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Bonds exposed (cont.)

Posted: Tuesday March 7, 2006 12:55PM; Updated: Tuesday March 7, 2006 5:32PM
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In light of the latest accusations of Barry Bonds' steroid use, should his records and awards stand?
Yes, with an asterisk
No, wipe them out
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The preponderance of evidence is by far the most detailed and damning condemnation that Bonds, formerly a sleek five-tool player, built himself into a hulking, record-setting home run hitter at an advanced baseball age with a cornucopia of elaborate, illegally-administered chemicals. Through 1998, for instance, when he turned 34, Bonds averaged one home run every 16.1 at bats. Since then -- what the authors identify as the start of his doping regimen -- Bonds has hit home runs nearly twice as frequently (one every 8.5 at bats).

The authors describe how Bonds turned to steroids after the 1998 season because he was jealous of McGwire. Bonds hit 37 home runs in '98 -- a nice total and the fourth most of his career at that point -- but he was ignored by fans and the media who were captivated by McGwire's 70 home runs and his duel for the record with Sammy Sosa, who hit 66 that year.

According to the book, Bonds, in comments to his mistress, Kimberly Bell, often dismissed McGwire with racially-charged remarks such as, "They're just letting him do it because he's a white boy." But Bonds looked at McGwire and his hulking physique and decided he needed to dramatically increase his muscle mass to compete with him.

It was immediately after that 1998 season, the book said, that Bonds hooked up with Anderson, a gym rat known to obtain steroids and growth hormone from AIDS patients in San Francisco who were legally prescribed the drugs but sold them to make money. The authors write that the San Francisco Giants, Bonds' employer, would later discover through a background check that Anderson was connected to a gym that was known as a place to score steroids and that he was rumored to be a dealer. Yet the Giants -- who didn't want to upset their superstar -- continued to allow Anderson free reign about their ballpark and inside their clubhouse.

The authors write that Anderson started Bonds on Winstrol, also known as stanozolol, the longtime favorite steroid of bodybuilders, disgraced sprinter Ben  Johnson and baseball player Rafael Palmeiro. In 100 days, Bonds packed 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. But he also grew too big, too fast. He tore his triceps tendon, telling Bell that the steroids "makes me grow faster, but if you're not careful, you can blow it out."

The book said Anderson and Bonds subsequently tweaked the program, adding such drugs as the steroid Deca-Durabolin and growth hormone, which allowed Bonds to retain his energy and physique without rigorous training. Not only did the growth hormone keep him fresh, but after complaining in 1999 about difficulty tracking pitches, he noticed it improved his eyesight as well.

Bonds added more drugs after the 2000 season, when Anderson hooked up Bonds with BALCO and its founder, Conte, according to the authors. In addition to the Cream and the Clear, the steroids designed to be undetectable, Bonds took such drugs as Clomid, a women's infertility drug thought to help a steroid user recover his natural testosterone production, and Modafinil, a narcolepsy drug used as a powerful stimulant.