Barry Bonds offers to send Bryan Stow’s children to college

Former San Francisco Giants player Barry Bonds (R) talks with bench coach Ron Wotus before Game 3 of their MLB NLCS playoff series baseball game between the San Francisco Giants and the Philadelphia Phillies in San Francisco, October 19, 2010. REUTERS/Mike Blake (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)

In an incredibly gracious move, Barry Bonds has offered to pay for Bryan Stow’s children to go to college according to USA Today. Stow is the Giants fan who was severely beaten outside of Dodgers Stadium on Opening Night on March 31.

Bonds, baseball’s all-time home run leader, has offered to pay for the college education of Stow’s two children, according to Stow’s attorney, Thomas Girardi.

Stow received a visit from Bonds in his Los Angeles hospital room on April 22, just days after Bonds’ federal trial for perjury and obstruction of justice concluded.

Stow, 42, has been moved to a San Francisco hospital but remains in a coma after the March 31 attack at Dodger Stadium; one suspect has been arrested in the case, with at least one more at large. Stow has two children currently in grade school.

There will be plenty of people who will think this is a publicity stunt by Bonds in efforts to shed some good light on his name – and maybe it is. But no matter what his motives are, this is a very generous offer and unless there’s more to the story, it appears as though it was Stow’s attorney who made this news public. Not Bonds or his people.

A couple of years ago I read the book, “Love Me, Hate Me: Barry Bonds and the Making of an Antihero.” What blew me away was not the stories about how much of an a-hole he was to people at times (which he was), but how generous he could be when nobody was looking. There’s a soft side to Bonds that people don’t often get to see and since I’m optimistic and positive by nature, I choose to believe that he’s helping the Stow family out of the goodness of his heart (and not because he has alterative motives with the press).

Well done, Barry.

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Selig won’t take Barry Bonds’ name out of the record books – not that it matters

Former San Francisco Giants baseball player Barry Bonds leaves the Federal Court House after his perjury trial at the Phillip Burton Federal Building in San Francisco, California April 8, 2011. REUTERS/Stephen Lam (UNITED STATES – Tags: CRIME LAW SPORT BASEBALL HEADSHOT)

Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig told the media on Thursday that he won’t consider taking Barry Bonds’ name out of the record books in wake of the slugger’s conviction of obstruction of justice last week. This will make a lot of fans angry, but it shouldn’t.

There was a huge outcry from fans that wanted to see an asterisk next to Bonds’ name in the record books when he broke Hammerin’ Hank’s home run mark in 2006. But that was never going to happen, and neither was Selig striking Bonds’ name from the record books altogether.

But the fact that Bonds hit 762 home runs in his career only has meaning because we as fans give it meaning. If we refer to Bonds as the current home run champ, then that 762 becomes much more than a number. But if we refer to Bonds as the cheater that pumped himself full of drugs in efforts to break Aaron’s record, then that 762 holds about as much weight as the needle that Greg Anderson used to inject the former slugger.

Don’t get it twisted: What Bonds did, matters. How he accomplished what he did, matters. The fact that he cheated, matters. But that 762 number? Means nothing. It’s a question at someone’s trivia night. In fact, I didn’t even know the exact number before I started writing this piece. I had to look it up, which should tell you how much it means to me.

Do true baseball fans wish that Aaron’s number were still at the top of the record books? Yes, but in some ways, it still is. Nobody refers to Bonds as baseball’s all-time home run leader unless they follow it up with a “But…steroids.” And there’s a large contingent that refuse to even mention Bonds’ name when the record is mentioned. They’ll still refer to Hank Aaron as the all-time home run champ and will continue to do so until they take their last breath.

It would be nice if Selig stepped to the plate and made a statement for once. It would be nice if he gave Bonds his middle finger and said: “Not in my record books, buddy.” But he wasn’t and isn’t going to do that. Baseball is run by conservative men who make conservative decisions. Selig wasn’t going to rock the boat with something like this, just like he will never allow someone as flamboyant and aggressive as Mark Cuban to come in and purchase one of his ball clubs.

But as long as we the fans don’t allow Bonds’ 762 to have meaning, then Hank Aaron will always live on as the true all-time home run champion.

Fallout from the Barry Bonds’ verdict

Home run king Barry Bonds smiles as his lawyer Alan Ruby speaks to the media at the Federal Building in San Francisco on April 13, 2011 A jury convicted Bonds on obstruction of justice charges but hung on the perjury charges . UPI/Terry Schmitt

Here’s what columnists around the country are saying about the Barry Bonds’ guilty verdict.

Judging Bonds Has Only Just Begun (Tyler Kepner, New York Times)
Barry Bonds’s statistics cannot be erased. Bonds did not get away with his actions in federal court, where he was convicted of a count of obstruction of justice Wednesday. But in his era Bonds was allowed to stay on the field and hit 762 home runs and win seven Most Valuable Player awards. Fans can judge those accomplishments however they want, but they did happen, and they are as historically valid as the 714 homers Babe Ruth hit without ever facing an African-American pitcher. Commissioner Bud Selig said Tuesday that he had already studied the integrity of baseball’s records, with help from Jerome Holtzman, the Chicago writer who was baseball’s official historian.

Exploring the sheer absurdity of the Bonds verdict (Craig Calcaterra, Hardball Talk)
Having slept on it, here’s one more thought about the Bonds verdict that simply blows my mind. Yesterday when I reacted to the verdict, I noted the absurdity of Bonds being convicted on his rambling answer in “Statement C” as listed in Count 5 of the indictment. That “Statement C” was Bonds saying, in response to a question about receiving injections, that Greg Anderson was a friend of his and that Bonds was a child of a celebrity. It was four brief beside-the-point statements. And, importantly, Bonds did eventually say unequivocally that, no, he didn’t receive injections. Take that for what it’s worth, but it was a clear answer to a clear question.

Bonds’ Legal “Dream Team” Loses Big (Randy Shaw, BeyondChron)
After Greg Anderson refused to testify and the trial judge excluded key evidence, few gave the U.S. Attorney’s office much of a chance to convict Barry Bonds on any of the charges. Add to this the high-cost legal dream team working for Bonds—which included such criminal defense superstars as Alan Ruby, Chris Arguedas, and Dennis Riordan—-and the question was not whether if Bonds would be acquitted, but how long the jury would deliberate. Well, jurors often surprise with their common sense. They saw Bonds the way the general public does, and convicted him of obstruction and came within a single holdout juror of a perjury conviction. If anyone is feeling sorry for Bonds, they aren’t talking about it.

In the end, Barry Bonds hurt himself (Lester Munson, ESPN)
The unanimous verdict that Bonds was guilty of obstruction of justice is a major triumph for federal agent Jeff Novitzky and prosecutors Jeff Nedrow and Matthew Parrella. It is also a bit of an upset. The members of the federal team started the trial with two strikes against them. Greg Anderson, Bonds’ personal trainer, refused to testify for the government. If he had testified, its case against Bonds likely would have been overwhelming. But his refusal to testify and his willingness to go to jail to help Bonds left Novitzky and the prosecutors with major obstacles. Without Anderson to identify the positive drug tests, the drug calendars, the syringes and the vials of steroids that the Novitzky-led agents had seized in their lightning raid on Anderson’s house, a powerful case for the prosecutors became a difficult, almost impossible case.

Confused Verdict Means Bonds Will Walk (Jeff Neuman, Real Clear Sports)
The government agreed in the case that the instructions to the jury for the obstruction charge would indicate that it must “agree unanimously as to which statement or statements constitute obstruction of justice.” This is essential if the verdict is to be truly unanimous; if six jurors believe one statement to be an obstruction, while the other six select a different statement, they are not in unanimous agreement. (I am grateful to the legal blogger Jack Townsend for this explanation; his blog often features clear writing and thinking on otherwise impenetrable subjects.) So if the jury couldn’t come to a unanimous vote on any of the perjury counts, on what basis did it reach its conclusion about obstruction of justice? The verdict reeks of compromise, especially with jurors acknowledging that the deadlock on the perjury charge about injections involved an 11-1 vote favoring conviction.

Barry Bonds found guilty of obstruction of justice, jury hung on other three counts

Former San Francisco Giants baseball player Barry Bonds arrives at the Phillip Burton Federal Building for his perjury trial as jurors resume deliberation in San Francisco, California April 11, 2011. The former home run king, Bonds, is facing four charges for allegedly lying under oath to a federal grand jury in 2003 about the use of performing-enhancing anabolic steroids. REUTERS/Stephen Lam (UNITED STATES – Tags: CRIME LAW SPORT BASEBALL SOCIETY)

A jury found Barry Bonds guilty of one federal charge of obstruction of justice, but a mistrial was declared on the remaining three counts of making false declarations to a grand jury. It’s unclear as of this writing whether there will be another trial to settle those remaining counts.

According to ESPN.com, Bonds sat “stone-faced” through the verdict, displaying no emotion. His legal team then asked that the guilty verdict be thrown out, although U.S. District Judge Susan Illston did not rule on that request. A hearing for that case will be held on May 20.

The question I have is how can the jury believe that Bonds was guilty of obstruction of justice but unsure that he lied under oath about taking steroids, taking HGH and/or receiving injections of any kind? I’m not a lawyer and my intelligence is questionable at best, but how can you nail him on obstruction of justice but not on the three perjury charges of lying to a grand jury? It seems like if you can nail him on that, you can nail him on anything.

Then again, maybe the jury believes that he’s lying about something, so they nail him on obstruction of justice. But they can’t prove that he’s lying specifically about taking steroids, HGH and/or being injected with anything, so that’s where the hung in “hung jury” comes in.

Either way, it feels like a large amount of the taxpayers’ money just went flying out the window. Was justice served here? Did Barry Bonds “get what was coming to him” like some wanted? Does anyone even care anymore?

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: The biggest punishment that this guy will ever endure is not being allowed induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Steroids and why they matter in baseball

I’ve found it rather interesting that in the midst of Barry Bonds’ perjury trial and the news that Manny Ramirez abruptly retired instead of dealing with a 100-game suspension for another positive PED test (his second in three years), that some people have developed a rather nonchalant attitude towards steroids as it pertains to the game of baseball.

Whether it’s on Twitter, Facebook or in sports forums, people continue to utter the statement: “What’s the big deal? It’s only steroids. I like home runs! Steroids make the game more exciting!”

Honestly, I have rationalized at least part of this argument in the past. I couldn’t care less if someone wanted to take steroids – including athletes. Do you know what the yearly average is for deaths caused by steroids? Three. As in: three people. For comparison sake, tobacco kills 5.4 million people per year, which is a shade more than three.

That’s not to say I condone the use of steroids. When the day comes where I have children of my own, I’m going to make sure they understand how dangerous steroid use is. The potential side effects of misusing steroids are well known and if a doctor does not prescribe them, the risk just isn’t worth the reward in my eyes. We’re talking about highly dangerous stuff here, especially for those who don’t know what they’re doing.

But if a groan man wants to sink hundreds of dollars into drugs that will make him bigger, stronger or heal faster, then whatever. It doesn’t affect me and quite frankly, this country is dealing with way more pressing issues at the moment.

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