Liotta: Indictment buried in sleepy November 

How convenient.

The indictment that’s been the worst-kept secret in baseball, the news that didn’t surprise a single executive connected to the game, arrives the first moment Barry Bonds finds himself completely alone in the baseball world. And the first moment that doesn’t affect the game itself.

This stinks to high heaven. I may have nothing more to go on than the hair on the back of my neck — and not an ounce of sympathy for Bonds — but I’m never, ever, ever going to believe that somebody didn’t talk to somebody who got somebody to push what could have been baseball’s worst nightmare into the oblivion known as November on the sport’s calendar.

How else can you explain the fact that Major League Baseball, which is as much to blame for its steroid era as anybody, gets off with nothing more than a public relations bruise, while Bonds is thrown to the federal wolves. Not a single sale of a ticket placed in jeopardy.

Bonds will spend millions defending himself, while the baseball keeps every nickel it earned while Bonds was making headlines under clouds and clouds of suspicion. And what a coincidence, by the time the game resumes selling tickets next spring, Bonds will be yesterday’s news.

Not that Bonds doesn’t deserve whatever he gets if he’s found guilty. Unfortunately, he’s the little guy in any equation that includes Major League Baseball. The image of somebody seated in a comfortable office somewhere, smoking a cigar, knowing more than he’ll share keeps dancing through my head.

Bonds could have been indicted at any time during the last four years. All the while there’s been nothing but snickering in response to his testimony that he had no idea he’d taken performance-enhancing drugs. However, at any point during that time, there was commerce at stake. And as long as Bonds was making commerce, he was untouchable.

Until Thursday, a forgettably cold November day across the sports world. A day when Bonds woke up attached to nothing in baseball but his home run record. Every baseball executive can simply look the other way and say its Bonds’ problem.

I’ll never forgive baseball for the way its leadership stuck its head in the sand from when

steroids reared their ugly head in the game until Congress came

calling with an investigation. Baseball has never apologized for anything and its leaders have proven to this fan that they regard the greatest game on the planet

as nothing more than a business

like oil, banking or construction.

And that stinks.

Random thoughts:

» Barry, O.J. O.J., Barry.

» Damage control in 49er land. Alex Smith is hurt, not the crummy starting quarterback we saw last week.

» I’m sorry, but there’s nothing more boring on the sports calendar than the NBA in November.

Tim Liotta is a freelance journalist and regular contributor to The Examiner.

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Staff Report

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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