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The Truth About Barry Bonds and Steroids
Mark Fainaru-Wada
March 13, 2006
ON MAY 22, 1998, the San Francisco Giants arrived in St. Louis for a three-game series with the Cardinals. That weekend, Giants All-Star leftfielder Barry Bonds got a firsthand look at the frenzied excitement surrounding Mark McGwire, baseball's emerging Home Run King. � Bonds had recently remarried, but on this trip he was accompanied by his girlfriend, Kimberly Bell, a slender, attractive woman with long brown hair and brown eyes whom he had met four years earlier in the players' parking lot at Candlestick Park. Bell had been looking forward to the trip, and it was pleasant in many ways--a big hotel room with a view of St. Louis's famous arch; a wonderful seat eight rows behind home plate; and even tornado warnings, which were exotic to a California girl. But Bonds was sulky and brooding. A three-time National League MVP, he was one of the most prideful stars in baseball. All that weekend, though, he was overshadowed by McGwire.
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March 13, 2006

The Truth About Barry Bonds And Steroids

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"Insulin? I'm not a diabetic."

Bonds said he had paid Anderson $15,000 for supervising his weight training. "I paid him in cash," he testified. "I make 17 million."

At the end of the more than three-hour session, the grand jurors were given a chance to question the superstar. "With all the money you make, have you ever considered building a mansion" for Anderson, a grand juror asked.

"One, I'm black," Bonds replied. "And I'm keeping my money. And there's not too many rich black people in this world. There's more wealthy Asian people and Caucasian and white. And I ain't giving my money up."

With that, they were done. Nedrow seemed pleased. It had been a slow process, but the prosecutor understood why it had taken so long: When you know what a witness knows, and they won't tell you what you know they know, it takes more time.

Bonds, too, seemed to think that the session had gone well: He left the room confident that he had asserted control over the government's inquiry, just as he controlled his baseball team and, for that matter, most of the people in his life. His reputation had been preserved and his well-guarded secret had not been revealed.

But as the government would learn, Bonds and his inner circle hadn't been so discreet about his use of performance-enhancing drugs. By the time Bonds was subpoenaed before the BALCO grand jury, more than a dozen people either had been told directly that he was using banned drugs, had seen him using the drugs with their own eyes, or had been provided with information that made the conclusion he was doping inescapable.

On Oct. 26, 2005, the White Sox completed a World Series sweep of the Houston Astros, clinching Chicago's first championship since 1917. More than the end of an 88-year drought, the moment marked the exorcism of baseball's worst demon: the Black Sox scandal of 1919.

But there was a new scandal that posed an ongoing threat to the game. By last fall it was apparent to the general public that a great many players, including some of the major leagues' biggest stars, had been using steroids and other illegal drugs for years. Public opinion was divided about BALCO. Polls showed that the majority of fans considered baseball's steroid problem serious and wanted the cheaters punished. But those who were cynical about the game believed that BALCO was merely typical of a society driven to enhance its performance and appearance.

With the publication of Game of Shadows on March 27, however, it will be harder for even the most jaded fan to shrug off the use of drugs in sports. 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.

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