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Barry Bonds Trial a Portrait of Absurdity

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Is Barry Bonds a jerk? Maybe. Did he use performance enhancing drugs? Undoubtedly. Should he be facing highly-publicized federal prosecution for perjury because of these two things? Of course not.

This Barry Bonds witch hunt would be laughable if it weren’t so serious. The feigned outrage and misinformation promulgated by media outlets is ludicrous. Newsflash: Contrary to what you may read or hear in the news, Barry Bonds didn’t spend his nights in a lab testing formulas and inventing steroids.

I’m shocked at the percentage of American public that expects professional athletes to be beacons of nobility. Professional athletes are hypercompetitive physical specimens that are compensated handsomely based on their degree of dominance over their peers. What doesn’t shock me is the even higher percentage of white America that thinks any black athlete who doesn’t garishly dance around in public with an “Aww shucks” attitude and offer to shine the media’s shoes is automatically an arrogant thug.

Let’s face facts, it’s doesn’t take a biologist to prove that Barry Bonds was taking some sort of highly effective dietary supplements during his playing career, he’s admitted as much. Shocking? Hardly. Do 100% of professional athletes take some form of dietary supplements? Maybe not, but thinking it’s any less than 99% is kidding yourself. Just because in the “good ol’ days” Mickey Mantle didn’t use anabolic steroids, doesn’t mean that he wouldn’t have if they were available… hell, he put just about everything else in his body including the (gasp) illegal greenies. Thinking that the steroid era was a product of a bad bunch of athletes is silly. Numerous hall of famers have openly admitted that they would’ve taken steroids had they been available in their era.

In this case, what makes the whole thing numbingly worthless is that it’s not about proving that Bonds took performance enhancers, illegal or otherwise, he did, anyone with eyes knows that he did, he admitted that he did. The issue, comically, is whether or not he lied about knowing that he took them. I say comically, not because perjury isn’t a serious offense, it certainly is, but it’s comical that out of all of the roided-out ballplayers that have lied and later admitted usage, Bonds, who has never admitted using them on purpose, as absurd his defense may be, is the one singled out.

Mark McGwire stuttered his way through his testimony and claimed that, at a senate hearing about his steroid use, he “wasn’t there to talk about the past.” What were you there to talk about Mark? The future of the WB network? It wasn’t a senate hearing about what he was going to have for lunch 3 weeks from then; it was to talk about him and his obvious ingestion or injection of steroids.

Sammy Sosa also faced the same senate hearing, but despite being in the United States for some 25 years at that point and conducting countless interviews in very passable English, inexplicably forgot the entire language at that very moment in time. Rafael Palmeiro took a harder line: “I have never used steroids, period.” Well, except he did and was subsequently suspended for doing so.


Those three were certainly not alone, Andy Pettite admitted using HGH, David Ortiz, Jason Giambi and Alex Rodriguez tested positive for steroids, and all four, among others were warmly welcomed back into the game, because well, they are just so darn lovable; but not Bonds.  Bonds, because of his standoffish attitude, and because he broke the all-time home run record is still being portrayed as the lone figure of what was wrong with baseball. Yes, I know that Roger Clemens is also scheduled for his own waste of time and mockery of the judicial system, but Bonds is the one they want want; who Selig wants to use as the posterboy for how he cleaned up the tainted game that he certainly knew nothing about at the time.

Meanwhile, when McGwire and Sosa were saving baseball from itself in 1998 Major League Baseball looked on warmly as those two pillars of humanity joked and hugged while consistently hitting baseballs further than any human being ever had before. Baseball watched as the country forgot about the strike of ’94 that cancelled the World Series. Bud Selig cackled like Andy Rooney at a Carrot Top show as revenue figures rose higher and higher. Owners counted their money and fans came out in record numbers to see what would happen next. Then, when baseball was healthy and revenues were finally on par with the NFL, pseudo-outrage hit and Selig declared war on the golden goose that lined his pockets.

Flashing forward to today, MLB aside, the absurdity of trying to prove a perjury charge in federal court against a baseball player is a questionable usage of resources at best. The landscape of the country certainly doesn’t speak to an abundance of wealth and available assets; yet the prosecution continues. This case has been going on since 2003 with a handful of lawyers and paralegals spending their federally funded time trying to prove that a wealthy baseball player, with top notch attorneys, who likely won’t serve jail time even if convicted, lied about knowingly skating around a gray area in the rulebook. What has come of 8 years of US Attorney Office work you ask? 11 people charged and a whopping 48 total months of prison time.

I don’t have a dog in this fight. It’s obviously an inane waste of resources, but I’m not rooting for Barry Bonds. No matter what the verdict, we all lose. It’s a pointless, trivial, political axe being ground at the expense of the taxpayers. There will be no legal precedent set here, no change to MLB rules or the record book, no real agenda other than an outcome. What will that outcome be? Well, either a guy that has admitted cheating will have his wrist slapped, or the US Attorney’s Office will come out looking like politically-motivated dolts; pretty inspiring stuff eh?


2 Responses to “Barry Bonds Trial a Portrait of Absurdity”

  1. absolutely correct. I’m wondering why the money is being wasted on a guy who (allegedly) put a needle in his butt, and the greedy bastards that helped put this economy on a slippery slope, are just enjoying their wealth with no threat of prosecution, let alone jail ime.One dude underestimated” his salary by about 200 MILLION dolars. “Neil how much money do you make?” “Oh, I don’t know about 20 thousand, oh, no wait, 200 million and 20 thousand, my mistake. (Most of this came from what I heard on the radio today, but it’s still an absurd waste of time and money.)

    Posted by Neil | March 22, 2011, 9:24 pm


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