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Hey was that IBM flying through the air?

By John | August 11, 2007


No that was just Barry Bond’s 756th home run.

So, I was at Linuxworld last week and on Wednesday morning my cab driver and I started talking about Bond’s 756th. The cab driver said he heard on the radio that there was some kind of chip in the ball. I though that is would be a really cool technology story. I started to scour the internet and I could not find anything. If I would have left it at that I would have saved a lot of wasted time but I could not let it go. I started searching SFO local newspapers to see if this was just a local story. I found an article in the on 7/8 where the author say this one line:


“The arrival of the baseball with a secret mark set off a wicked scramble”

I sent the authors of the article an email and received the following reply: :

I dunno, try this:

—–Original Message—–
From: John Willis []
Sent: Fri 8/10/2007 11:23 AM
To: Bulwa, Demian; Rubenstein, Steve
Subject: Hello .. A question about the secret mark on Bonds 756 ball
I was in SFO on the 8/8 and a cab driver told me that he had heard there was an RFID chip in the ball that Barry Bonds hit. I have searched the internet and your article Is the only mention of a secret mark.Mayhem ends, ball in hands of Mets fanDemian Bulwa and Steve Rubenstein, Chronicle Staff Writers <>Wednesday, August 8, 2007So you have any further information on the secret mark was technology used. If so I think that is an interesting side story. Thanks
John Willis

In that link I found the name of the authenticator “Dean Marcic” an auto theft investigator for the SFPD by day. Now the story gets cool. Here are some quotes from different articles with a search for his name:

“He uses some type of machine to make some type of mark on the balls. Marcic won’t be more specific than that. He doesn’t want his picture taken, either. All we can tell you is that he’s a beefy guy who, when asked if he wore protective gear, patted his belly and said: “This is all me.” Any more than that, and the Authenticator would feel compromised.”

“Consider it a witness-protection program for those uniquely marked balls, which are substituted into the game — four balls at a time, in a specific order — when Bonds steps to the plate. That practice has been going on since Bonds’ hit No. 751 on July 3 at Cincinnati.”

“Again, it’s a covert operation. It’s also elaborate. There are authenticators at every MLB stadium, for every semi-significant occasion. Chicago and Milwaukee had their own people on the case he last week. Authenticators also will tag a player’s personal items, and according to a couple of MLB employees, Bonds’ uniforms, bats, batting gloves, you name it, have been marked for posterity after every home run the last few years. They remain in his possession. Not that Marcic would confirm any of that. “I can only talk about the balls,” he said. MLB turned to Marcic and the police department to join the authentication project about two years ago. His hiring interview with MLB must have been interesting.”

Although I can not find concrete evidence of my cab drivers claims after my research I am satisfied that it was an RFID chip. This is the advantage of being a blogger and not a journalist. However, think about it an auto theft investigator locating lost items???

This is a list of some of the articles from where I quoted.

Topics: humor, rfid, sillystory | No Comments »