Hank Aaron spent the season after breaking Babe Ruth’s career home run record on a farewell tour playing the American League for the first time and adding a few more home runs to bolster his record.

Barry Bonds will spend the season after breaking Aaron’s record trying to keep himself out of jail. Bonds will likely never step onto a baseball diamond again, as he faces a federal indictment on perjury and obstruction of justice charges.

It is a sharp contrast and a sign of the change in times from 1974, when Aaron broke the record, to now. Bonds is the poster child for today’s steroid-enhanced, egotistic athlete.

Since the 1980s, Major League Baseball has turned a blind eye to steroid use in its sport, and now Bonds is paying the price.

Commissioner Bud Selig, baseball’s owners and even Bonds’s fellow players have turned their backs on Bonds as he has been used as the fall guy for the misdeeds of an entire generation of baseball players.

It is true that Bonds has mishandled his chase for the home run record, but is it really necessary for him to go to jail because he is egotistic and rude?

There is not one positive steroids test that proves Bonds lied to the federal government about using steroids, and he was not a necessary piece of their investigation of BALCO.

It would have helped if he had testified, but the government was still able to successfully prosecute the leaders of the drug lab.

Bonds was only a user of the product that BALCO created. But he faces a stiffer penalty than Victor Conte, the man who did create BALCO. It’s like prosecuting a cocaine user instead of the dealer, just because the user is more well-known.

He could face up to 30 years in prison if convicted of all the charges, while Conte was sentenced to just four months in prison.

The federal government has spent six million dollars investigating Bonds. Luckily for us, our country is in such great shape that our government can focus on punishing a baseball cheater instead of worrying about real problems like wars, violence and poverty.

Bonds is in no way a likable guy. He is not the person baseball fans want to see holding the home run king title, one of the most respected records in all of sports.

Only Bonds would make Alex Rodriguez, who is expected to one day break Bonds’s record, look like a savior.

But it is wrong to punish Bonds to this extent. He cheated, but so did so many other players. He may deserve an asterisk in the record book but not jail time.

In the end someone has to take the fall for the rest of baseball and that guy is Bonds. He made the mistake of trying to defend himself and went against what other people wanted him to do.

He did not take the easy way out, like Jason Giambi did, and admit to using steroids without actually saying it.

Giambi was accepted back by fans and baseball for doing so, while Bonds is facing an indictment.

Bonds is facing a problem that many other celebrities have faced. He thought his money, power and fame would keep him out of trouble.

But he is learning the same lesson that Martha Stewart and Paris Hilton have learned: that no one is beyond the law.

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