Sunday, July 01, 2007

Baseball Censoring Fans

In this file photo Don Regole of Tucson holds a sign expressing his feelings for San Francisco Giants leftfielder Barry Bonds in the fifth inning during their MLB game against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Phoenix, Arizona April 17, 2006. REUTERS/Jeff Topping

Page One story in today's San Francisco Chronicle about how baseball is trying to censor fans who come to parks with anti-Barry Bonds signs, concentrating on graphic artist Don Regole. STERILIZING THE RECORD
Fans creating signs about Barry Bonds, home runs and steroids are finding their message can be tough to get across

When Don Regole drove 120 miles from his Tucson home to watch his beloved Diamondbacks face the San Francisco Giants in Phoenix, he brought along nine banners directed at Barry Bonds.

The messages had a consistent theme: The Giants outfielder had cheated by using steroids, and that was bad for the game. One sign read, "Thou Shalt Not Covet Impure Gains." Another implored, "Stop inflating records," with a syringe injecting and pumping up the letters. A third, resembling a scoreboard, shouted, "... Bonds needs 756 days in jail," a reference to Bonds chasing Hank Aaron's career home-run record of 755.

But Regole never got to display his banners at Chase Field on April 27. When Diamondbacks employees at the entrance to the ballpark asked to view the signs he had stuffed in his backpack, Regole was told the posters weren't acceptable. The reason: They were in poor taste.

A month later, after Regole had written the team to complain, he got a letter from the Diamondbacks. One sentence caught his attention: "As Mr. Bonds approaches the homerun record, we have been asked by Major League Baseball to carefully screen the signs that are brought into the ballpark by our fans."


While home games at AT&T Park have provided a virtual sanctuary for Bonds, he has felt the wrath of fans on the road. In Boston, he was eviscerated by a chanting crowd that waved paper asterisks and held up signs that read, "Hey Barry! It's Not a Record. You Cheat," and "Call Hank Aaron and Say You're Sorry." In New York, asterisks and signs were ubiquitous, not to mention a steady stream of invective hurled his way. In Milwaukee, with baseball commissioner Bud Selig in attendance, a fan held up a sign that read, "756* Was it Worth it for An *."

At that same game, though, according to USA Today, security confiscated a banner that said, "Milwaukee Loves Hammerin' Hank, Not BALCO Barry." STERILIZING THE RECORD; Photo Gallery

Here's my favorite of his anti-Bonds signs:

A fan in Boston makes his own statement:

A Boston Red Sox fan holds up a syringe as San Francisco Giants Barry Bonds (not pictured) exits the field during their MLB interleague baseball game at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts June 17, 2007. REUTERS/Adam Hunger (UNITED STATES)

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: The best tribute for Bonds is an *

WaPo: Bonds Hammers His 750th Home Run

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