David Manning Trivial Liars of the Month for February 2005

Barry Bonds

Trivial Lair: Barry Bonds We were going to let Barry go for another month, or until the evidence that he has used illegal steroids and lied about it was unquestionable and documented. Then came his amazing stream of consciousness press conference in which he managed to raise obfuscation to a level undreamed of by Richard Nixon, Saddam Hussein, Bill Clinton or Baron Munchausen. If you want to read the text of his bravura performance, go to http://mlb.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/content/printer_friendly/mlb/y2005/m02/d22/c948340.jsp

Bonds, you see, began hitting home runs at a record rate after bringing on his old school days chum as his personal trainer. When that chum was revealed as a long-time steroids peddler to professional athletes, Bonds maintained that he had never received such assistance; it just happened that his new training regimen engineered by his drug-pushing pal caused him to dramatically improve his hitting at an advanced age when virtually all other baseball players go into steep decline. Since those initial denials, Bonds' name has turned up on documents detailing steroid purchases, and leaked grand jury testimony revealed that he had admitted taking steroids unknowingly for a period. All of this, mind you, occurred as it became clear that Major League Baseball, as had long been rumored, was crawling with secret steroid-users, causing home run totals to soar. To top it all off, Barry Bonds' ex-wife hit the book stands claiming that her ex was indeed a steroid use, and a very knowing one.

All the evidence against Bonds is circumstantial, hearsay, based on supposition or illegal leaks, but Scott Peterson was convicted of murder with less. The chances that Bonds has not knowingly used steroids to improve his performance on the field, to the point where he is about to pass Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron as the all-time home-run champion, is somewhere between a popsicle's survival odds in Hell and Dennis Kucinich's 2008 presidential prospects. Meanwhile, the player himself stands defiant, blaming the press, racism and anything else he can think of for a public perception that is based on cold, hard logic.

Then Barry's interview produced this exchange:

Q. Do you view the use of steroid as cheating?

BARRY BONDS: As cheating? I don't -- I don't know what cheating is. I don't know cheating, if steroid is going to help you in baseball. I just don't believe it. I don't believe steroids can help you, eye/hand coordination, technically hit a baseball, I just don't believe it and that's just my opinion.  

And Presto! We have our Trivial Liar for February. Bonds' continued lying about his steroid use is certainly not trivial; it is causing a great problem for his sport and if proven, may even get him prison time for lying to a Grand Jury. But this is a hoot and a half, as they used to say on "Hee-Haw!"

Yeah, Barry, we know that steroids won't help you hit a Randy Johnson fast-ball if you can't already. And they won't turn me into a major league baseball player no many how many I take.

But we know, and you know, that you could always hit. Steroids, which cause dramatic increases in muscle mass and strength, help someone like you hit the ball a lot further. What used to be deep fly outs to right field will go over the fence. Doubles become homers. Guys (like you) who used to hit 35 home runs a season will suddenly hit over 70 (also like you). And because the steroids are illegal, that's called cheating.

It's not enough for Barry Bonds to deny taking steroids when it is obvious to everyone that he has. He actually has the audacity, having taken steroids, to pretend that he doesn't think they work, and he does it by attempting to confuse the issue by mentioning the one aspect of performance that steroids won't affect.

We all know that Barry Bonds isn't stupid. It is clear, however, from this silly, arrogant, and ineffectual lie that he thinks everyone else is.



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