by clicking here), reported that when asked about Ecko's intentions Bonds replied, "He spent $750,000 on the ball and that's what he's doing with it? What he's doing is stupid."
What I find most entertaining about this story is that Bonds just seems to not get it. He doesn't get it that people believe he cheated and should be punished, not celebrated for such an act. He doesn't understand marketing either. Heck, it's clear from his well-known brushes with the media that he doesn't understand the power of the media and the sway of the court of public opinion.
Barry Bonds is wrong - Marc Ecko is a genius. He has just created friends in the baseball culture he never had before by doing this. And those who hate what he is doing? They can simply dismiss him as another crazed fashion designer. But the genius of this act shines brightest in the numbers. As of my visit, there were 3,611,765 votes cast. And how did I vote? See below.