More than seven years ago, Barry Bonds’ name began to be publicly linked to performance enhancing drugs. During the span of time between then and now, Bonds has gone from a home run hero to a cheat to a victim of unreasonable persecution to most recently, a convicted felon. I think at some point along that journey, the majority of us stopped participating in the evolution of public opinion. We realized that there was no empathy that could be transferred to anyone involved in this scenario and we moved on.

It’s appropriate then that yesterday’s guilty verdict for one count of obstruction of justice and lack of a verdict for three other counts has the least possible meaning to it. If Bonds were acquitted, found guilty or had a jury that couldn’t reach a verdict on all four counts, it would’ve said something. It would have been symbolic and provided a message. But why should we expect anything of meaning to come out of a pursuit that seemed so very meaningless to begin with?

It’s also interesting to learn that Bonds’ defense attorneys intend to ask the judge during a May 20th hearing to dismiss the conviction based on it being inconsistent with the mistrials declared for the other counts. If the judge doesn’t dismiss the conviction, a sentencing date will be set then. Bonds could be sent to prison for two years, but according to several legal experts, it’s unlikely he’d receive anything stiffer than house arrest.

Still, that won’t stop people from using the verdict or lack thereof to further promote their own pre-existing beliefs and interests.

From Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig:

This trial is a stark illustration of how far this sport has come. In contrast to allegations about the conduct of former players and the environment of past years, 2011 marks the eighth season of drug testing in the Major Leagues and our 11th season in the Minors. With increased testing, cutting-edge research, proactive security efforts, and extensive education and awareness programs, we have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to keeping illegal substances out of the game.

We have devoted all of our efforts to achieving the toughest, most comprehensive drug testing program in professional sports, and the generation of young players that has entered our game in recent years has never known anything but the rigorous protocols that have been in place for years. Our game has never been more popular than it is right now, and we must remain vigilant in order to meet all the challenges of the future. Performance-enhancing drugs have no place in Baseball.

Ra ra ra.

From BALCO founder Victor Conte:

This verdict absolutely makes no sense to me. Of all of these counts, the one that makes the least sense to me is the obstruction charge. Tell me how there was obstruction of justice. This is all about the selected persecution of Barry Bonds. This is not fair. I was the heavy in this. I accepted full responsibility and the consequences and went to prison. How is that obstruction? Doesn’t make sense. The whole idea of committing perjury, and lying to the grand jury makes no sense. In my opinion, the overall majority of the athletes who testified in the BALCO case committed perjury. There were the things that the majority of the athletes said that simply were not true.

From MLB Network’s Bob Costas:

The authentic single season season home run champion is Roger Maris. The authentic career home run king is Hank Aaron. You would have to think the world is flat to believe anything other than that.

Score one for pill popping speed freaks!

And The Rest:

Buster Olney will vote for Mark McGwire’s entry into baseball’s Hall of Fame, but not Manny Ramirez’s.

So, then who will stand up for Manny Ramirez?

I’m a big fan of cheap booze, but in light of recent incidents at Los Angeles Dodgers games, canceling half price beer night is probably a good call.

I’m just going to throw this out there, but maybe the Rangers should consider using their best relief pitcher in situations other than a save opportunity.

Texas may not win close games, but at least they’re dipping into the international market by pursuing Cuban defector Leonys Martin.

And speaking of Cuban defectors, should the Reds be concerned over Aroldis Chapman’s sudden loss of velocity?

Shocking development: Frustration is finding its way into the Mets clubhouse.

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be the organist for the Chicago White Sox? Me neither, but this article will answer all of your unasked questions.

Finally, the only way for Ryan Madson to stay in Philadelphia is to divorce his wife and come out against her publicly.

Comments (13)

  1. Victor Conte’s statements are borderline hysterical.
    He’s suggesting that it’s okay to lie to a grand jury just because everyone else does.
    Okey doke.
    He reminds me of the doping apologists in pro cycling who resppnd to those who think the sport is being ruined by saying “Oh yeah?! Well look at football and baseball! I’ts just as bad, but the testing is a joke.!”
    That is true, but there’s still the problem of doping in cycling.

  2. I think Conte is speaking in the context of the Bonds witch hunt. Others have lied to grand juries, why do they go after Bonds and not them?

  3. Parkes, about the Tigers/Rangers game, wouldn’t you save your closer for either a high-risk situation such as RISP, or the lead in the bottom of a post-9th inning? How is tied in the bottom of the 9th with nobody on the best time to throw in your closer?

  4. And by closer I mean your best relief pitcher

  5. I’d consider putting my closer in for that situation because it’s the first time that a single run can win the game for the opposition. More to the point is Washington’s reluctance to use Feliz in non save situations have cost his team two days in a row.

  6. And another article that proves why Joe Poz is the best writer in baseball, if not in all of sports.

  7. Here’s what Dave Zirin said about it. I think he hits the nail on the head in more than a few ways.

    “Major League Baseball and the US government has long decided that Barry Bonds would shoulder the burden for the steroid era. We’re here because a surly Black athlete who thinks that the press is just a step above vermin was easy pickings for an industry rife with systemic corruption. Major League Baseball made billions off of the steroid era, an era many now see as a rancid, tainted lie. It was an era where owners became obscenely wealthy and billions in public funds were spent on ballparks. The press cheered and America dug the long ball. Now the dust has cleared, our cities have been looted, Barry Bonds could be going to prison, and Commissioner Bud Selig still has a job – and a RAISE. With apologies to Harvey Dent, this is the story of the Black athlete today: die a hero or live long enough to be a villain. And the men in the suits walk – or in Selig’s case, slouch – all the way to the bank.”


  8. Major League Baseball has nothing to do with the trial of Barry Bonds.
    The writer correctly states that MLB was complicit in the steroid era.
    Rightly or wrongly, the US government is soley responsible for taking this to trial, and it wouldn’t have happened unless Novitsky picked through the garbage at BALCO HQ.

    But let’s be clear: Bonds isn’t facing a prison sentence for using steroids. He might go to prison because he lied to a grand jury.

    All the guy had to do was fess up and the whole thing would have been over and done with. That’s what Rodriguez, Pettite et al. did, and those guys walked free.

    What will the writer say when Clemens faces trial for lying during a congressional hearing? Last I checked, the guy who claims his friend “misremembered” is white.
    Will race be an issue then?

  9. Clemens was the one who pushed for a time to speak during a congressional committee meeting. He dug his own grave.

    Bonds wanted nothing to do with anybody and they went out of their way to go after him. It drives me insane that they went after Bonds with such ferocity considering how uninterested the public was in seeing punishment levied. Just really, really dumb, and probably sparked by some elements of racism.

  10. Well, I agree with you about the public’s lack of interest in punishing chemically modified freaks of nature. Ethics be damned. It’s all about the spectacle.

    I could be wrong, but if we’re going to speculate about underlying motivations, I think it has less to do with racism than it is about being taken for fools.

    I come from a cycling background, and the levels of denial and myth spouted by those involved in the doping culture are truly outrageous.

    I really don’t give a shit what riders or baseball players put into their bodies, but when I hear someone like Armstrong say the French are out to get him, or Bonds say with a straight face he thought he was taking flaxseed oil, I tend to think they get what they deserve.

    Well, maybe not a prison sentence. That’s a bit much. But a little public humiliation is fine by me.

  11. Selig’s statement is just another example of him making Barry Bonds the scapegoat for an entire era. I mean…seriously, how is this fucking trial a “stark illustration” of anything other than a witch hunt. Fuck off, Selig, retire already so we can get video review in this sport.

    And he’s an idiot if he really believes that professional baseball players have stopped taking performance enhancers. There’s more undetectable stuff out there than ever before (look up SARMs). Heck, remember when Manny was caught for PEDs the first time two years ago? They didn’t catch the actual PED, they caught the masking agent.

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