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Lance Williams on Barry Bonds

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Posted on Dec 7, 2007
Barry Bonds
Aislin, The Montreal Gazette

By James Harris

(Page 4)

Harris: In your recent story about Barry Bonds there was a quote from Bonds, I think in 2003, and it says, “If I’m stronger, it doesn’t matter; I’ve still got to be able to hit the baseball.”

Williams: Mmm.

Harris: True?

Williams: Yeah, that’s true.  The drugs don’t take an average person and make them into a superior athlete.  What they do is take a really good athlete and make them better.  If you can hit the ball with more power, hit it harder, it’s going to go farther.  That stands to reason.  But certainly he was a wonderful baseball player before he ever turned to the banned drugs.  I can’t imagine he would still be playing today without the assistance of banned drugs.  He’s 43 years old but had a really good career before he turned to that.  The future is a process.  If he decides to go to trial, we’ll have six to nine months of legal motions, perhaps an attempt to satisfy the indictment and then, if that fails, go to trial and, my goodness, that’ll be just a heck of a story.  I can’t even imagine.  You have the prospect of him having to take the witness stand.  He doesn’t have the legal requirement to use it, but usually to beat a perjury case you have to put the guy on and he’s got to say, “Hey, I didn’t do it,” or “Here’s what I thought I was being asked,” or whatever.  So it’ll just be fascinating.

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Harris: We’ll all be watching.  That may become the trial of the new century.  But what you say about taking the stand, remember, O.J. [Simpson]  never took the stand to say “I didn’t do it.”

Williams:  Yeah, no.  It’s true.  He [Bonds] might be able to avoid it.  It just depends on how the evidence rolls in.  I don’t know these lawyers very well.  I just think it’ll be fascinating to watch, and I’m just so happy it’s not about me now.

Harris: Me too.  I don’t think journalists are fit for prison, Lance, so I’m glad, too.  I’m glad it’s not you.

Williams: I don’t want to be sitting up there anymore.

Harris: A final thought.  Let’s imagine a year into the future, let’s say Bonds is guilty.  And I think it’s pretty clear—maybe some would say as clear as O.J.‘s case was before that was decided.  Let’s say that he’s guilty.

Williams: Mm-hmm.

Harris: Should baseball tear his records down or should they settle for an asterisk?

Williams: They’ve never done that, really.  They’ve tried it with [Roger] Maris’ record for a few years and abandoned it.  You can still look in the books and see the number of Shoeless Joe Jackson, who was involved in the Black Sox scandal, or Pete Rose, who was banned from the game for betting on it.  Their numbers are still in the books.  I just don’t think that’s where this is headed.  It would be extraordinary if they did that.  I think more likely where the judgment will be passed is going to be on whether he gets in the Hall of Fame or not.  But I think his numbers will be in the book until somebody surpasses him.  He’ll be the home run king until that day.

Harris: Final thought from me is, I think you’re right and I think that baseball is looking for something to blame their problems on and I think that they are losing a market share, not because of the steroids scandal and not because of the work that you guys did, but because people just aren’t interested in America’s game like they used to be.

Williams: It could be.  It’s an acquired taste and many of us have acquired it.  I think baseball still has quite a future if it can get a handle on this particular problem.  If it can’t, forget it, but if it can wrap its arms around it and convince people that it’s serious about letting the athletes play drug-free, I think there’ll be a lot of people watching games.

Harris: Lance Williams, San Francisco Chronicle writer and author of “Game of Shadows: Barry Bonds, BALCO, and the Steroids Scandal That Rocked Professional Sports.”  Pick up a copy if you don’t already have one.  How are book sales on that one, Lance?

Williams: I’ve been really pleased.  They’ve sold a couple of hundred thousand hardbacks in the last year and a half, and that’s 10 times as many as I ever thought.

Harris: I want to talk to you off-air about a loan, by the way.

Williams: I wish you made more money selling books.  Unfortunately, it’s more of a labor of love.  I’ve just been happy with the experience.  So there you are.

Harris: All right.  Thanks for spending time on Truthdig, and maybe we can check in as the trial gets under way.

Williams: My pleasure.

Harris: All right, Lance.  For Lance Williams, this is James Harris, and this is Truthdig.


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By rage, December 29, 2007 at 10:34 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Since when is it a crime for the President of the United States to get blown under his desk by a willing consenting intern who is of legal age? I’ll give you that it’s amoral, sinful, and the true mark of an infidel. But, there is nothing statutory on the books labeling the act a crime. Furthermore, impeaching Big Dog for lying about having his wick waxed was a waste of tax-payer money. What infidel do you know who would have confessed to having cheated on his wife on the job with a twenty-something intern? It’s not like thousands of executive officers throughout the American corporatocracy aren’t just as guilty of the same charge. Rarely, though, even after indisputably establishing overwhelming substantiation of the low-life cheater’s guilt, do the guilty get more than divorced.

Get over it. In the end, all you canting smug selfrighteous self-appointed agents of God Almighty will not judge the masses for lying. Actually, tarring and feathering liars is illegal and prosecutable by law as criminal aggravated assault and battery. I know, it is so unfair.

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By rage, December 28, 2007 at 3:39 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

With the Mitchell Report naming so many big names, does Bonds really make much of a difference?

A myriad of baseball stars whose names weren’t mentioned have abused steroids and human growth hormone to give body mass to their skill. Most, if not all of them, in and out of the Mitchell Report or simple public scrutiny, have lied about the “clear” at some point.

Sure, we selfrighteously want to hold these guys to a higher standard. They, after all, are the over compensated role models raising our children. We don’t want our kids cheating, as it were, to sate the fans griping whines for faster pitches and longers hits out of the park. Yet, baseball, especially after the 1996 strike, was a very bland form of entertainment, when there were no floating asterixes to inject excitment of 60 or 70 homers in a single season. Anabolic steroids and human growth hormone fixed all that for us. We were all screaming in glee when Sosa and McGuire went after the Marris record of 61 homers in a season. Fast pitches. A lot of long balls. A bunch of regular-built guys that suddenly beefed up to shame Mr. Universe? These guys suddenly became the men little boys wanted to be when they grew up.

The fact remains that most of these baseballers still had to have a great deal of talent and well developed skill to play reasonably good pro baseball, “clear” or no “clear.” What’s more is the “clear” isn’t going away. Professional athletes from all the leagues of all the sports around the world are sneaking around to do as much “clear” as they’re doing weed, booze, blow, and whores/groupies. The only thing that will change is the price for acquiring clear piss to throw regulators off a guilty athlete’s tracks. The pros test and punnish the pro they want to test and punnish.

They can’t justifiably punnish Bonds, while Clements, Palmiere, and McGuire walk free. So, now what?

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By Frank, December 27, 2007 at 6:47 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The world is tired of the racist inference to Barry Bonds.

How’s this for fodder, the “trial” of the century was the impeachment of Bill Clinton for the very same reason, not the crime-but lying about it!

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By John Borowski, December 20, 2007 at 11:43 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It’s not only professional sports that are corrupted. It is virtually everything since the Republicans (Aka Conservatives right wingers) have gained full control of this beloved country that is totally corrupted.

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By Frank Cajon, December 17, 2007 at 8:46 pm Link to this comment

The world has enough serious problems that need our attention, and MLB and its Steroid King aren’t among them. It is a sport, he is a cheat, as are half he players in the game. He’s an asshole too, but at the end of the day he hasn’t killed anyone, tortured anyone, or committed crimes of corruption on a national scale. Who cares?

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By Hemi*, December 15, 2007 at 5:26 pm Link to this comment

This has dragged on long enough due to undo attention from prominent morons such as Senator John McCain. The kernel of truth at the center of this issue is American sports fans have to grow up. Baseball is an entertainment business. Always has been, always will be. If you hold up anyone as a role model you are setting yourself up for a let down. They are not super human, only human. They have a quirky talent for hitting a round ball squarely with a round bat. That’s it. No special endowments are tied to that. They can be great guys or scum balls. We are all subject to the pressures of our mortality and our morality is only along for the ride. Or as we’ve heard before “everyone has their price”.

The owners are businessmen, the players (thanks to free agency) are businessmen and the rest of us have the choice whether to buy their entertainment offerings. The owners and players don’t care if any of the rest of us live or die. If they did you would think them insane. In the big scheme do you care whether strangers live or die? And if you say you do, how do you get through a day with all of the grief you must endure? Strangers die by the minute. And yet many of us, me included, live and die with these entertainments.

It’s time to grow up. First, take away the baseball anti-trust exemption. Make the owners play on the same field as every other business. Second, make the use of steroids and any performance enhancements legal if not mandatory. Do you care if Barry B’s heart gives out at the plate? He doesn’t, why should you? It’s entertainment. Welcome to the Coliseum. They are well paid get over it. Bigger, faster, stronger, who cares if you die on the field? Just thinning the herd. Next batter please. Role models for young athletes? You’re f***ing kidding, right? They gave that up a long time ago. See Babe, I never met a beer or a prostitute I didn’t love, Ruth. And that was just in the clubhouse. They are only human, not super human.

Now you say you don’t like the mandatory enhancements. Good, neither will the players. The point is they have to find out nobody cares and then they will step up and care for themselves. See how cooperative the player’s union will be with mandatory injections. It’s like the guy on the bridge railing when you say to him “Look if you’re gonna jump, mind if I push?”

Play ball!

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By John Borowski, December 11, 2007 at 4:59 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

When a country has professional sports you have absolute corruption because of the money that is involved. To single out one person out of many is a farce. This is why many countries don’t want professional sports.

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By antwoine, December 10, 2007 at 4:26 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This is Truthdig? When will you have your one-on-one interview with Barry Bonds? When will you dumbass reporters start using the phrase “innocent until proven guilty” in reference to the case against Barry Bonds that has not yet gone to trial? It is going to trial, and it will be a waste of tax dollars just to try to bring a black man to his knees to be humbled for your amusement! So you can have your “second-trial-of-the-century”! Making comparisons of O.J. Simpson?????? That was a murder case that involved the death of two people! This is hardly a case of life and death. It is ultimatley about a game! A game where greedy white men play God over our society’s “national past-time” and get filthy rich and could care less whether any one was not doing anything to make them more money! It was reported last week that they made over 6 billion last year alone!!!!! They have their money protected by the government and that stupid anti-trust protection they enjoy. So what Congress threatened to take it away….they should have just taken it away to show they were serious and had some balls, and you reporters could have led the charge as much as you lead the charge in bashing Barry Bonds. Take up your mighty pen and write something that will change the world and make it better for everyone!!! You bash the players while the owners get a free pass to keep benefiting from the players. Are the players at fault? What they do is merely a symptom of the bigger problem, They do not run baseball. They do not hire the team doctor’s that can get them any drug they want. They do not pay themselves! You want justice? Justice for whom? Balco has been shut down. Steroids do not make you better at anything, but you sure will recover from any injury a whole lot faster without them or any anti-biotic. Last statement, then I am done. Take 100 sports writer’s, give them all steroids once the people vs. Barry Bonds trial begins, have them all report on the same things and once the trial is over collect all their work and see whose is best. Then they will see the real effect of how much steroids makes you better.

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