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Barry Bonds gets indicted
November 15, 2007 3:36 PM   Subscribe

After nearly four years of investigation and grand jury deliberations, Barry Bonds, baseball's most controversial active player and poster boy for the steriod era, has been indicted for perjury and obstruction of justice.
posted by (bb|[^b]{2}) (46 comments total)

 
I hope you don't delete this SportsNewsFiltery post, but keep it here with an asterisk*.


*
posted by wendell at 3:39 PM on November 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


Bonds in 3 words
injected, indicted, inducted*
posted by isopraxis at 3:43 PM on November 15, 2007


Leave Barry Bonds alone!

"Babe Ruth didn't play with no brothers Dave. What is more of an advantage: a pill, or racism?" "A sport without black people ain't a sport, it's a game."
posted by jcruelty at 3:46 PM on November 15, 2007


Gambling? At Rick's?
posted by klangklangston at 3:47 PM on November 15, 2007 [6 favorites]


It's too bad when things like this happen to such huge assholes.

Oh wait...the opposite of that.
posted by vito90 at 3:50 PM on November 15, 2007


I expect a presidential commutation at the end of this.
posted by empath at 4:05 PM on November 15, 2007


Well, so much for watching the nightly news here in the Bay Area tonight. It'll be nothing but BARRY INDICTED OMG!!!!! solid.
posted by blucevalo at 4:08 PM on November 15, 2007


Today is a great day for the sport of baseball and for fans of fair play everywhere.
posted by luriete at 4:09 PM on November 15, 2007


Good.
posted by kjh at 4:10 PM on November 15, 2007


I expect a presidential commutation at the end of this.

Then the healing may begin.
posted by billysumday at 4:14 PM on November 15, 2007


I've stipulated before that Bonds used steroids, but it's in a context where baseball owners, players, and fans turned a blind eye on steroids abuse for years, and I'm opposed to any punishment that singles Bonds out or uses him as a scapegoat for widespread abuse.

That said, if they convict him, he should go to jail.
(Unless President Bush pardons him. According to contemporary Republicans perjury and obstruction of justice aren't that big a deal.)
posted by kirkaracha at 4:15 PM on November 15, 2007


Personally, I'd like to see the home run record entered into the books as the joint accomplishment of Barry Bonds and Greg Anderson from BALCO. No asterisk necessary, just a simple recognition of the real basis for this achievement. People could make up their own minds about the ethics of the event accordingly.
posted by felix betachat at 4:18 PM on November 15, 2007 [2 favorites]


How far we've come.
posted by Sailormom at 4:19 PM on November 15, 2007


Mark Ecko became a poster boy for awesome when he bought and branded ball #756 prior to its trip to Cooperstown. Until now, that was the only good story to come out of this mess.

They should let Hank Aaron burn Barry's balls for having to witness this crap while being polite throughout. The baseballs, too.
posted by krippledkonscious at 4:27 PM on November 15, 2007


That link ^ is in the original post.
posted by (bb|[^b]{2}) at 4:30 PM on November 15, 2007


a great day for the sport of baseball and for fans of fair play everywhere.

well...let's see...barry, if not in club fed, (or lynched by angry mobs) will still be making millions of dollars as a professional hitter next year...
MLB hasn't suspended, banned, or reprimanded him. He (allegedly) lied and obstructed justice, which has little to do with baseball.

It seems to me that anyone who has any idea of what is going on in baseball and has been going on since at least these guys, and is still a fan, can't be said to be a "fan of fair play."
posted by whahappen?! at 4:52 PM on November 15, 2007


Everything I've read, heard, or seen about Barry Bonds indicates he's a complete asshole. He's probably broken the law in a number of different fashions. I would not be delighted if he does not play baseball this year. That said, he doesn't deserve the scapegoating and incredible hate directed at him for taking steroids.

Throughout the 1990s, an incredible number of players used steroids. Not just the guys banging out 50 HRs, lots of bad players too. Look at Ryan Franklin or Alex Sanchez. These guys aren't All Stars.

Consider if your livelihood consisted of playing a game. There's a drug you can take that's against the rules, but will result in you getting paid more money or, in some cases, let you keep your job if you're a marginal major leaguer. Your manager doesn't care, neither does the owner, or the commissioner. In fact, they're pretty much tacitly endorsing it (see: MgGwire in '98, Giambi's contract with the Yankees). Your opponents are doing it and so are your teammates.

I'd like to say if I were a major league ball player I wouldn't have taken steroids. That I would have taken the high road and played the game honestly. But I probably wouldn't have.
posted by christonabike at 5:04 PM on November 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


Is this something that I'd have to know about baseba....HRGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHH SO ANNNGRRRRYYYY I CAN LIFT ONE THOUSAND POUNDS AND HIT YOUR PUNY LEATHER COVERED CORK ORB TO MARS!!
posted by lalochezia at 5:17 PM on November 15, 2007 [3 favorites]


An interesting look at baseball which I think is relevant here is Jim Bouton's "Ball Four". On the surface it's a wacky diary of a guy trying to stay in the big leagues throwing the knuckleball after his arm fails him. Underneath that is an interesting look into the minds of professional baseball players, and to what lengths they will go to keep playing the game.
posted by Eekacat at 5:17 PM on November 15, 2007


I've stipulated before that Bonds used steroids, but it's in a context where baseball owners, players, and fans turned a blind eye on steroids abuse for years, and I'm opposed to any punishment that singles Bonds out or uses him as a scapegoat for widespread abuse.

What he said.

Everything I've read, heard, or seen about Barry Bonds indicates he's a complete asshole.

What you've heard and read comes from reporters who hate the fact that Bonds doesn't play the usual suck-up-to-the-media game. I don't know what you've seen: did he give you personally the finger? I've read stuff from people who know him or have gotten behind the "leave me alone" wall that indicates he's a pretty decent guy, he just wants to play baseball and not bother with the other crap. For that he's been pilloried for years, long before the steroid allegations. Steroids or no steroids, he's one of the best hitters the game has seen, and there's a tremendous amount of hypocrisy involved in singling him out.
posted by languagehat at 5:30 PM on November 15, 2007 [2 favorites]


Bonds may or may not be an asshole, but I have no doubt he's angry at having to keep buying bigger and bigger hats whilst also having to buy smaller and smaller jocks.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 5:47 PM on November 15, 2007 [3 favorites]


I've stipulated before that Bonds used steroids, but it's in a context where baseball owners, players, and fans turned a blind eye on steroids abuse for years, and I'm opposed to any punishment that singles Bonds out or uses him as a scapegoat for widespread abuse.

on the other hand, many players haven't used steroids, and that is also part of the context - also, bonds singled himself out by becoming the home run king - and getting indicted

all major league baseball can do now is react to the results of the coming trial - i have the feeling that they'd just as soon improve their drug testing program while making believe that the past hasn't happened - unfortunately, bonds' indictment might make that impossible
posted by pyramid termite at 5:47 PM on November 15, 2007


""Babe Ruth didn't play with no brothers Dave. What is more of an advantage: a pill, or racism?" "A sport without black people ain't a sport, it's a game.""

Yeah, everybody forgets Willie Mays. And Ted Williams. And Hank Aaron. And Mike Schmidt. And Mickey Mantle, Stan Musial, Johnny Bench, Joe DiMaggio, etc.
Hell, Frank Robinson was black and was a better all-around player, not to mention his home runs, plus he was a manager.

Someone going to tell me Rogers Hornsby was on steroids?

And yeah, players used some drugs way back when, but the babe would have been 10 times better if he didn't pound booze, eat 20 hot dogs before a game and nail women all day and night.
Plus he was the best left handed pitcher in the AL for a while. I'll call the booze and lousy diet as even for not playing against black players.
Bonds played more games obviously, and had more at bats, but you want to line it up talent vs. talent then, if we're talking proportion, Bonds never hit more home runs than any other team in the league.
Babe in 1927 hit 60 home runs, back then you still had Foxx, Cobb, Collins, (and a lot of other talent) on the A's, one of the best teams, who - combined - only hit 56 homers to Ruth's 60. Ya got that? Ruth hit more home runs than any other *team* of players that year.
So taking them on their own merits - within their own talent pools - the Babe was supernatural in comparison.
Bonds is merely really, really great.
Why he chose to screw that up by taking steroids - or rather by taking - blatantly - not only enough steroids to get caught but enough that other guys taking enough steroids to be competitive at the top levels of professional play were saying "Jesus, that guy's taking a lot of steroids" - I don't know.

And this "pressure as an African American" stuff is just crap.
Hell, Frank Robinson was (and remains) one of the most respected men in the game back when a lot of people were still using the term "nigger" conversationally.
All the racial crap Hank Aaron took for breaking Ruth's record first?
People forget Bonds is breaking Aaron's record, not Ruth's.
posted by Smedleyman at 6:10 PM on November 15, 2007


Languagehat, maybe you should think about it as "degrees of asshole." There might be close friends who swear Bonds is a good guy, but it seems that most everyone outside of that tiny shell thinks he's a giant douche.

There have been a few major athletes who haven't played "the usual suck-up-to-the-media game," but they were also some of the most loved (thinking of athletes like Ali). It's not like Bonds is taking a stand on anything other than his feigned innocence. He's just a dick.

And of course he "just wants to play baseball." If he hadn't 'roided up in the mid/late '90s, this post would probably be about the amazing baseball career of future Hall of Famer Barry Bonds.
posted by NolanRyanHatesMatches at 6:18 PM on November 15, 2007


Barry Bonds Press Conference - The Musical
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:32 PM on November 15, 2007


I say this as a season ticket holder for the Cardinals - Mark McGuire should never be in the Hall of Fame. For the same reasons, neither should Barry Bonds. Especially if Pete rose isn't let in. At least Rose bet *against* his own team.

Christ, what an asshole.
posted by notsnot at 7:08 PM on November 15, 2007


Languagehat is exactly right.

This is a witch hunt, and it says a lot more about us than it does about Barry Bonds.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 7:17 PM on November 15, 2007


"I say this as a season ticket holder for the Cardinals - Mark McGuire should never be in the Hall of Fame."

Mark McGwire, on the other hand, totally deserves to be in there.

Season-ticker holder. Pfft.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 7:39 PM on November 15, 2007


Or ticket, even.

Pfft to me, too.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 7:39 PM on November 15, 2007


languagehat, I'm not sure I understand your hypocrisy angle. Because someone has gotten a free pass for a long period of time despite cheating, it's hypocritical for the powers that be to revoke the free pass at some point?

Since he's gotten away with it for song long and in such an open manner its bad form to finally call him on it?

Seriously, the "everyone else was doing it too" defense doesn't make him less of a fraud. I just can't seem to work up many tears for his current position of scapegoat.

Let's hope there's more busts to follow and things don't just return to "normal" in steroidland (otherwise known as the land of professional "money" sports).
posted by stagewhisper at 8:38 PM on November 15, 2007


This is exactly what happens when the federal government or courts launch investigations into things they have no business wasting taxpayer money on. It happened with Bill Clinton. Now it happens with Barry Bonds. It is the exact same thing. Clinton should not be allowed to be sued while he is a sitting president, much less in a suit that involves extramarital affairs. He is forced to testify under oath about affairs. He is not entirely truthful. Shocking. Then he winds up in trouble he never would have been in had the courts properly ruled he not be allowed to be sued as a sitting president.

In the Bonds case, the federal government decides to investigate steroid use in baseball. Are you serious? They are investigating steroid use in competitive entertainment? So they put some people under oath and ask them questions about how they try to gain an edge in their competitive environment. Some of them are not entirely truthful. Shocking. So Bonds winds up being charged federally for perjury because of statements he made about playing baseball? Are you serious? Do you think maybe the federal government should not have been getting involved with this? Do you think that if the federal government started putting people under oath and asking them about details about their jobs or personal lives that many, many people would wind up saying things that were not true under oath? The whole thing is asinine.

Regarding Bonds performance and place in history in baseball...

Players and teams in sports from different eras cannot be compared to each other in any meaningful way. It is only reasonable to compare athletes to their peers. How did Barry Bonds stack up against his peers? Amazingly well. In fact, it is not even close. I believe it is the greatest distance between one hitter and the rest of the league since the time of Babe Ruth. Was it because Bonds was taking magic pills that made him that much better than everyone? If so, I would imagine that everyone else would take those pills, too. Oh wait -- they did.

Go put Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal and any other NBA stars from the past twenty years under oath and ask them if they have taken steroids. Blindly test the whole NBA. They have no policy. I would guarantee that half the league would test positive right now. Steroids make people heal at a faster rate, and they help with speed and strength. Those qualities are important in any sport. People have millions of dollars at stake. They use them. As such, professional sports leagues should test and penalize. They have been doing it in the NFL for years. They recently started in baseball. They will eventually do it in the NBA.

And that is how you deal with it. You don't get the federal government involved and start charging people with committing federal crimes for not responding properly to questions they never should have been asked under oath and in that setting.
posted by flarbuse at 8:54 PM on November 15, 2007 [6 favorites]


Do you think maybe the federal government should not have been getting involved with this?

The federal government shouldn't investigate illegal activity? That makes zero sense.
posted by afu at 11:06 PM on November 15, 2007


How is he being singled out? How many players have testified? How many players testified and didn't (allegedly) lie? Some facts are missing from this discussion.
posted by cogneuro at 2:48 AM on November 16, 2007


Bonds aside, why is it illegal for professional athletes to use steroids? It's entertainment. Who the fuck cares? The audience certainly clamors for the effects/results of steroid use. Long balls and hulking linebackers.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:33 AM on November 16, 2007


@Thorzdad: the sale of anabolic-androgenic steroids without a prescription was made illegal in the U.S. in 1988, and possession of the substances was outlawed in 1990. That's why it's illegal for athletes to use them.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 7:11 AM on November 16, 2007


GitM...I guess I needed to get more granular with my question...why are steroids illegal? Another "think of the children" law?
posted by Thorzdad at 7:28 AM on November 16, 2007


(bb|[^b]{2})

((tis nobler to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune) | (to take arms against a sea of troubles))
posted by Afroblanco at 7:46 AM on November 16, 2007


How is he being singled out? How many players have testified? How many players testified and didn't (allegedly) lie? Some facts are missing from this discussion.

According to leaked testimony in the BALCO grand jury investigation, both Gary Sheffield and Jason Giambi admitted, to some degree, to purchasing and using taking steroids. There were no legal repurcussions for either player.

Bonds, according to leaked testimony, denied knowingly using steroids, though he admitted he used what he thought was flaxseed oil but turned out to be "the Clear." Reams of evidence, reportedly including detailed records of Bonds' daily dosages, indicate that he did not tell the truth to the grand jury. The feds apparently are pretty pissed about that.

This is not a Bonds witch hunt. The original investigation concerned BALCO, a widespread supplier of illegal substances. If he had been truthful about his relationship with BALCO, my sense is that his legal problems might have ended there.
posted by stargell at 8:57 AM on November 16, 2007


A couple of good takes:

The BALCO investigation began as a dumpster-diving crackdown into steroid distribution. Bonds was not a target, only a client. And if he wasn't its most famous client, he was its most arrogant and defiant. He did everything but wag a Palmeiro finger in the face of the feds, daring them to come after him. This went on for four years. So here are the feds, loaded with these doping calendars and, as we read in the indictment 732 now, at least one positive drug test, and they've already built cases against Jones and the track coach Trevor Graham, and they're supposed to let the biggest, most defiant fish off the hook?

and

Bonds is where he is today -- facing the possibility of prison time and probability that his career is over -- not so much because of his dishonesty but because of his hubris. He was arrogant enough to believe that he could treat the Feds the way he treated the media, the fans and even the commissioner, by essentially waving his hand dismissively and telling them to get lost. But the federal authorities aren't like some obscure middle reliever, overmatched and intimidated by the great Bonds. They have an awfully good record in going up against sports figures, as Michael Vick, Pete Rose, Jamal Lewis and Darryl Strawberry, to name a few who have fought them and lost, could have told him.
posted by stargell at 10:15 AM on November 16, 2007


@Thorzdad: Oh, sorry. There's some talk about "the integrity of the game", of course, but yes it's mostly "think of the children". A little bit of steroid use helped the game, by creating an upsurge in monster home run totals and keeping the athletes at their peak for longer stretches. The problem came when MLB did nothing to keep it at a little bit, encouraging more and more to try it (in both the "he got away with it, so could I" way, and "I gotta do this to keep up with them so I can keep my job" way). A lot of steroid use hurt the game, because it looked like a joke (the transparent denials), and excessive steroid use in an individual produces some very nasty results.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 10:57 AM on November 16, 2007


If steroid use were permitted, players who wanted to stay clean would have to decide whether to gamble with shrunken nuts, bloated craniums, uncontrollable rage and infertility to stay competitive. Hell, even Bonds, from all accounts, avoided the stuff until he saw the celebration surrounding McGwire and Sosa, two players far inferior to him in pure, unadulterated talent.
posted by stargell at 11:51 AM on November 16, 2007


“Clinton should not be allowed to be sued while he is a sitting president,”

Er...what? So does being above the law apply to all presidents or just Clinton?

“Players and teams in sports from different eras cannot be compared to each other in any meaningful way.”

Then have hall of fames just for certain eras. This would be the steroid era hall of fame.
“I would imagine that everyone else would take those pills, too. Oh wait -- they did.”

Every major league baseball player is on steroids?

“why are steroids illegal? Another "think of the children" law?”
posted by Thorzdad

Why is anything illegal? Gee, how about, for starters, it’s exploitive of the athletes themselves?
The ignorance here is appaling. Hell, I favor marijuana legalization and decriminalization of a good deal of currently illicit drugs. But steroids should always be restricted to medical use only and be illegal for any other reason.
Ever seen what happens to someone who uses steroids? I have. It isn’t pretty.
Meanwhile, as has been said, you can either ruin your marriage, your health (physically and mentally) etc. or continue to play at what would be considered a sub-par level.
Why should someone of superior talent and dedication lose to someone just because they’re willing to destroy themselves?
It is just a game.
I think Bonds is an object lesson. He does have a great deal of talent but that apparently wasn’t enough in the environment where steroid use is pervasive.
So one of the great all time players gets to have his liver explode in his face when he hits 60, screws up his personal life, gives him all kinds of emotional problems from the hormone changes, but hey, fuck ‘em, right? It’s my entertainment.

I think what people are defending here isn’t Barry Bonds.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:06 PM on November 16, 2007


"“Players and teams in sports from different eras cannot be compared to each other in any meaningful way.”"

WARP3.
posted by klangklangston at 1:09 PM on November 16, 2007


Bonds was "singled out"? Hardly. It's not like Sosa and McGuire and Palmeiro are doing promo commercials for the league these days.

Ya know, sometimes an asshole is just an asshole. Who gets caught. I honestly don't understand people who would still defend Bonds. He played the race card over and over during the past decade whenever anyone hinted that he might be on dope instead of just copping to the truth -- he put up great numbers, and he did most of it with juice.

Were some of those people motivated by racial false consciousness or just plain racism? Probably. But stopped clocks being right sometimes and all that.
posted by bardic at 4:41 PM on November 16, 2007


I don't think you can credit his numbers to steroids. I compared Bonds' home run numbers to the top 25 home run hitters in the National League for each year in his career.

Bonds was consistently one of the best home run hitters in the National League throughout his career. He was one of the top 25 National League home run hitters in every season of his career except for 2005, when he missed most of the season with injuries. Bonds hit more home runs than the average NL top 25 every year during 1990-1998, and every year during 2000-2004. He was #2 in 1992, #1 in 1993, #3 in 1994, #4 in 1995, #2 in 1996, #4 in 1997, #9 in 1998, #13 in 1999, #2 in 2001, #1 in 2001, #2 in 2002, #2 in 2003, and #4 in 2004.

There was a dramatic change in National League home run production in the 1996 season. A total of eight NL players hit 40 or more home runs from 1986 through 1995, and no one hit 40 home runs during four of those seasons. Eight NL players hit 40-plus home runs in 1996 alone, and at least four NL players have hit 40 home runs or more every season since. During 1986-1995 the average number of home runs by the top 25 NL hitters was between 20.84 and 29.44; during 1996-2006 it was between 31.44 and 40.04. In 1995 the top 25 players hit 685 home runs combined; in 1996 they hit 852. (At the extremes, the top 25 NL home run hitters hit 521 home runs combined in 1992 and hit 1001 in 2001.)

My theory is that Major League Baseball freaked out over declining attendance figures after the 1995 strike, and did whatever they could, from turning a blind eye to steroid use to juicing the ball to building smaller parks, to bump up home runs and bring fans back to the ballpark. (Nike's "chicks dig the long ball" commercial was about pitchers hitting home runs.) People celebrated the 1998 Mark McGwire/Sammy Sosa race even though it was publicly known that McGwire was using performance-enhancing drugs (which is supposedly Bonds' motivation for juicing). So I don't believe his numbers are due to his using steroids.

It's not like Sosa and McGuire and Palmeiro are doing promo commercials for the league these days.

They haven't been charged with crimes, either. Palmeiro at least should be charged for lying to Congress.

Anyway, according to President Bush perjury and obstruction of justice are no big deal, so what's the fuss all about?
posted by kirkaracha at 6:17 PM on November 16, 2007


"I don't think you can credit his numbers to steroids. I compared Bonds' home run numbers to the top 25 home run hitters in the National League for each year in his career."

Yeah, and that's a real tragedy—I have a hard time believing that steroids accounted for more than 5% of his total, and yet by doing them and being such an imperious dick about the whole thing, he's managed to taint his whole legacy.
posted by klangklangston at 6:52 PM on November 16, 2007


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