Arrogant Slugger’s Ego Ultimately Does Him In!!!
By Tony Massarotti Friday, November 16, 2007
And so after all of that, after the clear and the cream and the charades that were a series of record pursuits, Barry Lamar Bonds will be remembered as that basest of all things.
Of course, Bonds is a lot of other things today, in the wake of a federal indictment that lacked in one area only: It came down just a little too late. With any luck, Bonds might have been indicted years ago, months ago, even weeks ago. Instead, one of the most insultingly arrogant performers in American history got to play out his fraudulent life on stage, to shameless cheers in his home arena, before being caught like a common criminal.
So now, it looks like the feds finally got him, albeit in the roundabout way they got Capone. Big Al went down on tax evasion; Barry is up on perjury. This is what it has come to for the man who has hit more home runs than any other player in major league history: He now has more in common with a legendary gangster, or maybe just Mike Tyson, than he does with Henry Aaron.
Before anyone points out the obvious difference in the crimes committed by Capone and Tyson, let’s all acknowledge the similarity. Somewhere along the line, all too often, powerful people actually start to think they are bigger than the earth on which they walk. They think they can say or do anything, and they think they can get away with it, and their vulnerabilities and mortality never occur to them until it is far too late.
In Bonds’ case, it is difficult to determine exactly where he went so wrong. The man simply has been screwed up for a very long time. But for all that Bonds did during his career as a baseball player, for all that he put into his body in a sad attempt to become the best there ever was, his ultimate downfall may result because he was simply too stubborn, stupid or arrogant - or all of the above - to recognize that he is just another person in just another pair of shoes who has something bigger to answer to.
So what did Bonds do? Granted immunity while testifying before a grand jury in the now-infamous BALCO case, Bonds denied ever using steroids, brand-name or designer. Faced with a government investigation, the guy was actually dumb enough to play dumb, which puts him below even someone like Jason Giambi in the world’s intellectual hierarchy.
Under oath, it’s alleged, Bonds did not merely lie once. He lied over and over again, resulting in an indictment on four counts of perjury (yes, four) and one of obstruction of justice that will go down as one of the darkest days in the history of American sports.
Throughout baseball, the Bonds indictment was met with a predictable response. The San Francisco Giants issued a statement describing Nov. 15 as “a very sad day,” and added that they “look forward to this matter being resolved in a court of law.” Translation: Thank goodness we didn’t re-sign him.
Meanwhile, the Major League Baseball Players Association reminded us all that Bonds “is entitled to a presumption of innocence,” which read more like this: We know this fraud is guilty, too, but we have to make some attempt to defend him.
And then there was baseball commissioner Bud Selig, who issued a backhanded statement that said, “While everyone in America is innocent until proven guilty, I take this indictment very seriously and will follow its progress closely.”
Translation: We’ve been hoping that someone would nail this scoundrel for the last few years. I only wish the feds could have hauled in his butt sooner because I almost spit up on myself when he hit No. 756.
As for Bonds, one can only wonder whether he knows he is in real trouble, the way that Michael Vick finally learned that fame only made him a bigger target, not a lesser one. But then, Bonds allegedly lied to a federal grand jury once and he will probably lie again, all because he is Barry Lamar Bonds and you are not. And if the feds can see this through, if they can nail Bonds the way he deserves to be nailed, one can only hope that they incarcerate him in a poetically just manner.
Welcome to the big house, federal inmate No. 762.