Saturday, April 2, 2011

Sports Q&A: Bonds: ‘Roids, Tabloids, Freakazoids

By Jeffrey Boswell

Barry Bonds' perjury trial is underway, over seven years after Bonds allegedly lied in front of a grand jury. The trial is undoubtedly newsworthy, but will the tabloid nature of the subject matter rocket the United States vs. Barry Bonds case into the stratosphere of sensationalistic courtroom drama?

How can it not be? You can cut the circus atmosphere with a gavel. Think the trail won't be a circus? Think again. Someone mentioned "big top" the other day outside the courtroom, and they weren't talking about Bonds' enlarged head.

Less than a week into the trial, and already the jury has heard testimony involving gallons of urine, enlarged heads and feet, and shrinking testicles. Given the details, how can we reasonably expect a jury to render a verdict, much less a straight face. Contrary to what Bonds says, you can't make this stuff up. And with countless witnesses set to testify, or having already testified, about the proliferation of performance-enhancing drugs in baseball, the potential abounds for the spectacle to become a zoo, a 'PED-ing zoo,' if you will.

In addition, Bonds' mistress, Kimberly Bell, shocked the courtroom and pleased the tabloids with allegations that Bonds threatened to cut her head off, cut out her breast implants, and burn her house down. Those are terrifyingly severe threats; luckily, thanks to the side effects of a regimen of drugs, Bonds didn't have the balls to follow through on them. However, Bonds isn't on trial for communicating threats. He's on trial for perjury, and Bell's claims paint a picture of a man whose disposition changed, just as dramatically as his hat and shoe sizes, despite his adamant insistence that he didn't knowingly take steroids.

Does Bonds have any ground on which to stand that's not littered with syringes and empty tubes of mysterious creams and ointments? If his defense team can convince the jury that no one in their right mind would use drugs that enlarge the head and feet, but not the penis, then they could be onto something. Chances are, the jury won't buy this argument, and will instead be easily convinced that Bonds was so obsessed with home run records that he willingly forfeited a little testicle diameter in exchange for a bigger head, bigger feet, greater strength, and faster bat speed. That's what you call "sacrifice fly."

There's a cavalcade of evidence against Bonds, and his public image is in tatters, so it seems his case is not one of "innocent until proven guilty," but "guilty until proven guiltier." And the evidence in the trial not only has far-reaching legal implications, but equally comic implications, as well. Bonds' steroid hell is everyone else's tabloid heaven. Below are some possible examples of what has been said, or what will soon be said, in the luridly spectacular trial.

"We're not here to argue whether Bonds did or did not lie to a grand jury. We readily admit that he did, at the Cannes Film Festival." Bonds defense team throws a shocker in the courtroom, admitting that Bonds lied to a grand jury, but not the grand jury. The defense also drops the heretofore unknown fact that Bonds is a regular on the international film festival circuit.

"If that's the case, then we would like to introduce evidence that Billy Bob Thornton received human growth hormone injections from Bonds' trainer Greg Anderson at Sundance in 2006." The prosecution's quick rebuttal to the defense's previous claim.

"Rub this on me and stick me here." Who said this? Take your pick, of any baseball player who has ever hit 40 or more home runs in a season after never previously topping 20.

"Is it true they called Greg Anderson "Hemorrhoid" because he gave 'him a 'roid' and 'him a 'roid' and 'him a 'roid?'" The prosecution grills yet another player who witnessed Anderson distributing steroids to various major leaguers.

"Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don't."These words were probably uttered by the honorable judge Susan Illston upon deliberating whether or not to allow testimony from Bonds former mistress Kimberly Bell involving his testicles. Headlines in several news sources the following day read "Juggling Balls."

"Baby got back-ne." Former San Francisco Giants trainer Stan Conte likely uttered these words to describe the back acne he noticed on Bonds before the 2000 season, when Bonds had clearly bulked up.

"As far as truth-telling goes, Barry Bonds is 'Public Enemy No. 1.' Now, to establish the chain of custody of the most famous urine sample in history, we want to know, at the time, who had public enemy's 'No. 1?'" The prosecution questions a lab employee to reaffirm that the chain of custody was never broken.

"I love Cream. And I love Clear. They're two of my all-time favorite bands." Should Bonds testify, this might be as straight of an answer anyone will get from him regarding his use of steroid-masking drugs.

"Are you familiar with the music of Flaxseed Oil and Arthritis Cream?" The prosecution's response, revealing that two can play that game.

"I'm not here to talk about the past." Mark McGwire makes a cameo at the trial.

"Bonds played for Arizona State. He played for the Pittsburgh Pirates. And he played for the San Francisco Giants. He's most famous, however, for playing "dumb." The prosecution appeals to the jury that it's inconceivable that Bonds, or anyone for that matter, could "unknowingly" take steroids that many times.

"We contest the notion that shrinking testicles is a side effect of steroid abuse. On the contrary, we contend that a major side effect of being awesome is an enlarged scrotum." Bonds' lawyer Allen Ruby tries to convince the jury that Bell was mistaken in her assessment of Bonds' testicles, arguing that a bigger scrotum would clearly explain her incorrect observations.

"You know what they say about men with big heads and big feet? They're guilty." It's the prosecution's coup de grĂ¢ce, and to nail down their point, they produce a Bonds' hat and a pair of shoes, as well as an oversized foam finger, which the lead prosecutor uses to point directly at each and every juror.

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