The hammer came down on Barry Bonds yesterday, as Sports Illustrated published a damning excerpt from an upcoming book by two San Francisco Chronicle reporters which lays out in exhaustive detail the doping program — including steroids and human growth hormone — that the Giants slugger purportedly used for at least five seasons beginning in 1998.
The excerpt from Game of Shadows offers near-definitive proof that Bonds, as has long been suspected, was on the juice — yet the news was received with derision in many quarters of the sports blogosphere, which seems to have forgotten that it was the work of the two reporters, Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams, in their own newspaper that first placed Bonds squarely in the middle of the BALCO drug scandal.
The book “is getting a lot of ink this week due to the startling ‘revelation’ that Barry Bonds used steroids. DUH!” writes Dr. Blogstein. “What’s the Dewey Decimal code for ‘OBVIOUS’?!? I’d like to read a book about the people who may have believed Bonds when he claimed he never used performance enhancing drugs!”
Mike Round at Sports Central advises newspapers to “Hold the Front Page: Barry Was Juiced.” “Consider the evidence. The monster-sized melon head; the bulging eyes; the mood swings and ill temper; the testimony of others to his steroid use, and, indeed, his own admission of (part) culpability. Finally, and crucially, the statistical anomaly of his post-1998 career,” Round writes. While he is sure Fainaru-Wada and Williams “have done a fine job,” says Round, “we don’t need two guys from the San Francisco Chronicle to tell us BALCO Barry was playing dirty.”
Montecore the Tiger bares his claws at the sports media, chastening the two Chronicle scribes for taking so long and congratulating Sports Illustrated “for being relevant again”: “Five years after he blew up — physically and statistically — the media has delivered the proof. Nice work, guys.” Over at Rathergate.com, Mark Kilmer is wary of calling the Chronicle reporters “investigative journalists,” and questions whether he and his readers should trust the journalists — or trust Bonds himself. While he allows that the documentation provided by Fainaru-Wada and Williams “is evidently as airtight as the description of Bonds’s steroid use is detailed,” Kilmer tosses off that “[t]he motivation here for the reporters, we can surmise, was the money from the big story and, I think, the sort of kick journalists get from tearing down idols and icons.”
Edward B. Colby was a writer at CJR Daily.
Not all bloggers reacted with knee-jerk jadedness and quick-on-the-trigger mockery, however. Baseball Crank seems to have woken up on the right side of the bed this morning, saying “this investigation by two Big Media reporters is the best evidence we’re likely to get. At this point, the burden shifts to Bonds and his bitter-ender defenders to do some serious, detailed explaining.” And ThetaFarm is, well, humble. “I’ll admit it. I was wrong,” the blogger writes. “Now I must start the long drawn-out PR campaign to save my own face. Just another example of reality being totally wrong.”