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Wednesday, January 05, 2022

Examining Barry Bonds’ slam-dunk Hall of Fame resume before he was linked to steroids

Simply for the purposes of entertainment, we’re imagining that Bonds was done playing after the 1998 season. Here’s the case we have:

In 13 seasons, he hit .290/.411/.556. That’s good for a 164 OPS+, which would be 14th all-time, ahead of players like Jimmie Foxx, Hank Greenberg, Stan Musial, Frank Thomas, Hank Aaron, Joe DiMaggio, Willie Mays, Mel Ott, Frank Robinson and we can probably stop now. Sure, most players have a decline phase that takes them backward in these rate stats and at age 33, Bonds hadn’t done so, but it shows where he was.

In those 13 seasons, he led his league in runs once, home runs once, RBI once, walks five times, on-base percentage four times, slugging three times, OPS five times, OPS+ four times, total bases once and position-player WAR seven times. Oh, and he was feared. He led in intentional walks seven years.

He won three MVPs (1990, 1992, 1993) and finished second once. He had seven top-five finishes in MVP voting. The three MVPs would be tied for the most ever with Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, Alex Rodriguez, Mike Schmidt, Mickey Mantle, Roy Campanella, Yogi Berra, Musial and Foxx.

He also had, again, in 13 seasons, eight Gold Gloves and seven Silver Sluggers. The eight Gold Gloves are a record for left fielders and he won them within these 13 seasons.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 05, 2022 at 01:10 PM | 90 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: barry bonds, peds

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   1. A triple short of the cycle Posted: January 05, 2022 at 02:31 PM (#6059738)
Bonds was also a good fielder before he bulked up. His trademark play was fielding a hit towards the LF line. He would race over, grab the ball, spin and make a quick accurate throw to second to hold the runner to a single.
   2. TomH Posted: January 05, 2022 at 02:40 PM (#6059742)
funny how resumes are perceived differently by general public vs BBTF.

Who made the All Century Team in 1999, Griffey Jr or Bonds? Yeah.
Outfielders (vote totlas)

1. Babe Ruth, 1,158,044
2. Hank Aaron, 1,156,782
3. Ted Williams, 1,125,583
4. Willie Mays, 1,115,896
5. Joe DiMaggio, 1,054,423
6. Mickey Mantle, 988,168
7. Ty Cobb, 777,056
8. Ken Griffey Jr., 645,389
9. Pete Rose, 629,742
10. Roberto Clemente, 582,937
11. Stan Musial, 571,279 *added by special committee, as the fans are kind of clueless
12. Joe Jackson, 326,415
13. Reggie Jackson, 296,039
14. Tony Gwynn, 232,476
15. Carl Yastrzemski, 222,082
16. Frank Robinson, 220,226
17. Rickey Henderson, 180,940
18. Barry Bonds, 173,279
   3. The Duke Posted: January 05, 2022 at 02:52 PM (#6059744)
I wonder if Bonds himself had any regrets. I assume any personality that would react to 1998 the way he did has zero regrets but what’s interesting about this read is how marvelous a ballplayer he was when he wasn’t juicing and what a legacy he would have if he had simply allowed nature to take its course. But more than even A-Rod, he’s the face of juicing.

A-Rod is an interesting case. It’s really hard to know if he ever played without juicing - it’s possible he wasn’t really all that good ever. We’ll never know.

McGwire basically succumbed to admitting his juicing so he could coach on. I bet he’s happy with that decision given that he is apparently a highly regarded coach.
   4. Traderdave Posted: January 05, 2022 at 03:01 PM (#6059747)
I think Barry's only regret is not winning a ring.
   5. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 05, 2022 at 03:03 PM (#6059748)
McGwire is kinda interesting in that I really think he took roids because he was ravaged by injuries and roids are a good way to recover quickly. He played less than 50 games in each of his age 29 and 30 season, and through age 30 he was still a 143 OPS+ slugger with 243 career home runs, six ASG, a ROY, and a top 5 MVP finish. If he is somehwat healthy in his decline phase, he probably gets over 400 HR and is a Fred McGriff-like borderline candidate. He seemed to express some regret over using in the 30 for 30, whether that is genuine or not I don't know. He certainly didn't seem like someone that was determined to prove he was the greatest HR hitter or anything, he seemed like a guy that just wanted to mash and was frustrated when he couldn't play.


A-Rod is an interesting case. It’s really hard to know if he ever played without juicing - it’s possible he wasn’t really all that good ever.


Eh, I remember seeing him as a 19 year old, when he was skinny as a stick, and just being amazed by him. The ball just jumped off his bat. He's such a narcissicist though that I can see him wanting to take PEDs late in his career when his body couldn't do what it could when he was 19.
   6. DL from MN Posted: January 05, 2022 at 03:25 PM (#6059756)
Barry Bonds essentially had two Tony Oliva careers before he started taking PEDs.
   7. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: January 05, 2022 at 04:57 PM (#6059783)
This piece is basically my argument for voting for Barry Bonds (and Clemens) for the HOF, no brainer, first ballot. Take away literally everything they did after whatever year you feel confident they were last definitely "clean", and ask yourself: Is that a Hall of Famer?

And the answer is obviously yes. I love David Ortiz, and I'm glad he may make it in his first year of eligibility...but the idea that 75%+ of voters think Big Papi is a first-ballot guy, and 90%+ wouldn't vote for 1986-1998 Bonds, is ridiculous.

4.83
And his MVP shares? He dwarfs the field in MVP shares, with 9.30, but let's say he retires after 1998. He had 4.83 shares through 1998, including three wins. That would have put him 10th in history in 1998 (13th today). Among those eligible and not currently on the ballot, the only one in the top 48 on that list who is not in the HOF is Dave Parker (30th all-time). His 1986-1998 career would sandwich him on the list between Frank Robinson and Frank Thomas...and doesn't reflect the eight friggin' Gold Gloves.

This is so dumb (you could do the same thing for Clemens, who is first in Cy Young Award shares; stop him after 1998, and he falls all the way to...second place all-time). Watching Bonds from the mid-1980s through 1998 was knowing you were watching the best hitter since, who, Williams? Mays? Aaron? Mantle? And watching Clemens was knowing you were watching the best pitcher since at least peak Seaver. If they aren't in the Hall of Fame - when they obviously eligible - then the system is broken.
   8. Adam Starblind Posted: January 05, 2022 at 05:00 PM (#6059785)
Eh, I remember seeing him as a 19 year old, when he was skinny as a stick, and just being amazed by him. The ball just jumped off his bat. He's such a narcissicist though that I can see him wanting to take PEDs late in his career when his body couldn't do what it could when he was 19.


According to Selena Roberts's biography, he was roiding pretty much since birth. Don't know anything about her to know if she's a reliable source.
   9. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: January 05, 2022 at 05:14 PM (#6059794)
According to Selena Roberts's biography, he was roiding pretty much since birth.


Wow that would be some dexterity, not sure how you hold a syringe with the those tiny little baby hands.
   10. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: January 05, 2022 at 05:18 PM (#6059796)
Wow that would be some dexterity, not sure how you hold a syringe with the those tiny little baby hands.
And there's no way his baby arms could reach his hindquarters.
   11. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: January 05, 2022 at 05:39 PM (#6059805)
Your regular reminder that the evidence that Barry Bonds used steroids is crap.
   12. Mefisto Posted: January 05, 2022 at 05:58 PM (#6059808)
True, there's no legally admissible evidence. All the accusations are based on assumptions. That's not to say the accusations are wrong, just that their basis is in opinion rather than fact.
   13. Adam Starblind Posted: January 05, 2022 at 06:21 PM (#6059810)
Ah, the “Barry Didn’t Do It” Defense. Such a rare thing of beauty. Take it in my friends. It doesn’t come along very often.
   14. Mefisto Posted: January 05, 2022 at 07:33 PM (#6059821)
Wrong. Neither DMN nor I are making that argument (at least I'm not; based on past conversations I'm pretty sure DMN isn't either). All we've said is that there was no legally admissible evidence that he used steroids.
   15. Tom Nawrocki Posted: January 05, 2022 at 07:51 PM (#6059823)
Your regular reminder that the evidence that Barry Bonds used steroids is crap.


But it's far better than the evidence that Roger Clemens used steroids.
   16. The Duke Posted: January 05, 2022 at 07:56 PM (#6059824)
Of course Bonds used steroids. He’s probably the only one on the rumor list that we have lots of compelling evidence.

I’ve always been surprised that an enterprising writer hasn’t gone out an interviewed a wide range of players, trainers, sellers etc to try to identify the universe of users. It can’t be that hard and I don’t think the universe of heavy users is more than 50-100 players overt that period.
   17. alilisd Posted: January 05, 2022 at 08:11 PM (#6059826)
He certainly didn't seem like someone that was determined to prove he was the greatest HR hitter or anything, he seemed like a guy that just wanted to mash and was frustrated when he couldn't play.


McGwire earned about $15 million through age 30 according to B-R, he earned about $60 million after age 30. Maybe he wanted to mash, too, but he wanted the cash for sure
   18. alilisd Posted: January 05, 2022 at 08:12 PM (#6059827)
2. TomH Posted: January 05, 2022 at 02:40 PM (#6059742) funny how resumes are perceived differently by general public vs BBTF.


More likely their personalities which were perceived differently, and they were quite different people. Human nature to vote for the smiling face rather than the prickly personality.
   19. alilisd Posted: January 05, 2022 at 08:18 PM (#6059829)
I’ve always been surprised that an enterprising writer hasn’t gone out an interviewed a wide range of players, trainers, sellers etc to try to identify the universe of users. It can’t be that hard and I don’t think the universe of heavy users is more than 50-100 players overt that period.


You're surprised no one has gone out and gotten players to violate the sanctity of the locker room, to snitch on their brethren? And you think there were maybe two or three guys per MLB team using? Hmmm... Are you interested in buying a bridge? ;-)
   20. McCoy Posted: January 05, 2022 at 08:31 PM (#6059834)
Re 5. McGwire was always on steroids. He didn't start taking them because of injuries. His juicing probably caused a good amount of them.

Re 3. I think his legacy without juicing would be that he was a surly SOB, Sid Bream, and that he was pretty good when people could be bothered to remember him.
   21. Jack Sommers Posted: January 05, 2022 at 09:53 PM (#6059851)
   22. Booey Posted: January 05, 2022 at 10:32 PM (#6059855)
#19 - Yep. IIRC, the Mitchell Report had 80-something names on it...and that was just an investigation of a couple of dealers. How many names would they have found if they were able to investigate EVERY possible dealer?

And then the "anonymous" test in 2003 had over 100 failed tests...and that was just the players who happened to have PED's in their system at that specific time (after being given advance notice of the test!). How many players would have tested positive with consistent, random testing?

The idea that PED use wasn't widespread and was just a handful of isolated cheaters has always struck me as incredibly naive wishful thinking.
   23. Walt Davis Posted: January 06, 2022 at 12:34 AM (#6059872)
#2: not just the public. Griffey was also elected as "player of the 90s" by his fellow players in some short-lived attempt by the MLBPA to have their own awards show. He beat Bonds and Maddux. And of course that wasn't a bad choice just not the optimal one. Griffey had 68 WAR, 382 HR and was just turning 30.

To the extent the Mitchell Report was good for much of anything, it was some of the examples of how casual players were about this. "I noticed you added a lot of muscle this offseason, what are you using? Got any extra?"

As to ratting players out ... these (non-Canseco) stories always go the same way. "For sure my teammate X used steroids." "Did you ever witness them injecting themselves?" "No." "Did they ever tell you they were doing steroids?" "No." "Then what is your claim based on?" "C'mon, look at the dude, look at the moon shots." (Roughly based on the short-lived "Mark Grace says Sosa did roids" controversy.)

I'll chime in again with a few reminders: BALCO was a legally incorporated business, not a guy dealing out of his locker. BALCO had several high-profile, publicly known clients. BALCO sponsored a track team FFS! Barry allowed a freelance writer for the NYT to follow him around for an offseason and document his insane workouts (with the Sheffield and Anderson cameos). Nobody was exacly keeping a low profile here. Bonds very likely used PEDs (or Anderson was taking advantage of a sucker). Bonds probably knew he was using stuff he shouldn't. But BALCO did everything it could to look legit and Bonds wasn't the only athlete telling a similar story about BALCO not being upfront with the athletes. (And of course the stuff BALCO was selling wasn't banned as a chemical compound, only due to its anabolic effects. That is, it wasn't a banned substance, it was covered under a "any other substance with anabolic properties" clause.)
   24. Adam Starblind Posted: January 06, 2022 at 07:36 AM (#6059876)
I can’t remember — did Bonds get the Winstrol and Decadurabolin from BALCO or somewhere else?
   25. Mefisto Posted: January 06, 2022 at 08:42 AM (#6059881)
I don't recall any evidence that Bonds used either of those.
   26. Adam Starblind Posted: January 06, 2022 at 09:16 AM (#6059885)
Your recollection is faulty.
   27. Mefisto Posted: January 06, 2022 at 09:37 AM (#6059887)
Sometimes, but perhaps you could provide a link.
   28. Adam Starblind Posted: January 06, 2022 at 09:54 AM (#6059889)
Fair enough. Here you go.
   29. Ron J Posted: January 06, 2022 at 10:01 AM (#6059891)
#27 Those are allegations in Game of Shadows. The evidence presented for the earlier use isn't what I'd call compelling.

But if he got Winstrol and/or Decadurabolin it was via Greg Anderson and I don't think Anderson was associated with BALCO in 1998. Anderson clearly had the connections to get those.
   30. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: January 06, 2022 at 10:09 AM (#6059894)
The sprinter Tim Montgomery told a federal grand jury last year that he had used an undetectable steroid and that Victor Conte, the central figure in the Balco steroids case, had told him he supplied Barry Bonds with steroids, The San Francisco Chronicle reported yesterday.

...

The article also said Montgomery had testified that Conte, who has been indicted along with three other men on charges of conspiracy to distribute steroids, bragged about providing steroids to other professional athletes, including Bonds. Montgomery testified that Conte had told him that he gave Bonds the steroid Winstrol, also known as Stanozolol, the steroid linked to the discredited Olympic sprinter Ben Johnson, the newspaper reported.


How seriously you treat that evidence is up to you.
   31. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: January 06, 2022 at 10:24 AM (#6059897)
A-Rod is an interesting case. It’s really hard to know if he ever played without juicing - it’s possible he wasn’t really all that good ever. We’ll never know.


Oh for ####'s sake, he would stil be an amazing player if he never took steroids. Say steroids made him *twice* as good, he would still have just under 60 WAR. I don't care if someone has been taking steroids since birth, there's no way they are going to increase your natural abilities by that much, and if they are that effective, then ####### sign me up right now!
   32. Mefisto Posted: January 06, 2022 at 10:36 AM (#6059899)
@28: That link just takes me to Google.com

@29: Thanks. I found Game of Shadows to be very loose with evidence. I'd call those allegations rather than evidence. My recollection (pretty hazy at this point) is that Bonds began his super-hard workouts in the winter of 1998-9 and that he got to BALCO then or later via Jerry Rice. I guess Anderson could have supplied other steroids at first and the "cream" and "clear" later (though I don't recall anyone saying that).

@30: Montgomery's testimony is not evidence against Bonds because it's hearsay. I don't find it very persuasive as against Bonds for that reason and because the time frame is indefinite.

If Bonds did use Winstrol or Decadurabolin (which were not the "cream" and "clear"), it's unlikely he did so after they began testing because those would have been easy to detect.
   33. Adam Starblind Posted: January 06, 2022 at 10:52 AM (#6059902)
@28: That link just takes me to Google.com


Yes, I know.

@29: Thanks. I found Game of Shadows to be very loose with evidence. I'd call those allegations rather than evidence.


It's evidence from a person who claimed personal knowledge.

@30: Montgomery's testimony is not evidence against Bonds because it's hearsay.


This is all hearsay, which is also a kind of evidence, admissible under certain circumstances and/or for some purposes. Also, this isn't court. It's a website.
   34. Ron J Posted: January 06, 2022 at 11:09 AM (#6059907)
#32 (and others) Montgomery's story is strange because I was under the impression that Conte's shtick was beating the system and the only way to beat the system with Winstrol is to know when you're likely to test positive and avoid the tester in that window. Of course Bonds wasn't subject to testing then, so ... maybe.
   35. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: January 06, 2022 at 11:12 AM (#6059908)
It’s also very possible that Conte was lying to build himself up and win a new customer.
   36. Cooper Nielson Posted: January 06, 2022 at 11:23 AM (#6059912)
@28: That link just takes me to Google.com

Yes, I know.


Well, it was an unnecessarily snarky response to someone who was politely following up on your own "I can't remember/I'm not going to do the research myself" question.
   37. Mefisto Posted: January 06, 2022 at 11:29 AM (#6059916)
This is all hearsay, which is also a kind of evidence, admissible under certain circumstances and/or for some purposes.


This all began with me saying in comment 14 that there was no legally admissible evidence against Bonds. As I was careful to note in comment 30, Montgomery's statement is not admissible as against Bonds (that is, there are no exceptions and is no relevant legal purpose).

In any case, there's a reason hearsay is mostly inadmissible: it's not very reliable (e.g., 34 and 35).
   38. Adam Starblind Posted: January 06, 2022 at 11:56 AM (#6059924)

In any case, there's a reason hearsay is mostly inadmissible: it's not very reliable (e.g., 34 and 35).


Not sure it's any less reliable than the fact that the guy suddenly turned into the Incredible Hulk and started hitting like nobody had ever seen, or has seen since, in what is almost always the twilight of a hitter's career. That's evidence too.
   39. Adam Starblind Posted: January 06, 2022 at 11:59 AM (#6059926)
Well, it was an unnecessarily snarky response to someone who was politely following up on your own "I can't remember/I'm not going to do the research myself" question.


My google comment was in response to a comment that said "I don't recall." And this is a stupid meta-debate. Just calm down.
   40. Mefisto Posted: January 06, 2022 at 12:07 PM (#6059928)
Not sure it's any less reliable than the fact that the guy suddenly turned into the Incredible Hulk and started hitting like nobody had ever seen, or has seen since, in what is almost always the twilight of a hitter's career.


Now you're making inconsistent arguments. If Bonds was using steroids earlier, then they can't have been the cause of his late career performance.
   41. Adam Starblind Posted: January 06, 2022 at 12:38 PM (#6059933)

Now you're making inconsistent arguments. If Bonds was using steroids earlier, then they can't have been the cause of his late career performance.


Not at all. I am talking about Bonds starting to use steroids after the 1998 season. Does his start on steroids need to be closer in time to his 2001 season for my statements to be consistent?
   42. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: January 06, 2022 at 12:52 PM (#6059936)
Admitted PED user Hank Aaron had a production spike in his age 37-39 seasons, while playing with admitted steroid/PED/HGH user Tom House.
   43. Mefisto Posted: January 06, 2022 at 01:15 PM (#6059940)
@41: No, it doesn't. I thought you referred to periods before 1998.
   44. Up2Drew Posted: January 06, 2022 at 02:58 PM (#6059972)
I'm contemptuous at the high-horse position the media takes with all of this. Writers and broadcasters love to blame everyone but the players and themselves, saying that there was passive approval by the owners as it made their product more entertaining and brought fans back into the tent from the strike/walkout aftertaste.

Yeah. You know who else gave tacit approval? Baseball media, who insisted on not reporting or questioning this stuff. They were in locker rooms looking at a bunch of guys who looked like Adonis wearing a towel, watching guys routinely drill outside pitches 425 feet over opposite field walls. 34-year-old hitters were having career years. Players were, overnight, doing things I'd never seen before. And ... crickets.

I could tell by watching televised games in the early 90's that something funny was going on. Anybody with half a brain could.

And now they clutch their pearls and refuse to vote for anyone who carries the shadow of PED use?

Please.
   45. toratoratora Posted: January 06, 2022 at 03:40 PM (#6059990)
Didn't Bonds admit in testimony to taking the clear and the cream?
IIRC he did, but said he didn't know at the time they were steroids.

Note I say this as about the biggest Barry Bonds supporter there can be.
He, along with Cobb (Fun counterpoints eh), is baseballs great tragic hero in the finest greek tragedy sense. A man with absurd gifts but also laden with crippling flaws.
Take an immensely talented super sensitive guy. Saddle him with an alcoholic parent who teaches bitter lessons about expectations, racism, in trusting the press, institutions and others. Give him a godfather of mythical achievements who carries many of the same feelings lacking the booze. Toss in all the common characteristics so prevelant in adult children of alcoholics, distrust, evasion, silence, brooding, poor boundaries, fun things like that.
Then throw him to the wolves that are the national press. Have him be the best athelete in the game, the most dominant all around player since that godfather. Yet because he doesn't play ball with the media, his star is buried under guys like Griffey who, good as they are, pale next to him.
Which isn't only stinging to pride and ego but can literally cost millions.
(Working off GoS timeline in following speculation)
Watch lesser players cheat and steal his thunder. And his MVP's.
Then watch McG and Sosa in 98 receive the accolades of a nation, with all the attending fame and fortune.
That had to burn. No way, no how, it didn't.
To watch so many lesser players bask in his limelight. His money.
So take the most human response possible, vengeance, and get on a program too.
Which wouldn't be so bad, except when you take maybe the best ballplayer ever and make him better, superhuman things happen, get so good that you break the game.
Do ridiculous things. 73 home runs. .600 obp. 232 BB 120 IBB.
Average a 264 OPS+ over four seasons.

But instead of being praised like those who preceded, getting torn down, made the face of a "scandal" and all those vast accomplishments tainted. Targeted by a politicized government. Taken to court. Forced to risk fame, fortune, and freedom. Being found, after jumping through seemingly endless rings of fire, not guilty, only to walk away with image and name ruined and blackballed by the game that made and destroyed him.

I'm not saying he's not a dick. Or that he didn't contribute in many many ways to his issues.
Because he did.
But he played in an age when use was widespread and largely condoned by owners and management and the press. That he gets tarred as he does is a farce and bordering on tragic. He's become a lighting rod for the era.

He's so damn fascinating. We'll never see his like again.
And yeah, he should be in the HoF.
Because if nothing else, you can't tell the story of baseball without him.

   46. I don't want to talk about Rocco Posted: January 06, 2022 at 03:50 PM (#6059994)
I ask this once in a while (not here until now) when this peds thing comes up so thought I would put to this group--why do Larussa and Baker and the other managers get a pass? Never heard of a manager having his rep harmed.

Is that just accepted? That the players kept this so hidden from management that even though the players knew, the trainers knew (presume since some went to commissioner to express peds concerns) and so on nobody said anything to a manager?

If this is one of those things where "kid you don't get it" is the explanation I guess ok. But it just seems kind of implausible.
   47. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: January 06, 2022 at 03:57 PM (#6059996)
If Bonds' story is a tragedy (yeah, I know, the comment was in the "finest greek tragedy sense" rather than an actual tragedy), I'd really hate to hear about all the tens of thousands, maybe many more, of juiced baseball players who never had 1/10th of his success, a small percentage of whom ever probably even reached AAA or similar quality ball.

Hell, just measured by something like "WAR above non-steroid version" alone Bonds may have gotten more out of steroids than all but a small handful of baseball players.

Bonds' career is one of the truly great steroids success stories of our lifetimes. We should all be so fortunate.
   48. toratoratora Posted: January 06, 2022 at 04:05 PM (#6059997)
I ask this once in a while (not here until now) when this peds thing comes up so thought I would put to this group--why do Larussa and Baker and the other managers get a pass? Never heard of a manager having his rep harmed.


Of course they knew. Every knew. There's a reason the yankees removed the steroid clause from Giambi's contract. That the Red Sox trainers gave advice about steroids. This ex post facto pretense of blind ignorance is laughable.

I put this first and foremost on the owners.
After the strike, they had zero problem turning a blind eye to steroids and the resultant offensive explosion that, along with Cal's streak, "saved the game."
They had no issues happily counting the money made with the offensive boom, huge growth in popularity, and exploding TV contracts.
And when the opportunity came, they quickly seized it to drive a wedge in the players union, tar the players, and gain their first victories in public perception and actuality over the union since they first met Marvin Miller.
I see that more than anything else as the reason for the smearing of the players.
This is all about money and power.

So of course the managers can't be blamed.
Beacuse that would imply the steroid era wasn't only caused by nasty evil game poisoning players, but ownership was involved. Heck, someone may even wonder about St Joe (Torre).
   49. McCoy Posted: January 06, 2022 at 04:25 PM (#6060001)
Bonds admitted to using A cream and a clear substance. You know what's a cream? Lotion. You know what's a clear substance? Water. Drinking water and using lotion does not mean someone used PED.

There was no real linkage between what bonds admitted to and to PED.
   50. toratoratora Posted: January 06, 2022 at 04:32 PM (#6060004)
Bonds admitted to using A cream and a clear substance.

I followed the trials closely and am working of of memory here but I'm pretty sure it wasn't some random off the shelf clear/cream he testified to using but the specific ones provided by BALCO.
Now, note the following in his favor iirc:
-He said he didn't know they were steroids, he just took what the trainer recommended. Which by statement means he had no intent;
-And there was some question as to whether the clear/cream were by legal definition technically steroids because of the chemical composition. As a designer drug, they may not have fallen within defined threshholds. I'm not sure this was ever fully clarified.
   51. Ron J Posted: January 06, 2022 at 04:41 PM (#6060006)
#48 The reason the there was never a steroid clause in Giambi's contract is that an arbitrator ruled that private (ie between player and team) testing clauses were not permitted. He didn't strike down the contract either (because teams went after low leverage players in a divide and conquer strategy) as that might hurt the players in question. Instead the clause was removed.

I want to say Joel Youngblood was the test case but I no longer have my notes and don't trust my memory.

Now it's true that these rulings were from a time when recreational drugs was the primary concern but it doesn't matter. The Yankees couldn't have enforced a "no steroids" clause outside of MLB and the PA negotiating a policy and then the penalty for violations would be set by that agreement.

But MLB was not interested in negotiating a policy. They were interested in setting one but that's it.
   52. toratoratora Posted: January 06, 2022 at 04:45 PM (#6060009)
#48 The reason the there was never a steroid clause in Giambi's contract is that an arbitrator ruled that private (ie between player and team) testing clauses were not permitted. He didn't strike down the contract either (because teams went after low leverage players in a divide and conquer strategy) as that might hurt the players in question. Instead the clause was removed.


I did not know that. Thanks for educating me.

My larger point remains. Steroid use was widely known across the game. I remember attending Bash Brothers A's games in the 80's and when Canseco went up to bat the whole crowd was chanting "Steroids" and doing the wave.
   53. Mefisto Posted: January 06, 2022 at 04:57 PM (#6060017)
I followed the trials closely and am working of of memory here but I'm pretty sure it wasn't some random off the shelf clear/cream he testified to using but the specific ones provided by BALCO.


My recollection (could be wrong) is that Anderson gave Bonds the "cream" and the "clear", but Bonds said he didn't know the source and didn't know what they were. He did say that he got some zinc supplement from BALCO. That's why Anderson's refusal to testify was so critical legally: nobody could ever bridge that gap between Bonds and BALCO.

   54. Zach Posted: January 06, 2022 at 05:10 PM (#6060026)
This all began with me saying in comment 14 that there was no legally admissible evidence against Bonds.

They seized calendars with his dosage schedules for "the cream" and "the clear". It was established that BALCO was providing athletes with designer steroids which had been modified to escape detection methods. "The cream" and "the clear" were two such steroids. I believe they also seized financial records showing how much Bonds was paying.

I am not a lawyer, but that sounds like a pretty firm circumstantial case to me. The company was offering illegal products, had a record of administering those products to Bonds and had records of receiving payment from Bonds for the administered products.

   55. toratoratora Posted: January 06, 2022 at 05:14 PM (#6060028)
Bonds told a U.S. grand jury that he used undetectable steroids known as "the cream" and "the clear," which he received from personal trainer Greg Anderson during the 2003 season. According to Bonds, the trainer told him the substances were the nutritional supplement flaxseed oil and a pain-relieving balm for the player's arthritis.

As noted above, Anderson did not testify so linkage cannot be ascertained

There's also this.

The judge in the Bonds perjury case lifted a protective order in November that had prevented about 30,000 pages of documents in the far-reaching BALCO case from becoming public...

...Taking the Clear – the star drug of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative – was not a crime, according to expert testimony included in grand jury documents.

Not only was the performance-enhancing drug tetrahydrogestrinone (THG) not specifically banned when athletes squirted "The Clear" under their tongues to gain an edge, the testimony also indicates that the drug wasn't categorized by the Justice Department as a steroid until January 2005, long after the drug laboratory had been shuttered.

In sealed grand jury testimony given by drug-testing expert Dr. Donald Catlin in 2003 and BALCO lead investigator Jeff Novitzky in 2004 both men testified that THG was not a steroid according to the federal criminal code. Furthermore, Novitzky testified that "there's never been any studies to show whether or not THG does, in fact, enhance muscle growth."
   56. Mefisto Posted: January 06, 2022 at 05:21 PM (#6060032)
They seized calendars with his dosage schedules for "the cream" and "the clear."


Again going off memory here, but the issue in Bonds' perjury trial was whether he *knew* he was getting steroids. Internal records at BALCO would not and could not show that.

I believe they also seized financial records showing how much Bonds was paying.


He admitted paying them lots of money. The question left open was "for what?". Without Anderson's testimony, nobody could prove that.
   57. toratoratora Posted: January 06, 2022 at 05:22 PM (#6060033)
Prosecutors said the documents detailed Bonds' use of a long list of drugs: human growth hormone, Depo-Testosterone, "the cream" and "the clear," insulin and even Clomid, a female fertility drug. The documents, many with Bonds' name or initials on them, are dated from 2001 through 2003. Prosecutors queried Bonds closely about them, but he denied using the drugs and said he had never seen the documents before.

At one point, prosecutor Jeff Nedrow showed Bonds the results of a steroid screen ordered in November 2000 by BALCO's founder, Victor Conte. Nedrow said the tested urine sample belonged to Bonds, and he noted that the report showed Bonds had elevated levels for the injectable steroid nadrolone and for methenolone, a steroid available in both injectable and oral form.

"I got to ask, Mr. Bonds," the prosecutor said. "There's this number on a document with your name ... and it does have these two listed anabolic steroids as testing positive in connection with it. Do you follow my question?"
Bonds replied, "I follow where you're going, yeah."

The prosecutor continued, "I guess I got to ask the question again. I mean, did you take steroids? And specifically this test is in November of 2000. So I'm going to ask you in the weeks and months leading up to November, 2000, were you taking steroids?"

"No," Bonds replied.
   58. McCoy Posted: January 06, 2022 at 07:04 PM (#6060061)
I followed the trial as well and it was never established by anyone that Bonds was taking what we think of and call "the cream" and "the clear".

Saying he didn't know what was in them does not mean he admitted to taking "the cream" and "the clear". It simply means he was given something and he claims he didn't know what was in it. Just like I have no idea what's in the shampoo that I use to wash my hair.

He said he was given a cream and a clear substance and he didn't know what was in it.

I don't recall if he tried the flaxseed oil defense under oath.
   59. McCoy Posted: January 06, 2022 at 07:11 PM (#6060064)
Looking through some old posts it looks like Bonds was going with I thought it was arthritic cream and flaxseed but I'm still digging for the passages.
   60. McCoy Posted: January 06, 2022 at 07:33 PM (#6060068)
Yep that's what is in the GJ testimony. Bonds said that Anderson told him it was arthritic cream and flaxseed oil.
   61. Zach Posted: January 06, 2022 at 07:51 PM (#6060076)
Again going off memory here, but the issue in Bonds' perjury trial was whether he *knew* he was getting steroids.

Fair enough, but the argument everyone is responding to is whether there's admissible evidence he *took* steroids, knowingly or unknowingly.

The financial records are evidence that Bonds knew about the scheme as well. He wasn't paying that much for flaxseed oil.
   62. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: January 06, 2022 at 08:03 PM (#6060077)
Fair enough, but the argument everyone is responding to is whether there's admissible evidence he *took* steroids, knowingly or unknowingly.


The original post in #11 didn't say anything about "admissible" evidence, FWIW. But I agree there was limited admissible evidence that would prove it beyond a reasonable doubt. (I also don't think Anderson spent 5 weeks in jail for contempt to avoid testifying about all of the perfectly legal things he and Bonds did together.)
   63. Zach Posted: January 06, 2022 at 08:05 PM (#6060078)
If I recall correctly, Bonds gave his trainer a big diamond necklace to commemorate hitting 72 home runs, as well. Which is evidence that he associated the trainer's efforts with his own athletic accomplishments.

And, of course, the other athletes who have spoken about their own interactions with BALCO. Here I think you would need to ask a real lawyer -- their testimony would definitely shed light on BALCO's pattern of operations, but I could see arguing that it shouldn't be admitted because they had no direct knowledge of Bonds's own activities.

   64. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: January 06, 2022 at 08:10 PM (#6060080)
If I recall correctly, Bonds gave his trainer a big diamond necklace to commemorate hitting 72 home runs, as well. Which is evidence that he associated the trainer's efforts with his own athletic accomplishments.


Bonds was very open about the importance of his training regimen, I don’t really see how this itself is incriminating.
   65. McCoy Posted: January 06, 2022 at 08:12 PM (#6060082)
The Feds spent millions of dollars and couldn't bring a case to trial on drug charges. They attempted to get him on perjury charges and a jury couldn't convict on those charges. During that trial the Feds could produce no smoking gun but did present some really horrible witnesses that even the feds admitted contradicted each other.

One of the charges was about lying about HgH and the feds didn't even bother to bring that up during the case. The Feds could present no one that said they sold steroids to Bonds or administered steroids to Bonds.

Having said all that I think Bonds took PED.
   66. toratoratora Posted: January 06, 2022 at 08:46 PM (#6060088)
Having said all that I think Bonds took PED.


This is where I'm at too.
Whether he knowingly did so or not is a different game, We live in a nation were you are presumed innocent, the government took him to court, and try as they might...and they did, couldn't prove otherwise.
So I give him the benefit of the doubt there.
But I think he did them.

I also don't care.

For lots of reasons:
-As noted above, the clear and cream may not even have technically been steroids;
-There was a lot of murkiness about what was and wasn't legal then;
-Use was essentially condoned across the game;
-I think the vast majority of players were using. One guy told Gammons, "Everyone does. The only ones who don't are too stupid or scared," which sounds about right to me;
-People act like this was all one sided, but pitchers used too. Kinda gave them an unfair edge on him for years but no one mentions ths;.
-Steroids aren't just some all solving magic pill. You can take them but you have to do the work too. As auntbea stated, Bonds is the great steroid success story. No one else that took them put up numbers anywhere close to his. He dominates the era to a ridiculous degree. Now maybe that's because he had a higher talent floor or maybe he just did the work that the other slackers weren't willing to do. Either way the results are unmatched.
Because Bonds changed more than just his physique. He rebuilt his swing, started trying to get backspin and started undercutting balls, but most of all, just stopped swinging at anything he didn't like. He dictated the game and plate to the pitcher. Steroids didn't give him that discipline. He through will and work made himself the most devastating hitter ever. In an age of huge stats, no one threw a larger shadow.

Players know. Listen to them when they talk about him. Love him or hate him, they have awe in their voice when they talk about him as a player. Dude is a myth.
   67. Ron J Posted: January 06, 2022 at 08:49 PM (#6060090)
#62 He refused to testify out of spite. He thought he had a deal with the prosecutors. They disagreed.

   68. Mefisto Posted: January 06, 2022 at 09:00 PM (#6060091)
Fair enough, but the argument everyone is responding to is whether there's admissible evidence he *took* steroids, knowingly or unknowingly. The financial records are evidence that Bonds knew about the scheme as well. He wasn't paying that much for flaxseed oil.


The financial records may support an inference to that effect, but aren't direct evidence without more. That said, Bonds admitted he took "cream" and "clear" without knowing what they were. That could be admissible evidence that he took steroids unknowingly -- based on the assumption that they were the same substance(s) that BALCO gave others -- but most folks don't seem satisfied with that; they want to insist that he *knew*.

And, of course, the other athletes who have spoken about their own interactions with BALCO. Here I think you would need to ask a real lawyer -- their testimony would definitely shed light on BALCO's pattern of operations, but I could see arguing that it shouldn't be admitted because they had no direct knowledge of Bonds's own activities.


Real lawyer here (well, retired now). That kind of testimony would not be admissible against Bonds for the reason you give in you last clause.

65 seems like a pretty fair summary, though I could see an argument for unknowingly (or "unknowingly").
   69. toratoratora Posted: January 06, 2022 at 09:01 PM (#6060092)
They disagreed.

They did a little more than that.
In a move indicative of the sleaze level of the investigation, in 2009 the feds, nice guys that they are, raided his mother in laws house with 20 agents as part of a "tax probe" aimed at her and his wife.
Anderson considered it retaliation for his refusal to testify and despised them for it. After that, they had no chance he would ever talk.
   70. Mefisto Posted: January 06, 2022 at 09:02 PM (#6060093)
If I recall correctly, Bonds gave his trainer a big diamond necklace to commemorate hitting 72 home runs, as well. Which is evidence that he associated the trainer's efforts with his own athletic accomplishments.


Golfers tip their caddies.
   71. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: January 06, 2022 at 09:20 PM (#6060096)
Wrong. Neither DMN nor I are making that argument (at least I'm not; based on past conversations I'm pretty sure DMN isn't either). All we've said is that there was no legally admissible evidence that he used steroids.
My position is stronger than that, though not as strong as Adam's rendition of it. Using the phrase "legally admissible" makes it sound like there is good evidence but it didn't come in because of a "technicality" [I hate the term, but I'm using it in the way it's colloquially used) that made it admissible. My position is that there's no good evidence, period. There's rumor, gossip, innuendo, speculation, and of course "Well he hit lots of home runs." That's it. During Bonds's trial, there were all sorts of leaks which suggested the government was going to put a bunch of Bonds' teammates on the stand to testify to stuff. They never did. They pursued him Javertlike, but found nothing concrete.

(There was, of course, a failed test for amphetamines, but as we know, none of the steroids crusaders care about that.)
   72. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: January 06, 2022 at 09:24 PM (#6060097)
But it's far better than the evidence that Roger Clemens used steroids.
I wouldn't say far better, but it's definitely stronger.
   73. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: January 06, 2022 at 09:29 PM (#6060100)
I'll chime in again with a few reminders: BALCO was a legally incorporated business, not a guy dealing out of his locker. BALCO had several high-profile, publicly known clients. [.. ]But BALCO did everything it could to look legit and Bonds wasn't the only athlete telling a similar story about BALCO not being upfront with the athletes.
Worth noting that after the blade fell on BALCO, Conte went around throwing his customers under the bus. He sung like a canary. And yet he never inculpated Bonds.

EDIT: Someone cites a leaked rumor of evidence about hearsay from Montgomery about Conte implicating Bonds. But the government had a chance to get Conte's testimony directly, and it didn't get any about Bonds. All they needed was Conte to testify at Bonds' trial, "Yeah, I gave him THG [or Winstrol], and showed him how to use it," and Bonds would've been sent up the river. They didn't get that.
   74. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: January 06, 2022 at 09:36 PM (#6060101)
Didn't Bonds admit in testimony to taking the clear and the cream?
IIRC he did, but said he didn't know at the time they were steroids.
No. Common mistake. Bonds did admit to taking a clear liquid, and he also admitted to using a cream. The government wanted people to infer that these were the clear and the cream, respectively. But there was no evidence to that effect.

Ah, I see mccoy made that point.

I followed the trials closely and am working of of memory here but I'm pretty sure it wasn't some random off the shelf clear/cream he testified to using but the specific ones provided by BALCO.
Nope. Again, if that were the case, they could've buried Bonds with Conte's testimony. Bonds didn't get these things from BALCO. He got them from Anderson. And of course there was no testimony one way or the other from Anderson about where he had gotten these things.
   75. toratoratora Posted: January 06, 2022 at 09:40 PM (#6060102)
David-I concurred with that in post 55 where I note there is no direct linkage.
I wouldn't say far better, but it's definitely stronger.

I'm with you here.
While I think Bonds, inadvertently or not, did, I'll argue much stronger for Clemens.
From a post made by Ray in an earlier discussion:
from Day 1 Clemens maintained his innocence. He released a statement maintaining his innocence, and was called to say it in his own words. He released a youtube video doing that, and was called to say it to a reporter. He said it to Mike Wallace, and it was demanded (such as from Mike Lupica) that Clemens say it to a group of reporters and that he sue Brian McNamee. He said it to a group of reporters and filed suit against Brian McNamee, and it was demanded that he testify under oath in front of Congress. (Quoting from a Lupica column: "Don't tell us. Tell Congress.") Clemens told Congress under oath, knowing that he was walking into a perjury trap, and yet that still wasn't good enough for people who, it turned out, were no good themselves. Clemens was then indicted and refused -- completely refused -- to plead out or strike any sort of a deal with prosecutors.

Clemens did everything that his critics -- themselves unreasonable, dishonest, and dishonorable -- demanded that he do, all along the way. When these same people moved the goalposts on him time and time again, he kicked it through the new goalpost, time and time again. He put his liberty at stake and prevailed despite the government setting a perjury trap for him and then spending tens of millions of dollars in a crazed vendetta to bring him to trial. He did all of this, and prevailed.

One might think this would earn Clemens the slightest benefit of the doubt in the eyes of his critics, but when your critics are unreasonable, dishonest, and dishonorable people, the reality is that that will not happen./quote]
   76. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: January 06, 2022 at 09:42 PM (#6060103)
They seized calendars with his dosage schedules for "the cream" and "the clear". It was established that BALCO was providing athletes with designer steroids which had been modified to escape detection methods. "The cream" and "the clear" were two such steroids. I believe they also seized financial records showing how much Bonds was paying.
The government seized pieces of paper that the government claimed were calendars with his dosage schedules. There was no testimony from anyone that these pieces of paper actually were calendars with Bonds' dosage schedules.


Note that there would've been no reason whatsoever for Bonds to take steroids which had been modified to escape detection methods, because there weren't any detection methods. Baseball was years away from testing at the time.
   77. Ron J Posted: January 06, 2022 at 10:13 PM (#6060104)
#69 Yes. The prosecutors did try some major strong arm tactics and that made it certain that Anderson was never going to testify. But he was likely already there. He felt they reneged on the deal he'd already made.
   78. Adam Starblind Posted: January 06, 2022 at 10:31 PM (#6060106)
Barry didn’t do it!
   79. base ball chick Posted: January 06, 2022 at 11:25 PM (#6060113)
78. Adam Starblind Posted: January 06, 2022 at 10:31 PM (#6060106)

Barry didn’t do it!


- interesting that the govt, who spent HOW many zillions trying to nail him, couldn't find ANY evidence or anyone who could testify to ANYTHING and they wanted him in prison for doing drugs as bad as the feds wanted al capone in prison for murdering people. the feds managed to find SOMEthing on ol al but couldn't find no nothin on bonds? this super "guilty" person with all these supposed "mountains" of evidence? dude, pls.

i did bother to actually read game of shadows first word to last. They had lot of someone said someone said but exactly zero concrete evidence. and i mean ZERO. same thing with the trial transcripts (see posts of DMN).

it is beyond disgusting that some people insist that this one person somehow magically benefitted from a chemical that didn't do the same thing for anyone else. sort of like that new drug for alzheimers that only works on a two people but somehow got thru the all the legal bullstuff so that the company can make a ton of money on shttt that don't work.

it's like what this doctor told me a long time ago about placebos. people don't believe what they see, they see what they believe. people WANT to believe that bonds and clemens are The EVULLL Steroid Villains and Bad People and anyone saying any old thing is "proof". people don't think steroids - can we pls stop saying "PED" because no one cares about anything besides anabolic steroids - are bad or people who do them are bad. they think about 8 people who some did and some didn't do (or let' say there is no proof) steroids are Bad People. and that is about it.

the whole steroids story has proved to me that almost no one is interested in any sort of facts or evidence or truth. or have any sort of "open" mind

p.s. i looked at pics of mark mcgwire in 1987 when he first came up and was supposed to be "skinny" - um, he was NOT skinny. He doesn't look like a WWE wrestler like he did in 98, but he sure as heck was FAR from skinny




   80. The Duke Posted: January 06, 2022 at 11:26 PM (#6060114)
31. You don’t really know. The cardinals drafted a guy in the first round who was supposed to be a top 10 pick before he got caught using steroids. He dropped to the cardinals slot due to peds and has been a complete bust since then. Look at the Tour de France. When Floyd landid won he had an incredible leg where he passed everyone like they were standing still. Later it was determined he took a ton of testosterone in order to do that. He was an otherwise pedestrian rider.

If A-Rod was using in high school onwards who knows what his true talent is. Being able to transform your body like that can have a big impact. To some extent this Is the Big Mac argument. How good was he really ?
   81. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: January 07, 2022 at 02:47 AM (#6060123)
I don’t want to rehash the steroid arguments of yesteryear. I am fairly convinced Bonds used illegal PEDs but I don’t think the government made a good case. And I’d still vote for him for the HOF if I had a ballot.
   82. Ron J Posted: January 07, 2022 at 07:13 AM (#6060126)
#81 I'm fairly convinced that Bonds used PEDS. I think it's likely he did so knowingly.

And the PEDS that I'm confident he used were not illegal at the time. And yes, if they weren't under the radar at that time they'd have been scheduled.

Nor were they prohibited by MLB's rules.

But I'm being precise in my language here because illegal has a pretty specific meaning and none of Bonds' actions meet the definition.
   83. McCoy Posted: January 07, 2022 at 11:09 AM (#6060146)
There is no way on Earth Floyd Landis was the only cyclist cheating during competition. I doubt there has been a clean cyclist in that sport since the beginning. They've been cheating since the start.
   84. McCoy Posted: January 07, 2022 at 11:11 AM (#6060148)
Novistky claims Bonds took Winstrol in 1998 and doing that and getting messed up was what led him to BALCO.

I think Bonds took drugs knowingly I don't think anybody has given us definitive proof that he took drugs, that they were illegal, and he did so knowingly.
   85. Zach Posted: January 07, 2022 at 12:07 PM (#6060159)
[Regarding the diamond necklace] Bonds was very open about the importance of his training regimen, I don’t really see how this itself is incriminating.

Yeah, but that's how you make a circumstantial case. You keep piling facts on facts. Giving a necklace doesn't prove anything in its own right, but giving an expensive necklace to a trainer who prepared doping schedules with your name all over them in recognition of a shared achievement tells you something about the relationship.
   86. Zach Posted: January 07, 2022 at 12:12 PM (#6060160)
As I interpret the evidence, what BALCO did was target athletes who were already doping, offering a designer steroid that was made with the goal of not triggering the tests then in use. (Whether that constituted an "illegal steroid" is apparently legally tricky -- WADA considers chemical analogues of steroids to presumptively be steroids in their own right, but the US statutes may treat them differently).

Basically, Conte would go to an athlete, pitch his zinc/magnesium stuff, and offer to do free bloodwork. The bloodwork would then -- surprise! -- come out positive for PEDs, at which point Conte would offer his own concierge doping service. That way, he never made a pitch to someone who wasn't already receptive.
   87. Buck Coats Posted: January 07, 2022 at 02:35 PM (#6060180)
On the other hand, that doesn't seem to have happened in this case? Bonds took the zinc from Conte, but not anything else.
   88. McCoy Posted: January 07, 2022 at 03:13 PM (#6060188)
Bonds claimed he got his stuff from Anderson. I believe Anderson was either the intermediary or he was getting his stuff from BALCO and then giving it to Barry. Victor Conte has said, and I don't know if ever testified, that he never gave anything to Barry.
   89. birdlives is one crazy ninja Posted: January 07, 2022 at 05:33 PM (#6060202)
In the reading comments above, it's interesting to see and remember how Anderson's (lack of) testimony was so critical. Without his testimony, the government can't corroborate the dosage schedules belong to Bonds (although even without that testimony, it still looks pretty bad for Bonds) nor is there testimony that he knew what he was taking wasn't flaxseed oil and a pain-relieving balm for the player's arthritis (again even without his testimony, it still looks bad for Bonds, as if he would pay huge fees for these items). Based on the surrounding evidence, I certainly believe Bonds knowingly took PEDs but without Anderson's testimony, there isn't a way to legally prove it, even if it defies inductive thinking (not sure if that's right word but I wanted to use a better word than "common sense") to believe he took PEDs unknowingly given the surrounding evidence. Luckily, HOF standards don't need to rely on legal standards to determine if he was a knowing PED user. And of course, whether HOF voters should even care about this issue is a separate matter (they shouldn't).
   90. McCoy Posted: January 07, 2022 at 06:32 PM (#6060210)
Ballplayers spend big money on copper chains. . .

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