SAN FRANCISCO— Commissioner Bud Selig announced Wednesday that, once the Giants slugger retires, his name in the official MLB record books will be forever accompanied by an asterisk, followed by a pound sign and exclamation point, all preceded by the letter 'F'—a string of characters that, according to Selig, "will always be associated with Barry Bonds."
"When my children's grandchildren open up their Baseball Almanac a hundred years from now, they'll see this enduring, universally understood symbol right next to Barry's name," Selig said. "And when they do, they'll immediately know that this sequence of characters—F*#!—reflects history's attitude toward not only the conditions under which he was able to hit his home runs, but also the historical implications he had on the game and its records, the relationship he had with the media and fans during his momentous chase, and just the general atmosphere of baseball in an era he will come to embody."
"These symbols say more about Barry Bonds and his contributions to this sport than any mere number ever could," Selig added.
The decision, which Selig characterized as the only way to accurately convey that Barry Bonds hit his 714-plus home runs under "some pretty goddamn special circumstances," is reminiscent of a similar one made in 1961 by then-commissioner Ford Frick. Frick suggested that an asterisk be placed next to Roger Maris' single-season home-run record of 61, an annotation used to explain that Maris hit his home runs over the course of an expanded 162-game season rather than a 154-game season.
According to Selig, the symbol that will be placed next to Bonds' name requires no further explanation.
"When people think of Roger Maris, they immediately think 'asterisk,'" Selig said. "And when people of this and future generations think of Barry Bonds, they will immediately think F*#!"
Most experts, fans, teammates, and those close to the seven-time MVP say that, while Maris was never able to adjust to the stigma of being remembered as a historical footnote, Bonds is already used to constantly hearing the phrase "F*#!" everywhere he goes.
Baseball fans around the country have applauded Selig's decision, with many agreeing that Bonds' accomplishments deserve to be emphasized in such a fashion, and with some even vehemently insisting that his name be accompanied by an even longer string of symbols and letters.
"The first thing I said when I saw Bonds hit No. 714 was, 'Aww, F*#!'" said Oakland resident Roger Jaffe, who was in attendance at the game during which Bonds tied Ruth, and who claims to have heard many fans mutter the exact same thing. "But the more I think about it, there are at least a thousand other variations on it that may be even more appropriate to describe Bonds and his career."
All-time home-run leader Hank Aaron contacted the chairman of the Society for American Baseball Research's records committee, saying that, should Bonds approach his home-run total of 755, he would like "some input as to what appears next to Bonds' name."
"I have been thinking about this for quite some time, and I have upwards of 200 very good suggestions that I think they might like to hear," Aaron said.
Major League Baseball has specified that the 'F'–asterisk–pound sign–exclamation point symbol will only appear next to Bonds' name in the all-time home-run category, with his name in other categories to be accompanied by symbols more fitting for that particular one, including: an "at" symbol, two dollar signs, a pound sign, an asterisk, and Nos. 1 and 3 (@$$#*13) next to his single-season home-run total of 73; two series of five asterisks—the first preceded by the letter 'M' and the second preceded by the letter 'F' (M***** F*****)—next to his single-season slugging-percentage record of .863; and a sequence of letters reading "The bastard used to be pretty goddamn good in his own right without the fucking steroids" next to his eight Gold Glove Awards.
"F*#! Barry Bonds, 714 F*#!^&% home runs," Selig said, reading a line out of the most updated version of this year's record book. "F*#! Barry Bonds."