So now it’s happened. Barry Bonds has been indicted and federal prosecutors are confident that they can prove that he lied on the stand about taking performance-enhancing drugs.
There is also a positive steroid test, although one not administered by Major League Baseball, which puts Bonds on par with Jason Giambi and Rafael Palmiero.
But that’s where the similarities end. Giambi didn’t hit 73 home runs in a season, and Palmiero doesn’t hold the all-time record. So we can’t just ignore Bonds, the question is how he is punished.
Does it do any good to see Bonds sit in jail for perjury? What do a few months or a year, whatever he pleads down to, really mean?
Is it really possible to wipe his marks from the record book, or slap a cumbersome asterisk next to his numbers to remind generations to come of their chemically enhanced nature?
Bonds doesn’t need to do time. And his records have to stay, because he wasn’t the only, and most likely not the worst, offender of his era.
Many players are already accused or proven to have cheated, and many are likely to follow – he is just the most talented.
You can’t put the genie back in the bottle and return Henry Aaron and Roger Maris back to their perches.
Bonds hit the homers, we all saw them.
But while I used to be in the camp of those that felt Bonds had proven himself a Hall of Famer (400 homers, three MVPs by 1998) before he turned to the cream and the clear, the only way to properly mark his decision to cheat is to keep him out of Cooperstown. Pete Rose was a Hall of Famer long before he decided to bet on baseball.
I’ll never forget a spring training press conference here in 2005 where Bonds engaged a media member; certain he had twisted a question to his advantage:
“All you guys have lied! Should you have asterisks behind your name? All of you have said something wrong. All of you have dirt. When your closet’s clean, then come clean somebody else’s … what are you going to apologize for when you’re wrong?
Now the lies are bashing back at Bonds.
No apologizes are forthcoming. And instead of sending him to jail or going on a crusade to expunge his records, treating him just like another juicer is the best call.
• Expect Tim Duncan’s string of nine straight All-Star starting assignments to end this season.
Duncan is still as good as ever, but the balloting committee moved Duncan from forward to center in the Western Conference.
That puts him up against Houston’s Yao Ming and his legion of Chinese fans that have made sure he’s been the All-Star starting postman for five years running.
• Mike Stoops is at it again.
Arizona is on a late-season roll with a signature win over Oregon, blurring the Wildcat fans’ memory of losing at home to New Mexico and Stanford and being destroyed at Oregon State.
Win one of those games and UA wouldn’t need another upset over ASU to go bowling.
• Brett Hull is running the show in Dallas?
This is a guy who spent two decades as a player giving every GM he played for a migraine.
The Stars were one of the smartest, tightest organizations in hockey under Bob Gainey. Now, they’re a Hull of a mess.
• Washington’s Eddie Jordan (5-2) and New York’s Isiah Thomas (3-2) are the favorites to be the first NBA coach fired this season, according to the gambling site USbet.com.
Suns coach Mike D’Antoni joins Avery Johnson of Dallas, Phil Jackson of the Lakers, Gregg Popovich of San Antonio and Doc Rivers of Boston as the long shots on the board (50-1).
THE HIGH FIVE
There have been some great early upsets in college basketball, but the Division III Fisk University women couldn’t pull off one of them in a 123-22 loss to Lipscomb Tuesday night – the second-biggest margin of victory in Division I history. Here are five things for the Bulldogs to work on in practice:
FIVE That 9-for-54 shooting from the field has to improve.
FOUR Being outrebounded 67-19 isn’t going to cut it.
THREE When you’re down 61-10 at the half, is it better to stress offense or defense?
TWO They held the Lipscomb starters to 37 points. Now if they can just get a handle on the 86 points the bench scored …
ONE One more defensive stop and they only lose by 99.
ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” games have been snoozers, but their Thursday night college football games have been must-see TV all season. Upsets all over the place and the complete attention of the sports world without fail. Usually it’s the ACC (Boston College- Virginia Tech) or the Big East (Rutgers-South Florida) providing the fireworks, but Arizona’s upset of Oregon continued the trend out West.
To the official death sentence of college football — being ranked second. Oregon became the fifth No. 2 team since Oct. 6, and the third Pac-10 team (joining USC and Cal) to watch national championship hopes flutter away at the hands of an unranked team. At least the Ducks have an excuse — you don’t lose your Heisman-quality quarterback on the road and survive against anyone — even Mike Stoops. Kansas, Oklahoma — you’re next.
And you thought “Shark Week” was scary on the Discovery Channel? Ask the Coyotes, outscored 15-1 in three straight games against San Jose over five days — chomping all the air out of a good two-week run of hockey. Fins to the left … fins to the right. Check my math, but I think Jeremy Roenick has almost as many goals against the Coyotes as he had for them all of last year.