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The Asylum

Welcome to the Asylum. This is a site devoted to politics and current events in America, and around the globe. The THREE lunatics posting here are unabashed conservatives that go after the liberal lies and deceit prevalent in the debate of the day. We'd like to add that the views expressed here do not reflect the views of other inmates, nor were any inmates harmed in the creation of this site.

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Barry Bonds Seems To Have A Problem

OK. Give me a bit of leeway here. I don't often talk sports. I'm political, in nature. However, this story from CNN posted at 11:34 EDT shows that a grand jury has been convened, and federal prosecutors are looking at Barry Bonds' grand jury testimony on 4 December 2003.

A federal grand jury is considering whether to indict San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds for perjury because of testimony he gave to another grand jury 16 months ago, CNN has learned.

Bonds told the first grand jury in 2003 that he was clean. The new panel has been hearing testimony for a month about whether the baseball superstar lied about his steroid use during the hearing, several sources said.

"This is extremely bad news for Barry Bonds," said CNN senior legal analyst Jeff Toobin, "because a federal prosecutor doesn't start looking into perjury unless he has a pretty good idea he's going to find perjury at the end of the day."

Unless you're Patrick Fitzgerald, and you're fishing for something you think is there, only to have it blown out of the water since your indictment was handed down.

The U.S. Attorney's office would neither confirm nor deny the report. Grand jury proceedings are generally kept secret.

Bonds' legal team is unaware that a grand jury convened to hear the case, said Harry Stern, a spokesman for the attorneys

On December 4, 2003, Barry Bonds and other athletes testified in the BALCO case, which targeted Greg Anderson, a trainer and longtime friend to Bonds, and Victor Conte, founder of the Bay-Area Laboratory Co-Operative, a sports nutrition center alleged to have created designer steroids.

During the hearing, prosecutors asked Bonds if he had used steroids, and when the man who is seeking to become baseball's all-time home run king emerged from the hearing, his attorney Mike Raines told reporters:

"Barry testified truthfully to the grand jury. Barry Bonds is clean."

Ah, ah, ah. To date, baseball has released no test results for Barry Bonds. Their steroid testing, as it is right now, is completely random. So, for them to claim he's clean is problematic, at best. Further, he did testify that he did use their steroids. He spun it as "unwillingly" doing so, but this is a man who has control over 100% of his life. Everthing that happens to it, everything that goes into it, etc. And that doesn't even address the Jason Giambi testimony where he admitted that he approached Barry Bonds about what he was "doing" in regard to his strength. Gary Sheffield concurred, having trained with Bonds for free, only to be slapped with a bill for his steroids after they parted ways.

Conte spent four months in jail after pleading guilty to distributing steroids, and Anderson was sentenced to three months on the same charge.

Bonds and his colleagues were offered immunity for their testimony. The deal was simple: Tell the truth, and you draw a walk; lie and go down for perjury.

Raines has long said that the federal government is out to get his client. And without admitting any wrongdoing on his client's behalf, he has suggested that prosecutors, with their immunity deal, are setting a familiar snare for Bonds.

"Look no further than Martha Stewart. The trap is perjury," Raines said. "You offer immunity and you get him in there and then you ask them questions and you get them on lying to federal officers."

"That's the trap. That's exactly what they got Martha for."

Gotta love that victim card. Nevermind the testimony basically calling Barry Bonds a liar. The testimony that has two other associates in baseball stating that he turned them onto the BALCO designer steroids, and they were using them. Barry Bonds played dumb, and it seems as though the federal prosecutors might have a decent case.

Raines also has suggested that prosecutors are going after his client because of his name and notoriety, not the allegations leveled against him.

Toobin said that wouldn't surprise him.

"Prosecutors are supposed to go after the big fish. It's those kind of prosecutions that tell everyone that it's not OK to lie to prosecutors or to a grand jury," the legal analyst said.

A House committee considered perjury charges against Baltimore Oriole Rafael Palmeiro when he failed a drug test for steroids following congressional testimony in March 2005 that he had never used them. The committee decided in November not to pursue the charges, citing "confusing and contradictory" information, according to The Washington Post.

"We couldn't find any evidence of steroid use prior to his testimony," committee chairman Rep. Thomas A. Davis III was quoted in the paper as saying. "That's not a finding of innocence, but it's a finding that we could not substantiate perjury."

Bonds' repeated and adamant denial that he knowingly used steroids came under new scrutiny when "Game of Shadows" -- billed as an expose -- hit bookstore shelves last month. The book claims Bonds used steroids he obtained from Anderson during the 1998-2003 seasons. That timespan includes the 2001 season in which Bonds swatted 73 homers, surpassing Mark McGwire's single-season record.

And Bonds has filed a lawsuit against the authors for using the leaked grand jury testimony in the book. Despite the fact that the testimony should be kept sealed, it did get out. It is "public record." Here is the original SFGate piece regarding his grand jury testimony. He is on the record, and may have just lied to a grand jury.

Major League Baseball did not begin testing for steroids until 2003. Since the league began testing, the MLB has never reported that Bonds failed a drug test.

They also haven't exactly sounded the trumpets when they've tested him at all. Besides, the drugs used by Bonds were untraceable by MLB standards. They were designed that way, which came out in the cases against Conte and Anderson. It wouldn't matter if they did hold a negative test up right now. The fact is that he did do them at one point, which is enough to disqualify his entry into the record books. At the very least, and asterisk next to his name as being suspected of using performance enhancing steroids. And no, this asterisk has nothing to do with the retardation shown by MLB in putting the asterisk next to Roger Maris' name. That was just stupid.

Raines has issued a statement saying Bonds has no intention of reading the book. "Barry regards this as an unfortunate distraction to his friends and teammates at the San Francisco Giants, and to the good name and the great players in Major League Baseball," read the statement on Bonds' Web site.

Whoa. He hasn't read the book, but he filed a lawsuit against the authors for their use of the grand jury testimony? I question the lawsuit he filed to begin with because if his claim is that they're lying, why not file a defamation of character suit? By filing the suit he has, he isn't exactly killing their argument that he's used steroids, and may be doing so now. He's stating that they had no right to use that information. Well, Barry, actually they do.

It further stated that the allegations have "misled the public in the interest of financial and professional self promotion."

Financial and self-promotion? Excuse me? He's being accused of lying to a federal grand jury. A charge that former President Bill Clinton was found guilty of, and impeached for. The same crime Scooter Libby stands accused of. This isn't a charge to be taken lightly. While I understand his spokesman and lawyer playing the game, at some point his side has to admit that there's trouble with this investigation.

After the book was published, MLB Commissioner Bud Selig appointed former U.S. Senator George Mitchell to oversee an investigation into steroid use in baseball.

Bonds missed most of last season with knee problems and had three surgeries to repair the knee. With 708 career home runs, Bonds trails Babe Ruth by six homers and Hank Aaron, the all-time leader, by 47. He has yet to hit a home run this season.

Frankly, I hope he never hits another one again. He cheated to achieve his place in the record books; to the baseball fan, that is the pantheon. I ought to know. I'm a Cubs fan, and a dreaded Yankees fan. And yes, my all-time dream series is a replay of the last whooping the Yankees put on the Cubs back in 1938. The records mean a lot to me, and they mean a helluva lot to the fans. Barry Bonds may decide that they aren't worth anything, but to the baseball fan, they are everything.

Had he achieved this pinnacle without using steroids, I'd have no problem with him beating Babe Ruth or Hank Aaron. But his comments regarding Ruth, and his blatant disregard for the laws of the land (steroids are illegal, and have been so since bfore MLB made them a banned substance) and the records of the game he plays show the man for what he is. And it's not a hero. It's not an idol. He doesn't belong in the pantheon of sports legends, unless it's for the one accomplishment that he, and he alone, possesses before the controversy started.

Barry Bonds is the only 400/400 man in MLB history. His numbers now reflect a 500/500 record. That's 500 home runs, and 500 stolen bases. He could have gone into the hall with that record, and no one near passing him up. Like Ruth and Aaron, virtually secure in the record books for their feats.

But he cheated, and he did it out of selfishness. I abhor him for that. He's lied, and he's cheated, and the fans are about to be cheated out of a record that they rightly deserve; that being the two greatest players in the history of baseball remaining on top, based on their natural talents, abilities, and achievements.

Not because they cheated to achieve some sort of faux fame. True baseball fans venerate Ruth and Aaron as Earthly saints; never to be seen again. Sports has it's legends like this. Hockey has Orr, Gretzky, Howe, and Lemieux. Basketball has Russell, Johnson, Jabbar, Bird, and Chamberlain. Football has greats, but as with teams sports, many are remembered in groups. The Steel Curtain of the seventies. The 46-Zone defense of the Bears in the 70's and 80's. Joe Namath, Johnny Unitas, Terry Bradshaw, and Danny White. Joe Montana, and Dan Marino; the only quarterback to take his team to a complete undefeated season, minus the Super Bowl.

We look up to these people. They're sports gods, and ones to be admired for many years to come. But in my opinion, Barry Bonds picked the lock to get in this pantheon. An asterisk would be a fitting end for his career, and one that will speak volumes.

Publius II


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