And the Truth Shall Set You Free

Well, it would have. But you lied. So it won’t. I’m of course talking about Barry Bonds, who has just been indicted by a Federal Grand Jury for perjury and obstruction of justice. There was a great article in the Post-Dispatch this morning that I’d like to share with you all. It sums up Barry Bonds and this situation quite well.

Let the rationalizing begin.

Barry Bonds’ day of reckoning drew much closer Thursday. Actually, it arrived.

The question of whose lineup will include the free-agent left fielder next season has become secondary to which judge will find Bonds on his or her docket.

At the end of a four-year investigation into rampant use of performance-enhancing drugs by elite athletes, the feds hit the game’s all-time home run king* Thursday with four counts of perjury and one of obstruction of justice because of lies he allegedly told a federal grand jury. Major League Baseball knew this train was coming but until now remained unsure when it would reach the station.

A marvelously gifted talent who has tarnished his career by showing contempt for teammates, media, the game’s integrity and the truth now stands formally accused.

Thursday’s federal indictment will cause Bonds’ supporters to trot out well-worn excuses, mail-order legal degrees and a race-based defense of a man who has never embraced anything other than himself.

But Bonds’ enablers have lost two legs from their stool. No more can they parrot that Bonds never has been indicted. Nor can they claim he has never tested positive for a performance-enhancing substance. Thursday’s indictment alleges that Bonds was among those who tested positive for “anabolic steroids and other performance-enhancing substances.”

Of course, “he’s innocent until proven guilty” comes next with “selective prosecution” following closely behind.

Deniability, however, is becoming a more expensive commodity.

Where are the critics who derided the meticulous investigative book “Game of Shadows” as nothing more than a money grab by two San Francisco reporters, themselves once prosecuted for protecting their outstanding sources?

Bonds faces five counts punishable by up to 30 years in prison. Not exactly stuff to enhance one’s market value.

Note that Bonds isn’t being prosecuted for what he allegedly did (use illegal drugs to enhance himself) but for what he refused to do. Rather than admit that steroids contributed to his swollen head and bloated physique, Bonds

faded the truth. Bonds lied. (Allegedly, of course.)

There are those who still insist men never landed on the moon, that Elvis lives in a trailer home near Joshua Tree and that Lee Harvey Oswald was guilty of nothing but bad PR.

There are those who say Bonds did nothing wrong. And, even if he did, he did nothing beyond what many others did. Nothing, perhaps, except impugn the integrity of those who only sought the truth and of the game that might have conferred upon him the label of greatest player ever.

The much-anticipated and much-dreaded Mitchell Report is expected to come out within the next month, and every franchise trembles at what it might present. Bonds’ apologists hoped Sen. George Mitchell’s report would come out before any additional revelations surfaced against their hero. In that climate, Bonds would only seem the biggest drop within an ocean of cheats. Not now. Whatever follows serves as mere breakers. Bonds is the tsunami.

BB is subject to far worse than MLB’s wrist slap for first-time offenders. He stands to do serious time like his personal trainer, Greg Anderson, who was released Thursday after twice being incarcerated for remaining silent about his former client’s training habits.

The investigation already has ensnared New York Yankees slugger Jason Giambi. Giambi had enough common sense not to lie. He took a public flogging, admitted his mistake, was called before the Mitchell committee and has partially rehabilitated his reputation.

Bonds single-handedly turned sports’ most revered record into a traveling carnival act. Hank Aaron, who defined his career with dignity to the same degree that Bonds has defined his with sneering self-absorption, stayed home to “play golf.” Commissioner Bud Selig attended a handful of games before leaving the circus to attend Hall of Fame induction ceremonies. A record that should have elicited a summer-long celebration instead received a figurative asterisk.

Bonds’ most recent display of comic moral superiority occurred after the Hall said it would display the outfielder’s record-setting home run ball adorned by its purchaser with an asterisk.

Bonds threatened he would never set foot at the National Baseball Hall of Fame if the ball was displayed. With seven MVPs and 762 home runs, Bonds assumes he will one day be voted into the Hall by 75 percent of voting members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Just as he likely assumed Thursday would never arrive.

His apologists will say the process is just beginning.

They are wrong. It’s over.