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SAN FRANCISCO -- A year that featured Barry Bonds' record-breaking home run is approaching its end with another monumental event involving the slugger -- but it's one that's not so savory.
Bonds was indicted for perjury and obstruction of justice on Thursday, seriously jeopardizing his chances of reaching baseball's Hall of Fame.
Bonds, 43, was charged with four counts of perjury and one count of obstruction of justice. He faces a maximum of 30 years in prison.
Bonds' Giants teammates have grown accustomed to the fuss surrounding him that had stemmed from baseball's performance-enhancing drug controversy. Nevertheless, Thursday's developments stunned a pair of Giants who were reached for comment.
"I'm beside myself. I can't believe it," outfielder Dave Roberts said. "Just hearing that it could potentially go to a trial and be a drawn-out kind of thing, I'm shocked by it."
"I'm just surprised," said infielder Kevin Frandsen.
Had the indictments been handed down during the season, the Giants almost certainly would have been rocked by a distraction too huge to ignore. As it was, everybody around the Giants clubhouse wondered when or whether the other shoe would drop.
"You figure during the year, it kind of blew over," Frandsen said. "It's none of our business and something we didn't need to get involved with."
"There was a lot going on, and a lot of great things, with what Barry accomplished," Roberts said. "To have that big black cloud, it's unfortunate."
The Giants issued a statement with a quotation attributed to no one: "This is a very sad day. For many years, Barry Bonds was an important member of our team and is one of the most talented baseball players of his era. These are serious charges. Now that the judicial process has begun, we look forward to this matter being resolved in a court of law."
The statement differed dramatically from most of the previous Bonds-related news releases issued by the Giants, who chronicled the left fielder's march toward Hank Aaron's home run mark in exacting detail, along with the other feats that earned him five National League Most Valuable Player nods in a San Francisco uniform (1993, 2001-04).
In 15 seasons with the Giants, Bonds hit .312 with 586 homers and 1,440 RBIs. His San Francisco tenure culminated on Aug. 7, when he victimized Washington's Mike Bacsik with his 756th career homer to surpass Aaron.
But, intending to seek a fresh direction with a team that has missed the playoffs for four seasons in a row, the Giants announced on Sept. 21 that they wouldn't re-sign Bonds for 2008, casting him into free agency. Bonds played his last game with the Giants five days later, going 0-for-3 to finish the season with a .276 average, 28 homers and 66 RBIs.
"To see it all end, it's sad," Giants owner Peter Magowan said after Bonds' finale. "In a way, you have a chance to think back to all those happy times that he was able to create for our fans -- the memories, the excitement -- and the success that we've been able to have. It's the end of an era."
Such bittersweet emotion was again evident as Frandsen and Roberts spoke of Bonds.
"He was always good with me," Frandsen said. "You want to be as supportive as you can for him and his family, because obviously it's not a good time."
"He was great to me as a teammate," Roberts said, "and still a heckuva a ballplayer."