The villagers muscle their way across the moat, torches in hand, shouting as they look up at the monster roaring at them from the tower window above. Some torches are flung at the thatch roof while a sturdy wagon is used as a battering ram on the thick wood door to the place.
The beast throws the heaviest things it can find down upon the crowd below. There is little regard for the lives affected, one side of the steadily splintering door for the other. But it becomes plain with the snap of the bolt plank which side will prevail.
The monster knows it, too. His bulk and his misshapen head make him all too easy to spot.
There is no escape for Barry Bonds.
But there was sympathy for Frankenstein's monster, wasn't there? The mob mentality of the villagers was shameful, wasn't it? Surely, I'm not suggesting Barry Bonds is deserving of sympathy and those condemning him are deserving of shame.
Yes to all, morally -- not legally -- speaking.
If Barry Bonds perjured himself to a federal grand jury, he deserves a prison sentence, just like Martha Stewart or anyone else who commits this crime.
But shame on the feds who have kept defibrillating this dead horse for the beating. They say they took five years because they were out to get it right. More likely, they took five years because they were out to get Barry Bonds.
Even more shame on baseball for allowing the anachronism that Barry Bonds cheated the game by taking steroids. The Commish, Bud Selig, may brag about baseball's steroid testing program and it's iron-fisted policy, but it wasn't in place when Bonds is alleged to have started using roids, and no one really knows when he may have stopped.
There is no way franchise owners -- including Selig, who owned the Milwauke Brewers -- didn't know about the juicing that had begun in the 1980's and was running rampant by the time Bonds began showing the bolts in his neck.
Team doctors, trainers, clubhouse managers -- they're paid by the teams, not the players. It is ridiculous to think that a team owner who has invested millions in a player would not know if that player had been examined by a doctor who logged his sudden weight gain, treated by a trainer who noticed the acne on his back, or fitted by a clubbie who had to change his uniform size.
But the balls were flying out of the park, McGwire and Sosa had their home run chase and fannies filled seats emptied by the last big strike.
Baseball has allowed Bonds to become more and more unpopular because it makes them seem less and less culpable. But repeating part of an interview I had with Diablos manager and former major leaguer Butch Henry is pertinent here.
Henry maintains that he dressed next to pros who would openly shoot up steroids in the locker room.
Baseball knew. It didn't care.
Shame on San Francisco Chronicle reporters Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams, authors of "Game of Shadows", the book about Bonds and others who had bodies by BALCO, based on federal grand jury testimony leaked by Troy Ellerman, one of BALCO founder Victor Conte's lawyers.
Fainaru-Wada and Williams were willing to go to prison to protect Ellerman's identity before he was found out by the feds. Now, they keep both their journalistic principles and their royalty checks intact.
However, it is one thing to keep your sources secret, it is another to jeopardize a federal investigation by knowingly breaking the law in letting a source give you sealed testimony.
And for what, really? Ellerman was no Deep Throat and this was no Watergate scandal, helping bring down a flawed presidency -- it's about baseball, a game where competitive men want to extend and improve their careers with steroids for money and fame. And we are all willing to grant their wish, even now.
Shame on the media at large, especially television and its bloating canvas, where stars have to be painted bigger and better and brighter, just to keep pace with the 249 other channels showing the same thing. It is part of the reason baseball allowed the juicing to go on -- everyone wanted records to fall to keep people watching and to keep the game relevant.
The coming trial will be a failure of American news media, specifically.
It's ironic that the book informing us that Barry Bonds wanted to plug into drugs to make his own star brighter is called "Game of Shadows". Ironic, because the glare from a thousand camera lights will erase shadow completely, making it television's one dimensional kangaroo court, complete with Bonds' pre-programmed sentence.
You'd think so many voices would add to the discussion as this issue is covered, but there is a danger of simply being overwhelmed by volume because so many of these guys play only one note. A thousand legal analysts on a thousand networks to compliment those thousand camera lights, and their expert analysis could blur into meaninglessness as they tread water between commercial breaks. Frapee'd filler. Whipped Whatever.
Many of those experts will say Bonds no longer belongs in baseball, much less in Cooperstown. Fine. We all know: Barry Bonds is a jerk. Not that the Baseball Hall of Fame isn't already full of jerks, druggies, gluttons and racists who happened to be pretty handy with a bat and a ball.
But with a Hall of Fame that already has an avowed whack job like Ty Cobb, where do we draw the line? Which sin renders unto nothing a career that was Hall of Fame-worthy before Bonds became both Dr. Frankenstein and his monster?
That same media horde whose purpose seems to be one-upping itself on showing morality's rising hemline these days (one of the key witnesses for the prosecution in this case might be Bonds' former mistress Kimberly Bell, who just had a spread in Playboy last month -- a sure bet for an above-the-shoulder photo review in many TV news stories) has created an atmosphere of outrage that might prevent Bonds from ever getting into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
If we buy into all this, if we don't give Barry Bonds the same second chance we gave a convicted perjurer like Martha Stewart -- not to mention the third, fourth and fifth chances we gave to Darryl Strawberry, Steve Howe and countless others -- if we don't separate the jerk from his job of work...shame on us.