Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
October 17, 2004
BASEBALL: The Net Tightens on Bonds
The evidence pointing to steroid use by Barry Bonds continues to build:
Trainer Greg Anderson, 38, who is Bonds' longtime friend and a defendant in the BALCO steroids conspiracy case, also said on the recording that he expected to receive advance warning before the San Francisco Giants superstar had to submit to a drug test under what was then baseball's new steroids-testing program.
The recording is the most direct evidence yet that Bonds used performance-enhancing drugs during his drive to break the storied record for career home runs. Major League Baseball banned the use of steroids beginning with the 2003 season. It has long been illegal to use them without a doctor's prescription.
"The whole thing is, everything that I've been doing at this point, it's all undetectable," Anderson said on the recording of the drug he was providing Bonds. "See the stuff I have, we created it, and you can't buy it anywhere else, can't get it anywhere else, but you can take it the day of (the test), pee, and it comes up perfect."
There was another reason the trainer was confident that Bonds' drug use would escape detection: Anderson said he would be tipped off a week or two before Bonds was subjected to steroid testing.
"It's going to be in either the end of May or beginning of June, right before the All-Star break, definitely," he was recorded saying. "So after the All-Star break, f -- , we're like f -- ing clear."
Now, if this tape is authentic, that would certainly strongly suggest wrongdoing on Anderson's part, and the high likelihood that Bonds was in on it (he certainly benefitted from it). Anderson's and Bonds' lawyers are denying the tape's authenticity, as you would expect. I regard this as the first sign that we have enough to move the debate about Bonds - which has thus far seemed to me to be based on speculation rather than evidence, even if it's speculation I tend to sympathize with - into the open.
Bonds is rapidly approaching one of baseball's most hallowed records. Hopefully, if the evidence surfaces to show that he has used illegal performance-enhancing drugs, MLB can stop him before he gets there, rather than have the record tainted. On the other hand, one wishes there was some way that, if Bonds is actually clean, he could be definitively cleared of all this. But we are rapidly reaching the point where the skeptical fan may start to believe the charges.