The "Red" in Cincinnati stands for more than just the team name these days. If you caught last Wednesday’s game, you might have noticed that Jeff Samardzija cut his hand on a high hopper fresh off the bat of Shin-Soo Choo in the first inning of the game. The majority of Reds fans were probably wondering if Samardzija would really be able to play through six more innings with that injury. However, at least one Reds fan was wondering if they could buy the bloody baseball Samardzija was holding.
The bloodstained ball was put on auction on the Cincinnati team website on April 30 and sold on May 3 for $130.01. For some reason, the auction incorrectly cites that the injury occurred off a foul ball by Zack Cozart. This is the second piece of bloody apparel sold this year. The bloody sock worn by Curt Schilling in game 2 of the 2004 World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals was auctioned off in February for $92,613. Priced at $130, the ball could even be described as economical. Certainly the high-fetching price of the latter blood-soaked item led to this auction.
Auctions of this nature are unusual but not unprecedented. NBC and Rolling Stone reported that a Bible and a used pair of stained skivvies (worn during a concert in 1977) believed to have been used by Elvis Presley were auctioned in September. No one met the reserve price of $11,000 for the King’s yellow-stained "memorabilia," but the auction reached a top bid of $8,000. Presley's Bible was auctioned off at $94,600.
What kind of fan would buy blood-soaked paraphernalia and why? Their identity and motive remains a mystery. However, the proceeds from this auction have gone to charity, perhaps shedding some amount of insight.
When asked to comment on what kind of fan he thinks would buy a blood stained baseball, Samardzija told ESPN:
"I don't know how they got it, but it's pretty crazy. It's pretty interesting. Somebody who gets it has to be a pretty intense fan. That's for sure. I don't know what you're going to be able to do with it, hopefully nothing too serious. I don't think they can lift my identity from it. I guess we'll have to take a look at it."