Thursday, July 20, 2006

The Agony and the Ecstasy: The Sequel

In the 1965 movie, The Agony and the Ecstasy, Michelangelo has an on-running exchange with Pope Julius II about his seemingly endless tinkering with a little paint job called the Sistine Chapel.

Pope Julius, portrayed by Rex Harrison, kept asking where there would be a finish to which Mick, ie. Charlton Heston would respond it would be done when he was done.

Back and forth they went, alternating trigger words. Something along the lines of "when will there be a finish? When I am done. ... When will it be done? When I am finished."

Think Barry Bonds knows how Pope Julius felt?

I mean, waiting for the federal government to do something, anything to determine if the slugger is going to the slammer for steroid abuse/perjury/tax evasion/passing Babe Ruth's 714-home run total/being ill-mannered has become worse than a war of attrition.

It's like watching paint dry.

Today, the feds revealed that they are not done. But they also gave no clue as to when there will be a finish.

Instead, the feds who have been investigating Bonds, his tax returns, his truthiness - or lack thereof - in previous testimony about alleged steroid use, declined to indict Bonds. But they also declined to say they wouldn't indict him somewhere down the line.

What the feds will do is seat a new grand jury in order to keep on, well, keeping on. The new panel's obviously thankless chore? Determining if Bonds' bad taste in trainers, chemists and mistresses and love affair with the long ball are criminal - something the previous grand jury did not and apparently could not do.

Chances are the only people happy with this turn of events yesterday were the jurists whose grand jury assignment mercifully expired.

For them, there finally was an end.

For Bonds, baseball and the feds? There is no finish yet. Only the certain knowledge that not matter how this all finally plays out, no timeless work of art will be the result. Just a scandal that will rank among the game's biggest, dirtiest and most embarrassing of all time.

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