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Is the Bonds trial closure for the steroid era?

Chris Ruddick,
MLB Editor


Rounding Third Logo Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - It would not be a Major League Baseball offseason without some sort of steroid story. And, of course, this year is no different, as the Barry Bonds perjury trial officially got underway on Monday in San Francisco.

The Bonds trial, though, could serve as the closing point of the entire steroid era. Even though he was never suspended for performance enhancing drugs, Bonds has long been the face of one of the worst scandals to hit baseball.

The trial had been scheduled to start more than two years ago, but an appeal over evidence and subsequent motions set the start date back, and Bonds, baseball's all-time home run leader (762), now faces four charges of lying under oath and one count of obstructing justice. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges, which he faces as a result of his 2003 grand jury testimony in the BALCO case.

You have to wonder had Bonds just admitted to using some sort of PED a long time ago, how he would be looked at today. Jason Giambi, Andy Pettitte and even Alex Rodriguez admitted to using them at some point in their careers and sure after a bit of a rough patch, all seems to have been forgiven.


Barry Bonds faces four charges of lying under oath and one count of obstructing justice.
Then you have Mark McGwire, who denied, denied, denied like Bonds for so long before finally owning up to using them last year. Now I am sure there are some who forgave him, but there is a large majority who didn't because it took so long for him to come clean.

Think about Pete Rose. For years people said if he just owned up to gambling on baseball they would let him back into the sport, or at least make him eligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame. He actually may have made it worse when he actually admitted to it because so much time had passed.

Bonds, and, of course, Roger Clemens are probably in that Rose category at this point.

Clemens has his own issues ahead of him, but the steroid era has often been about Bonds. Why? Not because he is black, as he would like you to believe, but because he was the one breaking the records.

Sports fans are a fickle bunch. Their memories are real short. If he had admitted to using, then disappeared for a while and reappeared in Cooperstown, he would have been celebrated as one of the greatest of all-time.

The thing with Bonds, though, is that he is just so darn smug. He continued to deny, deny, deny when it was obvious to everyone that something was going on. Take a look at some of his baseball cards while he was with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Even check out his first few years with the San Francisco Giants.

Or just take a look at him as he walked into court on Monday. He didn't look anything like the monster who hit 73 home runs in 2001.

Now because of his own ego, he's probably going to do some time in jail if he is found guilty. And if you don't think this has always been ego-driven, you are nuts. If you believe the book "Game of Shadows", Bonds began using steroids after the 1998 season because he was jealous of the attention that McGwire and Sammy Sosa got during their epic home run battle.

Keep in mind he was already a three-time MVP and widely considered one of the greatest ballplayers in the history of the game. The funny thing is, is that he was a lock five-year Hall of Famer before he ever touched a performance enhancing drug.

Can you say that now?

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Chris Ruddick at cruddick@sportsnetwork.com.

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