Imagine that, prosecutors in San Francisco think Barry Bonds is a liar.
Gee, he seemed awfully sincere the other night bawling his eyes out on his reality show.
“You can’t hurt me any more than you’ve already hurt me,” Bonds said between sobs in the first episode. “I’m going to take it because there’s so many people who depend on me.”
Who would have known Barry had such a sensitive side?
Good thing he didn’t break down in the clubhouse. There’s supposed to be no crying in baseball.
Stay tuned, though, because there could be a lot more tears.
If the nasty media is enough to make Bonds cry, wait until the government gets done with him.
There’s nothing like having a pair of handcuffs slapped on to make a man weep.
Don’t think it can’t happen, because Bonds isn’t the only one playing hardball these days.
Up until just a few days ago, the most baseball’s tainted slugger had to worry about was why his reality show was tanking and figuring out why balls he used to hit into McCovey Cove now die on the warning track.
George Mitchell’s baseball investigation of his steroid use wasn’t exactly keeping him up at night. Bonds probably figured out that probe will drag on long past this season before eventually coming to an inconclusive and unsatisfying close.
Get the feds after you, though, and that’s another matter entirely.
It’s OK to cry on the witness stand. But courts tend to take it seriously when you lie while under oath.
The news that prosecutors are presenting evidence to a grand jury that Bonds committed perjury when he testified before another grand jury in 2003 brings out only one question.
What took so long?
By now, it’s laughingly clear to anyone who doesn’t own a season ticket at AT&T Park that Bonds wasn’t telling the truth when he testified before the grand jury that he didn’t knowingly use steroids.
Bonds told the grand jury that the cream was arthritis balm, the clear flaxseed oil. Or maybe it was the other way around.
And it was clean living and hard work that bulked his body up to cartoon-like proportions at a time in everyone else’s life when they begin to lose muscle mass.
Believe that, and you’ve been sniffing garlic fries too long.
Most people don’t, even in a state where they tend to give their celebrities the benefit of the doubt. A poll released Saturday showed seven of 10 baseball fans in California believe Bonds used steroids and should be penalized for doing so.
The few remaining holdouts might change their minds if they fork over $26 for “Game of Shadows,” the painstakingly researched book that details through court records and interviews how Bonds began using a veritable medical chest filled with steroids, human growth hormone, insulin and who knows what else to chase the suspiciously large Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa.
The only criticism of the book is that it relies too much on a vengeful former mistress of the slugger. But prosecutors must have found it a good read because they’re not only talking to Kimberly Bell but have also subpoenaed Dr. Arthur Ting, Bonds’ personal surgeon, for a chat before the grand jury.
The ironic thing is had Bonds come clean, all might have been forgiven by now. He had limited immunity from prosecution in exchange for telling the truth, and Bud Selig certainly wouldn’t try to punish him if the feds didn’t.
Bonds could have held a news conference, shed a few tears, and moved on with his chase of Babe Ruth and Henry Aaron.
It worked for Jason Giambi, who admitted to the grand jury that he used steroids. Giambi apologized profusely for something, though he wouldn’t say what, then went on with the business of playing first base for the New York Yankees.
And if Rafael Palmeiro hadn’t jabbed his finger at some U.S. senators and denied ever using steroids, he might still be playing today.
That’s because baseball fans are by nature a very forgiving sort. They’re willing to overlook just about anything for the chance to cheer their heroes on.
Bonds, though, has used up almost all of this huge reservoir of goodwill, mostly through his sheer arrogance. Fans don’t just dislike Bonds anymore, they hate him for what he’s done to the game.
In San Diego, a fan threw a syringe on the field. At Dodger Stadium they came early for once just for the chance to yell insults at him.
His reality show isn’t making things better, with the tears on demand and the phony smiles. And you have to wonder why Bonds, who has last review on the show, wants the world to see him lounging on a private jet one minute, and blowing off fans looking for autographs the next.
It’s hard to imagine things getting much worse for Bonds. His show stinks, he has yet to hit a home run, and now he’s facing the real possibility of felony charges.
It’s almost enough to make you cry.
Tim Dahlberg is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at tdahlbergap.org