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November 19, 2007

Isn't the horse dead by now?

It’s seems like everyone and their brother is talking about the Barry Bonds indictment nowadays.

Unfortunately, I am not any different.

However, unlike MOST of the stuff I’ve been inundated with, I am not as eager to convict Bonds, throw him in prison and rip him of his accomplishments. It’s all a little asinine if you ask me…even worse if you put it in the context of the game Bonds’ plays (played?).

So what are we dealing with here? The way I see it (and I’m no legal expert), is that Bonds MIGHT have perjured himself (i.e. “lied”) about KNOWINGLY taking steroids. You know that whole, “do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, etc.”…yeah, they’re contending Bonds did not.

Perjury is a tough nut to crack though. I mean, it IS possible Bonds stated the facts as far as he knew them. Not probable…but possible. I suspect that if they don’t cop a plea, Bonds’ lawyers will go that route.

Which brings me to Rafael Palmeiro.

Here’s a guy who sat in front of Congress and emphatically denied the use of steroids. Then, six weeks later, he failed a drug test. Months after that…he was suspended by Major League Baseball.


Wait a second…you mean to tell me that he denied usage in front of Congress, failed a test administered by Major League Baseball. but was never charged with perjury? Yup. Not enough evidence apparently.

But what about his stats…surely they’ve removed them from the record books, right?

Last time I checked, Palmeiro’s name resides, most notably, both on the 3000 hit and 500 homerun lists. Heck, Palmeiro is only one of FOUR players to have done both! Where’s that same asterisk that everyone is screaming for in regards to Bonds? I guess Palmeiro isn’t the star that Barry is.

What about slugger turned Surreal Lifer Jose Canseco’s numbers? What about the late Ken Caminiti’s 1996 National league MVP award? These are guys who have also admitted to steroid use, but have not had any of their numbers or accolades stripped from them.

Jason Giambi has publicly admitted to using steroids, but he’ll be there in the spring when the New York Yankees start prepping for the 2008 season.

So, again, why is there a public lynching-like atmosphere surrounding Bonds and whether or not his 762 should have a huge asterisk next to it?

Answer: Bonds was TOO good.

That’s right…the guy was a stud before and more of a stud after he started (alledgedly) juicing. How much better did it make him? Who knows? Who cares, really?

Over the last few seasons, I have heard PLENTY of writers and “experts” say “Bonds was a Hall of Famer BEFORE he started using steroids”. Regardless of how the whole perjury thing plays out, I wonder now if those same writers will take their own words into account in five years when Bonds is Hall eligible.

Surely, a conviction can’t cloud their judgment, right?

In 1980, Fergie Jenkins was found to be in possession of both cocaine and marijuana. He was banned for life by then Commissioner Bowie Kuhn. The next year (thanks to an arbiter), Jenkins was back in the Majors. Then, in his third year of eligibility, Cooperstown opened its doors…ironically the same year that Gaylord Perry waltzed in.

Perry admittedly doctored baseballs throughout his storied career and even helped pen his aptly titled autobiography “Me and the Spitter”. I guess engaging in an illegal activity on the mound is okay if you make jokes about it.

If Bonds is found guilty of perjury, he could, like Jenkins, be banned from baseball. Granted, Bud Selig isn’t exactly the best in making decisions (anyone remember the 2002 All-Star game?)…but maybe he’ll surprise us. Sure, it took a FEDERAL GRAND JURY (and not Major League Baseball) to go after Bonds, but who knows…maybe Bud will change his stripes.

If so, Bonds’ numbers will SURELY get that asterisk that the world is clamoring for, right?


I’m not so sure.

Last time I checked, Pete Rose still holds the all-time hits record. Is it because he was banned because he gambled on baseball games as a manager and not as a player? Perhaps. I have a really, REALLY hard time believing that once Rose was hired on as a full-time manager (remember, he WAS a player-manager first) was when he decided to start gambling hard core cold turkey though. Something tells me that it doesn’t work that way.

Wait…maybe it’s because Pete Rose bested noted sonofabitch Ty Cobb? More than likely, it is because gambling (while as a player OR a manager) isn’t as much of a game changer as steroids or HGH COULD be.

Or not.

“Shoeless” Joe Jackson, while not the ONLY member of the 1919 Chicago White Sox to get banned for their involvement in throwing the World Series is the most notable since, more than likely, he would be in the Hall of Fame otherwise. While the extent of Jackson’s involvement is not known…he and his teammates were involved in game fixing. But nowhere are their numbers emblazoned with baseball’s scarlet letter, er, asterisk.

So, again, why the outcry for Bonds?

Here’s a guy who has been accused of perjuring himself in front of a grand jury. He did NOT fail a drug test administered by Major League Baseball, nor did he (alledgedly) take any substances that were at the time on the MLB’s banned list.

Quite simply, he was a great player who did whatever he could to be the BEST ever. He made no bones about it and made himself TOO good for everyone’s liking. It’s okay that some of these other guys took steroids…they weren’t threatening any records like Barry did.

As Nick Underhill pointed out, Roger Maris’ 61 homers was marred because people didn’t want to accept the fact that he (not Mickey Mantle) bested Babe Ruth. As a society, we accepted that, in 1998, Mark McGwire could beat Maris, but when Bonds did it…something OBVIOUSLY wasn’t right.

Before Bonds even broke Hank Aaron’s all-time record…people were already heralding Alex Rodriguez as the next home run king. It doesn’t matter that he’s 250 behind…“he’s gonna get there” praised the minions. I guess it is always better to be the guy who replaces the guy who replaced the guy.

Until then, Barry Lamar Bonds is MY home run king and a first ballot Hall of Famer…no questions asked. Should he be convicted of perjury and/or banned from Major League Baseball…my hope is that his numbers still reside where they are today.

The guy can bring it…always could. He just got too good for public consumption.

Ballhype: hype it up!


Rusty R Shackleford said...

Several points here-

-Palmiero was a different situation. He was not brought in front of a jury and ordered to testify in a federal drug sting. Palmiero was brought in front of a congress trying to look cool. BIG difference there. Palmiero was caught and since black balled from the majors. Let's not forget that.

-Barry Bonds is the best player in the group of boobs involved in this steroid scandal. Add on to that fact that Barry Lamar Bonds is an asshole to just about everyone. So what do you honestly expect? Giambi fessed up TWICE. How many times has Barry said "Yep, you guys got me." Never would be the correct answer. So Barry can basically look in the mirror if he wants to blame someone.

-Barry's case of perjury is not what you think it is and everyone is missing the boat. The feds could give two shits if Barry lied about what he did in baseball. They do indeed care if Barry knowingly lied to protect his buddy Greg Anderson. They also care that he lied about evading taxation on his public autograph signings. The fed hates it when you avoid paying taxes. Heck, ask Pete Rose about that one.

-If you ask me, asterix this entire damn era. It's resulted in me not even caring when the Cubs are in the playoffs. I watched re-runs of the Daily Show instead of the postseason. If I wanted juiced up athletes, I'd watch the WWE. It's about as real as baseball these days.

And I'm not spell checking. Im far too lazy to do such a thing.

Jesus said...

You're right about Greg Anderson, but the perjury charges are the sexy ones and the ones that are most relevant to baseball and Bonds' numbers. While the feds don't care about Barry and baseball, baseball probably doesn't care about Barry and Greg...or at least they shouldn't. They care about what he said (or didn't say...alledgedly) about steroids.

I only wish Bud Selig had the stones to do something about this instead of needing the government to intervene.

Also, it needs to be noted that Bonds' alledged tax evasion, I believe, has nothing to do with these recent charges. My guess is that if the perjury and obstruction charges do not stick...the tax evasion charges will find their way out of the woodwork.

Anonymous said...

It just comes down to the band wagon. Go ahead get on the band wagon and hate Bonds. Especially since the guys doesn't care what you think either and that pisses off all the band wagoners even more. Most of you out there just believe what everyone else is saying so at your next loser league softball game you can call the home run hitter on the other team, that is kicking your ass, "HGH Head Bonds."

Just remember this BASEBALL DID NOT BAN NOR TEST FOR STEROIDS OR HGH OR SPEEDERS DURING THE TIME PERIOD IN QUESTION. To put that in perspective if your porn addiction isn't being monitored by your wife/gf then you would be wearing your carpal tunnel brace right now. And when she asks you about the brace are you going to fess up or blame it on the keyboards at work?

Face it people Barry is a stud and liking him is not what he gets paid for. Move on, he doesn't like you get over it. Just like the one hot girl in college that let you climb on one night. She is good at what she does and doesn't care about you the next morning. Because that is what it comes down to liking him. I mean come on look at Big Mac...the guy had forearms the size of Barry's head and we all were like, "hey he must have been working out..." and no one was calling for any asterisk. And the asterisk isn't going to happen EVER, just like the hot girl from college ever acknowledging you again.

So leave Barry off the 'hate em cause you ain't him" list and save your energy for when these charges get dropped.

rusty shackleford said...

I almost forgot this point. In regards to Roger Maris, he was rooted against not only because it was Babe's record, but because at that time they just increased the number of games in a season to 162. Babe got the record in I beieve 151 games. Am I wrong on that? The movie 61* really focused on that point.

Jesus said...

You're right, and when Mcgwire was on the verge of besting Maris...people were LOVING it!

Like I's always better to be the guy who replaces the guy who replaced the guy.

Bill B. said...

Great article with excellent points. Just when I thought I had enough tools in my belt for my pro-Bonds argument, you put this out there.

I could really care less about steroids. They're arbitrarily illegal because the pharmaceutical industry can't profit as much off of them as they do other prescription drugs. And our government is completely owned by the pharmaceutical industry, so connect the dots there. Same thing with marijuana.

If you ask me, if you're going to asterisk anything, asterisk anyone who played when baseball was segregated. That was much more of a travesty to the umpeenth level. But I don't like asterisks or any other form of revisionist history.

Anyway, as I said, great article. Hope you have a great holiday!