Friday, November 16, 2007

The Indictment of Barry

In case you hadn't heard, or just slept through yesterday, Barry Bonds was indicted by a federal grand jury yesterday on perjury and obstruction of justice charges. It was the moment everyone was waiting for, even if it occurred later than expected. ESPN has actually had some decent coverage on this; Roger Cossack discussed the indictment on ESPN Radio last night, and Lester Munson has a piece on, which includes thoughts as to why the indictment took this long (the removal of the US Attorney from the start of the case, changes in the Justice Department, etc.). Although it seems unlikely Bonds would serve any long jail sentence, what with a clean criminal record up to this point, those who wanted their pound of flesh are about to get it.

I put myself in the Peter Gammons camp in reaction to this; it's a sad day for baseball. As a baseball fan, one of the main reasons you follow the game is the chance to see the next great player accomplish the next great thing. You watch the hitting streak to see if it reaches 56 games. You watch the perfect game going into the 9th to see if the pitcher can finish it.

Barry, for all his unpopularity, was putting up some amazing numbers; even with less playing time last year, he was one of the top handful of hitters in the game. He had broken the home run record, could have gotten 3000 hits this year (although that milestone is a bit overrated), and could have pushed the home record even further. Even before the allegations of steroid abuse, he was one of the top 2-3 players in baseball, a great hitter who was also a standout defensive left fielder.

Bonds was greatness, in a baseball sense, and now it looks like that could be over. While the man may be difficult to embrace, his contributions to the game are easy to see, and it's sad to think about what could have been.

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