And so it ends, not with a bang but a whimper. No, not the universe, but â€śThe Balco Saga,â€ť as Victor Conte â€“ the Mastermind â€“ and Greg Anderson â€“ the Patsy â€“ report to prison.
Today buried in sport sections around the country and on web sites over the Internet is the news that the Balco Saga has come to an end, as two of the principal culprits in the biggest doping scandal to hit sports have started their prison sentences.
Victor Conte, who fancied himself as the mastermind of this whole scheme, and Greg Anderson, Barry Bonds personal trainer and Balco henchman, will be behind bars for the holidays, but will be free by the time winter turns to spring.
What started out as the story of the millennium has ended as a footnote on the sports pages. Revelations that drug use by high-level athletes was widespread never materialized, while a relative scant few â€śunfortunatesâ€ť got caught. Some hoped for the sports equivalent of a Watergate Scandal, but in reality what we got was something more like the Teapot Dome Scandal.
Everyone knows what effect â€śWatergateâ€ť had on the nation â€“ an effect that lasts to this moment - but only those with history degrees really can tell you about Teapot Dome.
The Balco Scandal will wind up being thought of in the same way as the Teapot Scandalâ€¦good name but no real recognition of what happened.
I really donâ€™t think many people care about Kelli White or Tim Montgomery. Marion Jones had already won a ton of medals and there were no drug tests to verify Conteâ€™s allegations that she used Human Growth Hormone (HGH) and/or other substances. In the track world these events may matter, but to the vast majority of sports fans and to the general public, all this is background noise.
Sugar Shane Mosely, Roy Jones, Jr, Oscar de la Hoyaâ€¦who really cares about boxers? Does anyone even realize that after these guys stopped working with Balco they hit the skids?
And how much will be remembered about the infamous leaked Grand Jury testimony of Jason Giambi and Barry Bonds? Giambi won the American League Comeback Player of the Year award and Bonds still has a chance to break Hank Aaronâ€™s all-time home run record. What penalties have they experienced as a result of Balco? None that I can see. Giambi has actually picked up an endorsement contract from Reebok since the end of the 2005 baseball season. And last I looked Bonds was still going to make about $20 million next season.