Barry Bonds and His Big Head


Who says there are no new angles to the Barry Bonds perjury trial? Kimberly Bell, who is said to have “dated Bonds” – I love that term; it always conjures up a couple at a malt shop or at a high school football game – “until an ugly breakup in 2003,” testified that Bonds threatened to cut off her head and leave her in a ditch and then burn down the house in Arizona he helped pay for. Man, you say something like that one lousy time, and they never let you forget it.

I don’t know how any of this is going to influence a jury that Bonds was acting out of ‘roid rage since it isn’t that much different from things he was known to have said before he took performance enhancing drugs.

The most bizarre piece of testimony though, came from Mike Murphy, longtime Giants equipment manager, who swore under oath that Bonds’ cap size grew from 7 ¼ to 7 ½ while he was with the Giants. Doesn’t the difference between ¼ and ½ inch pretty much come under margin of error? Murphy also testified that both Willie Mays and Willie McCovey required larger cap sizes later in their careers. Is anyone also alleging that they took PEDs? Looks to me as if we’re going to have to have a thorough investigation into the change in cap sizes of all major league players before this matter can be settled. (Did Alex Rodriguez, for instance, require a bigger size after dating Madonna, Kate Hudson and Cameron Diaz?)

For a good perspective on Bonds and the trial, see Ben McGrath in the March 28 New Yorker (not available online this week). “That Bonds,” writes McGrath, “like so many other players of his time, used performance-enhancing drugs is not really in question. He stands accused of lying about it – of defrauding us in his testimony before a grand jury investigating high-level sports doping, about the nature of his greatness. For this and for disrespecting the national pastime with his alleged deceptions, fans want his contrition.”

Perhaps the best part of McGrath’s story is his conclusion that “If he is convicted, Bonds will almost certainly get no more than a few months of jail time, and likely less. (The cyclist Tammy Thomas and the track coach Trevor Graham, both convicted of similar charges related to BALCO, were given only home confinement.) But he will certainly be humiliated.”

I agree with McGrath that Bonds probably won’t get much jail time, but I’m doubting he’s going to get any at all. There’s no way anyone can prove that Bonds didn’t simply “forget” what he was taking or prove that he ever really knew in the first place, so when all this is over in a couple of weeks, you’re going to see that same insufferable smirk as he stands the steps of the San Francisco courthouse saying, “I told you so.” Just remember I told you so.