MLB Steroid Scandal: The Case for Barry Bonds

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MLB Steroid Scandal: The Case for Barry Bonds
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Smile Barry

The fate of Barry Bonds appears to be close at hand.

On Monday, Bonds' former mistress, Kimberly Bell, recounted that the former Giants star told her in 1999 that he had taken steroids to recover from elbow surgery.

The next day, slugger Jason Giambi took the stand and stated that he had received a shipment of testosterone from Bonds trainer, Greg Anderson, in 2002. When asked by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Nedrow if he understood what he had received was a steroid Giambi simply replied, “Yes.”

Wednesday, the prosecution called scientists from Qwest diagnostics to testify about the 2003 MLB series of drug tests, in which the Feds claims Bonds’ sample tested positive. It was damning evidence and it proved absolutely…nothing. Zilch.

Look, we all know by now that Barry Bonds is not a real nice guy. We didn’t necessarily need to hear the threatening, psychotic voicemails he left on Kimberly Bell’s answering machine to confirm that notion. Most of Bonds’ insecurity and surliness was already recounted in Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams’ excellent Game of Shadows.

We all know that Bonds is a former steroid user, as well. He already admitted to using them, albeit unknowingly, in his testimony to the BALCO grand jury. But that’s not the underlying basis of the US Government’s case against one Barry Lamar Bonds.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Bonds stands on trial for false statements he made to the BALCO grand jury, chief among them being that when Anderson administered the designer steroids known as the “cream” and the “clear” to him, Bonds was under the mistaken belief that he was ingesting flaxseed oil and arthritic balm.

In other words, the government must prove that when Barry Bonds said he didn’t know he was taking steroids, he actually did know he was taking steroids. The only two who can testify to Bonds’ knowledge are Bonds himself and Anderson, neither of which appear ready to talk.

What we, the viewing public, have received instead has been a steady stream of individuals testifying that they heard Bonds say he was using steroids, saw him disappear into a bathroom with Anderson and even how much the slugger’s testicles shrank. All of which proves nothing other than the fact that Barry Bonds is prone to disappear into bathrooms with friends and apparently has a size problem between his legs.

It’s impossible to prove that Bonds is lying when he says he didn’t know what he was taking unless he himself comes right out and admits it. Bell’s eye measurements regarding Bonds' nether regions prove nothing other than it was probably a really cold day and simply because Giambi understood what he was taking, doesn’t necessarily mean Bonds did.

I know, that’s a ludicrous statement as the preponderance of the evidence indicates that not only was Bonds aware he was ingesting PEDs, but was actively involved in how they were administered.

But this is a criminal case and a preponderance of the evidence is not the standard under which the government must make its case.

The government must prove that Bonds lied beyond the shadow of a doubt, and that’s just not going to happen, which means that this entire courtroom circus is a monumental waste of time.

This entire case has become nothing more than an exercise in ruing an already tarnished reputation and seems aimed at nothing more than embarrassing Bonds and declaring a set of truths the entire world is already well aware of. That’d be fine and dandy if it didn’t cost so much taxpayer money.

According to most estimates, the government has already spent a staggering $50 million investigating and trying Bonds. Think about that for a second. $50 million to prove that 762 is not as significant as 755, and that, outside of Fisherman’s Wharf, 61 is still better than 73.

$50 dollars to prove that Bonds is a really, really big jerk. It’s such a waste of time and money and it’s fair to question just why the government is going through with it.

I mean really, let’s face it, was what Bonds did really that bad? It’s not as if he murdered anyone. He’s not a sex offender. Does he really deserve to be facing down a significant stretch of time in a federal penitentiary?

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Some of you out there are screaming that he cheated the game, but let me ask you, does that really justify a stint in the slammer? In my opinion, what Bonds did pales in comparison to the actions of Shoeless Joe Jackson and the 1919 Black Sox who, you know, only threw a World Series and may have cavorted with members of organized crime.

There’s also the fact that the steroid scandal in baseball wasn’t merely isolated to Bonds and Anderson. It didn’t start and it certainly didn’t end with them. Sure, the games cleaner now that they’ve been exposed, but does any really doubt the ubiquity of PEDs in American Sports? More importantly, does anyone really care?

Admit it, you don’t really care about steroids in sports. The American public certainly doesn’t care, as baseball attendance has increased since the steroid scandal broke, and that bastion of steroid use, the NFL, is so wildly successful that those involved are threatening to kill an entire season because they can’t learn how to share the enormous revenue stream that game generates.

People don’t really care about steroids. What really raises their ire is the righteous indignation displayed by certain individuals who get caught.

It’s why A-Rod isn’t afraid to show his face off the diamond, it’s why Rodney Harrison can smile at us from the TV screen before Sunday Night Football and why Andy Pettite is still respected by the baseball establishment. They’re among those athletes who showed contrition when they were caught using.

It’s also why the public reacts with such vitriol when the name Barry Bonds is mentioned. He reacted with disbelief and maintained his innocence even as the evidence began to pile up. He lashed out at his accusers and taunted the media.

Remember how “tired” Bonds was of the accusations? It also doesn’t help that Bonds was and is renowned as being one of the biggest jerks in the history of sports. Who cares?

The government, apparently, because that seems to be the only reason why they’re pressing ahead with this case. He didn’t cower when confronted with the evidence and didn’t wet himself when confronted by super agent Jeff Novitzky and that seems to have really ticked off the Feds.

But being annoyed by Bonds’ defiance is not a sufficient basis for a fruitless criminal trial and it is fruitless because as already stated without Anderson’s testimony or a confession from Bonds the government has no case. They can’t prove he lied.

The government needs to cut its losses and declare defeat. We get it. He did it, we all know it, but they can’t prove he lied about it. So please, stop wasting our time and let this miserable cretin slink away to some gated mansion to live the rest of his life in ignominy. We’d all be better for it.

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