Blog Entry

What does guilty verdict mean for Barry Bonds?

Posted on: April 13, 2011 5:37 pm
Edited on: April 13, 2011 7:17 pm

BondsBy Evan Brunell

Barry Bonds was found guilty of obstruction of justice on Wednesday, but the jury in Bonds' case could not come to an accord on the perjury charge which cracks the door open for his Hall of Fame chances.

While the government could still re-try Bonds on the three counts of perjury for telling the grand jury charged with making some sense of the whole steroid mess in 2003 that he did not knowingly use steroids or human growth hormone, the main takeaway from today is that the steroid era is most definitively not over.

Everyone thought that once Bonds was strung up on guilty counts or found innocent, that it would help to bring the steroid era to a close. But as has happened time and time again, somehow the one solution that ends up continuing the saga popped up again.

Bonds' obstruction of justice charge essentially means that Bonds made the grand jury's job investigating the steroids scandal back in 2003 that much more difficult. The government had contended that Bonds was evasive and misleading, which spurred the charge, and the jury has agreed. However, it's a rather odd charge to come back guilty on -- if Bonds wasn't found guilty of lying, how exactly did he obstruct justice?

The vagaries therein are perplexing. Can you really ding Bonds and consider the fact he lied based solely on the obstruction of justice charge? No -- if you assume he was telling the truth, he still could be found guilty of obstruction of justice just by being an overall uncooperative witness and/or the circumstances demanding that he essentially obstruct justice by parroting a skeptical claim that he took steroids, but did not knowingly do so.

Unfortunately -- or fortunately if you're happy the government effectively flushed millions of dollars down the drain and may want a Round 2 -- the jury's indecision on Bonds' perjury counts means we simply can't rule out the possibility Bonds was telling the truth. Hey, everyone knows that Bonds took steroids, that's not the issue. The issue is Bonds' claim he had no idea what he was taking even though his home run output doubled, his hat size exploded and... um, well, there was "shrinkage" in a certain area of his body as his ex-mistress testified.

As long as it's possible Bonds was telling the truth, his Hall of Fame case still stands -- and could even be bolstered by the news out of court. On one hand, you will have voters believing Bonds was a Hall of Famer even without steroids. On the other hand, you can add in those who feel that it's impossible to discern who juiced, so why not treat the era as a whole and vote for whoever belongs, period? (Hey -- who knows who took amphetamines or not in the '70s or drugs in the '80s?)

And on this mysterious third hand humans don't have, should Bonds be penalized his chance at immortality because he didn't know he was taking steroids? That's the can of worms that we've opened here, and you can bet that there will be voters who vote for Bonds based on his effective acquittal of these charges. Even if the federal government decides to hold another trial, between the indecisiveness of the first jury and the bangup job that Bonds' defense lawyers did, nothing can be assumed anymore. And for that reason, you can bet Bonds will linger on the Hall of Fame ballot for a long time, and with enough time, it's completely feasible to see Bonds enter the Hall, especially as voter turnover happens and moves to the younger contingent, a group that appears more willing to consider the case of tainted stars.

Yes, it's bordering on ludicrous to assume that Bonds didn't know what he was ingesting. If trainer Greg Anderson wasn't so adamant about refusing to testify, he would likely provide all the evidence needed to put Bonds behind bars. And yet... since he does not, we can't assume that such evidence exists. Remember words like "innocent until proven guilty" and "preponderance of doubt" that you may have learned way back in junior high? Yeah, well, that still applies. And right now, Bonds continues to stand innocent of the charges that could have slammed the door rather emphatically on the steroid era. (Well, until Roger Clemens' own perjury case comes along in the summer, but that would have just been a sordid epilogue.)

Instead, we're left to sift through the mess. Again.

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Category: MLB

Since: Apr 14, 2011
Posted on: April 14, 2011 11:37 am

What does guilty verdict mean for Barry Bonds?

Bonds, Rose, Sosa, McGwire, Palmero, etc. should not be allowed into the hall while they are alive. Once they're gone they should enter.  They were some of the most significant figures during their era, and the hall of fame should recognize this for future generations.  However, they should not realize the honor of enshrinement based on the way they treated the game.  They should not be celebrated, but should definately be remembered.  No separate wing, but a group of members elected under special circumstances.

Since: Apr 13, 2011
Posted on: April 14, 2011 12:39 am
This comment has been removed.

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Since: Apr 13, 2011
Posted on: April 14, 2011 12:38 am
This comment has been removed.

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Since: Mar 11, 2009
Posted on: April 13, 2011 11:54 pm

What does guilty verdict mean for Barry Bonds?

Barry Bonds is a disgusting human for the way he treated fellow players, media ect..BUT he was undoubtably the best player of his generation before the word steroid ever got associated w/Baseball. He was the best player in the 90's no question, and a 1st ballot HOF. I don't agree w/ the decision handed today, but it's surely a win for Bonds. He can now say he wasn't lying & that he didn't intentionally take steroids. And he did admit he did, after news of what Balco was producing.

Bottom line, the guy won 4 MVP's before steroids and was the best player for over a decade. This isn't for discussion to most baseball fans. Bonds isn't Sosa or McGwire or any of the other players that took steroids that made themselves HOF candidates. Bonds is a terrible person, but deserves a 1st ballot HOF vote. Any writer that doesn't vote him in the HOF, should lose their vote. You must separate the person from the player. Take away his last 4-5 years, he's still a HOF player easily.

What's most disgusting, how the federal government spent our tax dollars for the trial! While many are struggling to pay bills, this government just spent tens of millions of dollars because they believe someone lied to them under oath? In the grand scheme of things, this wasn't important enough to spend that kind of money! Put the guy in the Hall, based on his play in the 90's, 1st ballot imo, and its done. Let the people figure out were he should rank. Baseball fans that watched his career know the numbers jumped, we'll judge his place in history, but putting all the supposed steroid players in 1 bubble is ridiculous. Some careers were made by juicing, others were enhanced. Some are HOF players still, others are not. Bonds, Clemons are HOF players! And I wouldn't cross the street for either to meet.  

Since: Oct 24, 2006
Posted on: April 13, 2011 11:28 pm

What does guilty verdict mean for Barry Bonds?

Tiger- I  like your intelligent post although I do not agree-totally. Should a CONVICTED cheater-Raffy and Manny etc be allowed to be part of the SACRED Hall Of Fame? I think not. Steroids and HGH and anything else that was NOT outlawed by the league at the time of use... that is the question. I think if someone used an banned substance while playing should never see the HOF. This brings us to Gaylord Perry, who would brag about using a spit/grease ball and he's in the HOF. Another wing would possibly open the door for Pete Rose and Shoeless Joe-MAYBE.
On the other hand, does our Government needs to spend so much time and money on this ('roids) issue, with a retrial and the upcoming Rocket case? Anyone think the money could go to a more useful cause?

Since: Jul 21, 2007
Posted on: April 13, 2011 10:10 pm

New Hall of Fame wing

I believe the Baseball Hall of Fame should add a wing for those players who tainted the game. Either downplay their stats or trump those with an overriding message about the ones who thought themselves bigger than the game. The steroid era should be remembered. Don't hide the past, learn from it and allow future generations to do the same.

Since: Apr 13, 2011
Posted on: April 13, 2011 9:11 pm

What does guilty verdict mean for Barry Bonds?

I would like to see them prosecute him again just so Anderson can go to jail again.  With anderson, Bonds would have been found guilty of the perjury charges as well.

Since: Sep 19, 2006
Posted on: April 13, 2011 9:00 pm

Add it all up

Barry Bonds obstructed justice. His personal trainer spent more than a year in jail, refusing to testify. All this, and yet some people still want to believe that Bonds never used steroids and never knew what he was being injected with.

Some even want to say this clears the way for the Hall of Fame. Sorry, but with the likes of Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa not getting in, there's no way Bonds gets in when he has a conviction to go along with his steroid use.

It's mind-boggling, really. Let's get to the jail time for his conviction.

Since: Oct 4, 2007
Posted on: April 13, 2011 8:58 pm

What does guilty verdict mean for Barry Bonds?

The "GUILTY OF OBSTRUCTION" verdict means the government can now sue him for the time and taxpayer dollars spent because he obstructed and delayed their efforts. I think Bonds will pay (financially) very dearly for this verdict.

Since: Oct 4, 2007
Posted on: April 13, 2011 8:55 pm

What does guilty verdict mean for Barry Bonds?

CHOCO - if the government waisted so much time and money then they now should be able to sue Bonds to recover it because he caused the delays through "obstruction".

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