The Cleveland Plain-Dealer’s Bill Livingstone chats with foam asterisk peddler Tom Wilson, who somehow didn’t manage to find his calling back when Mark McGwire was taking aim at Roger Maris (link swiped from Repoz and Baseball Think Factory)
The Wilson asterisk, made of foam rubber and available for $9.95 at fanslovebaseball.com, is similar to a “We’re No. 1” foam finger. It comes in four colors and reads “Steroids” on one side and “Asterisk” on the other.
The five-pointed star lacks the aerodynamic properties of a Frisbee, although one supposes it could be thrown gently in the direction of Barry Bonds, as the Regrettable Hulk nears Hank Aaron’s all-time homer record of 755. Not that Wilson, 48, a Los Angeles actor, independent filmmaker (Nobody Productions), and gadfly, advocates civil disobedience or, for that matter, littering.
He simply wants Bud Selig and Donald Fehr, the commissioner and players union boss who enabled Bonds, to know fans are on to the fraud. “It allows fans to demonstrate in a peaceful, simple way that we were not blind. We were not fooled. We did not look the other way when the integrity of the game was ground into the dirt,” Wilson said in an advertisement The Sporting News ran.
That took some gumption by the self-styled “Bible of the Sport,” because Wilson has not had much success stocking the asterisks in stores around major-league ballparks. “The store owners like them, but they sell MLB-licensed merchandise and they’re afraid it would be pulled out of their stores,” Wilson said in a telephone interview.
He is not alleging any conspiracy to restrain trade, although he is a self-described “little guy who believes in capitalism” who thought he had a timely idea and has been hassled every time he tries to sell it.
He had sold 50 asterisks after he showed up outside Dodgers Stadium when Bonds’ San Francisco Giants were in town. Then what he calls the “vendor police” showed up and told him to move along because he didn’t have a permit. At Wrigley Field, ticket-takers weren’t going to let him in with the foam-rubber stars until Wilson said: “They’re seat cushions. I sit on my asterisk.”
A film crew has recorded some of Wilson’s jousts with the authorities, in the manner of documentary-filmmaker Michael Moore. “Except I’m a lot thinner than he is and so is my wallet,” Wilson said.