3.17.2006

ESPN Excerpt of Another Book Attacking Bonds

ESPN has a quote from another explosive book on Bonds:
On an otherwise ordinary night, over an otherwise ordinary meal, Griffey, Bonds, a rep from an athletic apparel company and two other associates chatted informally about the upcoming season. With Griffey's framed memorabilia as a backdrop, and Mark McGwire's obliteration of the single-season home run record a fresh memory, Bonds spoke up as he never had before. He sounded neither angry nor agitated, simply frustrated. "You know what," he said. "I had a helluva season last year, and nobody gave a crap. Nobody. As much as I've complained about McGwire and Canseco and all of the bull with steroids, I'm tired of fighting it. I turn 35 this year. I've got three or four good seasons left, and I wanna get paid. I'm just gonna start using some hard-core stuff, and hopefully it won't hurt my body. Then I'll get out of the game and be done with it."
This is a lot more damning, to me, than the other book, particularly since the author said he got it from multiple sources. At least at the surface it is, that's how these authors seem to suck people in, they make their arguments sounds so authoritative. "We have 200 sources." "I got multiple sources confirming this conversation."

Why Would Bonds Do This?

But it got me thinking: would anyone as controlling and paranoid as Bonds has been described by the Chronicle writers' book really discuss taking steroids in front of 3 strangers? From most accounts, it is agreed that Bonds' sense of humor is not always apparent to the ordinary people. Could this be a case of that? And if he was serious, again, would he really talk in front of three strangers?

What I find more realistic is that Bonds was joking around with his close childhood friend but was a total boor with the other three and they are pissed at him. He makes a joke about taking steroids, which gets the others attention and maybe they get it but maybe they don't and think Bonds is serious. Either way, they will remember that conversation.

Because this is like the "wiping out Babe Ruth" quote all over again. He was kiddingly saying that but a lot of reporters took that to be serious and lambasted him in print all over the U.S. but a reporter here in the Bay Area backed him up on this, that these other people didn't understand Bonds was teasingly saying that, that he was saying it out of respect, not to demean Babe Ruth.

So maybe years later, these apparel reps, hearing about all these investigations and thinking they can screw around with Bonds since he was so rude to them, they contact the author and offer their "scoop". How else would an author researching Barry Bonds will run into multiple sources confirming this story, what is the odds that he gets in contact with one of these reps, let alone all three of them. It only makes sense if they coordinated their story together and then contacted the author. At least that is how I imagine the journalistic process working, perhaps I don't understand this part of journalism.

But obviously it was these three people who are associated with the athletic apparel company that Pearlman got in contact with and got their end of the story. There is no way I can imagine how Pearlman somehow finds out that Bonds met with three nondescript athletic apparell personnel on an evening almost 7 years ago and record their run-in with Bonds years later.

Why Didn't They Speak to the Grand Jury?

Why didn't they come out with this explosive information earlier? I suppose that it would just be their word against Bonds. But how about when the BALCO investigation started? Particularly with the way it was obvious that the government wanted to railroad Bonds. Wouldn't these people realize that the Grand Jury would want to know this? If they can figure out that Pearlman wanted this info, why didn't they step forward then when it could have made the difference in the grand jury investigation? If they wanted their anonymity, the Grand Jury testimony was suppose to be secret, they could have had their say and go, why a book which does nothing but blasts Bonds instead of testifying to the grand jury and really burying him?

Oh yeah, you can be prosecuted for lying to the Grand Jury. No, they chose the anonymity of being quoted sources in a book whose purpose is to blast Bonds instead. They do it so that they can get back at him for trespasses, real or imagined, but not have to answer to their testimony.

I find their choice to be troubling, why hide behind a book author if you have such explosive information? Why not really zip Bonds and see that he gets in bigger trouble? Particularly by the time Bell testified in 2005, they would have known that Bonds appeared to be in trouble legally.

I can see Novitzky starting up the war drums again and trying to pry the names of these people out of the author's hands. I wonder how that would work, legally. I guess Pearlman would protect his source but then get threatened with being jailed over it. I hope Novitzky does it, I wonder if they would still testify to what they told Pearlman, but I'm guessing not else they would have step forward already.

Tired of the Lynch Mob Mentality

I just want the truth. All this stuff takes a leap of faith, either you believe or you don't. Most people leap because it is easy to believe that Bonds is everything the authors say he is. I don't necessarily don't believe that he did Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs), but I'm not going to accept other people's words just because they say it, people are motivated to do a lot of stuff they shouldn't, their story has to make sense to me.

But I don't see how you can paint someone as being so controlling a personality, a monster really, and he NOT harange Anderson, who he obviously treats as a flunkie, to make sure that there is no evidence of his usage. If he is calling Ms. Bell at all hours, I would see him go over to Anderson's place and say, "let me see all your stuff for BALCO, I'll bet you're messing it up, I want to see what you're doing for them, your records, I don't want anything to get out." And he would be like the TV character Monk, obsessing over this, coming over to Anderson's frequently to make sure he's not doing something stupid.

I mean, he openly corrected Anderson on working out in front of people - talk about demeaning him, that's his main job - and in front of a client, Sheffield. Sheffield noted this in his interview with SI. That shows Bonds' contempt for Anderson's abilities and intelligence. If he's like that for something Anderson is suppose to be the expert in, I don't see him going "whatever" regarding the BALCO stuff.

I see him going over to Anderson's and demanding to see what he's doing regarding BALCO. "You dumba--, you have a folder with my initials on it what were you thinking! You also have a bill in my name - NOT SMART!!!" Some people with the biggest ego in the world might think that that they won't get caught and thus do all the things Bonds is alleged to have done according to these books, but Bell testified that he feared getting caught, which means he should be paranoid about being caught.

This puts a big hole (for me) in the foundation of truth across all these stories. After all, he feels that the media is out to get him (and that may not be far from the truth the way the sportwriters in the Bay Area has been piling on top of him) and no one has questioned the sources the way I have. I would like answers for these questionable witnesses and their motivations to lie when testifying against Bonds.

Stories' Logic Not Holding Up

Their stories do not feel whole to me, I am seeing all these contradictions. I'm hoping this will get Novitzky to demand the names of these apparel people and force them to testify on the grand jury because I assume they are going to fear getting thrown in jail over what was said, particularly since Griffey doesn't share their version of the story, unlike Bell, who is in the classic "he said/she said" situation and cannot really be caught in a lie regarding what she testified to be true about their conversations (but really, after reading them, anybody with internet search skills could have dug up all that information and testified the same things that she did in 2005). These people who want their anonymity obviously don't want the fame or money involved with their explosive testimony, so testifying will the be a good litmus test whether they are telling the truth or not.

I wish someone would ask Griffey specifically whether he recalls that meeting with the athletic apparel company reps or not. He claims to have never heard Bonds speak on steroids, it would be interesting to see if he recalls this meeting and conversation. How many times does he meets Bonds with apparel representatives in Florida in 1999? If he backs up Bonds, that would put a big hole in these guys story because he has a lot more to lose if he is pulled into the grand jury and attest to his version of the story under perjury. If he claims to not remember that meeting, then it will be that much bleaker for Bonds.

Even though this is just an excerpt that came out, there are already two people key to the excerpt who say that what's in the book is not true. Ken Griffey Jr., when confronted with this passage, said that he does not recall Bonds speaking on steroids at any time with him. However, he is a close friend from childhood, so there is some bias there, an additional reason, beyond being a fellow baseball player and superstar, to not tell the truth.

However, Jay Canizaro, a former Giants prospect, who only came up for a cup of coffee, has a big part in this article as well. Here is what he is claimed to have said, from the Chron:
According to the excerpt, Bonds told teammates he used androstenedione, which McGwire admitted to using in '98, and little-used infielder Jay Canizaro estimated as many as 13 players on the '99 Giants were steroid users and that he was sure Bonds was a user because of the signs, including his body size and acne on his back. Canizaro said Bonds' trainer, Greg Anderson, gave him details about Bonds' steroid intake.

"The Giants that year were really out of control," Canizaro is quoted as saying.
However, he has already come out and said that he didn't say what was attributed to him.

Here's another quote from the book:
And in Bonds' case, it seemed to be working. According to the Society for American Baseball Research, the peak age for players with at least 200 career home runs is 27. After 30, a noticeable decline begins. At 35, the decline becomes a steep hill. But here was Bonds, at 35, hitting the ball harder and farther than ever. He started the 1999 season on a tear, leading the Giants with an April average of .366. "One of the things I noticed was how fast he was able to put the bat on the ball," says pitcher Russ Ortiz. "He could recognize the pitch well before he had to swing, and then he would get around so fast, so hard." Equally amazing was Bonds' indifference to fatigue. He could lift weights, play, lift more weights, then arrive early the next morning to pump more iron.

From my research and just general baseball knowledge, I have found at least three other hitters who fits the description that the author notes about after 35 peak: Ted Williams, Hank Aaron, and Darrell Evans. This is true if you measure by HR/AB or if you are going strictly by OPS or OPS+. So is he claiming that these three players were using as well? Or would he be willing to accept that, while most players deteriorate at any early age, Bonds and the others were outliers physically.

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