Sports blotter: "Barry's indictment" edition
Gone Barry gone
SHRINKING GIANT: Barry Bonds is an O.J. in the making. Soon he’ll be starting fist fights on Mississippi casino boats.
This Barry Bonds thing is going to be a big story, no doubt, but trust me: even bigger news is probably coming. The newly crowned home-run king being indicted for perjury and obstruction of justice is probably just the first major bombshell that’s going to rock baseball in the upcoming weeks — and if there are any betting folk out there among the readers of these pages, here’s my counsel: start dropping this offseason’s early free-agent signees from your 2008 fantasy-league team.
Why? Because it only makes sense that those players who are about to be mashed to bits by the Mitchell investigation public shame-hammer know what’s coming, and are going to race to get their absurd multi-year deals in the books before the market drops from under them. In that regard, it is somewhat surprising that Alex Rodriguez’s sudden change of heart/panic re-signing with the Yankees has not been met with more whispers in the national media. One should probably also be suspicious of lopsided/sweetheart trades coming seemingly out of nowhere.
Think about it: if you were a baseball GM, and you knew this Mitchell thing was about to hit the fan, and suddenly one of your colleagues from another squad (say, a particular team from the National League’s Central Division) called you in the middle of the night and started offering you big-name talent for a couple of scrubs. Then again, maybe the Central Division team’s braintrust is just stupid — that can’t be ruled out at all.
As for the Bonds thing . . .
This should just about put an end to one of the most irritating and depressing sports stories of all time. It was irritating because every sports fan on the planet Earth knew this moment was coming eventually — only a juiced-up egomaniac such as Barry Bonds could ever think that the Justice Department would let lying to a grand jury slide. The depressing part about this is that Bonds’s downfall ultimately became one of the most loaded racial story lines of our generation. It was a subtle thing, but it was there all along — while all of Bonds’s equally guilty white slugger counterparts took turns lawyering up, surrendering, cutting ass-saving deals, or otherwise bowing red-faced before the law — the weeping pantywaist-juicer Mark McGwire and the apologetic party animal Jason Giambi were the most notable — Bonds refused to play along with the system and instead chose defiance and the big fat middle finger. He then made matters worse by continuing to launch baseballs out of ballparks at a historic rate and growling that anyone who took issue with his joyless Ahab-like quest for the home-run record just didn’t like seeing a black man succeed.
And the really ugly thing was that he was right; by then, the relentless Bonds-bashing in the national media took on an unmistakably racist overtone, as white America gave the spineless McGwire a free pass and piled on Bonds for having the nerve to refuse the cyanide pill and go down swinging instead. He was a black man who got crucified for refusing to take the deal, but he was no Muhammad Ali. There was no morality or ideology behind Bonds’s martyrdom, just a lot of gland-fueled egomania and a big, basketball-size head full of oatmeal instead of brains.
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