Monday, July 23, 2007

Record needle

Taking the day off, Barry Bonds did not tie or break Hank Aaron's career home run record yesterday in Milwaukee. Unfortunately it's almost inevitable that Bonds will break the record in the near future, possibly against the Atlanta Braves. Baseball commissioner Bud Selig probably will not be at the game when the record is broken.

Selig's presence here in Milwaukee was a farcical middle course. Had he not been here the last three days in his hometown, it would have been clearly seen as a snub of Bonds. If he follows Bonds to San Francisco it will be seen as one more sign of Selig's acquiescence to the "steroid era" of Major League Baseball.

Selig should have chosen to stay away, even though that would've only raised more questions. But those questions are legitimate. Given what we already know about Bonds, why is Bonds still being allowed to play?

Of course Anderson's primary job, and the real reason he was hired, was to provide Bonds with performance-enhancing drugs and to track his regimen. Anderson obtained the drugs and administered them. In file folders, and on his computer, he kept calendars of Bonds's use of the substances, recording the drugs, dosages and cycles.

But Anderson didn't think of himself as Bonds's drug dealer. When Bonds paid him, he liked to think it was for weight training. As far as supplying drugs, Anderson thought of his role as "middleman." In San Francisco he knew AIDS patients who had prescriptions for testosterone and human growth hormone and were willing to sell their drugs for cash. Anderson bought and resold them virtually at cost to clients who wanted them for their anabolic effects. Likewise, Anderson knew many sources of conventional bodybuilders' steroids like Deca-Durabolin and Winstrol. He resold those at almost no markup as well. Bonds was keenly interested in performance-enhancing drugs. He asked their pharmaceutical names and then sought, through third parties, medical advice about the drugs. The medical advice was negative. You shouldn't take the drugs, he was told, but Anderson said those concerns were overblown, and Bonds ignored the advice he had sought.

Certainly the program Anderson devised worked. In the years after he linked up with Anderson, Bonds completely remade his body, and the results of Anderson's drug regime are now reflected in the record books. At an age when his father's baseball skills had begun to erode badly, Bonds's drug use would make him a better hitter than he had been at any time in his career -- and, perhaps, the best hitter of all time.
Why is Selig continuing to allow Bonds to pursue a record considered one of the most hallowed in the game? Ruth... Aaron... Bonds?

The New York Daily News is reporting that federal investigators hope to indict Barry Bonds this fall as a result of the Balco steroid case.
The grand jury investigating Barry Bonds has been extended for another six months, several sources familiar with the government's case have told the Daily News, and the U.S. Attorney's office in San Francisco is confident it will have enough evidence to secure an indictment once it resumes in September.

"They seem to feel they have a strong case," said one source, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

Another source said he believed prosecutors could secure an indictment if they sought one now, but that they would rather take the additional time to strengthen it. The grand jurors have not met for at least three weeks and have been instructed that they will not reconvene until September. Bonds is being investigated for perjury and tax evasion.
As Tony Soprano's lawyer famously advised him, the feds have spent a lot of time and money investigating. "They're going to want a return on that investment."

Sports agent Scott Boras recently opined the spectacle of the World Series is so great that it should be extended to nine games. This October, the greater baseball spectacle may take place off the field in the Trial of Barry Bonds. Will the fans see Major League Baseball as the unindicted co-conspirator?

Good thing Bart Giamatti was Commissioner when Pete Rose was discovered betting on baseball.

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