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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review May 15, 2006 / 17 Iyar, 5766

A legal groundswell builds beneath baseball

By Evan Weiner

Evan Weiner
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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | As Barry Bonds's chase of baseball's most treasured career record spirals into a national tour of resentment and ill will, the San Francisco Giants slugger is probably, on some level, relieved to know that he's not the only person facing the wrath of the federal government.


The story of Bonds's steroid use, his relationship to the infamous Balco laboratory, and his 2003 testimony before a federal grand jury has now morphed into a clash pitting the first amendment against the public's right to know in a San Francisco courtroom, and it may even spark a labor clash. It also may have finally killed the period of good feeling between Commissioner Bud Selig and Donald Fehr, the Executive Director of the Major League Players Association.


The union is objecting to the investigation of possible steroid usage by present and past players being conducted by Senator George Mitchell, a current Boston Red Sox management partner, and ordered by Selig and MLB. That does not bode well for the nascent labor negotiations, which have to be worked out by August 1. Only a few months ago, the contentious relationship shared by players and owners appeared to have thawed when the sides partnered to produce the World Baseball Classic. Now the players are about ready to resume their stance of distrust and resentment.


But that is a secondary issue at the moment, as is Bonds's pursuit of Babe Ruth and Henry Aaron. In fact, they pale in comparison to what will transpire at two grand jury hearings in San Francisco. Two San Francisco Chronicle reporters, Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams, whose in-depth coverage of the Balco investigations eventually became the book "Game of Shadows," an apparent "tell-all" about Bonds's steroid abuse, have been subpoenaed to appear before a federal grand jury to discuss their use of court documents from Bonds's testimony in their articles, and now, their book. That's right: a federal grand jury investigating the outcome of a federal grand jury.


It is not illegal to possess secret grand jury testimony, but it is illegal to leak grand jury transcripts. The San Francisco Chronicle is fighting the subpoenas, arguing that the reporters are protected by the First Amendment. Unsurprisingly, Fainaru-Wada and Williams have steadfastly refused to say who leaked them the grand jury documents. This is going to set up a confrontation between the two writers, their newspaper, and the federal government, with the government demanding answers from the writers and the newspaper insisting the public has the right to know.


New Jersey attorney and sports law analyst Gary Chester said yesterday that reporters and the court system have had a continuing balancing act over the issue of first amendment rights versus the public's right to know.


"The issue is whether a reporter or reporters who break the law in the name of public disclosure can use the first amendment as a shield," Chester said. "There has never been a satisfying dialogue between the legal professional and the reporting profession and the rules have been laid down by the court. Neither side understands the issues that are involved."


The U.S. Attorney's Office in Los Angeles has refused to comment on the two reporters and the subpoena. But that raises another question that no one seems to be able to answer: Just how important is this Balco case in the grand scheme of things? The case has very little importance to the health and welfare of the general population, and in reality, it deals with a narrow band of Balco employees and a handful of athletes. At best, the case could influence a number of young people who might have considered taking steroids for an edge on the prep field.


Even the jail sentence given to the so-called ring-leader of the steroids distribution ring was nothing of note. Balco founder Victor Conte cut a plea deal in July 2005 and was hit with a four-month jail term and four months of house arrest. In theory, Fainaru-Wada and Williams could get a lot more jail time should they ignore the subpoena and fail to reveal their sources.


But the reverberations of this case and the Mitchell investigation could trigger an earthquake beneath baseball. Mitchell's probe of steroid use in baseball only came about after the release of "Game of Shadows" in March. MLB thought it had solved its problems after going through a number of Congressional hearings on steroids and other performance enhancers in 2005.The owners and players drew up a tougher policy for those caught taking banned substances. (On top of all this, "another" grand jury may call Bonds to find out if he perjured himself when he testified before the Balco grand jury about his steroid use.)


Two grand jury proceedings is the last thing MLB wants or needs. Despite all the booing and bad press, the allegations and investigations, Bonds's pursuit of Ruth and Aaron has been very good for baseball's bottom line. MLB has more marketing partners, more television money, and more paying customers than it ever has. Cities and states are still throwing money at owners by building new stadiums. Business is great.


But once these grand juries convene, the fear is that all the dirty laundry will come out. Selig would probably rather talk about the contraction or even a possible work stoppage in 2007 than Bonds and Balco. But Bonds, Fainaru-Wada/Williams, and Balco appear to headed for a perfect storm of bad press - one that could bring about a labor stoppage and put "Game of Shadows" squarely in the mainstream national spotlight.


Congress and MLB bullied Fehr and the union into agreeing to stiffer penalties for those caught using banned substances. But the players can scrap that deal if a new collective bargaining agreement isn't hammered out by August 1. If that happens, one may be led to wonder this ever went to Washington in the first place.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Evan Weiner is a syndicated radio commentator. Comment by clicking here.


Previously:

05/05/06: Four Years Later, Baseball Finds an Owner in D.C.
05/01/06: Turmoil brews beneath NFL's newfound tranquility
04/24/06: NFL and small town America wherewithal
04/21/06: The Two Scariest Words in Baseball: Salary Cap
04/18/06: Why the major leagues succeed
04/17/06: Fans welcome new stadiums; will stadiums welcome fans?
04/10/06: Fans welcome new stadiums; will stadiums welcome fans?
04/07/06: Don't mess with a congressman/sports fanatic
04/05/06: Los Angles loses yet again
04/04/06: NCAA's highest stakes are first beginning
04/03/06: The real reason Major League Baseball is worried about cheating
03/31/06: Baseball buoyant, better than ever
03/30/06: Affording to be in the big leagues

© 2006, Evan Weiner

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