SI.com caught up with SI senior writer Tom Verducci to talk about the reaction around baseball to the latest news and allegations involving Barry Bonds.
SI.com: What was the reaction around Giants camp yesterday as the news broke about the upcoming book, Game of Shadows?
Tom Verducci: Shock would be an appropriate way to describe it. They had no idea it was coming, especially Barry Bonds. The Giants' p.r. rep told Bonds as he was finishing batting practice and a couple of minutes later I was at his locker with some other reporters to ask him about the book excerpt. Bonds was clearly back on his heels. He was clearly surprised. And that's when he said, "Why would I read that book? I don't need to. Why would I?" Then he walked away. He was so caught off guard he didn't know what to do. There was none of his usual defiance in him, he wasn't combative. The fact that Bonds would say, "Why would I need to read it, what for?" is patently absurd. We're talking about his professional reputation on the line. But clearly he didn't have the time to put together any sort of rebuttal or spin with his lawyers and other people.
SI.com: What would you say to somebody who still doubts Bonds' use of steroids after reading this exhaustively researched material in Shadows?
Verducci: That they are living in some other world that is not part of this reality. There are people who had read or knew the details of the Dowd Report in 1989 and wanted to believe Pete Rose never bet on baseball. Part of being a fan is being a fanatic, and in this case, being a fanatic is putting that person above the truth. You may find people who are attacking the methodology of the reporters or some miniscule facts about the case, but after reading this, to deny that Bonds was using performance-enhancing drugs really stretches the imagination.
SI.com: Should commissioner Bud Selig and Major League Baseball launch their own investigation into steroid use in baseball, or is the horse too far out of the barn on this issue?
Verducci: Baseball should have launched an investigation years ago. It took Congress and a couple of reporters from San Francisco to ask the question baseball should have been asking. It's fairly obvious Selig doesn't want to touch the Steroid Era with a 10-foot pole. Anybody waiting for Selig to do anything with the record book should give up hope. What he needs to do is answer this question, "Do you believe Barry Bonds used performance-enhancers? As the commissioner of baseball, Selig can answer, "Yes," without having to touch the record books.
SI.com: With Major League Baseball basking in record-breaking revenues seemingly every year now, is this a case of "Let the good times roll" for Selig?
Verducci: These are two separate issues. The game is more popular than it ever has been. There is no doubt about that. Barry Bonds' steroid use really does not have anything to do with the game's popularity at this point. For Selig, steroids will continue to come up whether he chooses to ignore the issue or not, such as on the day Bonds passes Babe Ruth or chases down Hank Aaron, or in December when the Hall of Fame ballot comes out with Mark McGwire on it. The steroid issue is here to stay. There are millions of bones buried and over the years a lot of archeology will be done and they will come to the surface. This is an issue Selig will have to answer to as long as he's commissioner.