Virgil Winston: Marketing Guru

Last Tuesday, August 7th, Barry Bonds made history by breaking Hank Aaron’s record for most career home runs—756. Unfortunately for him, and maybe for baseball, his achievement is steeped in controversy, albeit of his own making. The commissioner himself all but said it doesn’t count since he allegedly had the kind of help that can only be found in a syringe. The controversy, and the negative publicity that accompanies it, has succeeded in shedding more (favorable) light on the man who broke the Babe’s record over thirty yeas ago, Mr. Hank Aaron. Not that he cares; Aaron was never one to seek out the limelight. He was a class act, all the way. I never had a chance to see him play in person but I did meet him at a Baseball Trading Card Convention not long ago. I tried to sell him on the idea of a line of Hank Aaron soaps in cross promotion with Sponge Bob Squarepants but he wasn’t interested.

Anyway, all the tension surrounding Barry Bonds’ imminent record reminded me of the time I was 1st runner up in my 5th Grade Spelling Bee. Mary Louise LaPointe and I were the last two standing and our head to head battle lasted nearly seven hours. By the time it was over, the whole school, and most of the neighborhood, was crowded into our school’s auditorium. You could cut the tension with a knife. In the end, it all came down to one word—impecunious, which means “poor or impoverished.” I was tired and had a bit of a stutter that flared up during times of stress and/or exhaustion, so I inadvertently added an extra “p” and the title went to Mary Louise. I was defending champion, having won three years in a row and there were many present that day who thought her win was tainted…much like Bonds breaking Aaron’s long held record.

As much as it pained me, I shook Mary Louise’s sweaty hand and smiled as I offered her my congratulations and I’m sure Mr. Aaron will do the same when the time comes. Still, I imagine it will be a tense moment. To help east the tension, I am sending over Sonic Rocks from Rush Imprint. They have the ability to emit a wide array of sounds, which make these “rocks” the perfect diversion. Naturally there is plenty of room for a logo or promotional message on the handy storage tin. If the rocks don’t help ease the pressure, maybe the sounds they make will help drown out the booing when Barry breaks the record once and for all.

Well, I’m off to the races…literally. It’s hat day and I have been waiting for the opportunity to break out my vintage Jimmy Dean Sausage cowboy hat. Until next time, remember, “Breaking a record is a great thing but creating one makes you a legend.”