All Quiet in the Western Division
Why aren't any baseball players speaking out against Barry Bonds?
Seven years ago, while visiting Orlando, Fla., with his family, Barry Bonds stopped by Ken Griffey Jr.'s house and told him he was about to start using steroids.
This scene opens the 13th chapter of my upcoming Bonds biography, Love Me, Hate Me. Bonds was there. Griffey was there. I have verification.
And yet, even before I sat down to write the chapter, I knew the inevitable aftermath. Bonds would deny everything and call the writer a no-good sack of shit. Griffey would shrug his shoulders and yawn, "Never took place." Indeed, when ESPN the Magazine ran the excerpt two weeks ago, Bonds and Griffey responded predictably. They both insisted the conversation was fictitious.
"I don't remember it ever happening," Griffey said. "The only thing that Barry and I ever really talked about was me coming out to San Francisco and working out with him. And I told him, 'For six weeks, I can't leave my family.' … As far as the other thing, that conversation didn't happen."
Around the same time Griffey's words scrolled across the bottom of my TV screen, I received a phone call from an ESPN producer. He wanted a comment.
"A comment on what?" I asked.
"On Jay Canizaro," he said. "He's denying everything."
Canizaro, a one-time journeyman second baseman, had spoken to me at length about his early years with the Giants, when he watched Bonds balloon from Lara Flynn Boyle to Lee Haney. A former steroid user, Canizaro knew all the signs of a juicer. Zit-coated skin. Peanut-sized testicles. Moodiness. And Bonds was a juicer.
"Hell, he took off his shirt the first day and his back just looked like a mountain of acne," Canizaro told me. "Anybody who had any kind of intelligence or street smarts about them knew Barry was using some serious stuff."
Now, he was backtracking. Suddenly Canizaro admired Bonds as a great sportsman and was shocked—shocked!—that anyone would suspect the legend of cheating.