Bonds on Steroids?
San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds, New York Yankees stars Jason Giambi and Gary Sheffield and three other major league baseball players received steroids from a Burlingame nutritional supplement lab, federal investigators were told.
The baseball stars allegedly got the illegal performance-enhancing drugs from the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative through Greg Anderson, Bonds’ personal weight trainer and longtime friend, according to information furnished the government and shared with The Chronicle.
In addition to Bonds, Giambi and Sheffield, the other baseball players said to have received steroids from BALCO via Anderson were two former Giants, outfielder Marvin Benard and catcher Benito Santiago, and a former A’s second baseman, Randy Velarde.
Oakland Raiders linebacker Bill Romanowski also was said to have received performance-enhancing drugs.
Anderson allegedly obtained a so-called designer steroid known as “the clear” and a testosterone-based steroid known as “the cream” from BALCO and supplied the substances to all six baseball players, the government was told. In addition, Bonds was said to have received human growth hormone, a powerful substance that legally cannot be distributed without a prescription, investigators were told.
Agents obtained the information about the baseball players and illegal drugs last September during a probe that resulted in the indictment of Anderson, BALCO owner Victor Conte and two other Bay Area men on steroid conspiracy charges.
The information shared with The Chronicle did not explicitly state that the athletes had used the drugs they were said to have obtained. Bonds, who is baseball’s single-season home-run king, and Giambi, who won the American League Most Valuable Player award when he was with the Oakland Athletics, have publicly denied using steroids. So has Sheffield. All three declined to discuss the matter Monday.
Most of these men are massive–and substantially more so than in their youth. Romanowski tested positive for a steroid not then on the NFL’s banned substances list last season. Bonds, Sheffield and Giambi have denied steroid use and they certainly have amazingly strenuous year-round-workout programs.
Clearly, though, MLB needs a testing regime now. Fair or not, the bottom line is these suspicions exist and many widely assume that the players are on performance enhancing drugs. Testing will allow them to prove otherwise. While that stands our notions of fairness on its head, I don’t know how else to do it.
David Pinto has more