Barry Bonds Used Steroids
***Update (3/7/06): See Barry Bonds Started Steroids after McGwire-Sosa Chase***
The big shoe is apparently dropping in the Major League Baseball steroids scandal:
Barry Bonds testified to a grand jury that he used a clear substance and a cream given to him by a trainer who was indicted in a steroid-distribution ring, but said he didn’t know they were steroids, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Friday. Bonds told a U.S. grand jury that he used undetectable steroids known as “the cream” and “the clear,” which he received from personal trainer Greg Anderson during the 2003 season. According to Bonds, the trainer told him the substances were the nutritional supplement flaxseed oil and a pain-relieving balm for the player’s arthritis.
According to government attorneys, BALCO founder Victor Conte has identified the designer steroid THG as “the clear.” A testosterone-based ointment was identified as “the cream.” Olympic sprinter Tim Montgomery testified that Conte used flaxseed oil containers to send “the clear” to athletes. According to a transcript of Bonds’ Dec. 4, 2003, testimony reviewed by the Chronicle, prosecutors confronted the slugger with documents allegedly detailing the steroids he used — “the cream,” “the clear,” human growth hormone, Depo-Testosterone, insulin and a drug for female infertility that can be used to mask steroid use.
Bonds said that, to his knowledge, Anderson had only given him legal drugs to treat his arthritis and fatigue, which were especially bad when the Giants would play a day game after a night game. He said the trainer brought the substances to the Giants’ clubhouse, where Bonds would use them. “It was in the ballpark … in front of everybody,” Bonds testified. “I mean, all the reporters, my teammates. I mean, they all saw it. I didn’t hide it.” However, Bonds testified that the products didn’t help ease his suffering, and eventually he stopped using them. “And I was like, to me, it didn’t even work,” he said. “You know me, I’m 39 years old. I’m dealing with pain. All I want is pain relief, you know? And you know, to recover, you know, night games to day games. That’s it. And I didn’t think the stuff worked. I was like, ‘Dude, whatever,’ but he was my friend. “… If it’s a steroid, it’s not working,” he told the grand jury.
Bonds is a bright guy who works incredibly hard to maintain his physical conditioning and almost surely monitors everything he puts into his body. It’s hard to believe that he was taking steroids and didn’t know it. I have no doubt that he’s in incredible pain; 162 games a year for that many years puts a toll on a man. But Anderson is a shady character. Caveat emptor and all that.
Regardless, Bonds been one of the best players in the game every year since he was winning Most Valuable Player awards as a Pittsburgh Pirate fifteen years ago:
(And, even as an Atlanta Braves fan, it was rather clear that Bonds should have won the MVP in 1991 rather than Terry Pendleton, even with the remarkable “worst to first” performance of the Braves that year.) If the Chronicle story of the leaked grand jury testimony is correct, Bonds didn’t start taking these enhancement products until the late 1990s. It’s not the “juice” that’s hitting those balls into McCovey Cove. Bonds is a freak of nature and arguably the best player in the game’s history. It’s a shame that this issue will always cloud his legacy.