Friday, February 6, 2009

The Wages of Juice (Are Handsome)

Here's a prototypical American tale. Barry Bonds, who along with Roger Clemens, is one the most notorious juicers in baseball--steroid and HGH users, cheaters, who boosted their already astonishing statistics with dope, went to court yesterday. With a bevy of six doubtless very-high-priced lawyers. He didn't say anything. His lawyers plead "not guilty" for him to multiple counts of perjury and obstructing justice.

Today the judge announces she will not be accepting three key pieces of evidence--urine test results--that prove Bonds was using illegal substances to extend his career, puff up his performance, and set ridiculously high home run records. All of this beginning after he was 35 years old and continuing for several years after. Anybody who knows baseball, knows that the peak years for players are 28-32. After that, only the great players continue to produce handsomely, but none in the whole history of baseball anywhere near the level Bonds did.

Bonds would have been easily been a Hall of Famer without cheating, but, as a new book coming out, will show, he had a burning, corrosive jealousy for the fame and attention another record-breaking slugger was receiving. (Mark McGwire, yet another user of performance enhancing drugs who was passed over for election to the HOF despite prodigious numbers, and who will continue to be spurned.) It turns out Bonds was simply petulant child millionaire who wasn't getting the attention he thought he deserved. My heart bleeds really for this guy.

The case against him pretty much goes to hell without this evidence, so in all likelihood Bonds will walk. He probably would have anyway, but now it's just about certain. It would have been nice to see him spend some time in jail. So what's the result of this Bonds business, which has been dragging on for three or four years? Baseball wears yet another huge black eye. Its all time hit leader, Pete Rose, is barred from the Hall of Fame for gambling on baseball. Bonds, the all time home run leader, and Clemens, who is arguably one of the five greatest pitchers ever to play the game, will not be elected to the HOF because they cheated and the baseball writers don't reward cheaters.

But Bonds and the rest? They've all got their millions. And no worries about their kids or grandkids or their kids. Just like Wall Street CEOs. Crime pays.
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