The Evolution of a Cheater
By Sarah Leugers, DERF Sports Columnist
Stage 1: First 6 years with Pirates
Here, Barry’s a little underdeveloped, yes. He doesn’t have any “musculature” to speak of, nor does it appear that he’s properly “nourished” with “food.” But I don’t see any flies nesting on his eyeballs and his belly doesn’t seem distended. So I guess he summoned the power of his daily gruel to get his consistent base hits, doubles, and occasional home runs. With the Pirates, he was a great contributor, winning several Golden Gloves and two MLB MVP awards—no minor accomplishments.
Stage 2: Pre-Cheater Giant
Donning a glitzy smile and a porn star ‘stash, Bonds moved back to the Bay Area to play for his hometown Giants. Throughout the 1990s, Bonds tore it up, earning great stats, but never the respect he thought he deserved. This came to a pinnacle in 1998 when Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire ignited a media frenzy with their single-season home run race.
That’s when a hater was born. Envious of the attention and accolades showered on the two sluggers, Barry started juicing, as the darker side of his competitiveness showed its face—its ever-growing-larger face.
Stage 3: Jolly Green Giant
Immediately after that 1998 season, Bonds met Greg Anderson, a trainer who got steroids and growth hormone from AIDS patients in San Francisco. Yes, AIDS patients.
In just 100 days, Bonds threw on 15 pounds of muscle, and at age 35 hit home runs at the best rate of his career, once every 10.4 at bats. Hmmmm… The words “cheater,” “cheater,” and “pumpkin eater” come to mind.
On most mornings during training, his ex-girlfriend says Bonds would grab his “man bag”—similar—to a European carry-all, I think—and summon trainer Greg Anderson. “I’ve got to go talk to him for a minute,” Bonds would say, and then they would go into the master bedroom and close the door. Greg would then give him injections, which may or may not have included the hot beef variety.
Bonds had become so rude that the only people willing to hang out with him were his employees. During an interview he threw a barb at Bob Costas, who he called “a little midget who doesn’t know jack shit about baseball.” Funny sentiment, I just wish it had been directed at Jim Gray. It was also during this time that he, allegedly, started warning teammates that “they wouldn’t like him when he’s angry.”
Bonds’s physical changes during this time were consistent with steroid use. His head grew several sizes. I’m pretty sure he could wear Burt Reynolds’ hat on SNL Celebrity Jeopardy. Then the backne and the sexual dysfunction, other common side effects.
When Bonds was finally summoned to court, his testimony was reminiscent of Bill Clinton. Full of avoidance and dismissive semantics. Prosecutors quizzed Bonds about doping calendars and test results they found, all pulled from folders marked with Bonds’ name. Did the notations “Growth” and “G” mean Bonds had been taking human growth hormone?
“I don’t know what G is,” he replied. What about Erythropoietin, an endurance-boosting drug? “I couldn’t even pronounce it.”
The prosecutors also asked Bonds about a calendar entry, “Barry 12-2-02 T, 1CC G — pee.” Did that mean on Dec. 2, 2002, Bonds used testosterone and growth hormone and then gave a urine sample for a private drug test?
“T could mean anything. G could mean anything. And pee could probably mean anything.” When asked later if he thought Michael Jackson was guilty of touching young boys, he replied, “Some people say cucumbers taste better pickled.” Bonds then disappeared in a puff of smoke.
When he did ultimately fail a drug test in 2006, Bonds blamed the test result on teammate Mark Sweeney, saying he got the substance from Sweeney’s locker. So now he’s not only a cheater, he’s an asshole.
So I’m not disappointed that when he broke Hank Aaron’s storied record, Commissioner Bud Selig couldn’t fit it in his schedule to make it to the game. He said he couldn’t miss the new episode of Bronx is Burning on ESPN2. Dumb luck, that. I just wish he would have broken it in LA, where there MAY have been an assassination attempt.
Maybe I’m jealous because I haven’t been interested in the Reds since Griffey was going for 500. Bengals training camp drew bigger crowds than Great American. Imagine what it’s like as a sportswriter in the summer when the only interesting local story is recommending changes in the Reds coaching staff (keep Dick Pole though—that’s the only layup I’ve got.)
Bring on the Bengals! Please.
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