Barry Bonds is about to be indicted for perjury. An indictment is not a conviction, of course. But, according to the WaPo, Bud Selig is thinking about suspending Bonds should an indictment be handed down.
The Giants conclude a 10-game homestand on Sunday, then begin a six-game trip July 25 at RFK Stadium against the Washington Nationals. At this point, there is no reason to think Bonds, who turns 42 on Monday, would not be in uniform for those games. However, Commissioner of Baseball Bud Selig appears to be weighing the possibility of suspending Bonds if an indictment is handed down, despite the lack of any precedent in that regard.
Selig has declined to comment publicly on the Bonds matter, saying last week: “I’m not going to guess anymore [about an outcome]. I’m saddened by the whole thing but I’m not going to make any judgments until” something happens.
However, according to a person with knowledge of MLB’s discussions regarding Bonds, Selig believes he may be empowered by baseball’s collective bargaining agreement to suspend him.
Should Selig suspend Bonds, the slugger would no doubt file an immediate appeal. And he would most likely win, according to former commissioner Fay Vincent.
“I think it would be very difficult to get an arbitrator to uphold anything the commissioner tried to do” to punish Bonds, former commissioner Fay Vincent said in a telephone interview yesterday. “That’s why it is generally not done until and unless there is a conviction.”
So if Selig’s suspension doesn’t stand a good chance of being upheld, why bother handing it out at all? Good question. WaPo says that Selig is dead set on preventing Bonds from breaking Hank Aaron’s all-time home run record. Bonds currently sits at 721 — 34 behind Aaron. WaPo says that if Bonds shows a willingness to retire after the season, or take a leave of absence during a trial on perjury charges, Selig may be willing to forgo the suspension. But if Bonds keeps chasing Aaron, Selig will keep chasing Bonds.