former major league baseball superstar barry bonds was sentenced last week to 30 days of house arrest, two years of probation, 250 hours of community service & $4,100 in fines & court costs after he was found guilty of obstructing justice in august. u.s. district judge susan illston presided over bonds' controversial case.
bonds doesn't have to worry about spending his holy-days being trapped inside his two-acre beverly hills home as his sentence was stayed, pending an appeal unlikely to be heard for at least a year. prosecutors wanted bonds to serve 15 months behind bars.
during the 2003 bay area laboratory co-operative (balco) investigation, bonds attempted to mislead the grand jury by purposely answering questions about steroids with rambling non-sequiturs. the government - as well as the media - went after bonds for eight years. he became the face of the steroids era in baseball.
bonds is the 11th person convicted in the ongoing steroids investigation & was the government's biggest target. unlike fellow steroid abusers like sammy sosa & mark mcguire, bonds not only lied under oath, he was also chasing baseball's most prestigious record - hank aaron's all-time home run record of 755. bonds retired in 2007 with 762 homers, a number some baseball purists acknowledge with a hypothetical asterisk.
after years of denial & dishonesty, mcguire came clean in 2010. he admitted using steroids throughout the 90's during the peak of his career with the st. louis cardinals. the year before his guilty admission - which was not under oath in front of a grand jury - the cardinals hired him as their hitting coach. mcguire had been out of the spotlight long enough for fans & his former team to forgive him. st. louis won the world series in october.
bonds kept a low profile the past four years, yet his philanthropic efforts are rarely reported in the media. most notably, the 47 year-old husband & father has been a vocal advocate of bryan stow, the giants fan whom was brutally beaten outside dodger stadium in march. bonds paid for the college education of stow's two children & recently filmed a psa to help his cause.
judge illston was aware of & impressed with bonds' service for charitable issues. in fact, she cited his anonymous goodwill as one of the reasons he didn't receive the jail time sought venomously by the prosecution. said illston, "the thing that was striking to me was that most of that was done out of the public eye & privately."
baseball has a long list of talented players (jason giambi, rafael palmiero, andy pettite, manny ramirez, garry sheffield, i.e.) whose steroid use will undoubtedly hinder their chances at going to cooperstown. but only bonds had the unquestionable hall of fame credentials - before the dark cloud of suspicion began to follow his every waking move.
bonds was arguably the best player in the 90's. he hit 30 or more homers every year except 1991. he won the national league mvp award three times. with his blinged out diamond cross earring dangling from his left ear & his short, compact swing, bonds was the epitome of swag: long before the term became popular & culturally relevant. he was a 14 time all-star who won several gold gloves yet will probably go down in history as a man unfaithful to a sport which honors its heroes.
- mark j. tuggle
- harlem, usa
- same-gender-loving contemporary descendant of enslaved africans. community activist, feminist, health educator, independent filmmaker, mentor, playwright, poet & spiritual being. featured at, in & on africana.com, afrikan poetry theatre, angel herald, bejata dot com, bet tonight with tavis smiley, blacklight online, black noir, brooklyn moon cafe, gmhc's barbershop, klmo-fm, lgbt community services center, longmoor productions, nuyorican poets cafe, our corner, poz, pulse, rolling out new york, rush arts gallery, saint veronica's church, schomburg center for research in black culture, sexplorations, the citizen, the new york times, the soundz bar, the trenton times, the village voice, upn news, uzuri, venus, vibe, wbai-fm, wnyc-fm & wqht-fm. volunteered with adodi, bailey house, inc., black men's xchange-new york, colorofchange.org, drug policy alliance, east harlem tutorial program, imagenation film & music festival, presente.org, save darfur coalition, the enough project, the osborne association, the sledge group & your black world. worked on films with maurice jamal & heather murphy. writing student of phil bertelsen & ed bullins. firstname.lastname@example.org.