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Last week, while spring training got under way and many of Major League Baseball's biggest stars were taking part in the inaugural World Baseball Classic, an exhibition tournament featuring national teams from around the globe, San Francisco Giants star Barry Bonds was getting attention for another reason. Later this month, Game of Shadows: Barry Bonds, BALCO, and the Steroids Scandal That Rocked Professional Sports, written by San Francisco Chroniclereporters Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams, will be published by Gotham Books. The two reporters reviewed thousands of documents and interviewed hundreds of the people closest to Bonds, and excerpts already published reveal detailed accounts of exactly when Bonds allegedly began taking steroids, which steroids he took, and how he obtained them. Suggesting Bonds lied to a federal grand jury in 2003 about his steroid use, the book says the slugger -- who could set the all-time home run record later this season -- used steroids from 1998 through at least 2002, the most productive span of his career. Still, Bonds' defenders say that he hasn't been proven guilty of anything, and that he still should be regarded as the best who ever played the game. Where do you stand on Barry Bonds? Take our quiz and find out!
1) Thus far, Bonds has deflected direct questions about the wealth of information contained in Game of Shadows, refusing to answer the queries of reporters at spring training unless they deal specifically with the game of baseball. Asked last week if he would read the book, a glaring Bonds snapped: "Is that a baseball question? Last time I checked, that wasn't a baseball question." If you were a reporter covering Bonds at spring training, how would you have responded?
A) "Yes, Barry, it is. It isa baseball question."
B) "OK, let me rephrase that: Have you read any good book excerpts lately?"
C) "Sorry, Barry, so sorry. Shall I toss you a softball about hitting to the opposite field?"
2) When asked at his locker how the book and the resultant media storm are affecting him, a smiling Bonds told a reporter: "I don't know. I haven't shot anyone yet, so that's pretty good. I haven't killed anyone. I haven't gone psycho." What do you make of the quote?
A) He should have added, "Yet."
B) Hmm ... does the book say he's killed anyone? And define "psycho."
C) See, no homicide. That proveshe wasn't taking steroids.
3) Among the book's many revelations is that Bonds first began using what he called "the shit" after becoming envious of the media adulation directed at St. Louis Cardinal (and former Oakland A) Mark McGwire, whose shattering of the single-season home run record in 1998 brought legions of fans back to the game. According to the book, before the 1999 season, Bonds hired personal trainer Greg Anderson to become his strength and conditioning coach, and Anderson began supplying the verbally abusive Bonds with steroids. Do the details in Game of Shadowsmake you change your opinion of Bonds?
A) No, they confirm it.
B) Mark McGwire is white, right? Good, I can blame him.
C) Nah. He hits the ball farther on steroids. And I drive a MINI Cooper, so the home runs are all I really care to see when I come to a Giants game.
4) The San Francisco Giants, owner Peter McGowan, and General Manager Brian Sabean have received heavy criticism for failing to confront Bonds over the past seven years about the obvious changes to his body, and for refusing to answer questions about the accusations, despite strong indications they knew Anderson was a steroid dealer. Even Bonds' teammates are defensive. "I think it's crap," says outfielder Steve Finley. "Shame on those guys and Sports Illustrated for coming out with it now, with the World Baseball Classic going on. We are supposed to be answering questions about baseball, not Bonds. Barry's our teammate, and that's it. We're behind him 100 percent." What do you think of the team's response?
A) Why is anyone interviewing Steve Finley?
B) What do you expect the Giants to do? Confront their moody, raging superstar who's perverting the game? While they're simultaneously deceiving the residents of San Francisco about how our tax dollars aren't funding the new ballpark? That's just too much deception, even for a Bay Area sports franchise.
C) I agree with Finley: What right do fans have to know if the players we're paying too much money to see are a bunch of juiced-up phonies? The important thing to remember is that Barry's always been such an ideal teammate.
5) Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig says he's planning a review of the book when the full version comes out, but has so far declined to address the issue in much more detail. His office could well find itself in an awkward position if it disciplines the player who is also trying to break the all-time home run record and is the subject of an ESPN television reality show this year. What do you think Selig should do?
A) The phrase "take a long walk off a short pier" comes to mind ....
B) If I were Selig, I would immediately and unequivocally hand over all decisions and policy regarding steroids in baseball to the one man who can get this game restored: President George W. Bush. (Bonus point for adding: "OK, OK, I'm kidding. I was just thinking of the only way this scandal could be even more humiliating for the nation.")