Sports

Fans: Bonds should pay price if he lied about using steroids

SAN FRANCISCO -- At his corner stand a few blocks from the Giants' waterfront ballpark, shoe shiner Monroe Greene, who counts a few major leaguers as clients, didn't mince words when expressing what he thinks of players who use steroids, a day after Barry Bonds' indictment.

"I want to see them indict them all: McGwire, Sosa, all of them. Bonds is just the guy they love to hate," said Greene.

Bonds, the former Giants slugger and newly crowned home run king was charged Thursday with four counts of perjury and one of obstruction of justice following a four-year federal investigation into steroids.

While his hometown may have been the one place where Bonds retained some support, Monroe and others mulling around the ballpark Friday did not feel the slugger should escape punishment if he lied to the grand jury.

"I think if he lied then he has to pay the consequences," said Janie Butler, 44, standing on a plaque honoring Bonds' home run record adjacent to the park.

Butler, a Giants fan, said she could tell Bonds was using steroids by the way his body bulked up and said it bothered her because she often took her 13-year-old son to games.

"The only good thing about this is it lets kids know that you have to do things the right way. How you approach things, it means something," she said.

While few are ready to pardon Bonds for allegedly lying to a federal grand jury about ingesting performance-enhancing drugs, Greene and others questioned the government's timing and their apparent focus on the former Giants slugger as enemy No. 1.

"Why didn't they do this three years ago?" asked 29-year-old David Schaeffer, who was plopped on a barstool across the street from the park enjoying some afternoon beverages.

"The timing looks bad. I mean, Bonds was looking for a contract for next year and now he's obviously not going to play next year," he said.

While Bonds is certainly not the only player to have been associated with performance-enhancing drugs, his status as home run king makes him the poster boy.

For some, Bonds' possible departure from the game next year is symbolic of what they hope is the end of a troubling era in baseball.

"I still enjoy the game. But any of the records that were broken during this time period don't look the same as Hank Aaron or Babe Ruth," said Ed McConnell, 34, who lives across the street from the ballpark.

Now a federal court will likely determine Bonds' future off the ball field. If his career is indeed over, the next argument will be over whether he should be inducted to the Hall of Fame.

Even fans embittered by Bonds' saga believe he should be enshrined.

"It's a tough question. But he was a Hall of Famer before he started using steroids, and a lot of players cheated, not just Bonds," said Schaeffer.

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