Barry Bonds was found guilty of obstruction of justice, one of the four charges levied against him yesterday. Although the jury was unable to reach a decision on any of the perjury charges, logic tells you that he probably did know that he was taking illegal performance enhancing drugs, (PED's).
The issue was not so much of whether Bonds knew and lied to the Federal Grand Jury, but whether the government could prove it. Although the government spent tens of millions of dollars, their case was weak and based on circumstantial evidence.
The biggest gaffe federal prosecutors made was when their own witness, Dr. Arthur Ting, contradicted earlier testimony by another of their star witnesses, Bonds' former business manager and friend, Steve Hoskins.
In Law School 101, the first thing you are taught is that you better know the answer before you ask a question of any witness. Ting's blatant contradiction of Hoskins' testimony completely undermined the credibility of an already shaky accuser.
I believe that this issue was a major reason Bonds was not convicted on more of the charges. The other key problem the prosecution faced was that Bonds' former trainer, Greg Anderson, would rather spend time in jail that testify.
His silence undermined the prosecution's case from the start.
Now that the trial is over, the next question is whether or not Bonds should be in the Hall of Fame.
For the first five years of Bonds' eligibility, my decision would be a resounding "no." In addition to harming his own reputation forever, Bonds has also tarnished the game of baseball. This trial became a complete spectacle.
I found myself wondering where the circus tents are?
After that five year stance, I must state that I would in fact vote for Bonds' induction into the Hall of Fame. Looking at Bonds' stats and career prior to the steroid years, he was worthy of inclusion into the Hall of Fame, if he retired right then.
Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa were given all the accolades in 1998, when they were chasing the single season home run record. Bonds knew he was twice the player that these guys were and I believe decided to give himself an edge, like McGwire and Sosa.
Looking at the numbers, it is extremely likely that Bonds' performance was enhanced in 2001, in his 73 home run season. There is also a reasonable likelihood that Bonds was not clean in 2000 either, when he hit 49 home runs, although I will give him the benefit of the doubt on that one.
However, if we take a look at Bonds' numbers from 1986 to 2000, he merits Hall of Fame inclusion. Barry Bonds hit 494 home runs during that period and had 1,967 RBI.
In addition to the power numbers, Bonds also had 471 stolen bases over that 15 year time frame.
Over that 15 year span, the awards Bonds won show the true greatness of the ball player. Bonds won two MVP's, eight Gold Gloves, eight Silver Sluggers and was a nine time All-Star.
Those numbers put Bonds into the Hall of Fame if he retired right then.
Unlike Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Jose Canseco or Rafael Palmeiro, Bonds' career was Hall of Fame worthy before the steroids were a part of his life.
I cannot bring myself to vote for him in the first year of his eligibility because he sullied the game. Nevertheless, Bonds deserves his place in baseball's Hall of Fame and I would give him my vote after a five year series of no votes.
Looking back, it is my hope that if he had it to do all over again, Barry Bonds would have come clean and admitted his involvement with PED's and apologized. There would have been no Grand Jury investigation and this entire nasty court case would never have occurred.
Bonds would be long forgiven and we would not be lambasted with the daily saga of this steroid trial. The US government would have also saved tens of millions of dollars which they could have wasted, er spent, on other issues.
Roger Clemens, are you watching? Do you still want to carry on this sham? Ask Bonds, it's not worth it.
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