can't believe that We the People would even consider retrying baseball
star Barry Bonds for his testimony to a grand jury in 2003, as our
federal prosecutors told reporters in US District Court in San Francisco
last week. It only took seven years to convince a jury, which heard 25
witnesses and a month of testimony earlier this year, that they didn't
know beyond a reasonable doubt whether Bonds was telling the truth.
This week, prosecutors backed off the threat of a retrial. But I still think our prosecutors are on steroids or something.
Barry Bonds, guilty or not guilty, is public enemy number 57,936 in
my book. In terms of menaces to society, he ranks far behind any number
of individuals or groups, including all those perpetrators of crimes
If only our prosecutors displayed equal fervor in bringing to justice
bad mortgage bundlers selling securities to unwitting dupes who
supposedly knew it all, or banks that used bailout money to pay bonuses
to employees to buy houses in the Hamptons.
Bonds is not on the same level as participants in foreclosure fraud,
or the other individuals who routinely degrade our quality of life.
Given the federal deficit, and the need to eliminate waste in
government, Tea Party budget cutters might well focus on the Bonds case.
Why did the Justice Department even consider wasting taxpayer money to
persecute prosecute Barry Bonds?
Basically, our prosecutors did not approve of Bonds's performance
before the Grand Jury in 2003. "All he had to do was tell the truth,"
Assistant US Attorney Jeffrey Nedrow told a San Francisco jury in his closing arguments in April.
I am not a lawyer. But I know celebrities often confuse fact with
fiction. In his mind, for all we know, Barry may have thought he was
giving his version of the truth.
Prosecutors didn't like Bonds's evasive answer about whether he
received drugs that required a syringe, which consisted of him rambling
for 75 seconds about being a celebrity child with a famous father. But
I've known other celebrities who do not answer directly.
Prosecutors did not like Bonds's arrogant attitude. Never a winner of
Miss Congeniality contests, his head apparently grew fatter as his
nether parts shrank, one of the alleged facts that came out in the
I do not know if the secret of Bonds's success breaking home run
records was eating fresh vegetables and going to sleep early before
games. But what I do know is the government has already ruined eight
years of his professional life
Since 2003, Major League Baseball has treated Bonds as if he were a
member of the Black Sox. He wasn't even a Pete Rose, betting on games.
It is the great American pastime to presume innocence until proven
guilty. Nevertheless, all these years Bonds has been a pariah,
considered unemployable by the 32 MLB teams. In effect, they have
conducted a virtual one-man lockout, violating labor laws.
If only Bonds had used his fat head in dealing with the issue. Faced
with a similar veracity problem, Alex Rodriguez allowed himself to be
grilled until well done by Katie Couric on CBS News. It did not prevent
him from lying about his use of illegal substances and resuming his
career. Now, lying to Katie is what I consider a serious crime.
But all of that is ancient history. The question that bothers me is why Bonds is still forced to wear the hair shirt.
I am not Bonds's agent, but I still think Bonds has a future in major league ball. Here is a hypothetical case.
The Pittsburgh Pirates, where Bonds got his start, is desperately in
need of pinch-hitters. At 46, Barry is not as sprightly as he once was.
Still, he could certainly sit in the Bucs dugout and come out in the
last of the ninth and hit a walk-off home run or two. At 46, Barry is
worth two 23-year-olds the Pirates now have, batting .111 combined.
It would help his job opportunities if federal prosecutors will
finally forget about Barry and go after real villains in society. In the
meanwhile, all Justice Department employees should be required to leave
their urine cups at the front desk.