Monday, December 17, 2007

Silly Barry Bonds Trial

Barry Bonds at the Federal Building in San Francisco

You could care less about baseball, steroids or Barry Bonds, but the sight of the government charging a famous individual with perjury is a farce. At the very least, it is desperate. It doesn’t take a Harvard law degree to know that perjury is difficult to prove – even for the government, who, of course, never lies.

I get it – Barry Bonds is not popular. His “I have a recliner in the clubhouse because I can” routine, abrasive personality and failing to show up for team pictures has proved beyond a reasonable doubt that he’s a jerk.

That’s fair.

But on this blogsite Barry Bonds is innocent until proven guilty. Barry has never tested positive and publicly denied taking drugs. Barry Bonds isn’t a sympathetic figure—but he at least deserves equal treatment under the law.

Prerace Jitters has covered the MLB steroid issue that has been brewing below the surface for more than two decades. Baseball owners sat back and cashed their fat checks knowing the steroids issue needed to be addressed. The home run record chases and nightly ESPN highlight brought attention back to the sport as it suffered under post-1994 lock-out fan apathy.

Shame on the owners. They failed miserably. They are charged with protecting the game on the way to depositing their cash in the bank. At least track and field took away Marion Jones’ Olympic medals and has a long track record of punishing anyone else that tests positive.

The Barry Bonds perjury case is thin. The government’s two witnesses are an ex-girlfriend—who we must note knowingly dated a married man – and a disgruntled business partner who feuded with Bonds over memorabilia sales figures.

You’re kidding? Five years of investigating and tens of millions of dollars down the drain, and that is as good as it gets?

My only questions is: Where are Rafael Palmeiro and Jason Giambi? Everyone from the Steroid Era should go down—not just the high-profile "Bad Guys."

The problem, of course, is prosecutorial bias. The original BALCO investigators have themselves admitted that the case was spurred by their hatred of Bonds. The Feds – and a lot of the baseball public – don’t like Bonds, so Bonds was the one to take the fall.

The silly Barry Bonds trial must end soon. All bets are off the table when the legal system becomes a forum for personal grudges. Who's next?

By Jay Hicks, a.k.a. Track Evangelist

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