The poor asterisk. It’s bad enough that the punctuation mark was forced to impugn Roger Maris and his 1961 home run record, a feat downplayed for decades with "an asterisk" (which actually never existed) because Maris played a longer season than Babe Ruth. But now, the asterisk has become synonymous with being a cheater. The Ad Council and TBWA\Chiat\Day have cemented that role with their new "Don’t be an asterisk" ads, aimed at preventing steroid abuse among young athletes. (Here’s a TV spot from the campaign.) I suppose I should feel worse for Barry Bonds, the athlete most closely linked to the asterisk, who broke multiple records amid constant allegations of steroid use. But c’mon, who can feel sorry for Barry Bonds? I like to think his asterisk has less to do with performance- enhancing drugs than with Kurt Vonnegut’s sketchbook.
—Posted by David Griner