Home for the holidays: No jail for Barry Bonds

Home run king Barry Bonds has been pitched around again. The former San Francisco Giants star was sentenced to two years' probation and a month of home confinement in San Francisco district court on Friday, a delayed result of his conviction back in April on one count of obstruction of justice.

Prosecutors in the case had asked Judge Susan Illston to hand down a stiff 15-month prison sentence, a far weightier punishment than cyclist Tammy Thomas and track coach Trevor Graham had received when sentenced for the same crime by the same judge. But Bonds' probation officer recommended a lighter deal: two years' probation, 250 hours of community service, and a mere month of home confinement and location monitoring.

In the end, Judge Illston chose the lesser sentence, which included a measly $4,000 fine. She chose to go easy on the home run champ for four reasons: He didn't try to silence witnesses, his recent charity work showed character, he had no prior arrest record, and to keep in line with the previous sentences handed down to Thomas and Graham.

Though it's a relatively light sentence, Bonds' lawyers still plan to appeal the conviction of the obstruction charge so Bonds doesn't go through life as a labeled felon. Illston has given Bonds a stay of his sentence pending the appeal.

However, since Bonds must now once again face the court of public opinion, he might consider swallowing this light sentence and moving on with rehabilitating his image in hopes of reentering Major League Baseball as a friendly entity. Do some more charity work, smile for photographs, gladhand Giants fans. If he shows the proper amount of remorse and regret, he might even avoid the Pete Rose treatment and some day enter the Hall of Fame.

Or he could choose to be a real blockhead and blow up all the goodwill by dragging this case out for many more months. Just when we thought this waste of precious government resources was over, it continues to drag on.

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