Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

Bonds, Past and Future; Isn't it time to come clean?

Marty; There is a lengthy article in today’s New York Times, captioned “Loyalty to Bonds Is Mystifying and Misplaced”. It is personally timely. Last evening, at the dinner table with five very articulate, highly opinionated, grossly intelligent, liberal in the best sense of that abused word, close friends, I was subjected to withering criticism for my “too moralistic attitude towards Bonds”.

The unanimous opinion of the five, two of whom are fervent Giant fans, was that the continued federal interest in pursuing Bonds was overkill, unworthy of the money spent and energy expended. Bonds wasn’t a bank robber, a rapist, a child abuser. He may have been a knowing steroids user but he was not doing anything illegal and many others were as guilty of using performance enhancing drugs. The possibility of criminal charges other than perjury was not then under discussion

Click below for more of Ed’s excellent article. Marty

Allow me to set the stage, in as few words as possible, for the predicament in which, I believe, Bonds finds himself. The background is well-known to all tuned in to your site and requires little amplification. In my judgment, which is obviously subject to dispute, Bonds is going to be indicted. The Feds, acting on the word given from Washington, are opting for the most air-tight case they can put together before going to trial. The US Attorney in SF isn’t calling the shots. The people in Washington, who put Martha Stewart in prison, are the pursuers.

The most prominent link to a guilty verdict, Bonds’s former trainer and long-time buddy, Greg Anderson, is not yet aboard and may never be. This coming Thursday a new grand jury will be sworn in. They will be offered the evidence previously presented to the former grand jury, probably through the use of transcripts of previous testimony, and any documentary evidence.

The government greatly desires to add the testimony of Greg Anderson to that previously offered. Anderson has been held in contempt for refusing to answer questions. He has served a couple of weeks in prison for such contempt. If he continues to refuse to testify, he can be held for another eighteen months, the length of the new grand jury’s existence.

The prosecution hopes that Anderson will see the light. They hope that he will realize that loyalty to Bonds bears too high a price, that he will take the witness stand during the trial and tell what he, more than anyone else, knows about the issues before the court.

Irrespective of Anderson’s possible change of heart, the prosecution has enough evidence to convict. The judgment here is that Bonds will be convicted whether Anderson testifies or not.

At trial, Bonds will be facing a decision many defendants in criminal cases face. Should they take the witness stand, tell whatever story they feel must be told, and submit to cross-examination? Will the jury buy it? In all likelihood, they will not. The danger to Bonds, in relating an unconvincing tale, is that the court, after a conviction, will undoubtedly take into consideration the untruthfullness of the testimony when considering a reasonable sentence.

If Bonds refuses to take the stand, which he has the right to do, it will be, in the hallowed words of Hall of Justice denizens, a “slow plea”.

One way or another, a conviction is much more than a remote possibility. It should be kept in mind, the jury that will be impanelled in the case will not be a “San Francisco jury”, one that could be expected to consist of adoring Bonds fans. The jury will be drawn from a panel of candidates, some of whom might live a far distance from San Francisco.

If convicted, Bonds is facing a prison term. It is true that he is not a bank robber, a rapist or an abuser of children, but the Feds were not reluctant to send Martha Stewart off to prison. Bonds is not likely to elicit nearly as much sympathy. To put it as mildly as possible, outside of SF, there is no love lost for Barry Bonds, with good reason.

Selena Roberts, the sports writer for the Times who wrote today’s article, asks the question, when considering the refusal of Anderson to testify, “What inspires unconditional devotion to a lout?” She goes on to describe, at length, the opinions of people in a position to reasonably hold opinions respecting Bonds. Among those opinions, she cites “a callous superstar who belittles subordinates”. One person who described Bonds as an employer, she writes, used the word “brutal”.

Roberts writes, “According to the Chronicle, a [grand] juror asked Bonds why he hadn’t bought his all-but-homeless buddy [Anderson] a house. ‘One, I’m black’, Bonds said, ‘and I’m keeping my money'”.

Anderson is not black.

In numerous other books, Bonds’s behaviour towards persons, close to him and others, is far more critically described.

This brings us to the question that is at the heart of these comments. Greg Anderson is facing the possibility, this week, of being held in contempt, once again, for refusing to tell what he knows about Bonds. If he persists, as his lawyer says is his intention, he will be looking at the possibility of spending the next year and a half in prison.

Bonds holds the key to the prison cell. It may be too much to ask of him (although not of a more principled person) that he finally admit his guilt of some or all of the charges he is facing.

Nevertheless, as Roberts suggests, “If he [Bonds] has a drop of compassion–if he, as he has said, is innocent of all allegations–Bonds could do what he does best: make a demand, not a request. He could tell Anderson: “I’m not worth prison. Testify.”

Roberts then asks and answers the question, a question posed here as well: “But can a selfless act exist in a narcissist’s heart? Anderson may be about to find out.”

Bonds today, whether willing to admit it or not, is weighing the remote possibility of going to trial and walking away from all his problems, acquitted, and the certainty that his his old buddy, who provided him with the flax seed oil that helped produce the seventy-three home runs, will be spending more time in prison for Bonds’s unlikely benefit.

We all know what Bonds’s decision is. I see small reason why one should not be allowed to draw some conclusions, whether on grounds of morality or simple human decency, from all this.



1 Anonymous { 07.24.06 at 3:52 pm }

Thank you for a well thought out and honest assessment of Bond’s plight.

I sat over the weekend with a group of young (20’s) Giant’s fans who all have missed the point of this investigation. They say it is a witch hunt and everyone is out to get poor Barry. They repeat the line about everyone was doing steroids. They don’t seem to understand the seriousness of what is being investigated.

The steroid issue is only a part of it. The lying to the Grand Jury is a serious matter. And anyone who believes that he was unknowingly taking meds from his trainer without knowing what they were has their head in the sand. Giambi admitted his wrongdoing, and the baseball world accepted that. But Barry has always thought himself above the law so he lied and figured he would get away with it.

On top of the lying is the tax evasion. Come on! The guy makes $17 million in salary and many millions more in his other businesses and endorsements, and he can’t pay his taxes like the rest of us. Once again, he thinks he is above the law. And the law is about to show him–and the rest of the baseball world–that he is not.

If Barry could have been truthful, maybe things would be different. Unfortunately for him, he has spent his life being rotten to everyone around him so no one wants to give him a break. He has made his bed and now must sleep in it.

I hope that the indictment comes down and the young Giant’s fans are forced to see the man for what he is. Yes, maybe everyone was taking steroids, but not everyone was lying to the Grand Jury and cheating on their taxes. This puts “poor” Barry is a class by himself. A great ballplayer, but a despicable human being.

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