HJ-ED-DHJHerald Journal Columns

January 15, 2007

Barry Bonds, please just go away

By Jesse Menden

Are you as sick and tired of hearing about Barry Bonds as I am?

His name just never seems to go away, and it resurfaced again Thursday when reports came out that he tested positive for amphetamines during the 2006 season.

Under Major League Baseball’s amphetamine policy, a first offense like this is supposed to remain anonymous and no suspension is given until the second offense.

But funny, his name came out and we will have to see his steroid-inflated head on television for the next week.

What bothers me even more than his cheating nature is that it was reported that he initially blamed a teammate for giving him the banned substance.

When rumors of steroids first came out a few years ago, it was very difficult to get information from players because they subscribed to an unwritten code and they would not throw any of their fellow players into the spotlight.

It had become apparent that Bonds is a self-centered guy from how he has acted in the past few years, and his actions last week just confirms everything.

Mark Sweeney, who Bonds accused of giving him the substance, is the latest victim in the Bonds saga.

Sweeney was a big supporter of Bonds last season, and was one of the few that got along with Bonds. Sweeney spoke out in the media several times in support of his teammate.

But rather than return the kindness, Bonds tried to bring somebody down with him, whether he is innocent or not.

While the second-leading home run hitter in baseball history appears to be guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt in everything from using steroids to passing cars in no passing zones, he remains as annoying as ever, while others suffer.

A grand jury is trying to figure out if Bonds perjured himself when he denied using steroids, and the people that know the most aren’t talking.

The two reporters who wrote the book, “Game of Shadows,” are the clearest case in the path of destruction.

Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams are on the verge of jail time because they won’t reveal to a grand jury the sources they used to get the damning information against Bonds for their book.

The case is currently on appeal and they could end up in jail if they don’t tell the government who they talked to.

Because of Bonds, two basically innocent men will have to spend time away from their families behind bars.

Bonds’ former personal trainer, Greg Anderson, currently sits in jail because he repeatedly has refused to testify in front of a grand jury.

Anderson has already, deservedly, served time for his connection with steroids, but is now protecting Bonds.

Another victim is baseball. Secretly, they have to be hoping Bonds will just go away.

But the Giants and Bonds recently agreed to a one-year contract worth an absurd $16 million. He will get another shot at breaking the career home run record, a mark he is just 21 shy of.

Baseball’s black eye won’t start to heal until this guy is gone. And if he somehow breaks the home run record (he could, considering he hit 26 during the 2006 season, in which he struggled throughout), how will baseball and fans react?

It will be more awkward than running into an ex-girlfriend.

There will be a pleasant hand shake and a pat on the back from baseball, but it probably won’t be celebrated as much as it would be under normal circumstances.

Baseball would be well advised to do whatever they can to get rid of Bonds, and the sooner, the better.

Personally, I don’t care what it takes to get him out of baseball. Frame him with a corked bat; fabricate drug tests; stage a fake kidnapping and send him to Abu Dhabi, just get rid of him.

It is bad enough that he cheated and will probably break one of sports’ most sacred records as a result of it, but to throw so many people under the bus along the way is just disgusting.

He has no respect for the game. His attitude and multiple character flaws have no place in baseball.

If I had it my way, I would never see Bonds on a television or baseball diamond again. But that might be impossible, considering how large his drug-enhanced head and body are.