Shadows details superstar slugger's steroid use
Posted: Tuesday March 7, 2006 12:55PM; Updated: Tuesday March 7, 2006 12:55PM
NEW YORK (SI.com) -- Beginning in 1998 with injections in his buttocks of Winstrol, a powerful steroid, Barry Bonds took a wide array of performance-enhancing drugs over at least five seasons in a massive doping regimen that grew more sophisticated as the years went on, according to Game of Shadows, a book written by two San Francisco Chronicle reporters at the forefront of reporting on the BALCO steroid distribution scandal.
(An excerpt of Game of Shadows that details Bonds' steroid use appears exclusively in the March 13 issue of Sports Illustrated, which is available on newsstands beginning on Wednesday. The book's publication date is March 27.)
The authors, Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams, describe in sometimes day-to-day, drug-by-drug detail how often and how deeply Bonds engaged in the persistent doping. For instance, the authors write that by 2001, when Bonds broke Mark McGwire's single-season home-run record (70) by belting 73, Bonds was using two designer steroids referred to as the Cream and the Clear, as well as insulin, human growth hormone, testosterone decanoate (a fast-acting steroid known as Mexican beans) and trenbolone, a steroid created to improve the muscle quality of cattle.
BALCO tracked Bonds' usage with doping calendars and folders -- detailing drugs, quantities, intervals and Bonds' testosterone levels -- that wound up in the hands of federal agents upon their Sept. 3, 2003 raid of the Burlingame, Calif., business.
Depending on the substance, Bonds used the drugs in virtually every conceivable form: injecting himself with a syringe or being injected by his trainer, Greg Anderson, swallowing pills, placing drops of liquid under his tongue, and, in the case of BALCO's notorious testosterone-based cream, applying it topically.
According to the book, Bonds gulped as many as 20 pills at a time and was so deeply reliant on his regimen that he ordered Anderson to start "cycles" -- a prescribed period of steroid use lasting about three weeks -- even when he was not due to begin one. Steroid users typically stop usage for a week or two periodically to allow the body to continue to produce natural testosterone; otherwise, such production diminishes or ceases with the continued introduction of synthetic forms of the muscle-building hormone.
Bonds called for the re-starting of cycles when he felt his energy and power start to drop. If Anderson told Bonds he was not due for another cycle, the authors write, Bonds would tell him, "F--- off, I'll do it myself.''
The authors compiled the information over a two-year investigation that included, but was not limited to, court documents, affidavits filed by BALCO investigators, confidential memoranda of federal agents (including statements made to them by athletes and trainers), grand jury testimony, audiotapes and interviews with more than 200 sources. Some of the information previously was reported by the authors in the Chronicle. Some of the information is new. For instance, in an extensive note on sourcing, the authors said memos detailing statements by BALCO owner Victor Conte, vice president James Valente and Anderson to IRS special agent Jeff Novitzky were sealed when they first consulted them, but have been unsealed since.