The federal government has been on Barry Bonds‘ tail for severalyears now, dogging him on allegations revolving around steroid use with thetenacity of a team investigating the kidnapping of the Lindbergh baby.
And just because Bonds beat most of the charges in court, theprosecution is not resting. They want to see him do time on the single count ofobstruction of justice he was convicted of.
The former Pittsburgh Pirate andSan Francisco Giant outfielder was once famous just for being a very goodbaseball player, but now he is scheduled to return to court Dec. 16 forsentencing. This is not the post-playing-days hobby route recommended.
The Bonds side, the defense, says he should receive probation. Theprosecution says he should go to prison for between 15 and 21 months. I havebeen predicting for a long time that baseball fans might wake up one day to thesight of the winner of the most Most Valuable Player awards in history and thewinner of the most Cy Young awards in history sharing the same uniform–anorange jump suit or stripes–and cell. And I mean jail cell, not Verizon Plan. Just like the old days when players shared hotel rooms on the road instead of having their own suites, Bonds and Roger Clemens would be bunking together.
People who do not like either man’s personality will gloat if sucha scenario–or one similar to it with both of them being sent away in separatestates–comes to pass. It would not exactly be good for the game. I hope BudSelig doesn’t have a heart attack if one of these guys is hauled off thestreets.
The main thing I wonder about is if this has all really been worththe millions of dollars the federal government has invested in pursuing Bondsand Clemens. At one point, and this was months ago, I read amulti-million-dollar figure of how much had been poured into the Bonds case atthe same time the same district had endured budget cutbacks hindering pursuitof drug dealers.
Is this the right priority? Doubtful. But we have reached thispoint in the prosecution. The case made in court was pretty lame and that’s whyBonds was only nicked, not severely wounded. I can see the sentencing goingeither way, probation or some months in jail. Someone advanced the idea ofhouse arrest. I don’t particularly see Bonds as a threat to himself or othersphysically.
As for Clemens, who would never be in this fix if he hadn’t openedhis big mouth, he is still in there pitching. He has temporarily beat the rapfor lying under oath when a judge ditched the case for technical reasons, butonly recently it was noted that he is likely to be brought to court again.
These things tend to linger and the longer they do the more Bondsand Clemens have their names and reputations besmirched, the worse the putridodor is for baseball, and the more complicated their individual candidacy forthe Hall of Fame becomes.
It would be just as well for all of this nonsense to go away, butif Bonds and Clemens have been spending more time with lawyers than baseballpeople recently, it’s their own fault. One thing they both definitelyseem guilty of is hubris. And while that is not a felony in the Americanjurisprudence system, it can lead you into the type of trouble that is.