Marion Jones and them--it's the same stuff they went to the Olympics with and
they test them every f------ week. So that's why I know it works, so that's why
I know we're not in trouble. So that's cool."
Bonds started 2003
more slowly than Anderson would have liked. In May he was hitting around .280
and was only fifth in the league in home runs. Anderson blamed a rare loss of
self-confidence and intensity.
"He thinks the
magic's gone, [that] he doesn't have it any more," Anderson said on the
tape. "It's generated by his mind. He's afraid he's like losing it, but
like I told him, he's way too nice. Talking to reporters, being way too
nice--be an a------ again! Every time he's an a------, it just f------ works.
He f------ plays good because he's being himself."
After the All-Star
Game, Bonds broke out, as Anderson had predicted he would. For the year he hit
.341 with 45 home runs and won his third straight Most Valuable Player award.
The runner-up for MVP was the Cardinals' new star Albert Pujols, who was 23. It
was as though Bonds were ageless--at 39 he put up better numbers than he had
when in his prime with the Pirates; better numbers, in fact, than at any time
before he hooked up with Anderson.
Early in the 2003
season, Bonds decided it was time for Kimberly Bell to disappear. His promise
to buy her a house in Scottsdale, made so casually that night in spring
training 2001, had created financial headaches for the multimillionaire
athlete. By any conventional measure, Bonds was wealthy. But his pay from the
Giants and his investment income went to his accountants, who paid his income
taxes and child support, kept him on a strict allowance and wrote financial
reports that his wife could see. If Bonds had used that money to buy a house in
Scottsdale, the accountants would ask questions and Liz would find out. So
Bonds had planned to use the cash from memorabilia sales and autograph
sessions, where he received income in cash and didn't report it to the IRS.
During the 2001 season he would sit in a hotel for hours, signing balls as fast
as he could to raise cash for Bell's house. By the end of the season, Bonds had
given her $80,000. She made a down payment on a house in Scottsdale, then quit
her job and moved to the desert.
There were nothing
but problems after that. In New York, Bonds had met a centerfold model from
Eastern Europe, according to a source familiar with Bonds, and began flying the
model instead of Bell to road games. Bonds was spending too much money on the
model to afford house payments in Arizona. Bell became frantic as she went
deeper in debt to keep up the payments. (She would eventually sell the house
and move back to the Bay Area.)
unraveled on May 2, 2003, the start of a series against the Reds at Pac Bell.
Bell said her flight from Arizona was late, and when she arrived at the room in
the Westin Airport Hilton where Bonds was waiting for her, he was livid. She
had blown his whole schedule for the day. She tried to apologize, but by her
account, he put his hand around her throat, pressed her against the wall, and
whispered, "If you ever f-----' pull some s--- like that again I'll kill
you, do you understand me?"
frightened. He left, and she went back to Arizona two days later without seeing
him. They saw each other once more, when the Giants were in Phoenix to play the
Diamondbacks at the end of May, and on his way out of town, he called her from
"You have to
do something for me," Bonds said. "You need to disappear."
"What do you
mean?" Bell said. "For how long?"