Thursday, January 29, 2009

End Game?

It's hard not to gloat a little in hearing the recent news about Barry Bonds. A misogynist, racist, tax-cheat, and all-around jerk, Bonds made few friends—either in the media, amongst fans, or even in teammates—in his public years, excepting a few apologists. Rather, for years, Bonds flaunted his talent, his powerful swing, his unnatural body, his ego and dismissive demeanor with the air of a mafia boss with the trial knowingly in the bag. It's tough not to gloat...but we shouldn't.

With the report this week in the New York Times that federal prosecutors have evidence that ties Bonds to the use of performance enhancing drugs other than "the cream" and "the clear"—the two drugs Bonds admits he took, but claims he didn't know were illegal steroids—it would seem that the walls are finally closing around Barry Bonds. For good.

This would be a blow to Bonds, who admitted to taking the 2 steroids—the clear and the cream—allegedly thinking they were rubbing balm and flaxseed oil. He admitted in front of a grand jury that he never took injections from his former trainer, Greg Anderson. However, the New York Times writes this week that the Federal government has in its possession a urine sample which could be a significant blow to Bonds's case.

The urine-sample evidence could also have implications for another statement Bonds made before the grand jury, in which he denied ever being injected with any substances by his former trainer, Greg Anderson. Bonds said he never received injections from anyone other than his doctors. Most steroids are administered through injections.

Since most steroids are injected, if in the sample the Federal Government has evidence of steroids other than the cream and the clear—which are rubbed into the skin—it could be the nail in the coffin.

And if that isn't enough for an episode of Barry Bonds's Worst Week Ever, out comes the news that former catcher Bobby Estalella is going to testify in Bonds's upcoming perjury trail, claiming he has firsthand knowledge that Bonds knowingly took steroids.

Again, itt truly is hard not to gloat: An arrogant cheater is getting his just deserts; the vultures are circling...baseball is right again. Right?

However, through it all, what still nags is the knowledge that this was allowed to happen. Owners, wanting to see attendance records broken, wanting to see the big headlines, turned their eyes the other way. Fans, who wanted to see the long ball, ignored Bonds's obvious unnatural body, which had turned from Bernie Williams--sized to Michelin Man--sized. The media, failing in their job magnificently, never seemed to ask the questions they needed to, despite obvious indication that something was very wrong. And as a result, baseball had to endure a decade-long scandal, which included FBI raids on mother-in-laws' houses, several bizarre and shaming congressional hearings, and most troubling of all, multiple defenses of Bonds by members of the media.

"Barry Bonds is a shell of himself. He hits a home run once every two weeks. He's no threat to Hank Aaron's record. And Barry has been reduced to pretending that he reveres Babe Ruth and the Babe's all-white accomplishments....Honestly, I feel sorry for Barry Bonds....His arrogance never bothered me. His alleged use of steroids never struck me as all that unethical when you recognize the obvious fact that pitchers are more likely to use steroids than position players...."
This is Jason Whitlock just 2 1/2 years ago. There are many other "defenses" of Bonds behavior, most equally as frustrating with their lack of anything resembling logic—just Google "Defense of Bonds."

However, with the Federal Government's new evidence looming, it seems that all of that is moot. Whether you think Bonds is trash or that he is not that bad a guy, the end game seems to be on the horizon. If the evidence is as damning as it seems, Bonds could be headed to a federal detention center. And whether you hated the man (which I did) or loved him, it would not be a good day. Baseball's home run king should not be in jail—and it is everyone's fault; that would be not a thing to gloat about.

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