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Posted: April 14, 2011 6:26 p.m.

Steroids in MLB matter more than the financial mess

Consider this column an open letter to all our readers. Most of you are smarter than me anyway. Maybe you can shed some light on something I can't seem to wrap my brain around. With as much trouble our country is in financially, why is our government spending so much time and money on steroids in baseball?

Major League Baseball home run king Barry Bonds was found guilty of obstruction of justice Wednesday after he was indicted on federal perjury charges stemming from his testimony in front of a grand jury on steroids use and the BALCO investigation more than three years ago. The jury couldn't come to a unanimous decision on the perjury charges resulting in a hung jury. Federal prosecutors have yet to decide whether to retry Bonds on those charges.

Fantastic. Bonds, a villainous figure everywhere outside of the 415 area code, is now a felon. He's all but assured to never make the Hall of Fame. Really though, nothing was settled. A hung jury means no closure and Bonds will probably receive a fine and some community service.

If you don't know the history of the BALCO case, I'll spare the details and sum it by saying that it's been going on since 2002 and cost the government a ton of money. But the government isn't done. Lead investigator Jeff Novitzky, a special agent for the Federal Food and Drug Administration, is still going after Roger Clemens. It begs the question though: Where are our priorities?

I'm not here to justify the use of performance enhancing drugs. Many people like to argue, if everyone is taking them, you'll be at a disadvantage if you don't. Phooey. Major League Baseball has also hid behind its previous drug policy or lack thereof during the era most associated with heavy steroid and PED use. That's also garbage. What I am wondering is why has the federal government spent so much time, effort and money on this when financial bigwigs throughout the financial sector have by their own greed and arrogance, pushed our country to the brink of another depression.

As of right now, no senior executives at any of the financial corporations at the heart of the monetary meltdown, which has been attributed to inheritably flawed lending practices and excessive risk-taking, have been so much as charged with any crime, let alone prosecuted. There hasn't even been a federal committee or any other type of government quorum assembled to lead a collective investigation. What's worse is that it appears many top-level executives not only helped cut the brake lines of our country's fragile financial system and drove it toward a cliff, they made sure to pay themselves and those close to them plenty of scratch once the word came down everything was about to blow up instead of making sure investors got as much of their money back as possible. That sounds a lot like what Bernie Madoff did if you ask me.

Perhaps the feds need to snatch up Novitzky and appoint him in charge of a formal investigation. A former IRS agent, Novitzky is known for his relentlessness. That's admirable. I commend him for doing what he's been tasked to do with the whole steroid investigation. He's ruthless and maybe that explains the BALCO investigation and subsequent semi-witch hunt of Bonds, Clemens and several other high-profile athletes such as Lance Armstrong, even if he's only been involved since 2008.

This probe into steroids in baseball is well into its second decade and who knows when it will end. Even the Monica Lewinski-Bill Clinton investigation had a shelf life. Heck, the Warren Commission published an 888-page report and 26 volumes of supporting material in far less time. Yet the country almost shut down last week. Again, priorities people.

Do you realize roughly 25 percent of our national debt in the form of treasury bonds is owned by foreign governments with China and Japan claiming roughly half of that? Do the math. Japan and China own more than 10 percent of our nation's debt. But baseball is clean. Whew. Thank God.

What happens if one of those countries winds up owning 51 percent of our nation's debt? Does that mean they get to make the decisions? Majority owners (of assets of course) call the shots in private business. But you get what I'm saying.

Like I said, I'm just an idiot sports writer who spends 20 percent of his paycheck on gas. Like you, I have to trust the government knows what it's doing. I love baseball. I love sushi and mu shu pork too. I'm just not ready to learn a new language.

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