A great story on Barry Bonds’ history of steroid use broke today on SI.com. You can read it here. What’s amazing is not just what he did, but how indirectly complicit the Giants’ organization and Major League Baseball were in all this. It was painfully obvious what he and McGwire were doing, and baseball did nothing about it. Regardless of the larger implications of all this, Bonds’ attitude has been laughable in the face of all the accusations. There are likely reams upon reams of proof of his actions, but I don’t have to look any farther than this picture of him in 1998 to see the painfully obvious difference in physique.
“They’re just letting him do it because he’s a white boy,” Bonds said of McGwire and his chase of Maris’s record. The pursuit by Sosa, a Latin player from the Dominican Republic, was entertaining but doomed, Bonds declared. As a matter of policy, “they’ll never let him win,” he said.
Anderson didn’t like to talk about another downside. Anyone who worked for Bonds had to take a great deal of abuse. If Bonds told you to do something, you had to drop everything and do it. If you were slow to comply or if you tried to explain why it wasn’t such a good idea, Bonds would get right up in your face, snarling, calling you a “punk bitch,” repeating what he wanted and saying, “Did I f—— stutter?” You had to suck it up and take the abuse and the humiliation — everyone did.
After Bonds returned from the offseason having gained 15 pounds of pure muscle:
Sportswriters didn’t press the question. Most attributed the changes in Bonds’s body to a heavy workout regimen, as though a 34-year-old man could gain 15 pounds of muscle in 100 days without drugs. The Giants, from owner Peter Magowan to manager Dusty Baker, had no interest in learning whether Bonds was using steroids, either. Although it was illegal to use the drugs without a prescription, baseball had never banned steroids. Besides, by pursuing the issue, the Giants ran the risk of poisoning their relationship with their touchy superstar — or, worse, of precipitating a drug scandal the year before the opening of their new ballpark, where Bonds was supposed to be the main gate attraction.
Bonds had never seen the ropes on the field before. “What the f— is this?” he demanded of the security guards. They told him the ropes were for McGwire. Furious, Bonds began knocking the ropes down. “Not in my house!” he said.
The Giants’ training staff wanted nothing to do with Bonds’s three trainers and urged management to ban them from the clubhouse, according to a source familiar with the conversation. The Giants had unofficial background checks done on Bonds’s trainers and learned that World Gym was known as a place to score steroids and that Anderson himself was rumored to be a dealer. But the club decided it didn’t want to alienate Bonds on this issue, either. The trainers stayed.
Bonds’s physical changes during this time were consistent with steroid use. His hair fell out, and he began shaving his head. Perhaps it was her imagination, but the head itself seemed to be getting larger, and the plates of his skull bones stood out in bold relief. Bonds’s back broke out in acne, and he would stand in front of the bathroom mirror and say, “Oh, my God, I don’t know where this is coming from.” Bonds also suffered sexual dysfunction, another common side effect of steroid use.
Weak or not, players still feared getting caught. Bonds despised the thought of being exposed as a drug cheat. He wanted no part of the humiliation he might endure if his status as the game’s premier player were called into question. But Anderson guaranteed that Bonds was protected. “The whole thing is, everything I’ve been doing, it’s all undetectable,” he would say during the spring of 2003, when he described Bonds’s drug use to an acquaintance who was secretly wearing a wire. “The stuff I have, we created it. You can’t buy it anywhere else, you can’t get it anywhere else. You can take [it] the day of [a drug test], pee, and it comes up clear.
“See, like Marion Jones and them — it’s the same stuff they went to the Olympics with and they test them every f—— week. So that’s why I know it works, so that’s why I know we’re not in trouble. So that’s cool.”
BALCO head Victor Conte
Bell was frightened. He left, and she went back to Arizona two days later without seeing him. They saw each other once more, when the Giants were in Phoenix to play the Diamondbacks at the end of May, and on his way out of town, he called her from the airport.
“You have to do something for me,” Bonds said. “You need to disappear.”
“What do you mean?” Bell said. “For how long?”
“Did I f—– stutter?” Bonds replied. “Maybe forever.”
Bell became angry. “Are you going to make your girlfriend in New York disappear too?” she asked.
“At the end of [the] 2002, 2003 season, when I was going through [a bad period,] my dad died of cancer…. I was fatigued, just needed recovery you know, and this guy says, ‘Try this cream, try this cream,'” he said. “And Greg came to the ballpark and said, you know, ‘This will help you recover.’ And he rubbed some cream on my arm … gave me some flaxseed oil, man. It’s like, ‘Whatever, dude.'”
This is all from a book due out, Game of Shadows, about the whole baseball/steroids mess. I think this is probably just the start of the tarnishing of a good many professional athlete careers. Most importantly, it will get that preening a**hole Barry Bonds enough negative media attention to drive him nuts. I’m sure he’ll make the same defiant dismissal of the charges against him, painting himself as the poor, misunderstood good guy, kept down by the racist media. Whatever, Barry.