The key point to remember in the Barry Bonds indictment that went down yesterday afternoon is that we really don't have any new information. Whatever your thoughts on Bonds, it's clear that the government is out to get him. You might think he deserves it. He probably does. But there is no smoking gun; the feds have been trying for four years to come up with the definitive piece of damning information on Bonds. They never got it, but they indicted him anyway, under the belief that an indictment would corral all the negativity toward Bonds into a public relations typhoon he couldn't escape. Considering President Bush felt compelled to release a "this is a dark day for baseball" statement yesterday, they very well may be right.
Bonds, as is his wont, is surely going to fight this every step of the way, and it's only gonna get uglier. But let's be clear: Bonds is not being indicted for taking steroids, or ruining the game, or simply being an asshole. He's being indicted for lying about something the government has yet to prove; it's the Martha Stewart principle. It's gonna be a tough case to prove, but that's not the point of this; it never was. Right now, the general public believes there's new information about Bonds, that the government is finally punishing him for the sins we all believe he committed. There isn't ... but we want our pound of flesh. We want justice. We want to see him suffer because ... well, because he's the symbol of how confused and conflicted we are about baseball in a post-steroid age. In a complicated issue, Bonds is blissfully simple: He's a jerk, he cheated, he broke all our favorite records. We want that pound of flesh. Give it to us.
And no one's really left anymore to defend Bonds. The Giants want nothing to do with him, Bud Selig is back to his passive-aggressive press release game and even the President is eager to sell him down the river. It's just Bonds, World's Most Loyal Friend Greg Anderson and Bonds lawyers, ready to fight a legal battle that they should win, but probably can't. They're gonna get you, Barry. This isn't even about you anymore; it's about a war we lost years ago but still feel compelled to fight. We need a witch to burn. It's you, Barry; it always had to be you.
(Photo via National Lampoon's Splog)