In lieu of the verdict on the Barry Bonds perjury trial yesterday I feel like going off for a little bit on the trial, the witch hunt, steroids, the state of baseball and the potential for the Hall of Fame for all these tainted players. As a huge die hard baseball fanatic, I am so disheartened by all of this, by how it has unfolded and feel even angrier and more disenchanted by the ridiculous verdict that was announced yesterday and solved absolutely nothing. However, it allegedly cost some $20 million of our tax dollars which in these times is even more annoying, and the government is apparently mulling over seeking a retrial on the three deadlocked charges which would cost them millions more. This story and the underlying steroid issue will not go away and as long as these guys are coming up for the Hall of Fame…it will not go away.
Barry Bonds, the greatest baseball player most of us have ever seen, was convicted of obstruction of justice yesterday in California. Three other charges of lying under oath to a grand jury were deadlocked and thrown out. That means essentially that he was cleared of lying but convicted of making evasive comments that obstructed the government’s investigation into BALCO and widespread steroid use by athletes. That is total bullshit. What justice did he obstruct? This was a perjury trial about lying yet he was convicted of misleading testimony…what is that? How can you do one but not the other? The jury was apparently confused. I would also bet the judge throws the verdict out May 20th when the defense has a hearing with the judge.
This investigation turned into a witch hunt for Barry Bonds. The total cost of the 8 year investigation and trial is estimated at some $20 million but I’d wager a lot of money that it is significantly more than that. This of course is separate from the hypocritical and short sighted Mitchell report which named several players who did steroids a few years ago. Bonds was targeted to make an example of by the government and essentially became public enemy number one.
Now I’m not arguing that he didn’t do steroids or that he is a good guy because we know he did them and we know he is an asshole. I am saying that this trial was completely worthless, useless and a huge waste of time, money, resources and the verdict was ridiculous. This alleged offense took place some 8 years ago in grand jury testimony that was then leaked to the public. Congress gets involved and the government singles out Bonds saying he lied about not knowingly using steroids. Who gives a shit!? I understand that you can’t lie to a grand jury and they wanted to make an example of him but was it really worth it? Absolutely not.
Nothing was cleared up; not for Bonds, not for the public and certainly not for baseball which will continue to wear a black eye for the next few decades with this steroid crap. It won’t go away with all these guys coming up for Hall of Fame election in the next two decades. Do you realize that 8 of the top 24 career home run hitters of all time are steroid guys and eventually when Alex Rodriguez breaks Bonds’ record, the top two guys will be admitted steroid users.
What do you do with all these guys? Do you keep them out of the Hall of Fame? Well hall voters have only given Mark McGwire some 19% of the vote and he hit 583 home runs. Rafael Palmeiro, who tested positive for steroids and is one of four people in baseball history with 500 home runs and 3000 hits got only 11% of the vote. For those of you who don’t know you need 75% of the vote to get elected to the Hall.
Coming soon for election will be Sammy Sosa, Gary Sheffield, Manny Ramirez, Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, Jim Thome, Ivan Rodriguez along with guys like Jeff Bagwell and the aforementioned others. All of these guys have either tested positive or been accused or thought to have possibly used steroids. That said, what the hell do you do with them?! If the asinine self righteous voters keep them all out of the Hall of Fame, doesn’t that skew the legitimacy of the Hall of Fame? How can you have the Hall of Fame if the all time home run king, one third of the top 24 home run hitters of all time and of course the all time hit king, Pete Rose which is another story for another day, is not in it?
The Hall of Fame is a museum about the history of baseball and it also honors the best players of all time. I have been there several times and I love it. It literally brings tears to my eyes when I go there. But it’s a museum, it’s not a church. Not all guys in the Hall of Fame are good guys, some are even admitted cheaters. Ty Cobb was a huge asshole and Gaylord Perry admits he doctored the ball and they are both celebrated in the Hall. This is the nature of life; some people just aren’t good people. Does that diminish their accomplishments or their stature in the history of the game? It shouldn’t.
Steroids are a different story I understand. We all know these guys’ inflated numbers are a result of steroids, HGH and other PED’s. However, this is a 25 year period of baseball history. History is immortalized in museums and the steroid era should be no different. People will always know these guys cheated. Does that mean that it never happened? No! We all went along for the ride and loved it. Steroids saved baseball in 1998 and the ensuing home run barrage that brought all the fans back to the ball parks.
There was a lot of money on the line for these guys and contracts became outrageous. I don’t blame them for doing it. If someone said you could be great at your job and make a ton more money, support your family for generations if you take something that harms nobody but possibly yourself-you’d probably do it. Why wouldn’t you?
God this topic drives me nuts because I don’t want to talk about it, think about it or anything but it’s unavoidable. If you are a baseball fan it kills you to see Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens on trial as they are the two greatest players we have ever seen at their respective crafts. So they did steroids, get over it, let them in the Hall of Fame and document the era they played in or don’t have it at all.