Closing Arguments Delivered In Barry Bonds Trial

Barry Bonds’ appeal to be argued on February 13

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Barry Bonds still hasn’t had his appeal from his obstruction of justice conviction heard. His appellate panel was announced yesterday:

Senior Circuit Judges Mary M. Schroeder and Michael Daly Hawkins along with Judge Mary H. Murguia will hear oral arguments Feb. 13.

If Schroeder’s name seems familiar, that’s because it is:

She wrote an opinion in 2010 upholding U.S. District Judge Susan Illston’s ruling to bar the testimony of former Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative executive James Valente from Bonds’ trial, which led to the exclusion of some BALCO records that the government maintained included positive drug tests.

Which doesn’t mean that her vote is in the bag or anything. Because no matter what people like to think they know about how judges roll, judges roll entirely the way they want to. And because, you know, this appeal is a totally different situation than the evidentiary appeal Bonds won several years ago.

As for that appeal, I stand by what I wrote a couple of years ago: it’s a really, really tall order to have a jury verdict set aside.  It doesn’t happen often.  That said, given what I feel were bad jury instructions with respect to the obstruction of justice charge and the unusual and, in my view, incoherent he-didn’t-perjure-himself-but-he-did-obstruct-justice outcome of the trial, Bonds stands a better chance at winning this longshot than many criminal defendants.

Sammy Sosa compares himself to Jesus Christ

Sammy Sosa
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I’m on record saying that Sammy Sosa has been rather hosed by baseball history.

The guy did amazing things. Unheard-of things. He was truly astounding at this peak and was incredibly important to both his franchise and Major League Baseball as a whole. His repayment: he’s a pariah. His club won’t claim him and his greatness, by any measure, has not just been overlooked but denied by most who even bother to consider him.

Yes, he had PED associations, but they were extraordinarily vague ones. He’s in the same boat as David Ortiz as far as documented PED evidence against him, but Ortiz will be a first ballot Hall of Famer while Sosa barely clings to the ballot. He hit homers at the same cartoonish rate as Mark McGwire, but while Big Mac has been embraced by baseball and has coached for years, Sosa can’t get into Wrigley Field unless he buys a ticket and even then the Cubs might try to hustle him out of sight. The man has been treated poorly by any measure.

Yet, it’s still possible to overstate the case. Like Sosa did in this interview with Chuck Wasserstrom:

It’s like Jesus Christ when he came to Jerusalem,” Sosa told chuckbloggerstrom.com. “Everybody thought Jesus Christ was a witch (laughing) — and he was our savior. So if they talk (bleep) about Jesus Christ, what about me? Are you kidding me?”

At least he was basically joking about it. Still, it’s a totally unfair and almost offensive comparison.

I mean, anyone who watched Sosa’s career knows that he had trouble laying off breaking stuff low and away. In contrast . . .

Magic Johnson to take over the Lakers, but will still be part of Dodgers ownership

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 15:  Earvin 'Magic' Johnson attends game one of the National League Championship Series between the Chicago Cubs and the Los Angeles Dodgers at Wrigley Field on October 15, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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This is more significant for basketball fans than baseball fans, but Magic Johnson is taking over basketball operations for the Los Angeles Lakers. Dan Feldman over at PBT has the full story on that.

For our purposes, you probably know that Johnson is part of the Dodgers ownership group. Anthony McCullough of the L.A. Times got comment from the Dodgers, saying that despite his new full-time job, his status with the Dodgers will be unchanged:

Maybe I’m alone in this, but I’m not entirely certain what Magic does with the Lakers, so the first clause in Kasten’s comment may be doing most of the heavy lifting here.