Smells like Cheez Whiz

So Barry Bonds is back. Well, whooped-de-freakin’-do.
I care more about my ex-girlfriend from five years ago than I do about Bonds’ return to Major League Baseball, which is under major league construction ever since those congressional hearings earlier this year where Rafael Palmeiro adamantly said, with a pointed finger, “I have never used steroids—Period!”
He put that finger back into his fat pocket when it was revealed he had used steroids—Period!
Bonds missed most of the season that is quickly dwindling down because of arthroscopic surgeries done since last season to clip torn cartilage (no major ligament damage, folks, just torn or frayed cartilage).
The Giants say a second surgery was required on one knee because Bonds accidentally hit it on a table at SBC Park before spring training.
The other theory is that the seven-time MVP pushed his rehab too hard because he was desperate to stay in monster shape in the tougher-testing era.
Now I’m no doctor, but most pro athletes return from ’scope surgery in two-four weeks. In fact, I’ve had friends who returned to “Get Jiggy With It” on the dance floor one week after getting scoped.
My friends didn’t need crutches but every time I saw Bonds on television, he looked like Gollum from “Lord of the Rings” the way he hung on to his precious crutches.
Now why is that?
Here’s a clue: How long does it take for steroids to wash out of a person’s body?
Answer: Probably as long as it took Bonds to finish “rehabing” his aching knees.
But how did Bonds go from being a player who people admired and revered to someone that’s now collecting boos? Well, let me introduce you to Mr. Victor Conte (sounds like a name for a villain on a soap opera).
He was the big chief of the BALCO labs of (where else?) San Francisco and when raided by federal authorities back in 2003, they found boatloads of designer steroids at his lab, which is where he “advised” professional athletes like Marion Jones, Tim Montgomery, Jason Giambi, and (who else?) Bonds.
Greg Anderson, who was the personal trainer for Bonds, also worked there. And when his home was raided, they found designer steroids, $60,000 in cash, and documents with the names of athletes, along with types of drugs and schedules.
Bonds’ name was on some of those documents.
Am I suggesting that Bonds is guilty of taking steroids simply due to his connection to Anderson and Conte? Maybe, but he is innocent until proven guilty.
The problem with that is there is no way to prove that Bonds is guilty.
Here’s the thing—Conte was charged with some pretty serious offences and was looking at jail time. As such, he was working harder than Michael Jackson’s P.R. guy to get some sort of deal where he wouldn’t have to go to jail and become somebody’s bride.
“He is willing to help resolve the problem now, before his information is revealed too late, at a future federal jury trial. For at trial, Mr. Conte will definitely testify and he will definitely tell the truth. And the world will definitely be listening,” wrote Conte’s lawyer, Robert Holley, in a letter to Prez Bush.
In the end, however, he was able to strike a bargain with some bigwigs in the courts (he pleaded guilty to money laundering and steroid distribution this summer) and so won’t go to the big house.
And because the case won’t go to trial, it’s much less likely that top athletes such as Bonds, Giambi, and Jones will be forced to testify about alleged drug use (Anderson got a six-month sentence after pleading guilty to the same charges).
The story looked like it was baseball’s “Watergate,” but Deep Throat wouldn’t toot the horn.
But get this—Bonds did take steroids.
He admitted as much to a grand jury in documents that were obtained by The San Francisco Chronicle Journal, but he says he didn’t know he was using a steroid.
And I believe him. I believe Bonds never knowingly took steroids, but do you?
Do you believe that Bonds—a man who studies his body the way a crime scene investigator studies a murder scene—would put any old thing into his body that his trainer, Anderson, told him to?
Here’s a guy that has his own nutritionist and knows the fat content of anything that goes into his body, yet says he really thought he was using “a rubbing balm for arthritis,” and not a steroid, as he told the grand jury.
But I’ll bet you a bottle of Conte’s flaxseed oil that he did know what he was using.
Do you believe that Bonds didn’t recognize Anderson’s handwriting in documents detailing his alleged performance-drug use?
“I have never seen anything written by Greg Anderson on a piece of paper,” he told the grand jury. Bonds only has known Anderson since they were kids and how many times do you get to see a friend’s handwriting?
Do you believe Bonds paid Anderson $15,000 for “weight-lifting services” and not for steroids—and paid it in cash because he didn’t want to leave a paper trail?
And do you believe it was just a crazy coincidence that Bonds went from hitting no more than 49 homers in a season to belting 73 in 2001, which is about the same time he befriended Conte and went from a 185-pound base runner, which Bonds was when he first entered the league back in 1986, to the 230-pound linebacker in a baseball uniform he is now?
I sure don’t.
So can we trust Bonds or is he as phony as Cheez Whiz? What’s your gut telling you?
emoutsatsos@fortfrances.com

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