The United States Department of Justice just spent somewhere around 10 Million American Dollars to convict Barry “I never knowingly took steroids” Bonds of lying about not taking steroids. I’m reasonably sure that he didn’t kill anybody or steal anything other than the occasional base so I’m not entirely certain why the state’s attorney or the US attorney gives two figs about whether or not he lied to somebody when he answered the question that we all knew the answer to before it was asked.
I’ve asked a few people about this and not one of them has said they cared even a little bit about Barry Bonds, baseball, MLB, steroid usage or whether or not sports celebrities tell the truth ( or even speak English). On the scale of things to care about, spending a billion five a month (down from a billion a week) on blowing things up for people who don’t want us to blow them up and then rebuilding them so they can reblow them up themselves seems more important. I could think of any number of things that would be higher on the list than spanking Barry Freekin Bonds; things like Health Care, the Tax Code, immigration, punishing the bastards who destroyed the economy for their own gain and then had the effing gall to take bonuses out of the bailout money. And even if somebody could argue that the case to prove Mr. Bonds a liar had social relevance, I would then re-argue that 10 million samolians is an awfully high price to pay for a simple “liar liar pants on fire”.
I know that here in Richardson, Texas, 10 million dollars would go a long way in a bunch of elementary schools where teachers routinely pay for school supplies for their classes. That kind of money would allow the district to bring back music, art and gym programs to class frequency levels of a few years ago rather than the one hour per week they now have.
10 Million dollars could fund a free pharmacy for the elderly or the unemployeed. 10 Million could build and staff a homeless shelter and re-education program for a couple of years.
10 million dollars can fix a crumbling bridge or two, build a wind farm or fund alt energy research. Placed in trust and managed correctly, it could send several hundred kids to college.
10 Million dollars could easily set my family for life and I wouldn’t even have to be that careful about how the money was invested. And yet, the justice system seems to think that somehow it is more important to grab Mr. Bonds by the scruff of the neck and rub his nose in the lie we all know he left on the carpet. Like it will prove something. Like it will keep others from doing it. Like it will make any kind of difference at all…ever.
If you take a kid in his teens and tell him he can be the next really famous, really rich, constantly adored and always getting laid superstar athlete and all he’s got to do is work hard, have natural talent, get really lucky or stick this needle in his ass, I guarantee you that a gigantic percentage of kids will say, “Stick me in the ass. Let’s go. What are you waiting for?” It doesn’t matter how many people get caught for it or how smeared their names get. Some will never do it and some will always do it and frankly…I don’t care.
I promise you that Barry doesn’t really care about the charges, the trial or the verdict. He still lives in a really nice house. He still has a pile of money that could break all of our falls from the top of said house. He has everything that he wants and he will, in all likelihood, make it into the baseball hall of fame (maybe not on the first ballot, but certainly at some point). Someday, as he weans off of sports and hyper workouts, his body will begin to resemble the body he used to have, and with a little luck he’ll be able to avoid the brain cancer that took Lyle Alzado. Bonds will live out his remaining 60 years in comfort and wealth. Good for him. He wins. Wag your finger all you want, he wins. Put an asterisk by his name in the record books and still he wins. He’s still in the books. So what. He’s a guy who plays baseball. For a time he played better than anybody else, but even with drugs that wouldn’t last forever. Baseball will not live forever either. The truth is that baseball hasn’t been America’s game since the mid 70’s when football took over. And in case you’ve missed the original point, who cares? Sports, teams, players, commentators, rivalries and personalities are all diversions. It’s another shiny object to keep us from noticing that Rome burns while the collective Nero fiddles. If we keep watching to see which ball player’s cap the steroid queen is under in this three card media monty, then we won’t see when the other guy (the guy you never noticed) picks our pocket and disappears into the crowd.
Let me ask you this. Do you care if athletes fill themselves with growth hormones and steroids? Do you really care if they become inflated muscle bundles with pancreatic cancer? Sports is about entertainment and seeing those super sized guys breaking bats, cracking helmets and crushing backboards is a form of entertainment at least equal to regualr sports. They’re not hurting me. Are they hurting you? Have they destroyed something sacred? Is sport sacred? Is fairness and sportsmanship at the professional level sacrosanct? Has it ever been?
So… Do you really care about Barry Freekin Bonds?
I didn’t think so.