Monday, March 21, 2011

Baseball's darkest days get new light

Baseball's darkest days, the steroid era, come to the forefront once again, thanks to Barry Bonds' perjury trial.

A mere 10 days before Opening Day, a jury has been seated in a trial that seems certain to freshen baseball’s black eye, which was caused by the widespread use of performance-enhancing drugs. Not only because Bonds, technically the all-time home run champ, is on trial, but because a parade of former big-league baseball players are set to testify. This is probably Bud Selig’s nightmare, bringing the most shameful issue of his tenure, the one that will forever mar his legacy, back into a shining spotlight.

I would never get chosen for that jury. I’m on the record as despising Bonds and his fellow cheaters for all the damage they did to the game and for refusing to recognize Bonds as baseball’s home run champ. As a reminder, he’s not on trial for using steroids, but rather for allegedly lying about his usage to a grand jury. I wouldn’t mind seeing him do some jail time though that probably won’t happen.

Imagine trying to act like you have no opinion on Bonds and what he did. Maybe the judge was able to find enough non-sports fans to fill the jury room, but it is truly disturbing just how far his apologists would go to defend Bonds. It seems like there were some fans who would love to have gotten on the jury just so they can free their hero.

I think the only benefit of this trial is that we will finally get a legally thorough look at the extent of the damage that PED use caused to the game. The Mitchell Report provided some insight, but Mitchell wrote that report with one hand tied behind his back due to his lack of subpoena power. The tenacious reporting by the San Francisco Chronicle, compiled in Game of Shadows, also opened a window into baseball’s dark underbelly. But now we finally will get a more complete picture. I’m hoping the prosecutors will dig deep into what compelled these players to knowingly break the law and cheat the game they grew up loving.

Thanks to Kevin Rushforth via Wikipedia for the photo.

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