The Elephant in the Room: Book on Bonds' Steroid Use

"Hit them when they're up, hit them when they're down" - Dirty Laundry by Don Henley

I cannot ignore the elephant in the room: a book exerpt has come out on SI and the book alleges that Barry Bonds has used steroids since 1988 when McGwire and Sosa took the spotlight with their homerun chase. It was written by the Chronicle writers who have been publishing illegally released grand jury documents, probably by the disgruntled IRS agent with an axe to grind with Barry, for some reason.

Why he doesn't chase all the millionaires and billionaires who get away without paying any taxes on their riches instead and make our country better, I have no idea why. And if he really had anything on Bonds about card money unreported, Bonds would have been tried in court already and jailed, why do these reporters keep on repeating this "fact", do they think it will suddenly become true? Instead, he illegally releases all these documents to these two reporters, who will now become rich because he gave them the winning lottery ticket, because there are a lot of Bonds haters out there.

And if the government really have all this solid evidence as the reporters said they did, then Bonds perjured himself on the stand and it sould be a slam dunk trying him and throwing him into jail - they did it to Martha Stewart. And yet he's still getting ready for the 2006 season, unjailed, and unaccused by the courts. And all this evidence that the reporters claim prove that Bonds did it, it has been in the hands of the government since sometime in 2005, when Bell testified against Bonds, but nothing has been done to Bonds yet, legally.

Steroids is Not Magical Beans

I won't pretend to know all the nuances of steroids. There are numerous theories out there about what it can do for you and I admit I don't know all of them nor plan to read up on all of them. I've seen side effects mentioned from a larger head, acne on the back, baldness, shrunken testicles, irritableness, short-temper, and glaucoma.

What I think I know is that steroids don't magically make you stronger, you still need to devote your time to build up your muscles, you still need to put the work in. It allows you to work out more often because your body needs less rest time before you exercise again. So basically, you still need to earn your bigger muscles by putting in the work to get them. It is not a magic pill you take that automatically makes you better than someone else who is not taking, you still need the work discipline to apply yourself to make your body stronger and better, with the difference being that you can do more with your body than you could naturally.

That's why all these lame players are getting caught using steroids, they think it was a magic pill, they don't apply themselves to baseball like Barry did - plus they didn't have his god-given abilities either. This wouldn't excuse Barry, if he did use, but it is not like there aren't substances available that can be taken and make the player instantly better than he was before taking the substance. Like amphetamines or even caffeine.

Book on Barry's Usage

Even if you believe the "facts" that the Chronicle writers "documented" in their book - and really, their whole case appears to be based on Bell's words, a woman who claims to be Bonds mistress and has sued him AND LOST, so she is most definitely disgruntled - and on illegally gotten grand jury testimony, then this means that Bonds was clean from the start of his career in 1986 to 1998 and judging by that portion of his career, he was already a first ballot Hall of Famer. My opinion might change once I hear these tapes and can hear for myself what was being said, but I doubt we'll ever hear them. But even if you believe her, all he did was just gild the lily, he already was a first ballot HOFer..

Speaking of the tapes, we keep on hearing about these tapes. And yet, in this age of celebrity sex tapes somehow leaking into the hands of the public and making millions for someone, nothing has been done with these tapes. If she has really juicy stuff about Bonds' alleged usage on them, wouldn't book publishers be lined up with book offers to publish the transcripts of those tapes. I know I would if I were a publisher. And she would make a lot more from a book or tape like that than the $100,000 she was suing for but lost. Anything she says that is not on tape is a "She said/He said" situation that cannot be proved either way and, wait, we know that she wants money from him and as the woman scorned, perhaps by hook or crook, she might do anything. We don't really know much, other than we know that she isn't doing it from the bottom of her heart or for truth and justice, it's all about the Benjamins.

Evidence, Schm-evidence

A McCovey Chronicle diary listed the documentation of the sourcing for the book. Suffice it to say, I had a bit to say about that here. I found most of the stuff there not convincing at all, there was only one thing that clearly looked like good evidence, a folder labeled "BLB 2003" with a road schedule and shots scheduled there. But as I noted there:

I must say that they presented this very authoritatively. That said, most of the information is pretty much circumstantial. There is not one instance where they saw Bonds taking the drug, just that Anderson is getting the drugs purportedly for Bonds.

What if Anderson SAID that he was getting it for Bonds, in order to get the good stuff for a peon ballplayer who normally wouldn't be in a position to get the good stuff? "Hey, you give me the money, I can get you the stuff only the elite athletes can egt." "Yeah, um, this is for Bonds." Not that I necessarily think Bonds is innocent, either, but there IS another possible explanation for that, particularly since Anderson outed his other clients but said he didn't for Bonds.

What if Anderson screwed his buddy? Wouldn't be the first time that a friend traded on their friend's celebrity to make a buck. Wouldn't be the first time a friend thought, "he's got a lot; I want mine." Particularly if he was treated badly by Bonds (which Gary Sheffield noted at some point in an SI interview - SI wants to bring down Bonds any way they can - but then his bodyguard loved him and Barry loved him back, giving him the stomach staple surgery his friend wanted, as a wedding present, but unfortunately he passsed away on the operating table, he is the guy Bonds was pointing to after homers). So he makes a sale to this peon ballplayer promising him the stuff that he gives to Barry, good stuff, and he tells BALCO that he's dealing Bonds, see, here's my schedule, here's his cash.

Or Anderson could be telling his bosses that he's giving it to Bonds but tells Bonds that it's flaxseed oil. I've heard and read people saying that Bonds is intelligent, he knows what's going into his body, but if your good friend gives you a drop of flaxseed oil in your mouth, what are you going to do, say "hey, don't give that to me, where's the bottle, I don't trust you, I want to see the ingredients." Or do you take it and say "so what is this suppose to do for me?" If Bonds was that paranoid to question his friend on what he's being given, he would have an official taster take everything for him. The same goes for a cream.

And maybe those are the stories that Bonds and Anderson concocted if they are ever found out, you know, plausible deniability. But we'll probably never know which story is right. My stories are just as good as their story, at least I think so. I don't think I missed an angle, other than I'm not trying to spin it against Barry which is the authors' intent, their hypothesis.

I can see the logic of their story, but my story has a logic to it as well. I am at the point where I expect the worse to happen at any point regarding Bonds, and while it's not that I'm being blindly loyal to Bonds, it's more like the motto for Missouri: "Show me." Show me incontrovertible evidence that he used. Show me a confession. All this circumstantial crap is just annoying me, it's like a bad courtroom TV show plot.

And I'm tired of the media repeatedly saying that Bonds testified that he took steroids (today, Ralph Barbieri was the latest who got me mad saying that). He never said that, he said he used some stuff and it was the government who is claiming that the stuff he used is the clear and the cream. Bonds has never admitted in court that he is a steroid user.

If True Barry Should Have Tested Positive

With all the cocktails that Bonds supposedly took, he should have tested positive by now. According to the book, he took Deca-Durabolin as part of his steroid cocktail. Yet Mike Morse has tested positive 3 times for using that drug, 16 months after taking it the first time. This article outlines some of what's up with that: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/mariners/2002479599_morseside08.html

Why haven't Bonds tested positive for this? According to the expert in the article, Dr. Charles Yesalis, "These things get in your fat cells and they just hang around forever, seemingly." According to a doping lab doctor, "There's anecdotal reports of 16 months, but we certainly have every reason to believe it could be longer than 16 months. Once injected, it resides in the body for a long period of time." He also added that he believes testing by the MLB, like that of the World Anti-Doping Agency, which regulates the anti-doping efforts of the International Olympic Committee, is too sensitive for Deca Durabolin. "You get findings that don't indicate current use or use with intent to cheat." If it is that sensitive, shouldn't Bonds have been found with that stuff? Or at least they could test to see if he had ever used it before, if, as the doctor noted, "they just hang around forever."

Subverting the Justice System

And how do they get away with releasing sealed Grand Jury testimony? Some have defended their release of grand jury testimony as necessary for whistle-blowers. But what's the use of promising protection of your testimony as a part of a grand jury if some over-zealous government worker decides that it is better that your testimony should be released?

Where will the line be drawn? Who will decide where the line is drawn? Who will spell this out? What assurrances can you give any potential grand jury testifiers when someone has decided that this particular testimony is OK to release, how can anyone be assured that, really, this time we won't release the information to the public? This cuts out a lot of testimony that you otherwise might not have gotten as well.

You Either Go the Full Monty or You Wimp Out

In addition, while I believe that he probably used some sort of PED at some point, whether on purpose or via someone giving it to him unknown to himself, I feel that ballplayers have been using illegal substances since WW II, in particular amphetamines, which I've written about before. "Greenies" was more widely used - Willie Mays was known to keep a jar of "red juice", Pete Rose has reportedly used it, and Jim Bouton wrote extensively about it in his book, Ball Four - so it probably contributed to more career numbers than steroids, on an overall basis.

And it didn't require the user to work to earn that advantage, you just take it and "pow" you got an advantage over someone who isn't taking. Not like steroids, which still requires you to put in the work to keep your body in such good shape. So no asterisks is necessary for Bonds records; otherwise, just asterisk anything and everything since WW II, because the use of amphetamines was widespread from all the sources I've seen in print, more so than steroids.

In Conclusion

I'm getting tired of this witchhunt by the media. Either show me evidence that Bonds used - none of this circumstantial crappolo provided by a disgruntled mistress and psuedo evidence that can be explained away by another theory that appears to fit the facts gathered thus far - or just shut up already! They spin a nice story in their book from what I gather from the excerpts I've read but that's all it is, a story which has as its main beam of support stories from a disgruntled alleged mistress who is looking for her pound of flesh, her dowry, her payment for services provided.

She has claimed on national TV to have never seen Bonds take any Performance Enhancing Drug (PED) but testifies as to when Bonds started taking them and how it hurt his arm and how he got acne. Maybe I'll change my mind if I ever see her testimony details, but from what I've been given thus far, what she has alleged to have testified to could have been said by almost anyone who has been following the allegations that Bonds is taking PEDs. I bet I could have Googled "Bonds steroids" in 2005, when she gave her testimony to the Grand Jury, and pulled up numerous websites and articles and blogs which will recount in excruciating detail the Bonds Haters' reasoning on how Barry cheated and when and where and why he looks like it. I could have trained her myself on what to say and what she could get away with without worry of perjury.

Building Made of Cards

Without her, their story starts falling apart. It could be Bonds conspiring with Anderson. It could be a "good" friend taking advantage of his superstar friend's celebrity to make a buck claiming to be selling the stuff that helps Barry do what he does. We don't know, there isn't enough clear-cut evidence. And while the bigwigs at BALCO are saying they supplied Barry, that is what Anderson told them he was doing. It wouldn't be the first time that a, basically, loser want to impress his bosses by "getting" them a whale of a client, his pal, Barry.

Barry, as I noted, is pretty smart. Would it be smart to be putting your big smiling face in an advertisement for your pusher? If you are deathly afraid of being revealed to be a fraud, a cheater, as Bell claims he said, wouldn't you stay as far away as you can from tying yourself to your supplier?

Furthermore, wouldn't you avoid having a mistress, calling her at all hours, including work, where people who don't really give a damn about Mr. Superstar would know that he is having an affair with her and wouldn't feel like they have an obligation to keep quiet, particularly now that everything is out in the open and public. I can see her collecting taped messages but I've seen how the press works, wouldn't some intrepid reporter show up at Bell's work and ask if Barry was actually calling all the time, as alleged? To corroborate her story? Then we would see that somewhere in print, that, yes, Bonds was calling at all hours.

But then some superstars have hubris and think they can do anything and get away with it, so why would Bonds be different? However, Bonds knows he has a bullseye on him. He knows or at least acts like he thinks the press is out to get him. And that's probably true to some extent. He knows that they are going to watch him under a microscope. And he is definitely paranoid of them.

So why do something he could be caught at. He might not have realized that the conversations were taped - FYI it is illegal to tape anyone without their prior consent in California, so they are probably not useful in a court of law - but haranguing her at work and controlling her, as she claims he did, that would not be smart, the press would have a field day with that one. Of course a mistress would be another, but that's old hat today with the press whereas harrassing her at work would not.

Just give me some real news or shut up already!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent synopsis Martin. Baseball Crank has a very good quote re: Bonds. It's from Michael Corleone in The Godfather: "Never hate your enemies. It affects your judgement." There's so much vitriol out there that Barry's done. And, I don't even think that most Giants fans are Barry homers...they're just more willing to discuss the complexities of "steroids" and "cheating."

I really wish that more people--even those that find Barry to be some sort of baseball anti-Christ--would actually educate themselves about the "whole thing." Then again, that'd be too much work. Sadly, this country and most of our fellow citizens make determinations based on opinions--opinions affected by press and political sources that are, at the same time, universally loathed by a huge majority of the public--and thumbnail sketches.

I've heard and read precious few "reporters" mention ownership and management complicity and "press" indifference. I mean seriously, do people think that beat writers didn't have any idea about what was going on? Great that they're outraged now.

I'm personally torn on Bonds. Part of me wants him to stick it to, well, just about everyone. Part of me wants him to ride off into the sunset. Not like he cares. Today at least I'm leaning toward him producing this season, smiling, and saying, "so, think that I'm juicing NOW?"


Thu Mar 09, 08:41:00 AM PST  
Anonymous bacci40 said...

Well said

Anyone wanna explain to me what extramarital affairs have to do with steroids?

Anyone want to explain to me why the authors continue to print the myth of bonds' head getting bigger?

Anyone want to explain to me how they can get away with using stats without provideing all the variables?

Why is it that Bell is the only one in Barry's life who noticed acne on his back...

Thu Mar 09, 10:08:00 AM PST  
Blogger Larry said...

Anone want to explain to me why Barry isn't SUING these people for telling these lies, destroying reputation, and costing him millions in endorsements?

Fri Mar 10, 04:42:00 PM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sure Larry:
1. He wouldn't win, he's a public figure - the authors have plausible deniability because they are just repeating what someone else has said and they can pass the buck to them. It's kind of unclear who says what. And they've made so many mistakes in their timeline and in their descriptions of drug it's kind of obvious that their work is fiction not reporting.
2. Court sucks. It sucks time and energy and distracts from real life. I'm sure Barry Bonds has had enough of it in his life.
3. Once he dumped Kim Bell, who apparently was a mistress of sorts, he probably wouldn't give her another thought and his wife probably doesn't want any connection with her in their lifes.

Fri Mar 10, 08:37:00 PM PST  
Blogger Larry said...

"He wouldn't win, he's a public figure"

See Carol Burnet (& Others) vs The National Enquirer.

Barry is not suing because he does not have a case.

Sat Mar 11, 10:13:00 AM PST  
Blogger obsessivegiantscompulsive said...

I think I can show you why via this question: "Do you still beat your loved ones Larry?"

How do you prove a negative? How do you prove that this Bell woman is lying about what was said between them? Even if she is truthful about some of it, enough to convince journalists who should know better, how do you prove that she is lying about some of it? You can't, that's why Bonds won't sue.

In addition, as the other post noted, I assume Bonds' wife is none too happy about this revelation. Suing would only bring that whole thing up again.

Lastly, Bonds suing is what Bell and particularly the authors would love, it gets them all back in the spotlight and they and the media get to repeat their stories, true or not, all over again.

This is a classic "he said, she said" situation. No one can prove one way or the other what was the truth. Bonds' lawyers would get laughed out of court trying to pursue such a lawsuit (much like how Sprewell's latest lawsuit went).

You bring up Carol Burnett. Let's see, there's conservatively at least 3 celebrities whose lives are "enquired" about in each edition, 52 editions a year, and they've been publishing at least for 30 years if not more. That works out to at least 5000 stories, the vast majority of which are probably lies (unless you believe that Britney was carrying an alien's baby), ruining reputation, and costing people money.

Yet you can easily bring up only Carol Burnett, who won when, a zillion years ago (sorry Carol, loved your show, but it has been a while you were in the spotlight). For a more recent win, I recall Justin and Cameron Diaz winning a big judgement recently. Other than that, I'm sure there have been others, but there has been very few compared to all the lies that have been published over the years. The law really does not protect you much.

For example, there was this relatively famous guy who someone posted on the Wikipedia that he did all these horrible things. It was on there for months before someone brought it up to his attention. He could do nothing about it and his life achievements are now all in the background, he's known now as the guy who got "wiki"ed with a fictionalized biography, damaging his reputation. They eventually tracked down the perpetrator, don't recall his excuse, other than perhaps it was a lark, and all the famous guy got was an apology from the perpetrator.

In addition, the National Enquirer is not the only gossip rag out there, there's competing tabloids both here and in other countries and if you add it all up, you get into the tens of thousands of lies that has been published over the past 40-50 years and yet only a few of the celebrities have ever sued, and even less have won.

They know how the game is played, these rags want to be sued, they want the publicity. The money they lose in the lawsuit is like part of their marketing budget, there to be used. They smile at the end, apologize and eat up the publicity, cause, baby, there ain't no bad publicity, it's all good!

And, for the record, to the best of my knowledge, Larry does not beat his loved ones.

Sun Mar 12, 01:07:00 AM PST  
Blogger Larry said...

Your writing is well thought thru as always, but we disagree (except for the beating part).

Still an exceptional blog.

Sun Mar 12, 07:47:00 AM PST  

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