It's out there somewhere, tucked into a box with several of its brethren, sitting in an equipment room somewhere in a National League City — just chilling. It's the baseball that will eventually be hit by Barry Bonds to pass Babe Ruth's career home run mark, and shouldn't we stop for a moment to imagine the carnage that will bring? Considering the frantic melee that ensued when Alex Popov caught, and then lost, Bonds' single-season record 73rd home run ball in 2001, it's hard to know what could be in store for No. 715. As the mark looms, we picture AT&T Park transforming into a Mad Max-type world, where hardened, tattooed ruffians, many recently released from prisons, pack the outfield stands. Even the $3 million that Mark McGwire's 70th home run ball fetched in '98 would not persuade us to enter into that mass of desperate humanity. Unless, you know, that was where the nearest beer vendor was.
OK, we're assuming a couple of things here — one, that Bonds' knee, as well as his troubled psyche, will hold together long enough to hit seven home runs. What's that you say? What about a Bud Selig steroid investigation? Ha ha. Man, you crack us up sometimes. So, assuming we don't see Bonds actually step into the on-deck circle dressed as Paula Abdul, we can assume this thing is gonna happen. And the most likely time would seem to be the last week of April, at home, against either the Mets or the Diamondbacks. But who will actually catch the ball? We have odds on that as well.
• Todd MacFarlane, 25-1. Odds on him ending up with it anyway, even.
• Tony Bennett, 250-1. He left his heart in San Francisco. And when they unstack the pile, they'll also find his spleen.
• Zack Hample, 75-1. By the way, it seems he's finally reached puberty.
• Alex Popov, 35-1. He's tanned and ready. This time, it's personal.
• Mark McGwire, 600-1. Ha. Wouldn't that be something?
• Some guy who leaped off of an inflatable duck in McCovey Cove, 85-1. After wrestling it from some guy who leaped off of an inflatable SpongeBob SquarePants.
• Kimberly Bell, 120-1. See you in court again, Barry.
• Sea Gull. The thought of a thousand Giants fans running frantically down Third Street in pursuit of a bird delights us to no end.
And we don't even dare to imagine what Biblical End-Time breaking Aaron's record would bring.