News flash! Barry Bonds has been indicted for perjury and obstruction of justice in his testimony about the use of performance-enhancing substances.
Raise your hand if you're surprised.
No one? No one? Bueller?
This isn't news, it's death and/or taxes. It's the sword of Damocles finally falling. Four counts of perjury, one count of obstruction, and Bonds is facing up to 30 years in jail. The all-time home run king, the face of the "steroid era" of baseball, the jillion-time NL MVP and cleanup hitter of my 2001 championship fantasy baseball team is finally officially accused of what we all freaking know he did. The suspected taint of the last two decades is now official.
And I feel terrible for him.
Bonds isn't employed by a team right now. This affects no one but himself. He has no teammates or ownership to back him up or support him.
Bonds has been far from a lovable teammate. His former Giants clubmates cheered for him at the plate, avoided him anywhere else. He has no deep ties to on-field compatriots, no one to stand beside him.
Bonds has been antagonistic with the press from day one. He certainly has no support from the fourth estate. Now he's not just the sexiest sports news story in decades, he's also a target for some gleeful media assault.
Through his own actions, Barry Bonds has been resented and disliked everywhere he went. He is totally alone.
Not for a second am I defending Barry Bonds or suggesting that he shouldn't go to jail if and when he is found guilty of what every non-San-Franciscan American darn well knows he's guilty of. But if you think Michael Vick was alone--and Vick might be the happiest man in the world now that someone else gets to be "Sports' Most Wanted"--that was nothing compared to the way Bonds has separated himself from any substantial support system outside his immediate family.
And it didn't have to be this way. It's not like Barry Bonds wasn't a future Hall-of-Famer before he Hulked up.
I maintain that the advantage of steroids for hitters is in large part imagined or overblown. Pitchers are using them to increase velocity as well; I have it on pretty good authority that, in the college and minor-league ranks at least, performance-enhancers are used more by pitchers than hitters. And no steroids improve hand-eye coordination, ability to read the ball's rotation, knowledge of pitching tendencies, or view of the arm angle.
But it's still cheating. More than that; it's a pattern of lying in the face of overwhelming evidence that would make a Clinton blush. I did not have sexual relations with that syringe.
Still, I feel terrible for Barry Bonds, the loneliest man in America today, by his own design. I don't support him, but I sympathize, and my prayers are with him and especially with his family, whom he has made victims of today.
I hope this doesn't ruin his life. It's enough that he and others like him have stained a whole era of baseball.