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Barry Bonds, Major League Baseball’s home-run record holder, is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 16 on his conviction for obstructing a U.S. probe of steroid use by professional athletes.

That means we will have another opportunity to see just how much “race matters” when Bonds is sentenced.

Jurors were unable to agree in April on whether Bonds, 47, lied when he told a grand jury in 2003 that he didn’t knowingly take steroids, didn’t take human growth hormone and didn’t receive injections from the trainer, Greg Anderson. A mistrial was declared on those counts.

Prosecutors haven’t said whether they plan to retry Bonds on perjury charges. Bonds faces a maximum of 10 years in prison on the obstruction conviction.

His conviction carries a possible sentence of up to 10 years in prison, yet federal guidelines call for 15-21 months. For similar offenses in the BALCO steroids ring case, U.S. District Judge Susan Illston sentenced cyclist Tammy Thomas to six months of home confinement and track coach Trevor Graham to one year of home confinement.

So far, experts say it would be wrong for Barry to go to jail, but there’s really no way of knowing until the time gets here. As it is, it sucks that he likely won’t be able to play Santa for real since he’s likely to be hit with home confinement even if he doesn’t get sent to the slammer.

Bonds, a former San Francisco Giants left fielder, lost his bid on Aug. 26 to overturn his conviction for obstruction of justice.

Barry Bonds broke Hank Aaron’s record of 755 career home runs in August 2007. He was indicted in November of that year for allegedly lying to the grand jury.

Bonds’s attorneys said at trial that he truthfully testified that he received performance-enhancing substances from his trainer without knowing what they were because the drugs were new at the time and the trainer told him one was flaxseed oil.

The case is U.S. v. Bonds, 07-00732, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).

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