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Bonds indictment anything but a surprise

The other shoe has dropped, so to speak, and now we see baseball superstar and all-time home run leader has been indicted for lying to federal authorities in connection with steroid use in baseball.

What a, uh, surprise. This has been hanging in the air longer than a Tiger Woods 9-iron, so it is no longer a shock.

Naturally Bonds is innocent until proven guilty and deserves his day in court like everyone else. But as we have learned, when the feds investigate something for two or three years and then issue indictments, it is not something they do lightly and the case tends to be pretty solid.

Bonds has repeatedly denied using steroids and has never tested positive for any banned substance.

I suppose this is possible, although anyone who has spent any time in a gym or lifting weights can look at someone and get a pretty good idea when they go from a lean 180 to someone puffed up like the Michelin Man in short order it's not just from a good workout routine.

At the same time, the products Bonds was supposedly using were not banned under the rules of baseball, so the lug nuts and swine that rule the grand ol' game share some responsibility for the so-called "steroid era". The reason for this is simple: mammoth home runs are good at the box office and baseball would do anything for profits.

In short, if baseball had really wanted to do something about the problem, they could have, but money and ratings rule. I'm surprised we've not seen human sacrifice in the name of increased revenue.

While there were others likely involved in using performance enhancing drugs, Bonds became the poster boy because of his prodigious home runs. It is interesting to note that despite the fact we have a lot of 40-plus pitchers still working, their names have not been on the steroid list.

When you look at Tom Glavine, Greg Maddox or John Smoltz, you see guys that look pretty much the same as they did 15 years ago, and they have learned the craft of pitching. Smoltz still throws hard but nothing like he did in his prime and he would admit that.

But there are a few other 40-somethings that can still bump 100 mph and look a lot bigger than they did just a few years ago. This is not to suggest they have used something but as the ol boy said; "That ain't lookin' jus rite."

You wonder how many of those massive homes runs Bonds hit went as far as they did because a juiced-up pitcher threw it a little harder.

Bonds was an extraordinarily gifted baseball player perhaps with as much or more natural talent than anyone in the game. He may have well hit just as many home runs without the juice, the only difference being they might not go as far.

And who knows, maybe some of those knee and joint problems he suffered that cost him time away from the game were because of the debilitating effects of the substances he insists he never used.

There is no good guy here and the powers-that-be who run baseball should be ashamed, but they are not because these people have no shame.

Even at that, Bonds could have still controlled his own destiny by telling investigators he used what he used to gain an advantage, the sport didn't say it was illegal and it was available to everyone else.

If a professional athlete wants to use something to enhance his performance and it isn't illegal but with the understanding his kidneys may shrivel up to walnuts in a few years, so be it. This is America and you have the right to be stupid.

It may be that the best deterrent to this is for youngsters to see a once-great athlete rotting away from steroid use. That may be cold, but reality can be a cold place.

But the real issue here is not steroid use. Bonds is simply another in a long line of overgrown juvenile delinquents who have been blessed with such athletic skill they are forgiven transgressions throughout their lives. The result is they believe they no longer have to follow the same rules as everyone else.

The astonishing thing is that these folks never seem to learn. From Martha Stewart to Michael Vick to CEO's of long-gone companies - whatever the crime - trying to cover it up only makes things worse.

Bonds will be given his day in court and if it is determined he lied, then he needs to reap the rewards of his conduct. Bonds can still be a role model, even if he goes to jail.

The message is simple: be responsible and don't lie. You would think by now that advice would be something easy to understand.