Bonds Indicted, or How Flax Seed Oil Doesn’t Fly

In what is the biggest story of the day, Barry Bonds was indicted on five felony counts of perjury and obstruction of justice by a federal grand jury. These charges could result in a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison if he’s convicted.

Bonds has more to worry right now than an asterisk. Forget the home run record. Barry Bonds has played his last game and his baseball career is now over. It is a very fitting ending.

The indictment culminated in a four year investigation into steroid use by elite athletes, although using the word “elite” and “Barry Bonds” in the same sentence is really wrong. Because Barry Bonds is a cheater. And that will be his legacy.

The government says Bonds lied during his federal grand jury testimony four years ago. Barry Bonds used the ridiculous “flax seed oil” excuse. Who did he think he was messing with? His elementary school teacher, and trying to fool her that he learned his multiplication table? We’re talking about the freaking feds; these guys DO NOT mess around.

Now Bonds is in huge trouble. “You don’t get in trouble unless you do something wrong,” said Kevin Ryan, the former lead prosecutor for the BALCO case. “There was an opportunity for him to help the investigation, but he chose a path that led him to this point.”

Oh, you don’t think Bonds is a cheat? So he goes from 180 pounds as a college player, to 185 pounds as a Pittsburgh Pirate, to 250 pounds as a San Francisco Giant (no pun intended). And that massive head of his! It’s like the blood brain barrier is circumvented in his case, and the steroids went directly to his head.

Well, actually, that isn’t as absurd as it sounds. The government doesn’t care that Bonds perpetrated fraud against MLB and its customers. But the second you lie to investigators and the grand jury, you can be rest assured you’re screwed. And rest assured that Bonds didn’t spend the last few years in discomfort, knowing that the feds could strike with swift fury at any moment. One side effect of steroids is insomnia, so you can also be sure that Barry Bonds didn’t sleep well at night these last few years.

So what next? “I think you’re going to see a jury trial,” Ryan said. “I don’t think the government is going to blink on this one. I don’t think the other side is going to blink either.”

Bonds and his lawyers have long accused the government of targeting a high-profile, unpopular player merely for political gain while pondering if the investigation was racially motivated. Why would the feds do this though? They don’t have better cases to solve? Bonds and his lawyers are clearly delusional, and I hope that they are brought back to earth with this indictment, which, quite frankly, has been long overdue.

There is a reason that the indictment was announced so suddenly. The relationship between Bonds’ lawyers and the government grew very hostile and so sour, that the government lawyers didn’t even notify Bonds of the impending indictment (which is usually a courtesy typically extended to white collar defendants so that they can prepare for public announcement).

The 10-page indictment mainly consists of excerpts from Bonds’ December 2003 testimony before a grand jury investigating the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, or BALCO. It cites 19 occasions in which Bonds allegedly lied under oath. The indictment charges Bonds with lying when he said he didn’t knowingly take steroids given to him by Anderson. Bonds is also charged with lying that Anderson never injected him with steroids.

But for all the speculation and accusations that clouded his pursuit of Aaron, Bonds was never identified by Major League Baseball as testing positive for steroids, and personal trainer Greg Anderson spent most of the last year in jail for refusing to testify against his longtime friend. Anderson did not comment as he was released from prison shortly after the indictment was handed up, but his attorney, Mark Geragos, said the trainer didn’t cooperate with the grand jury.

At the end of the 2003 season, Bonds said, Anderson rubbed some cream on his arm that the trainer said would help him recover. Anderson also gave him something he called “flax seed oil,” Bonds said. Bonds then testified that prior to the 2003 season, he never took anything supplied by Anderson — which the indictment alleges was a lie because the doping calendars seized from Anderson’s house were dated 2001.

The feds tried to make it easy for Bonds. The federal prosecutors promised Bonds they wouldn’t charge him with any drug-related counts if he testified truthfully. But according to the indictment, Bonds repeatedly denied taking any steroids or performance-enhancing drugs despite evidence to the contrary.

The way Bonds was acting, it was as though he was daring the feds to indict him. Well, wish come true. Now Bonds is scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in San Francisco on December 7.

So yes, this is big news. It even reached Washington, where White House spokesman Tony Fratto said: “The president is very disappointed to hear this. As this case is now in the criminal justice system, we will refrain from any further specific comments about it. But clearly this is a sad day for baseball.”

This isn’t a sad day for baseball. If anything, it is a great day for baseball because it shows that the justice system is working. It shows that those that lie to the grand jury and under oath are not going to escape lightly.

We can now forget how Bonds broke Hank Aaron’s career home run mark of 755 on August 7, and how Bonds now is an all-time leader with 762 home runs. What was a huge story about an asterisk is even bigger now that Bonds is indicted. Bonds is by far the highest-profile figure caught up in the steroids probe. We know what happened to Marion Jones in October this year, where she pleaded guilty to using steroids, so I expect nothing less here.

Excuses don’t work, and cheating sure as hell doesn’t work. In this case, it might have worked for Barry Bonds for a while, but he is now indicted, and I hope he will go to jail for a long, long time.

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~ by mlb2007playoffs on November 15, 2007.

3 Responses to “Bonds Indicted, or How Flax Seed Oil Doesn’t Fly”

  1. […] Bonds Indicted, or How Flax Seed Oil Doesn’t Fly – do I think Barry Bonds is guilty of knowingly taking steroids and lying to federal prosecutors? Certainly so. But if you still have doubts, read the entry. […]

  2. […] at center field. That means Dave Roberts likely will shift from center to left, replacing the cheater, err, Barry Bonds. Winn will probably stay in right field while Davis and some of the other young outfielders share […]

  3. […] is some related reading for you to enjoy: We’re Already Tired of the Barry Bonds Indictment Bonds Indicted, or How Flax Seed Oil Doesn’t Fly Bonds Indicted for Perjury Bonds’ indictment comes a little too […]

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