Just Why Are We Putting Bonds On Trial?

February 05, 2009 |

I am not a fan of Barry Bonds. I think he was a fabulous player (pre-steroids) – a Hall of Fame player, actually. But, in my mind, he tarnished his legacy by injecting himself with anabolic steroids (the government claims to have proof), and using the ‘Cream’ and the ‘Clear’ given to him by Victor Conte and BALCO.

That being said, I have just one question to ask. Why are we putting Bonds on trial March second.

If you ask that to prosecutors, they will tell you they are putting Bonds on trial because he lied. Well, the last time I checked, there are a lot of people who lie. Most of them never go on trial.

For instance Rafael Palmeiro blatantly lied to Congress (perjured himself) when he said he never used steroids four years ago. Of course, it was just about four months later that he was suspended for using steroids. Palmeiro never went on trial for that (but he also will probably never get into the Hall of Fame either).

Politicians lie every day. No one is putting them on trial. Lawyers lie every day, and I don’t see them being indicted.

So, again, why are we putting Barry Bonds on trial next month?

Is convicting him going to accomplish anything? No. Neither is sending him to jail. It bothers me that my tax dollars would wind up going towards giving Bonds his ‘three hots and a cot.’ My tax dollars would also go towards trying to convict him, and I just happen to think that my tax money would be better used by, oh, maybe trying to fix the mess that our economy has become.

The only reason Bonds is going to go on trial is because the Feds are ticked off that he lied to them. The old saying goes that you can’t ‘mess with the Feds.’ Well, that might have been what Bonds did, and now they want their pound of flesh.

I just don’t understand what good putting Bonds in jail is going to do here. Is it going to erase the fact that he put performance enhancing drugs into his body? No. Is it going to erase the fact that he holds baseball’s most hallowed record with 762 home runs? No. Trying him, convicting him, and jailing him doesn’t do anything to erase that.

You can’t change history. For instance, the NCAA record books do not recognize that Michigan’s Fab Five for to The Final Four in the early 1990’s. But, it doesn’t change the fact that we all watched Chris Webber call timeout against North Carolina, right?

Bonds cheated. If you read ‘Game of Shadows’ you believe that to be fact. If you read Jeff Pearlman’s book on Bonds, you believe it to be fact. But, despite what we wanted, Bonds did break Hank Aaron’s record. He might have done it with the aid of chemicals, but he did it. No trial, conviction, or jail time is going to change that.

Bonds has become a pathetic figure over the last couple of years. the eroding skills. The creaky bones that kept him off the field more often than not. The fact that he can’t seem to accept that his baseball career is over.

And let’s face it. His career is over. He is never going to put on a big league uniform again. Thanks to the intense media scrutiny of the last few years, there’s a good chance he will never even make it into the Hall of Fame (if Mark McGwire isn’t in then Bonds and Roger Clemens shouldn’t get in either). And you know what? that’s good enough for me.

That will be my pound of flesh as a fan. Keep him out of the Hall. That’s the way to hurt him.

Let’s face it. If Bonds gets convicted (which might be a tough thing to do in San Francisco – where he is beloved), then what kind of jail are you going to put him in? Maximum security? Please! If Bonds goes to jail, it will be a country club type of jail. What kind of punishment is that.

Keeping him out of the Hall hurts him. It will hurt him bad. Bonds has always wanted to be known as the best of all time. He will have a tough time saying it if he isn’t in Cooperstown.

Being a Hall of Famer also has its financial rewards. His autograph will be worth more. His baseball cards will be worth more. Any Bonds memorabilia will be worth more if the term ‘Hall of Famer’ can be connected to it. Without it, Bonds gets hit in the pocket book. And, at this point of his life, with his baseball career over, I’m fine with hurting him like that.

I am not saying that I forgive Bonds for cheating the game. I am not saying I forgive him for robbing the fans of the chance to watch him chase Aaron without chemicals. I am saying that for every crime their is a punishment. And those punishments must be consistent with the crime.

Putting him in jail would not be consistent for the crime. Lying? Let’s be real. We had a President of the United States lie about an affair. He didn’t go to jail. Nobody put him on trial (in criminal court).

The government comes off as petty by going after Bonds. They would be better off letting Bonds twist in the wind as he has done for the last year. Hall of Fame voters could get their pound of flesh by voting ‘No’ every year in which Bonds’ name appears on the Hall of Fame ballot.

Leave Bonds and the other steroid cheats like Clemens alone. Leave them to rot on the outside of Cooperstown looking in. I can’t think of a better punishment than that.