A daily accumulation of history and present as I follow the 2011 year through the baseball season and reflect on the glories and disappointments of the greatest game on Earth.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Barry Bonds

What would baseball be without Barry Bonds? Ken Burns seems to think that extended sections of the 10th Inning should belong to him and his father, who personally thanks Mark Reynolds every day of his afterlife as he no longer stands as the biggest whiff threat in baseball history.
Well, here we go... the perjury trial is for real. The man with 73 home runs in a season and 762 for his career is officially facing 5 counts against him (instead of 11).
He still says that he's innocent, but so does Roger Clemens, and we all know how that's working out for him. So for Bonds, the big day is March 1st, which is when he gets arraigned for perjury. Greg Anderson, his former trainer and bestest buddy who never testified against him, will most likely get more contempt of court charges for continued refusal to talk (we have to wonder how much money that is translating to in thank yous from Barry). That said, Jason Giambi and more unknown former major leaguers are going to state that Anderson hooked them up with steroids in the same way it's alleged that Anderson gave Bonds the Clear and the Cream.
For Clemens, his next date with destiny is March 14th when his subpoena for the notes from the House committee that investigated Andy Pettite, Brian McNamee, Chuck Knoblauch, and Jose Canseco (because where there is juice, there is the Typhoid Mary of Steroids) is analyzed for whether they'll give up the documents or not.
Nevertheless, the issue here isn't whether these guys are guilty. Let's be honest, guilty or not, their entire careers are trash. Neither guy is taking his accumulation of some of the greatest numbers ever into Cooperstown. Neither guy is ever going to truly accrue fans or love - despite the fact that Roger was still able to find time to joke about throwing a broken bat at Mike Piazza when he performed for charity. In this, I'm just curious who thinks that inviting Roger to raise money is really the way they want to go with an event of this status, but with that said, I'm sure it got a couple of chuckles and guffaws.
So alas, the 2 biggest names in the Mitchell Commission hearing are going to be facing justice - even if it's only to show them that they can't fight authority because as John Cougar Mellencamp once sang, "Authority always wins." In the end, the 2 of them will go down like the Titanic and without the chance of getting saved that rescued Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle from their baseball exorcisms. There is no life preserver like the one that was thrown to Ty Cobb, Tris Speaker, and Smoky Joe Wood. It's over.
There's no nostalgic love like that for Pete Rose and Joe Jackson. It's done.
And that's what's at issue here. Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds have done nothing to make people love them. Jeff Pearlman's Love Me Hate Me Barry Bonds and American Icon by Teri Thompson and others truly sum up how ugly and loath-able these once great athletes are. The lies and deceptions of Barry Bonds and his myriad of lives that don't remember what each other did while quietly countering his villainy with charity. The betrayal of Roger's wife and best friend to save his records in light of the accusations that were leveled at him.
And while these guys fight for their lives and their backsides not to be made entertainment in the federal prison system, there is something out there that wonders what will became of baseball and the rest of the accused steroids users in baseball. Who else is on the list of anonymous players from 2004? Who else will be named when the witch hunt continues? Who will the next test failure be? Do we really want to know?
I really have to say that I don't.
There needs to be at least a few good memories left of all that is good and pure of the game that I love.

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