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On Bonds (from across the Pond)

Back from vacation and a nice trip across the Pond (the ocean, not the Anahim Ducks’ facility) and no shortage of baseball items to discuss. Let’s get to it:

Bonds’ Indictment: I returned to a bevy of e-mails who thought I must be gloating in the news that Barry Bonds faces federal charges of perjury and obstruction of justice. Can’t say I feel entirely sorry for the man, but the truth is, I lean toward the opinion that he’s been unfairly persecuted. Look, Bonds is no angel, but it’s not like he’s a lone steroids user in a profession of honest athletes. Jemele Hill of ESPN.com wrote a tremendous piece for ESPN.com that really entails most of my feelings about the Bonds indictment. It is, as she writes, like spending five years searching for the crackhead rather than devoting that manpower to the dealer. Remember, Victor Conte skated and he was the builder of BALCO. That so much more time and effort seems to have been devoted toward bringing down Bonds just doesn’t sit right.

I am looking forward to the trial, though. Should be the best CourtTV since O.J.

Incidentally, I got the news while in the Czech Republic, where it was the No. 2 story on SkyNews, the European equivalent of Headline News, so you can’t escape the man anywhere.

Joe Kennedy’s death: One reader e-mailed me Sunday with one simple sentence. “Do you think Kennedy was on ‘roids?” Another wrote: “Do you think he was doing coke?”

The fact that those two questions are even asked in the wake of the death of a 28-year-old father of one (with another on the way) speaks to the sad state of affairs in professional sports and in society. No. 1, how would a sports writer with no ties to Kennedy beyond the occasional, “Hello,” in the clubhouse, be qualified to answer that question? No. 2, whatever caused Kennedy’s death will be revealed in 6-8 weeks when his autopsy is complete. I can understand that those questions might be brimming under the surface — athletes have themselves, alone, to blame for that one — but the eagerness some of you have to find out the answer, and the apparent glee some of you seem to want to take in the sordid details of the former A’s reliever’s death is sick.

— A-Rod’s return to the Yankees: Love it, if only because it shows why agents should be permanently banned from the sporting landscape. Scott Boras emerges from this fiasco with his true colors exposed. Alex Rodriguez comes out of it a likeable figure, and the Yankees, in the end, retain one of baseball’s greatest-ever hitters and remain a force in the American League East.

More tomorrow.

rhurd