With Barry Bonds in Boston, there was a whole other spectacle outside of Dave Roberts’ return to Fenway this weekend. I went to Friday’s game and, let me tell you, both receptions were just as goosebump inspiring as expected.
Roberts got an emotional ovation in thanks for “the steal” and Bonds was roundly booed (and photographed) when he entered the batter’s box. And that’s pretty much Bonds in a nutsell: hated enough to warrant 35,000 fans to voice their displeasure, but so huge that the digi cams and picture phones were out in full force.
You hate Bonds, you say? Bet you didn’t miss one of his at-bats.
That said, instead of writing something on Barry (what is there that’s new?) I decided to paste an excerpt from a class presentation I did last year on Bonds and the BALCO scandel, detailing all the facts you may have forgotten or not even known in the first place while also showing how Bonds, despite his dickheadedness, clearly bears the brunt of an unfair investigation.
Very interesting stuff. Enjoy:
Presentation – 4/4
BALCO and Steroids scandel in the press
Issues: Press’ agenda against Barry Bonds
Get-rich quick reporting
BALCO – Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative.
-Headed by Victor Conte who recently served four months in prison.
-Revolutionized the production of anabolic steroids with “the clear” and “the cream,” new undetectable versions of steroids way ahead of testing standards.
-raided in September 2003 by federal agents. Subject of a federal investigation for months and agents found calendars, samples notebooks detailing workouts, etc.
Implicated, among others:
Barry Bonds, Gary Sheffield, Jason Giambi, Benito Santiago Randy Velarde.
Track – Marion Jones, Tim Montgomery
NFL – Bill Rominowski
Started a trial at the Grand Jury where all athletes were granted immunity, save for perjury.
Sealed Grand Jury testimony was somehow leaked to the San Francisco Chronicle. Reported that Bonds said he thought what he took was ‘flaxseed oil.’
Giambi – Admitted it. Ended up apologizing in Feb. 2005.
Sheffield said he “unknowingly took steroids.”
Yet press continues to focus solely on Bonds. Poor relationship with the press. Brash, standoffish, mean to the media. Don’t get along. Bond notoriously a dickhead.
Book by Jose Canseco in 2005.
Implicates Brett Boone, Raphael Palmero, Pudge Rodriguez and Juan Gonzalez.
Laughed at. Depicted as a money-hungry scumbag (which may be true) in scathing editorials.
However, fallout of Canseco’s book along with lingering BALCO investigation (agents raid Conte’s home the same year) leads to a series of congressional hearings.
McGwire – “I’m not here to discuss the past.”
Sosa – Somehow forgot how to speak English.
Palmerio: Pointed sternly at congressman and declared “I never took steroids.”
Fallout of ’05 season: Boone – released by 2 teams, now out of baseball. (.221 average)
Pudge – enters camp 20 pounds lighter – huge dips in all areas of production
Gonzalez – One atbat, hurt swinging. Has played 186 games in the past 4 seasons
Palmerio: Suspended in July for steroids, tested + in May, allowed to get his 3,000 hit. No investigation into how he was let to go for this long? Appeal process…
Two new books this year.
“Game of Shadows.” – The two San Francisco Chronicle writers who dealt with BALCO.
Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams
Detailing Bonds, Sheffield and Giambi, particularly Bonds – all over airwaves. On cover of SI.
In the excerpt in SI: “In addition to the revelations included here about Barry Bonds, the book examines, in startling detail, the systematic use of a wide array of illegal drugs by other major leaguers, NFL players and track and field athletes who, like Bonds, were performing at the very highest levels of their sport.”
No risk of libel. None of the athletes have denied it, all used steroids. But to this detail?
Get rich quick? Timing of the book – Less than a week before the regular season. Coincidence? Why was the majority of this information not published in the Chronicle? Isn’t that news? Libel rules different in book? Why was this book not scrutinized to the same extent as Canseco’s? Hearing it from someone who actually played, was in the clubhouse, detailed actual conversations he had vs. professional writers who spoke to anonymous sources.
Same exact week, another book – this excerpt in ESPN, appeared. It’s almost like a competition, who can bring down Bonds? Rat race of sorts.
What about Giambi – Former MVP. Sheffield – Potential Hall of Famer. Focus all on Bonds because of his poor relationship with media. McGwire broke HR records too.
Book in ESPN (May30, in stores). Jeff Pearlman “Love Me, Hate Me: Barry Bonds and the Making of an Antihero.” Pearlman details to a single night in the winter of 1998 when Bonds started to use steroids.
What month in winter? “Shadows” said started in 1998. If Dec., then he didn’t start until 1999.
He writes with such detail, why can’t he identify the exact night. How does he know it? He wasn’t there. “Associates” – Who? Griffey, when approached in the WBC, denied it.
This has all started the most recent investigation by Major League Baseball. The biggest independent probe into the sport since the Pete Rose scandal.
Headed by former Senate majority leader George Mitchell.
Mitchell, besides being on the Red Sox payroll, also Chairman of the Walt Disney Co., the parent company of ESPN, which has a huge deal with baseball.
ESPN obsessed with Bonds – Pedro Gomez, beat writer.
What will this investigation prove? MLB is giving into pressure. Can’t suspend people for what they did in the past. Steroids weren’t banned until 2002. Testing in 2004. If you suspend or asterisk stats, you have to go all the way back. Sosa, McGwire, Lenny Dystkra, Canseco, Ken Cammenetti.
Lance Armstrong vs. Barry Bonds
Lance Armstrong – investigation by French authorities into alleged doping practices.
Same thing as Bonds: Federal investigation
Neither has tested positive for steroids or blood doping.
Trainer tied to steroid, blood doping scam.
Both enlarged body parts: Bonds’ – head. Lance – heart.
But Bonds is chastised and Lance Armstrong hosts the ESPYs (!!) because:
A) Bonds plays America’s pastime
B) Lance overcame cancer
C) Lance is the stereotypical American hero
D) Lance is great with the media, great PR guy, very marketable
E) Perhaps because Lance is white?