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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Nation: Zirin: The US v. Barry Bonds

Hold on. My doorbell is ringing. I’ll be back in a minu…..............

This is a story about garbage. There’s the actual garbage overzealous federal investigators examined in their efforts to prosecute a surly sports celebrity. There’s the shredding of the Bill of Rights, crudely ignored by the government in the name of obsession and ambition. Finally, there’s the thorough trashing of people’s reputations, not to mention the game of baseball. Welcome to The US v. Barry Bonds; please disregard the stench.

...Whether or not you are a Barry Bonds fan, or consider him to be just a step above a seal-clubbing, pitbull-fighting bank executive, every person of good conscience should be aghast at the way the Justice Department has gone about its business. Barry Bonds, Greg Anderson and maybe thousands of others have had their rights trampled on, all for the glory of a perjury case that looks to be going absolutely nowhere. Attorney General Eric Holder and President Obama have strongly indicated that the government is getting out of the steroid monitoring business. That is welcome, but after so many years, so many tax dollars and so many reputations destroyed, it all feels positively Pyrrhic.

At the end of The Old Man and the Sea, when Santiago finally returns to shore, his 18-foot catch has been reduced to a skeleton. A crowd gathers to gawk and imagine what the magnificent marlin once was. Santiago completed his journey with nothing, but he felt purified for the battle and slept deeply and proudly. As we pick through the bones of Barry Bonds, I can’t imagine Jeff Novitzky feels the same.

Repoz Posted: February 25, 2009 at 11:52 AM | 13 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: special topics, steroids

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. Craig Calcaterra Posted: February 25, 2009 at 01:51 PM (#3085696)
I like the Old Man and the Sea analogy, but in this case I've always been partial to Moby Dick.

Can't wait to see Novitzky stuck on a whale.
   2. Rants Mulliniks Posted: February 25, 2009 at 02:46 PM (#3085741)
Do they even ring your doorbell? I thought they just kicked it down.
   3. Super Creepy Derek Lowe (GGC) Posted: February 25, 2009 at 06:03 PM (#3086051)
I get Zirin and Zinn confused. What makes it worse is that there is a father/son Zinn duo who just wrote a book about the 1916 season and they are no relation to Howard.
   4. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: February 25, 2009 at 06:09 PM (#3086059)
When you commit the heinous crime of using steroids, you no longer have any Constitutional rights.
   5. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: February 25, 2009 at 06:09 PM (#3086060)
I get Zirin and Zinn confused.

Just notice which one it is whom Nieporent allies himself with on the question of Barry Bonds, and your confusion will quickly end.
   6. The Bones McCoy of THT Posted: February 25, 2009 at 06:10 PM (#3086063)
Can't wait to see Novitzky stuck on a whale.


Or spread eagled across BLB's melon as he submerges into McCovey's Cove.

Best Regards

John
   7. Andy H. Posted: February 25, 2009 at 06:21 PM (#3086086)
The reason the case is going nowhere is because the guy who knows the most won't testify. I don't think that is particularly praiseworthy.
   8. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: February 25, 2009 at 06:31 PM (#3086107)
The reason the case is going nowhere is because the guy who knows the most won't testify. I don't think that is particularly praiseworthy.

Depends on whether the main idea is to get Bonds into the Hall of Fame, or just to keep him out of jail.
   9. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: February 25, 2009 at 06:41 PM (#3086125)
All due respect to contrary opinions, there's no way a two-bit perjury case based on ambiguous questions not amenable to perjury (e.g., "Did you ever use steroids?") was worth the effort the gov't put into it.

Not that it's at all dispositive, but I've heard firsthand dozens of lies like this to questions posed on behalf of the government and was able to get over them pretty easily. Comes with the territory.
   10. zonk Posted: February 25, 2009 at 06:50 PM (#3086138)
All due respect to contrary opinions, there's no way a two-bit perjury case based on ambiguous questions not amenable to perjury (e.g., "Did you ever use steroids?") was worth the effort the gov't put into it.


Who knew Mayor Daley was a primate?

FWIW, I think both SugarBear and Daley are right. The Feds have a much higher prosecutorial success rate, they seem to have more resources at their disposal, they probably get better prosecutors, I think federal laws on things like gun crimes or such crimes that involve interstate trafficking are better, etc.

Rather than waste their time on the celeb cases, I'd prefer to see the DOJ going after "real" criminals that are more likely to have an impact on my life - certainly a bigger impact.
   11. Danny Posted: February 25, 2009 at 06:52 PM (#3086143)
The reason the case is going nowhere is because the guy who knows the most won't testify. I don't think that is particularly praiseworthy.

Who's praising anyone? The point of the article is all the stoopid tactics the government has undertaken in a case that's unwinnable without Anderson's testimony.
   12. T.J. Posted: February 25, 2009 at 07:34 PM (#3086225)
(F)ederal laws on things like gun crimes or such crimes that involve interstate trafficking are better...

How so?
   13. Srul Itza Posted: February 25, 2009 at 07:41 PM (#3086242)
The reason the case is going nowhere is because the guy who knows the most won't testify. I don't think that is particularly praiseworthy.

Standing up for your friends is praiseworthy.

Refusing to knuckle under to an abusive government is praiseworthy.

Insisting that the government honor a deal it made is praiseworthy.
   14. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: February 25, 2009 at 07:50 PM (#3086259)
The reason the case is going nowhere is because the guy who knows the most won't testify. I don't think that is particularly praiseworthy.
I guess it depends why he won't testify.

But whether Anderson is praiseworthy has nothing to do with whether the government is worthy of condemnation.

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