The Cove
Deep coverage of the Giants

Bonds Trial Closes Like His Career: With an *

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Barry Bonds was found guilty on obstruction of justice Wednesday afternoon in San Francisco. Which means that the federal government spent several years and millions -- it has to be millions, right? -- of dollars in taxpayer money to ring up the former San Francisco Giant on a charge that doesn't really relate to steroids.

    And that's a shame.

    Not because Bonds deserves to be guilty. And not because Bonds probably -- or it has to be definitely, right? -- took steroids.

    It's a shame because the federal government, as they are wont to do, wasted everyone's time, and everyone's money, and aren't going to walk away with any sort of worthwhile conviction.

    Don't get me wrong, it's a pretty big surprise that Bonds ended up actually getting convicted.

    But that conviction won't mean much of anything, because Bonds is probably going to end up being on probation, with -- at worse -- some sort of bracelet.

    To remind you, here's how the timeline worked on the charges directed at Bonds: on Feb. 10, 2011, before the trial began, the charges were reduced from 11 to five. On March 1, Bonds pled not guilty to those five counts.

    Then on April 6, the government dropped one of their charges. And then today, on April 13, 2011, they nailed Bonds for something that amounts to "not being direct while answering questions."

    There's no ruling that Barry Bonds lied to the grand jury, which means that there's no ruling that Bonds took steroids.

    Did he take performance enhancing drugs? Probably, yeah.

    Did he lie to the grand jury about taking PEDs? Well, um, probably, yeah.

    But can the government prove that he either a) took PEDs or b) lied about taking PEDs. Clearly they can't -- otherwise Bonds would have been found guilty on all the charges and we'd have an entirely different ball of wax on our hands.

    The government will probably claim that they "won" this case. And many people, myself included, will continue to believe that this wasn't worth the time. And most fans will end up continuing not to care.

    There's no way to actually define a winner in this mess, though, which means we'll end up looking back on the Bonds Trial the same way we do at the sluggers' baseball career: with an asterisk.