I suppose serendipitously enough (given Barry Bonds hitting #715 this weekend) I decided to read Game of Shadows: Barry Bonds, BALCO and the Steroids Scandal that Rocked Professional Sports this weekend. The book was written by the two reporters who broke the whole BALCO story (by a leak from the Grand Jury testimony I think...but they also had been following it before I believe).
It was a decent book. A few things came across loud and clear to me:
- Barry Bonds took steroids. There is just way too much evidence to the contrary. But as I've said before, who cares? So did everyone else (including the pitchers).
- Barry Bonds has been enabled all of his life. No one ever stands up to him. It's that very conditioning that makes him so apparently surly and rude. I think it's just him being him. Everyone (including him) is responsible for who he is now.
- Track and Field is a complete sham. I didn't really put it together until now but EVERYONE takes the juice. And, like baseball, I guess, so what? The thing about track is it makes everything they do for some reason so much more unattractive (sort of like every female German olympian in the last 20 or so years (except maybe Katarina Witt...).
- Victor Conte is....well he's just ignorant but he's also brilliant. He's a total show man who duped everyone around him. The absolutely and unbelievably ignorant thing about him is his pervasive use of email and online bulletin boards to basically publicize everything that he was doing creating an easy paper trail around him....that is just plain ignorance.
It was an easy read with some interesting parts (Barry Bonds is particularly vicious according to this book dropping f-bombs like he's trying out for the next Quentin Tarantino movies) but not great.
Worth a read for any sports fan for sure.