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Posted: Friday May 15, 2009 12:49PM; Updated: Saturday May 16, 2009 12:02AM
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More thoughts on Bonds and Clemens

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The federal government is pressing ahead with the long-running case against Barry Bonds, despite my suggestion that they give up. While I would make the case that Roger Clemens' lies in front of Congress are worse (and were not couched by the word "knowingly"), the federal government seems to take lying to a grand jury very seriously. And I can't necessarily fault them for that thinking.

I would point out that they've jailed Bonds' trainer Greg Anderson twice and also some lawyer who leaked info to the San Francisco Chronicle but they still don't appear close to nailing Bonds. I would also point out that six years is a long time for a case based against a guy who couched his claims with the word "knowingly" (as in, he didn't "knowingly" take steroids.) However, the feds would suggest that some of the delays were based on defense filings. Anyway, the feds are apparently very persistent fellows.

Additionally, I inquired recently as to why the feds pursued Bonds but not Gary Sheffield, even though Sheffield also used the same phrasing, claiming he didn't "knowingly" take steroids. Nobody I could find would speak about their precise cases, but what I was told is that, generally speaking, the reason they may pursue one case and not another has to do with more than a potential defendant's claims. It has to do with the evidence, which makes sense. So my conclusion was that they must feel they have more evidence against Bonds, whether it be through Victor Conte's records, the ex-girlfriend or Bonds' flighty ex-friend Stevie Hoskins. It can't be through Anderson, who I'm hoping is being paid off at this point.

Sources indicate the feds are also pursuing a case against Clemens, too, and that's only fair. He didn't couch his claim with the word "knowingly," and unlike the defiant yet more quiet (and yes, more admirable) Bonds, Clemens' extensive public rantings have led to several relative innocents being dragged into the mess, including his own wife and Andy Pettitte's father. He has also sued his ex-trainer Brian McNamee, who lied for him for years and was only forced to tell the truth when confronted by the feds. The statute of limitations for perjury is five years, so the feds have plenty of time to build their case against Clemens.

Some have suggested to me that lying to a grand jury could be considered more serious than lying before Congress. But neither is recommended.

I can understand to a degree why Clemens couldn't admit he took steroids on ESPN Radio's Mike and Mike in the Morning the other day. If he did, he'd be admitting to perjuring himself before Congress. What I can't understand is what would compel someone to tell a story under oath no one could possibly believe.

Clemens on Thursday put out a statement explaining what he meant when he said he could never take steroids because of a "family history" that included his stepfather's heart attack. His statement suggested he wasn't taking about chromosomes but circumstances there, and that he was talking about going through the death of his stepfather and not wanting to take risks with his health.

A columnist or two sympathized with Clemens (one took me to task for making fun of the "family history" claim). And that's fine. But I think to side with Clemens on this matter, you have to think he's telling the truth that he didn't take steroids or HGH, and not just using his stepfather's heart attack and death as a platform in a twisted tale of lies.

The Tweet beat

I'm getting into Twitter, and one of the Twitter traditions (if Twitter can have tradition) is to suggest whom to follow on Friday, and so here are today's Follow Fridays: @BarryZito, @si_richarddeitsch, @BenMaller, @NJ_StevePoliti, @Lenno212, @jonahfreedman. As for me, I knew I could never write a book, not because I couldn't think of any mean things to say about someone (I could) but because I don't have the patience and only think in 140 characters, anyway. You can follow me at @si_jonheyman, where you can find Tweets like this. "I asked a Mets guy what they'd like to acquire. "toughness" came the answer. Anything else? "smarts wouldn't hurt either."' One great thing about Twitter is that nobody grades for punctuation.

I will be awarding a prize to my 2,500th follower, something of little or no value to me or anyone else, like an old press pass or All-Star pin.

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