Northern California baseball fans get to renew their love-hate relationship with Barry Bonds this weekend while the Miami Marlins are in town for a three-game series with the Giants.
Bonds is the team’s hitting coach, the only baseball job he could get after the Giants and practically everybody else in the game gave him the cold shoulder when he retired. Some people think that’s a good example of how karma works.
Bonds spent 22 years in the big leagues–15 of them in San Francisco–and retired in 2007 with the career record of 762 home runs. He packed the house when AT&T Park opened in 2000, and was a fan favorite for his ability to deliver the big hit in clutch situations.
Less well-known to most fans–maybe they just chose to ignore it–was that Bonds was a Prima Donna and first-class jerk who demanded special attention and kid-gloves treatment. The team was fed-up with Bonds when his contract expired in 2007, and made no effort to resign him.
Since nobody else was interested in letting him play, he had to retire. Some people think that was payback for the bad karma he created, but his forced retirement was also caused by an investigation of allegations that he had been using illegal performance enhancing drugs since at least 1998.
Bonds denied to a grand jury that he used illegal drugs, which prompted federal prosecutors to convene another grand jury in 2006 to consider perjury charges against him. The key witness in the case was Greg Anderson, a friend since high school who became Bonds’ personal trainer and allegedly supplied him with performance enhancers from an outfit called BALCO. But Anderson refused to testify, and was sent to jail for more than a year for contempt of court.
Anderson allegedly started supplying drugs to Bonds while working as a trainer at World Gym in Burlingame. I worked out at that gym from 1998 until we moved to Nevada County in 2000 and while I didn’t know Anderson, I did see Bonds there on two different occasions, apparently looking for somebody.
I found it odd that he would be at such a place before 7 a.m. World Gym was housed in a converted warehouse, hardly the kind of high-end place people like Bonds patronize. I also knew that he was living in the Palo Alto Hills area at time, about 20 miles from Burlingame.
What’s he doing here, I asked myself as I drove past a place called BALCO on my way home.
WELL, DID HE? I have no idea if Bonds used performance-enhancing drugs, but I suggest you take a look at pictures of him when he was a Pittsburgh Pirate, when he retired in 2007, and today. Notice how his head seems to swell and then contract over the years. What might cause that?