We knew this was coming, and the legal beagles out there will enjoy reading it, so here it is. Barry Bonds moves to have his conviction set aside on four grounds.
The first: that truthful statements can’t constitute obstruction of justice, referring to that “I was the child of a celebrity” digression which formed the basis of his conviction. That statement was truthful, Bonds argues, and the law that the prosecution cites to say that such truthful statements can form the basis of obstruction is inapplicable to this case.
The second basis is the one that appeals to me the most and which I discussed most thoroughly following the conviction: the argument that the government can’t say Bonds was evasive because he repeatedly answered the question asked anyway. Basically, the government block quoted one instance of Bonds not answering directly and then ignored all of the times he did answer directly. The jury ignored these other instances too, it seems. In this second section Bonds argues that the prosecutor has an obligation — as the Supreme Court has stated — to clear up unresponsive answers as well, which is something else I’ve argued repeatedly that the Bonds prosecutors did not do at all. And which, it should be noted, is something that could be just as damaging to the criminal justice system as perjury could be.
The third basis is a general “the weight of the evidence did not support a conviction” argument, which is kind of hard to pull off, but Bonds has to try it anyway.
Finally, Bonds argues that his immunity deal prevented his prosecution.
Since no one is paying me $400 an hour to review the case law and totally slam into the legal arguments here, I won’t, but I will say that as far as these things go, it seems like a pretty strong motion. Mostly because it was a pretty weak conviction.
That said, success on postrial motions such as these is not common and the burden a defendant who has been convicted by a jury is high, so there’s no guarantee of success here. An appeal may have a better shot.
Former first base and infield coach Nick Leyva was promoted to senior advisor of baseball operations on Saturday, per a report by Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. The Pirates also fired third base coach Rick Sofield, with no named successor as of yet.
Leyva joined the Pirates’ organization in the 2011 offseason as a third base coach under manager Clint Hurdle. He shifted to his role as the first base coach and infield coach in 2014, when first base coach Rick Sofield was reassigned to third base prior to the 2015 season. According to Biertempfel, the swap was made in order to optimize the team’s baserunning strategies, all of which appeared to fall flat during the 2015 and 2016 seasons:
The results this season were awful. The Pirates ranked 13th in the National League with a minus-7.0 BsR — a FanGraphs.com metric that measures how many runs above or below league average a team gets via its baserunning.
In 2013 and 2014, the Pirates had one of the top five BsR ratings in the NL. In 2015, they were seventh with a 2.8 BsR.
This season, the Pirates made the second-most outs at third base in the league and were last in taking extra bases on singles and doubles. Their baserunners went from first to third base on hits a league-low 63 times.
Sofield, in particular, highlighted the Pirates’ poor baserunning choices in games like this one, when he sent Sean Rodriguez home too early during the last vestige of a ninth inning rally against the Phillies.
Following the announcement, Pirates’ GM Neal Huntington issued a statement elaborating on Leyva’s role within the organization:
We have great respect and appreciation for both men. We thank them for their time and effort as part of our Major League team and the Pirates organization. It was a difficult decision, but we felt it was the right time to make this change on our Major League staff. We look forward to Nick’s continued impact in his future role with the Pirates. Nick has held nearly every coaching position at the major league level and at the minor league level, including Major League manager, in his extensive career and will be a quality mentor for our minor league managers, coaches and players.
With Game 6 of the NLCS just hours away, the Dodgers will opt for a lefty-heavy lineup against right-hander Kyle Hendricks. Batting leadoff is rookie outfielder Andrew Toles, who made one appearance at the top of the lineup during the 2016 season. The Cubs, meanwhile, will bench Jason Heyward in favor of Albert Almora Jr.. This will be Almora’s first start of the playoffs, and while he has yet to face Kershaw in October, his right-handed bat could play well against the lefty at the bottom of the lineup.
Game time is scheduled for 8 PM EDT; lineups are below.
1. Andrew Toles (L) LF
6. Wilson Contreras (R) C
8. Albert Almora Jr. (R) RF
9. Kyle Hendricks (R) RHP