Thursday, April 14, 2011

Sound and fury: The Bonds verdict

Barry Bonds: "Nothing
to celebrate."
Seven years and an estimated $6 million later, this is what federal prosecutors got out of their obsessive pursuit of Barry Bonds: a hung jury on the perjury counts that alleged specific lies to the BALCO grand jury and a bizarre conviction on a count of obstruction of justice.

Did you, dear fellow taxpayer, get your money's worth out of this prosecutorial project?

It is a mystery to most how the jury could convict Bonds of obstruction without convicting him of perjury, and  perhaps the judge will be sufficiently struck by the illogic of it all to toss that verdict as well. Or perhaps the feds will seek a retrial and flush more money down the drain.

I doubt that there's a student of the game who believes Bonds was clean over the final eight years or so of his career. But federal prosecutors chose not to charge him with using illegal substances. They charged him, instead, with lying about his use of illegal substances — a charge which necessitated that they prove that he used steroids and knowingly lied to the grand jury about that use — and they could not convict him.

Sound and fury, signifying nothing. Bonds faces no prison time. Had he been convicted of all three counts of perjury, he still would have gotten no prison time. This case has long smacked of vendetta and prosecutorial overreach.

Bonds played in an era in which steroid use was rampant. We will never know how prevalent PEDs were in the late '90s and early '00s — was it 30 percent of players? Fifty percent? Eighty?

What we do know is that Bonds dominated the game in that period, dominated it so throughly that one year he drew 120 intentional walks. That's not just the 'roids at work.


  1. If my math is correct, then my share of that $6 million is somewhere just north of 2 cents. So, looked at in that manner, yeah... that's almost exactly what my "moneys worth" would be in this deal. Let's just hope all parties stop the silliness an move on, as unlikely as that may be.

  2. can you please do a post on why we still give alexi casilla a starting spot? he's lost his job before and makes it painfully obvious why when he plays.