Originally Posted by M2
To be fair (not that Bonds deserves it), there's probably a sound legal reason for this type of suit. My guess is that if Bonds sued for libel, the entire issue of whether he went on the juice would be on trial. He'd have to take the stand and insist he wasn't. The defendants would be presenting mountains of evidence that he was.
This is probably an attempt to narrow the focus of the suit.
IMO, this suit indicates just how weak Bonds' footing is at the moment. If MLB conducted a hasty investigation and banned him from the game I doubt he'd have a leg to stand on. Any challenge to that ruling would have to involve the commissioner's finding of fact that he'd played the game while using a host of illegal substances. Bonds has just all but sent up flare that he doesn't think he can win that fight.
Bonds would never win in a million years on a libel suit. Truth is a complete defense. Additionally, being a public figure, Bonds would have to show that the reporters either a) KNEW that there assertions were false b) recklessly disregarded their falsity.
The chief problem with Bonds would that it would add major fuel to the fire - I would imagine they could admit a great deal of the Balco evidence (stuff we've only heard rumors about), doping schedules, anecdotal evidence - it would be extremely bad for Bonds.