FanDuel - WFBC

February 11, 2011

Charges Trimmed Against Barry Bonds: Federal prosecutors have reduced the felony charges against Barry Bonds from 11 to 5. He faces a March 21 trial for allegedly lying under oath in testimony to a 2003 grand jury, saying he was injected only by his doctor and misleading investigators. Craig Calcaterra of MSNBC's Hardball Talk calls the case "monumentally weak and wasteful."

posted by rcade to baseball at 03:23 PM - 21 comments

I don't know how weak it is, but it is definitely wasteful. Every single crime does not and cannot get prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. There has to be some balancing involved. What are the competing interests? Why is this particular case worthy of such a huge amount of resources expended on it? Vick has been caught, arrested, convicted, sentenced, and released on much more serious charges while the Bonds prosecutors haven't even made it to trial yet. It smacks of a vendetta, and that's not how prosecutors should be acting.

posted by bperk at 03:38 PM on February 11

I can't believe that these prosecuters are still trying to make a case against Barry Bonds. If they had any substantial evidence against him, this would've gone to trial years ago.

posted by BornIcon at 03:45 PM on February 11

I'm shocked by this development.

I figure that by the end of the trial, the only thing he'll be found guilty of is an illegal lane change he made on the way to the court that day.

posted by grum@work at 04:50 PM on February 11

Just about everything I find wrong with those who (I believe irrationally) hate Bonds can be found in one of the first comments on that Craig Calcaterra article:

Is Bonds guilty? I think your background has given you an inherent bias. You still view the world through a legal prism. It isn't about justice or right from wrong. Its about whether or not someone can prove it.


That's my problem with your arguments. They are so far removed from how regular people view this case. May I remind the counsel that we are NOT in a courtroom. We are in the court of public opinion. Thanks to Bonds dismissive attitude, disdain for the press and based upon the pile of circumstantial evidence, the court finds the defendant GUILTY. The punishment is a one-way ticket straight to Shoeless Joe Jacksonville.

Shorter internet poster: "I don't care if he did anything illegal or anything wrong, I've decided I hate him... so he must have done something to deserve being hated, and that makes him GUILTY!"

Meanwhile, again, this whole thing was a huge waste of money, for an issue that's blown over and no one really cares about anymore (other than sportswriters, who will milk it once a year around the HoF election period), and which cost us the last few years of the career of arguably the greatest hitter who ever lived.

I wonder if Bonds can get a phone call from a MLB team now that his legal issues are likely winding to a close? :)

posted by hincandenza at 05:40 PM on February 11

GUILTY GUILTY GUILTY. The prosecutors, not necessarily Bonds.

posted by graymatters at 07:08 PM on February 11

The most interesting part is that he could (easily) win this case. Then, after the case is over, the MLBPA is going to continue the pursuit of the collusion charges against the MLB, regarding Bonds and the zero offers he received at the end of the 2007 season.

There is a chance he'll win that (since MLB has been found guilty of collusion twice already), and get a nice hefty settlement from that.

All of this could actually end up making him look like a slightly-more sympathetic character in the eyes of the public.

It's every Bonds-haters' nightmare, right there.

posted by grum@work at 08:18 PM on February 11

This should be a baseball issue, and not a court issue. The whole idea of grand juries investigating baseball's steroid problem was a waste from the start.

Almost everyone has moved on. A select few (Bond, McGwire, etc) paid a steep price, and those that simply said I' sorry paid almost nothing. The only thing learned in all of this is to never testify to a grand jury if you don't have to.

posted by dviking at 09:57 PM on February 11

If they had any substantial evidence against him, this would've gone to trial years ago.

Since this isn't true, perhaps 7 comments in we should get to the actual reason why the felony charges have been reduced.

All six of the eliminated charges involve Greg Anderson, Bonds' personal trainer. The elimination of the Anderson-based charges is a recognition by the prosecutors that Anderson will never testify against Bonds. Anderson has already served more than a year in jail as a result of his refusal to cooperate with the government.

If you're going to do steroids, it's a smart move to use a childhood friend that will go to jail for you.

posted by justgary at 10:12 PM on February 11

If Bonds can win the trial, more power to him. But if he lied under oath, he's the reason this is a court issue. Surely his lawyers instructed him on what could happen if he lied in that situation.

posted by rcade at 11:28 PM on February 11

It surprises me that on this blog, so many of you consider the purity of baseball to be more important to the game itself. If my memory is right, I believe rcade has argued vehemently in the past against the designated hitter. (sorry if it wasn't you rcade). I think most people believe Pete Rose bet on his team, the White Sox threw the World Series, and that Barry Bonds knowingly used steroids. Others in his position have grudgingly admitted their use after the writing was on the wall. When all else fails, deny,deny,deny. (see Roger Clemens). Sometimes it takes prosecution to force admitting to their indiscretion. Conviction on 1 charge will rightfully keep him out of the Hall of Fame, and throw doubt on all his records, (right or wrong). As long as there are so many purists in the game, his records will require an asterisk in the record book.

posted by scuubie at 10:53 AM on February 12

grum@work wrote "Then, after the case is over, the MLBPA is going to continue the pursuit of the collusion charges against the MLB, regarding Bonds and the zero offers he received at the end of the 2007 season."

There is a difference between collusion, and not wanting to touch this guy with a 10 foot pole. And on a side note, as in the football cases, players should take responsibility for what goes in or on their body. I didn't know, or I didn't think, should not be excuses.

posted by scuubie at 11:05 AM on February 12

If my memory is right, I believe rcade has argued vehemently in the past against the designated hitter.

I can't recall going to that much trouble. But I am against the designated hitter. I hope the people of Egypt will do something about it.

posted by rcade at 11:29 AM on February 12

so many of you consider the purity of baseball to be more important to the game itself

I am confused.

posted by yerfatma at 11:44 AM on February 12

There is a difference between collusion, and not wanting to touch this guy with a 10 foot pole.

There is. And that difference will be proven in court (if the MLBPA has the evidence). Remember, everyone said the exact same thing about Collusion I and Collusion II and Collusion III. Heck, the "unwritten rule" about allowing non-white players into MLB didn't have anything written down, and everyone knows it existed.

If you honestly think that all 30 baseball clubs came to the exact same conclusion at the exact same time, without discussion or consultation, then that would be the first time in history this has ever happened with these owners.

But if he lied under oath, he's the reason this is a court issue. Surely his lawyers instructed him on what could happen if he lied in that situation.

I'm sure they did. The problem that the prosecution has right now is that a lot of those questions that they asked him can be attacked for being non-direct, or proposed in a manner that would lead to answers that could be construed as perjury, even though the intent was not to lie under oath.

All it comes down to is that it's been 7 years since he made those statements. If the case was really as solid as the prosecution thought it was when they brought the indictments, then you have to ask why has it taken so long for them to build the case.

posted by grum@work at 12:30 PM on February 12

Conviction on 1 charge will rightfully keep him out of the Hall of Fame

Why? Lots of baseball players have a conviction on their record and have been inducted to the Hall of Fame.

As long as there are so many purists in the game, his records will require an asterisk in the record book.

Enough with the made-up asterisk shit. There has NEVER been an "asterisk" in the baseball record books. There will never BE an "asterisk" in the baseball record books.

posted by grum@work at 12:33 PM on February 12

There will never BE an "asterisk" in the baseball record books.

While there may never be an actual asterisk in the MLB official record books, there will always be one in the public opinion record books. Not just for Bonds, but for all of the roid era players. Do you think most people do, or do not, view the McGwire/Sosa/Bonds home run records with a great deal of skepticism? I think they do. I know I do.

If you're going to do steroids, it's a smart move to use a childhood friend that will go to jail for you

Very smart indeed!

posted by dviking at 12:55 PM on February 12

I watched Barry play for years and it wasn't the power with which he hit that was impressive, it was the efficiency and quickness of his swing. 'roids or not, to me his most impressive year was 2004. I'm pretty sure I'll never see a player put up those sorts of offensive numbers again in my lifetime.

Off field, he was definitely a liability, but watching him swing the bat is something I miss to this day...

posted by slackerman at 02:01 PM on February 12

While there may never be an actual asterisk in the MLB official record books, there will always be one in the public opinion record books. Not just for Bonds, but for all of the roid era players. Do you think most people do, or do not, view the McGwire/Sosa/Bonds home run records with a great deal of skepticism? I think they do. I know I do.

While there may never be an actual asterisk in the MLB official record books, there will always be one in the public opinion record books. Not just for Ruth, but for all of the segregation era players. Do you think most people do, or do not, view the Ruth/Gehrig/Cobb records with a great deal of skepticism? I think they do. I know I do.

Gee! That's pretty easy to say!

posted by grum@work at 06:14 PM on February 12

Why? Lots of baseball players have a conviction on their record and have been inducted to the Hall of Fame.

Like Sosa, McGuire. and Palmeiro? It's the deniers that will be kept out. Because it will be viewed as an unfair advantage with performance enhancing drugs.

I truly wish these guys had not done this. I would of loved to see their careers au natural.

posted by scuubie at 02:59 PM on February 13

grum..absolutely, but that's not the discussion here, now is it?

But, then again, it wasn't Ruth's fault, he did nothing wrong, he violated absolutely zero MLB regulations or laws. At least not in how it related to segregation. The 'roid bunch is different.

Gee, that was pretty f---ing easy to say too.

Should we discuss the various ballplayers that had careers cut short due to mandatory military service? They deserve asterisks too!

posted by dviking at 10:32 PM on February 13

Anybody else remember the good old days, when any Bonds thread was guaranteed to generate 100+ posts? Ab, nostalgia...

posted by The_Black_Hand at 04:24 PM on February 15

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