How to Draw a Walk

Some imagined legal advice from Barry Bonds to whoever's up next
April 24, 2011

From: bbonds762@gmail.com

To:

Subject: My fellow ballplayers: What I've learned

Hey, everyone, just want to say thanks for all your support during my trial. I know you would have texted if you could; guess refusing to give my cell number to teammates all those years wasn't such a great idea. Have to say, I might be a federal felon, but I'm feeling pretty good. Sure, losing my right to vote, serve on a jury and run for office in my home state stinks. (There goes my bright political future.) But my lawyers say this obstruction of justice conviction probably won't land me in jail. (I'll probably get a few months of home confinement. Hey, I wonder if ESPN Classic still shows Home Run Derby.) And as far as I'm concerned, getting a hung jury on the three counts of perjury I faced was a victory. I'm telling you, I had no idea that the arthritis balm and flaxseed oil that my trainer, Greg Anderson, gave me were the Cream and the Clear. The jurors might not have believed me, but they didn't totally *disbelieve* me either. Given what most people think of me, that's all I could ask for.

Which brings me to the first thing I learned in my seven-year legal saga: If you ever find yourself in a jam like this, muddy the waters. One juror said they convicted on the obstruction charge because I was "entirely evasive" before that BALCO grand jury. Damn straight I was evasive! Think of testifying like working the count: Foul off enough questions, ramble around the batter's box long enough, and eventually even the best prosecutors might get tired and let you walk. (Not for nothing am I the alltime bases on balls leader.) And let's face it, it didn't look like I was up against a team of aces in this case. Roger, I hate helping out a pitcher, but I really wish you had called me before you testified to Congress and flat out denied using steroids.

Also, never underestimate the importance of home field advantage. If you have to go on trial, do it in a city full of people who cheered you not so long ago. I still feel the love in San Francisco. Were the 586 home runs I hit as a Giant the reason one juror out of the 12 refused to believe Kathy Hoskins, my old personal shopper, when she testified that she saw Greg Anderson inject me with a steroid? I don't know. But my guess is those bombs didn't hurt. Roger, the jurors you'll face in Washington, D.C., in July barely know you from Scooter Libby. They've got no reason to give you the benefit of the doubt.

One last thing: If you're going to cheat the game and the legal system, make sure you can trust your friends. I have to give a huge shout-out to my man Greg—more than a year in jail and he still refused to testify against me. Roger, if your old trainer, Brian McNamee, were half as loyal as mine, you'd be debating which hat to wear on your Hall of Fame plaque and not what suit to wear into the courtroom. People say I was a mean guy and a bad teammate? Maybe. But I must have done right by Greg somehow.

Now, anyone have Pete Rose's e-mail? I'm thinking a Hit King and Home Run King card show might be a good way to pay off some of these legal bills ... just as soon as I can get out of the house.

—B.B.

PHOTOSTEPHEN LAM/REUTERS (BONDS) EIGHT PHOTOSWWW.NATIONALCHAMPS.NET/HELMET_PROJECT.COM (HELMETS)

Uni Diversity

LAST WEEK big to-dos were made of changes in football attire at Arizona State (new colors, three new jerseys!) and Penn State (new ... nothing, but they did remove a strip of jersey trim!). As one can see, over the years the two schools have had different takes on reinvention.

1965

1975

1990

2011

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)