Game of Shadows

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The complete inside story of the shocking steroids scandal that turned the sports world upside-down.

For years, in the shadowy reaches of the world of sport, there were rumors that some of our nation's greatest athletes were using steroids, human growth hormone, and other drugs to run faster, jump higher, and hit harder. But as track stars like Marion Jones blazed their way to Olympic medals and sluggers such as Mark McGwire brought fans back to baseball with stratospheric home runs, sports officials, the media, and fans looked past the rumors and cheered on the stars to ever-higher levels of performance. Then, in December 2004, after more than fifteen months of relentless reporting, San Francisco Chronicle reporters Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams broke the story of the Bay Area Lab Co-operative, a tiny nutritional supplement company that according to sworn testimony was supplying elite athletes, including baseball MVP Jason Giambi, with banned drugs. The stories, exposing rampant cheating at the highest levels of athletics, shocked the nation as sports heroes were brought low and their records were tainted. The exposes led to Congressional hearings on baseball's drug problems, and a revived effort to purge the U.S. Olympic movement of drug cheats.

Now, in Game of Shadows, Fainaru-Wada and Williams tell the complete story of BALCO and the investigation that has shaken the foundations of the sporting world. They reveal how an obscure, self-proclaimed nutritionist, Victor Conte, became a steroid svengali to multi-millionaire athletes desperate for a competitive edge, and how he created superstars with his potent cocktails of miracle drugs. They expose the international web of coaches and trainers who funneled athletes to BALCO, and how the drug cheats stayed a step ahead of the testing agencies and the law. They detail how an aggressive IRS investigator doggedly gathered evidence until Conte and his co-conspirators were brought to justice. And at the center of the story is the biggest star of them all, Barry Bonds, the muscle-bound MVP outfielder of the San Francisco Giants whose suspicious late-career renaissance has him threatening Hank Aaron's all-time home run record.

Shocking, revelatory, and page-turning, Game of Shadows casts light into the shadows of American sport to reveal the dark truths at the heart of the game today.

Customer Reviews:

  • alright book
    The book keeps you interested and also makes you look at sports in a different way. However anyone can gather information together and right it the way they want it to look or sound. this book came out in the middle of the balco scandal and i wouldn't rule out the idea of cashing in on the subject. I think people want this to be true about bonds so they believe anything that can prove their point. Im not saying he didnt do it. but Im not going to make up my mind on this subject based on this book, or anything coming from the media. i thought this guy was a reporter for the chronicle. This was his chance of a lifetime to make a name for himself....more info
  • Strong investigative reporting but hints of bias
    Fainaru-Wada and Williams should be congratulated for the detailed narrative outlining the investigations of steroid abuse by prominent U.S. athletes. Game of Shadows very successfully pulls together the complete story of steroid abuse associated with BALCO. While much of the media discussion of the book centers around Barry Bonds, there is a broader set of athletes involved in the investigation - U.S. Olympic athletes including Marion Jones, NFL players, and others.

    There is much to appreciate in Game of Shadows as far as the story of BALCO and steroid cheating, but it is difficult to not sense a bias against Bonds in particular. Chapters of the book focus specifically on Bonds' character issues, his narcissism, his abusiveness, his immaturity. None of the other athletes involved in the BALCO steroids scandal covered by Game of Shadows receive anywhere near the same level of character analysis as does Bonds. Further, much of that character analysis is based on the word of a single source, an ex-girlfriend of Bonds. There are occasional snippets of character information from other sources, but the bulk of it comes from this single source.

    I'm not going to apologize for Bonds' character issues, nor am I going to suggest that Bonds' ex-girlfriend is lying, however, this otherwise strong investigative report on steroids abuse by professional athletes is tainted by the People magazine-like diversions into Bonds' personal life and behavior. The authors' failure to make a clear connection of relevance between this content and the broader story leaves one feeling that they had some personal vendetta against Bonds. The results of the BALCO investigation and the grand jury testimony were sufficient to allow readers to form their opinions of Bonds' character.

    If Fainaru-Wada and Williams had stuck to BALCO, I would have given this 4 or 5 stars. Still, Game of Shadows is worth the read for anyone interested in the issue of steroids in professional sports....more info
  • One of the BEST books i have read
    This book is crazy, i have never paid attention to baseball and its players, but now i understand why! I have watched Bonds in action and thought he was one of the best, but reading this book changed my mind. I think people should read this book please and understand the man and where he is comming from....more info
  • Important, but no page-turner
    This is an important book, but, at the risk of going against popular opinion, I have to point out that it is not the most readable one. Page after page can be boiled down to, "(Insert name here) was an athlete who was heavily involved in the bodybuilding/weightlifting/track and field scene, and (s)he came to eccentric Victor Conte for help. Here's a prosaic biography and career summary of this person before and after BALCO." It does a very good job of portraying Conte as a sort of mad-scientist kook- in fact he emerges as the only interesting character in the narrative. For the first hundred pages or so, Barry Bonds is an angry, morose specter hovering on the fringes of the story, shaking his fist jealously at Mark McGwire and mistreating his girlfriend, while Conte cooks up wacky scientific experiments to dope up this track star and that bodybuilder. Keeping all of the names and dates straight as things progress gets tougher and tougher, and it's not entirely clear how someone as daffy as Conte the failed "Tower of Power" bassist and fly-by-night entrepeneur could build his business so quickly into such a successful one, be it legal or not. By the middle of the book you're sure to hit that epiphany of freedom one has when one realizes no one is looking over your shoulder forcing you to read each line of the book, and that the guilt that comes with skimming the actual text itself can be overcome by the knowledge that the reader has at least joined the legions who've bought the thing and contributed to the entirely noble and justified campaign to bring this scandal out into the open and discredit the guilty parties....more info
  • Eye opening!
    This is a great documentary on the dark side of sports. It lets you inside on the drug scene in sports and the athletes that are willing to do anything to win. Barry Bonds hasn't said anything about this book so these stories must be true. Great reading for a sports fan but be prepared for some of the superstars to be brought down in this book....more info
  • great book
    im only halfway thru it so far, but i can't put it down, great book. i love baseball and the yankees, reading this has really brought into the light the garbage that is swirling around the sport. personally i think bonds should be banned from the game, with such overwhelming evidence, how could you not do that, and totally erase or do the ole, * next to his stats. This book really shows how rampant steroids are and is a good read on top of it. ...more info
  • The Authority in the topic of steroids
    I am a big baseball fan so i had to read this book and , altough, it is a sad thing to find out how huge is this problem, i am grateful that those who have lied and hide this problem have been prosecuted.This book is a great account of the problems of drugs in sports.So far, everything that the authors have said in this book have been proven true.This book is a no non-sense approach to the story with the authors putting all the cards on the table and not holding back.I think their approach to the subject is fantastic and the fact that they have researched and documented all their information is a testimony to that.Great book!! ...more info
  • Stright to the point
    First things first: this is essentially a term paper, or a series of articles strung together. While that's not a bad thing, you shouldn't expect great *writing* here. That said, it's adequately done, and exhaustively researched... which is disturbing because there is no doubt that Bonds, and the rest of these guys cheated. No doubt at all. And they make no apologies for it either, essentially claiming since everyone else was doing it they had to do it too in order to compete (an excuse for bad behavior I hadn't heard since grammar school). Yes, this book takes an especially hard look at Barry Bonds, and for good reason. Inexplicably, yet luckily for him, he was the only one of dozens to not outright admit steroid use in his grand jury testimony, even though the extent of the evidence was essentially the same for all the athletes involved. And although the authors put forth a steady stream of facts, interviews and other hard evidence that Bonds is in fact guilty, we need only the very public "evidence" that at age 36, when every other human on the planet's body begins breaking down, Barry Bonds put on 40 pounds of pure muscle and increased his stats in every area of the game by an incredible margin. After reading this book I firmly believe that he, Palmiero, McGwire, Giambi, Jones, et all should have asterisks by their records. And the argument that "we don't know what Babe Ruth was injecting!" is a weak argument: the other thing this book does well is act as a steroid primer, and the modern drugs and techniques are simply no match for whatever those old timer could get their hands on. So, even thought it will make you mad, and maybe even sad, if you're a fan of baseball, or sports in general, you need to read this book....more info
  • The Home Run King
    An excellent and interesting insight into what most people have suspected about high performance athletes. I never wanted to put it down....more info
  • Not what it's purported to be
    The book is ok, but I was disappointed. I was hoping for something specific to Barry Bonds and allegations of steroid use. "Game of Shadows" is really more about BALCO, Victor Conte, Gre Anderson, and the use of steroids in professional sports. Barry Bonds is one part of the story (and certainly the part that sells books), but much of the book focuses on track and field athletes and on individuals and entities that are peripheral to Barry Bonds....more info
  • Where Have You Gone Joe Dimaggio...
    This book goes in several different directions, primarily chronicling the depravity of sellers like Victor Conte and users like Barry Bonds and Marion Jones. It's certainly hard to imagine anyone having much sympathy for these people if he/she has given even cursory consideration to the wealth of factual material presented in the book. The news media had provided most of the basic information beforehand, but I was still glad I read it. The authors did a nice job tying threads together and should be commended for their work. Still, I come away thinking that they have only managed to reveal a small tip of a very large iceberg. There is too much money and too much science involved for this problem of performance enhancing drugs to be easily confined, or to just easily go away. ...more info
  • Truth is a bitch
    Engaging description of use of illegal substances by professional athletes. Very well documented and credible story....more info
  • A journalistic tour de force
    This book can be appreciated on many levels. Note that I did not say "enjoyed," because I don't think one can enjoy the crumbling of icons, no matter how necessary or justified.

    Reading GOS, I felt much as I did that day some thirty-five years ago when I first read Jim Bouton's BALL FOUR. Having grown up a huge Yankees fan (I have since gone to the other end of the success stratum, the Cubs.), I was dismayed to discover the many peccadillos of my hero, Mickey Mantle, just as I was saddened to learn of the involvement of Bonds, Jones, et al. in this book.

    Not only is the book a thoroughly researched, journalistic magnum opus, it reads like a novel. If you are looking for plot lines of Byzantine complexity, forget the DA VINCI CODE. Fainaru-Wada and Williams' book makes Brown's novel look like THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA.

    As a journalist and teacher of literature, I cannot recommend this book more enthusiastically. ...more info
  • Tainted book - beware when reading!
    This book uses circumstantial evidence to incriminate and conclude that Barry Bonds took steroids, and that this cheating has been the sole reason for all his homeruns since 'allegedly' taking steroids. The book would lead you to believe that all of this has been proven in a court of law, and Barry Bonds is the worst and most dishonest athlete ever to have walked to planet. However, not only is the book poorly written, it mixes fact with fiction, and leads one to believe that there is a race issue underlying the Bonds incrimination.

    More important issues which are not addressed in the book include: would steroid use really help him hit more home runs? Does more muscle equal more distance on a flying baseball? What is the chance that he did not actually use steroids - if you really want something to be true you can throw together all the circumstantial evidence you want, but that doesn't mean it is so....more info
  • Probably as close as we'll get to any admission of wrongdoing
    An enjoyable book that not only exposes the drug use of Bonds, but many other people that, in some cases like Marion Jones, have finally been nabbed after years of denials. It's also a good insight into the minds of top athletes - the message here is 'win at any cost'.

    A small item: the authors are quite keen to tell how great they were/their paper was in breaking the stories, which is fine and deserved, but they are pretty quick in saying how they could not have broken these stories in 1998 because if they did they would have been ostracised from the clubhouses, etc. Hindsight is 20-20, but it's clear the media were not ready to ask tough questions in the "summer of love" period, even if they wondered how guys like McGwire and Sosa got so big so quickly....more info
  • a sad commentary on America's pasttime
    a well-written, thoroughly researched and easy-to-read book on this plague in American sports. I would encourage anyone to pick it up and read it.
    Having read this book before Bonds broke the record, it just made me that much angrier when he finally did break it.
    These two authors did what MLB and Bud Selig should have done years ago -- ...more info
  • You will be convinced!
    This book absolutely convinces the reader that what is stated, is in fact true. The amount of detail is too great to be ignored. It is amazing that the authors were able to gather so much in light of the on-going BALCO prosecution going on. The book focuses on several atheletes as well as Bonds, Sheffield and Giambi. The footballer Romonowski (nicknamed Romo) and Marion Jones and her husband are the other main focus.

    Victor Conte was a real con man that made people believe that he was smarter than a doctor and convinced so many people to not only take different types of steroids but on a specific schedule.

    He mostly gave them the clear and the cream which apparently cannot be detected by current testing methods. It makes one wonder how anything will ever be detected and cheating will continue to be prevelent.

    Bonds is the main focal point of the book and it focuses on his career from the mid-nineties to the current time. He is portrayed as someone who gets off by being worshipped and is extremely jealous of anyone who takes glory from him (Jeff Kent seemed to consume a great deal of his hate). It was disgusting that he almost came to blows with an elderly Bill Virdon when Bonds was with the Pirates.

    I also found it surprising that Bonds seemed to befriend Sheffield and Giambi since he seems like the type to never have any real friends. What he probably needs is a good shrink and something to undo the damage to his brain that the drug did.

    I would have rated this book higher but I was mostly interested in the Baseball aspects. Also, it seems like the authors wanted to put every single thread of information that they knew into the book and also each experience of each athelete seemed to be a repeat (well they took this then that and then they were on the regimen of the clear and the cream)....more info
  • Interesting read
    This book is definitely an intersting read for anyone who is a fan of baseball and/or interested in finding out details about the steroid scandals. The book is well written, and very believable. I read it straight through, and got a lot more information than I expected to....more info
  • The Authority in the topic of steroids
    I am a big baseball fan so i had to read this book and , altough, it is a sad thing to find out how huge is this problem, i am grateful that those who have lied and hide this problem have been prosecuted.This book is a great account of the problems of drugs in sports.So far, everything that the authors have said in this book have been proven true.This book is a no non-sense approach to the story with the authors putting all the cards on the table and not holding back.I think their approach to the subject is fantastic and the fact that they have researched and documented all their information is a testimony to that.Great book!! ...more info
  • The real story of baseball and steroids
    This is a highly detailed, painstakingly accurate review of the whole BALCO mess. Barry Bonds is clearly a steroid user, but so are so many others. It's all here -- the amateurish, bumbling investigation, baseball's non-involvement, and so on. If you want to know what actually happened and who is involved, read this book....more info
  • Marion Jones was on the juice and is stripped of Olympic medals
    Well, well, well, to all those who rated this book 1 star and allowed their parochial enthusiasims to blind them: you've been hoodwinked.
    Hoodwinked by millionaire athletes who wanted to make a few million more.

    Bonds, like Marion Jones, was a customer of BALCO.

    When will Bonds join Jones? Looks like lawyers will decide the homerun tally!...more info
  • I still love Barry!
    Barry Bonds is still a great guy and so many ball players did steriods so big deal!!!!...more info
  • Fascinating Look into the Shadows
    Although this book has Barry Bonds's name in the subtitle, Bonds is just one of the many professional athlethes who appears in its pages. Fainaru-Wada and Williams spent two years investigating the BALCO "sports nutrition" center and its founder Victor Conte. Conte is a former bass player (most notably with Tower of Power) who provided "nutritional supplements" to such top tier athletes as Olympic gold medalist Marion Jones, Bonds, and NFL player Bill Romanowski, among others. No matter what your position on steroids in sports, this is an important work that is difficult to dispute (at least in the court of public opinion). This is a well-researched page turner on par with any legal thriller by John Grisham....more info
  • BALCO + BARRY = Baseball's Beguiled Bondage
    There is no way to make a positive case for anabolic steroids or HGH in any sport. The story of BALCO and the involvement of one of the biggest names in sports makes for an interesting read Game of Shadows: Barry Bonds, BALCO, and the Steroids Scandal that Rocked Professional Sports albeit one of the darkest sides of professional sports.

    Hidden behind a "Which came first, the chicken or the egg?" back-drop, the book names people who became contenders by buying into the back street sales of steroids in order to build strength, enhance musculature, elongate careers and cheat their way into the record books with the excuse that they were better than other players but just needed that edge to be best, as though it was their divine right! Gone were the days of Willie Mays, Roger Maris, Hank Aaron and Mickey Mantle, those who made and broke records by sheer talent and will. The days of steroids were now foisted upon an unsuspecting public via Victor Conte, a self-made, self-serving and self-proclaimed nutritionist who became a "cocktail" mixer to the super stars of sports. Throw into that mix the world of Major League Baseball, who, along with its Commissioners, owners, managers, trainers and pumped up stars, turned a deaf ear and a blind eye to all that was happening around them. Together, they've turned a wonderful, healthy and beautiful sport that was America's Favorite Pastime into a debacle of muscle-bound "terminators" whose job it is to hit the long ball and keep people coming to fields and stadiums where they can witness the side-show of freaks which once was, the heart of American sports....more info
  • Bonds Fans: Take Note!
    I don't know how anyone can read this book and retain a shred of respect for the athletes who pumped themselves up with steroids and an array of other illegal substances, in order to best their competition. The authors call them what they are: not champions, but drug cheats. Bloated hulks like Barry Bonds- who continues to lie about his steroid use- should have been thrown out of baseball years ago. Where is Judge Landis when we need him?

    The book also details the drug cheating in other sports, and the athletes' justification that, if they didn't use steroids, they would have no chance to excel in any professional sport- that's how rampant steroid use is. The authors also detail how government officials, in thrall to the business of professional baseball and reluctant to do anything that might damage the sport, continued to protect even those athletes who had admitted in closed testimony to steroid use, by refusing to make their names public.

    But despite the momentary furor this book caused when it first came out, nothing has really changed. MLB's drug testing procedures are a joke. Bonds has been allowed to go right on hitting his drug-cheat home runs, and will no doubt eventually break the all-time home run record set by Hank Aaron- a disgrace if there ever was one!

    The picture the authors paint of Bonds is appalling- what an arrogant, obnoxious, over-privileged SOB! Dislike of Bonds has nothing to do with his race, although he likes to think that it does. People dislike him because he's not only a drug cheat, but a liar, an abuser of women, a serial adulterer, an insulter of fans, teammates, and reporters, and a generally worthless human being. But I guess that's of no importance to Bonds' blindly loyal fans.

    This is a birlliant piece of investigative reporting!
    ...more info
  • Good on Facts...Weak on Editorializing
    I recently reread this book, and still think it offers a damning case against Bonds and baseball. Perhaps the most telling feature of the veracity of the book is found off the Assistant DA went to jail because he leaded grand jury testimony that was used in the book. I can only imagine if the information leaked was inaccurate the lawsuit would never have happened, just as if the book was inaccurate I have to think Bonds would be suing these guys.

    On my first read I came away thinking it a 5-star effort. Upon rereading it I came in at four stars, as there is too much editorializing that detracts from the main message. For instance, the authors twice refer to Arnold Schwarzenegger as an admitted steroid user...while omitting that he used them over thirty years ago-before they were illegal for use in sports, and long before they were a prescription item. I am sure it is no coincedence that when this book first came out Schwarzenegger was in the midst of an election campagin as governor of California, a race where the SF Chronicle, endorsed his opponent.

    Several reviews below note this same editorializing tendency, and it is the weak link in the book. When the book sticks to the facts, and analysis of the same, it is strong. When it leaves that path, it is noticeably weaker....more info
  • an informative and entertaining read
    I really enjoyed this book. These two guys detailed from the beginning the rise of steriods in not only baseball, but also several of the American Olympic athletes. ...more info
  • Noteworthy scoop and important effort to push fact-facing
    By now even people that don't follow baseball have some concept of what BALCO was. BALCO was the scandal that made us "believe our lying eyes" and realize that steroids are rampant in sports. It always amazes me to hear people blather about weight training as if it is some recent invention and is the source of the spectacular musculatures of modern athletes. Sorry kids, men have had the same builds for centuries and there have been ways to build them to a certain extent for centuries. Steroids is the difference, you see in the modern athlete.

    The real scoop that these journalists got was the leaked grand jury testimony with the details of the BALCO doping. Also the significant revelations from Bell (Bonds's girlfriend) They shared it in newspaper articles and by writing this book helped hold the truth to our faces and to the tacit facilitators in sports management.

    The book is a lot better than the average Woodward-mill opus in scholarship and craft. But it has the common failing of this kind of close after the event history in only sharing what is public (and not all of that) and what special scoops the authors got. Still...the important thing was the scoop. So kudos.

    As an aside, I don't agree with these reporters that there is any "reporter sheild" for confidential sources. Courts have long held that reporters have a first amendment right to publish whatever secret they want. But that if they have knowledge of a crime, they must testify in court. Just because you are a reputable reporter does not mean your First Amendment rights are any better than the average shmuck. Actually we all have great first amendment rights. You can publish whatever you want. Sheild laws don't protect the first amendment. They protect criminals....more info
  • Good not Great
    Good book, pretty decent read, but it is truly dissapointing what you are about to look at. If you are a baseball die hard like me, you will lose a lot of respect for the players named in the book.

    Get ready to have your heart broken...

    CT...more info
  • Weak references...and a boring read.
    The only thing I will say is this. The book is worthless and boring...Just a bunch of he said she said. If Barry tested as all the other MLB players have throughout the season and never tested positive...What's all the fuss about. I'm the type of person who wants to see valid proof. Not what some reporter that wants to make money writing a book has to say. I personally don't like Bonds as a person. But as a player he is outstanding. Before the season is up Babe's record will be GONE!!! I'm really questioning weather Mark McGwire will have an (*) next to his name in the record book. But oh yeah i forgot. He was the great "white hope". Too bad he wasn't good enough. Men of color will continue to dominate this sport as well as other major sports. So prepare to say goodbye to "the babe", "DiMaggio"...and all the others. Even when Hank Arron was about to destroy (and he did) Babe Ruth's record he got all kinds of racist remarks, hate mail...and was dehumanized. I see history repeating itself all over again. If people wanna blame someone. Blame the commissioner who allowed this to go on for so long. Why is he not held accountable. Why isn't there a book about the countless times he ignored the fact that players were taking steroids. It seems to me that the finger needs to be pointed in a different direction....more info
  • Researched Very Well
    The authors researched their topic very well and are to be admired for their effort to break the scandal. It is an outrage that they are facing prison while Mr. Bonds collects millions of dollars.

    It is not a particularly exciting read, but at times is a very depressing read if you are a sports fan.

    Worth the time....more info
  • A must read for any baseball fan
    If you're going to excuse Barry Bonds for his cheating, and offer up a timid "there's no proof," you owe it to yourself to at least read this book. There's enough evidence on Bonds' cheating to write a book -- and they did. Also, you'll never look at track and field the same way. This is all profoundly sad stuff, but it's compelling, and important....more info
  • Most interesting book I've read recently
    "Game of Shadows" is an extremely interesting book. One of the many shining factors of this book is that it is so well researched. The next shining factor is the presentation of this research and the presentation of the information provided. This book closely follows not only BALCO and Barry Bonds, but also many other athletes known to be associated to some degree with BALCO. It also gives a nice history and brief biography of Victor Conte, Greg Anderson, and the other key players in the steroid scandal. All of this helps set the context for the rest of the steroid scandal.

    This book does focus a lot on Barry Bonds, baseball's current "home-run king." If you are a fan of Barry Bonds then you will probably not enjoy this book unless you are more interested in the timeline of steroids then in Barry Bonds's alleged steroid usage. At one point early in the book I truly thought that this book was out to get Bonds, as the first few pages open up seemingly gunning for him; but, as the book progresses it becomes obvious that Bonds is in fact a key player in this scandal. However, I think all the points are made and all the dirt is dug-up during the book and I think the authors just added Bonds's hitting statistics overtime to the appendix to add icing on the cake.

    This book truly was fascinating and I learned a lot that I didn't know before. I felt that I had kept relatively informed as the information came out, but as the book mentions, the BALCO scandal would make headlines one day and then drop out of sight the next few. For this reason, this book was a nice, comprehensive guide and timeline to the BALCO scandal. I will not comment on how disappointing it is to read about elite athletes cheating even in the Olympics but if you are relatively unaware about how slimy some of our "national heroes" are you might want to prepare yourself prior to reading this book....more info
  • A cheater exposed
    If you are still blindly defending Barry Bonds at this point, you really should have your head examined, or at least your G.E.D. rescinded. "Barry Bonds never failed a drug test" might be the most idiotic phrase uttered since "walk-off home run" (or maybe "Free O.J."). It's time to pull your heads out of you-know-where, people. The guy put on 30 pounds of muscle during one off-season. You don't do this with a Soloflex and flaxseed oil. Think these "trainers" don't know their way around a urine test? Pull the other one.
    When news of the imminent publication of this book was revealed, Bonds and his lawyers didn't waste any time trying to suppress its' release. Hey Barry, if you're clean, then what's the problem? If this book is fabrication, then stick it out. Eventually, the truth will be revealed. And therein lies the problem for Mr. Bonds. Because it already has.
    If you still have any doubts about this book, let me dispel them. Read it. It's thoroughly researched, well written, and most of all, IMPORTANT. It had to be written, because this situation had to be exposed. I must say that I was stunned, but very pleased, that there were actually two men in San Francisco with the guts to investigate Bonds, let alone put their findings in print. This took great courage, because I wouldn't be surprised if these guys received death threats from knuckle-dragging fans. I wish I could shake their hands and thank them personally for their efforts.
    To put it bluntly, Barry Bonds is a cheater, a disgrace to the legacy of the great men who have played Major League Baseball, and a miserable human being for good measure. He should receive nothing less than a lifetime ban from baseball, and all of his post-1999 numbers should be expunged from the books or, at the very least, printed in a bright red with this disclaimer--"*These statistics were achieved during what is known as the `steroid era' in MLB, and are not legitimate. Mr. Bonds has received a lifetime suspension." The same treatment should be extended to McGwire, Sosa, Giambi, Palmiero, etc. (If you want to throw the likes of Gaylord Perry and Mike Scott in there, be my guest, although to me, Vaseline and sharpened belt-buckles don't rise to the level of potent chemical enhancements). Anyone who reads this book with even the most elemental reading comprehension will come to the same conclusion. Or perhaps Bonds's "shrinking" numbers this year will be enough to convince you.
    ...more info
  • Should be #1
    I read Freakonomics, which is currently the #1 on Amazon Books, and didn't find much worth in it. This book though is great. In fact I picked this book up with another book called Dunks, Doubles, Doping: How Steroids are Killing American Athletics by Nathan Jendrick and read them concurrently. They're great and compliment each other! I also got a third book on the topic, Juiced by Jose Canseco, which was good, but not as good as this. In the past, I have also read the Adonis Complex which is a good one on male body image.

    Anyways, back to Game of Shadows. This book is really the dirt on Bonds and BALCO and I just couldn't believe some of it. These guys most certainly deserve some pats on the back for being able to get all this stuff. This is journalism for the people, by the people. Top shelf!...more info
  • Useful Book
    This book is well-written. It is easy to read and keeps your interest in general, although it is sometimes a little repetitious and slow. I guess the author repeats the point to make sure you get it.

    Some of the author's ideas are new and thought-provoking, but you have to wade through some material which sounds like every other book on this topic, as well. In any case, if you are patient you will take away some neat new ideas that you will find yourself using and referring to.

    I like the examples and anecdotes he/she uses to illustrate his/her points - they are really interesting and I have found myself using the examples and referring to them in everyday conversations with people, which is great. I only wish that there were some more examples because it is not always easy to see the point when no example is offered. ...more info
  • does this surprise anyone?
    a well researched book that shines a big spotlight on the elephant that's been in the room for a while now. the only thing i'd fault is that it jumps back and forth between bonds and the track & field athletes too many times....more info
  • In-depth look at the now famous scandal.
    I intially bought this book becuase I am an avid baseball fan and expected the book to be about Barry Bonds and his use of steriods in the past. What I got what not what I expected. Bonds is the centerpiece of the book, but the authors also dig into the formation of Balco and the personal lives of Victor Conte and Greg Anderson as well as other people and athletes who were associated with Balco.

    I thought the authors did a terrific job of setting the events in precise order, from Victor Conte's humble beginnings to the recruitment of various track stars like Marion Jones and then into Barry Bonds. The book was detailed and well written, giving the reader a clear understanding of Balco and the men behind the scandal....more info
  • Bonds' epitaph
    I love Victor Conte. You know, the way you love the bad guy in a great movie? You don't actually love him, but you love the character, the kind of "best actor nominee" thing.

    Two San Francisco Chronicle reporters lay out their case against Conte and his Giant client, Barry Bonds, as Bonds passes Babe Ruth and eyes Hank Aaron for the all-time home run record (Josh Gibson and Sadaharu Oh?). Conte himself is alleged to be the source for much of the material. The investigations continue: in spring 2006, Bonds' ex-girlfriend, Kim Bell, was allegedly asked by the FBI not to cooperate with the investigation Major League Baseball is doing; Greg Anderson, Bonds' trainer, was jailed in July 2006 for refusing to testify to the grand jury.

    The authors present extensive evidence about the use of steroids in track and field, provided to Olympic athletes by Conte under the cover of his nutritional supplements company, and the increasingly sophisticated efforts to mask such use. But it is the Barry Bonds allegations (along with the accompanying details on other Major Leaguers, and efforts to explain Mark McGwire's glory as Bonds' motivation) that sell the book. This book makes Bonds look much worse than I thought it would, and I was no fan already. The reader learns, for example, about his being a "control freak" with his teammates, women, staff and "friends." My own judgment is that the authors easily surpass "preponderance of the evidence" and probably "beyond a reasonable doubt", even if they don't have video of Bonds with a syringe labeled "The Clear." On the other hand, there is no video, and no (public) record of Bonds ever failing a steroids test. The authors try to explain why. In appendices, the authors detail the Bonds' remarkable statistical achievements from age 35 to 39, alongside those of other greats who by that age are in decline.

    They got Al Capone on tax fraud, Alger Hiss on perjury, Martha Stewart on obstruction of justice and O.J. in civil court. They may never get Bonds on steroids, but whether or not he breaks Aaron's record, these authors have written Bonds' epitaph.
    ...more info
  • Bonds=Steroids
    Book is very detailed about the when and wheres of Bonds steroid use. Read the book in 2 days, couldn't put it down! ...more info
  • The BALCO Scandal
    Before reading 'Game of Shadows' I had pretty much already formed an opinion on steroids in baseball. Watching Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire crush the home run record and then seeing Barry Bonds make a joke of said "untouchable" records only a scant 3 years later, I was not surprised 1 iota when it was revealed that abuse was rampant in the major leagues. Seeing the physical changes in players such as Barry Bonds and the aforementioned athletes only solidified that opinion, and to be honest, I really didn't care. Why did I not care? Simple, because baseball ITSELF didn't care. MLB had been promoting the cartoon-like statures and performances of these players for some time, and the long ball had become the #1 selling point of the entire sport. So when I read about the evidence that was dug up on Barry Bonds and all these other players, I said to myself that baseball was the exception, not the rule.


    After reading this book, the saddest thing that stands out is how prevalent illegal drugs are in all sports. Basically, if there is a way to cheat, people are going to find, abuse it, and keep doing it. It's a continual game of cat and mouse, where the Tom can never catch Jerry. It doesn't matter if you are male or female, it's quite clear that the human desire to get ahead by any means possible will always be in existence, and who knows how many records have been tainted because people just cannot play by the rules.

    Baseball, the NFL, Olympics, it doesn't matter what sport/league, because in any physical competition, there is always a pro in becoming bigger, stronger, faster. As long as that desire and need is around, there will always be cheats, and this "success" of Victor Conte and Patrick Arnold will only spur more business people and scientists to create the next designer steroid, just probably without as much flamboyance as Conte sought which helped lead him down a path of destruction.

    If you want to learn more about the history of illegal drugs in this business and how good investigative work is done, you owe it to yourself to read 'Game of Shadows'. Unless you are a total mark or blind, it is QUITE clear that more than enough evidence exists that ignores Mr. Bonds' denials and paints a bright picture that not only has he used steroids, but he has for quite some time.

    An entertaining read that is well structured, researched to a tee, and in my opinion just a sliver of things to come in the future as it relates to using performance enhancing drugs in all sports.

    **** HIGHLY RECOMMENDED...more info
  • Kids shouldn't always idolize great athletes
    Game of shadows was recently printed in March 2006. The book was written by two men to show the truth behind some of the greatest athletes throughout the world. The two men summarized over five years of information they gathered together from the Internal Revenue Service's Criminal Investigations and other companies on steroid use in sports. It would start off explaining the important of sports and how sports have a big impact on kids and teenagers. Then it would show investigation reports from years ago on different football and baseball players. The details they use on each of the characters after they would work out or before they work out seems like your looking at a picture of them. Also since it's a true story and all of the characters are real people then many of us (readers) can relate to at least one thing that a character is going through. I enjoyed the book a lot because it showed me how star athletes don't always have it made easy even if they are not doing anything wrong. Most people think that all the fame and riches make it a better life and an easier way to live but everytime you read another chapter in this book you realize its wrong and star athletes have to worry about simple things like where they throw their trash away at. The only downfall to this book is the ending where it didn't really explain what happened to Barry Bonds. The theme of this book is "cheaters never prosper"....more info
  • The inside scoop
    While most of the major stuff in the book came out in the news, everything else is packed into the pages of Game of Shadows. Williams and Wada dissect everything leading up to the big BALCO bust and it is a lot of detailed information. This book practically puts you right next to the athletes when they're shooting the sauce. There's no way Victor Conte or anyone else could dance around thier guilt(except Barry of course) because the feds already knew everything. If you want to get to the bottom of the whole BALCO story beyond just Barry Bonds this is the book for you....more info
  • The Changing Face (and Body) of Sports
    "Game of Shadows: Barry Bonds, BALCO, and the Steroids Scandal that Rocked Professional Sports" details the story of how performance-enhancing drugs have entered the world of sports. As of this time, the case has not been completely wrapped up, with Barry Bonds still awaiting trial for perjury and tax evasion. The book is really a definitive reference to performance drugs, their composition, their effect in bodies and why they work. As banned drugs in most sports, there has been a constant game of cat-and-mouse between athletes and governing bodies to stay one step ahead of the other, to prevent these drugs from being used. In baseball's case, the only governing body for athletes and owners was greed, so using the drugs was winked at by both. The result of this was the creation of records by people who never would have come close to creating them. Equally incredible was the creation of "mutations" (for lack of a better word) in the bodies of users: Barry Bonds, for example, had his shoe size grow from 10? to 13, his jersey size increase from 42 to 52, and his head grow two sizes, despite being bald - all in his late 30s, long after the normal body grows anything close to this much. No telling what kind of health risks he will be running in the years to come. This is no doubt, though, that this is a riveting book - despite what may seem to be a boring topic, the authors make it a thorough and interesting book....more info
  • Shadowy world of steroids
    The amount of info that the authors have presented here is totally damning for Bonds, Marion Jones, and their associates. Much of the info is from grand jury testimony. Some of the other info is less objective and questionable though, like the interviews with Bond's girlfriend and other associates who clearly have axes to grind. The book doesn't exclusively focus on Bonds. Rather it focuses on Victor Conte and it alternates chapters focusing on the track and field athletes who have been caught up in this mess. Great book. ...more info
  • Well written
    Bought this for my husband... he loves it. Good read for those into Baseball and baseball history....more info
  • Recipe for award winning best-seller: Mix one part journalism and two parts gossip.
    The BALCO scandal is a story worth telling, and the authors do a thorough job. And if you want to know a lot of detail about Barry Bonds' use of performance-enhancing drugs, this is the book for you. No problem there.

    There is a problem, however, in the way the authors speculate about various athletes' personalities, motivations, and relationships with others. Because peoples' perceptions of such things are subjective and colored by personal experiences, it's difficult to discuss them with any veracity. Yet this the authors do shamelessly, and they do it continually.

    As one example, the authors glibly tell us that Dusty Baker's resentment of Bonds' special status on the Giants was known by "everyone in baseball." Well, if everyone knew about that, then why do the authors cite the unnamed "source familiar with Bonds?"

    Similarly, the Giants' eventual decision not to retain either Baker or teammate Jeff Kent is attributed to Giants managing partner Peter MacGowan's "infatuation" with Bonds, and his simultaneous weariness over Baker and Kent. That's a colorful but careless depiction of what was presumably a business decision by the man responsible for cash flow into the Giants ownership group. Again, an unnamed source is cited.

    Of course, some sources are named. Most prominent is Bonds' jilted ex-girlfriend, Kim Bell. The authors relied on Bell for much of their negative portrait of Bonds as a person. These investigative journalists treated as gospel the words of a scorned woman. Maybe it's just me, but I'd be a little more skeptical of such a source.

    This kind of speculative reportage permeates the entire book, interspersed with the hard facts about BALCO and athletes' drug use. So this book, which purports to be the product of investigative journalism, is actually a strange mixture of revelatory information on the one hand, and old-fashioned gossip on the other.

    No wonder it's selling so well....more info
  • Fantastic, but what is the bigger story?
    The drug industry continues to develop anti-Alzheimer's drugs and other drugs to strengthen cognitive functioning. I'm hoping that I can use these things recreationally the same way some people use steroids. With an IQ of 220, and increased creative/scientific output, I plan to win about 5 Nobel Prizes. I will claim that I'm a natural genius and that I did not use mental-performance-enhancing drugs while coming up with my creamy-clear scientific theories. Moreover, I will win multiple Pulitzer prizes for my Amazon reviews. Until then, book reviews like the one that follows will have to suffice.

    Add me to the list of people who enjoyed "Game of Shadows" and found this to be a spectacular piece of investigative journalism. If you like investigative journalism that is reminiscent of Watergate era quality, then you've come to the right place.

    Even so, I believe that "Game of Shadows" leaves a fair number of loose ends, and doesn't explain how and why designer drugs permeate professional sports. So here are a few observations and spectulative comments.

    Sure, this is a sensational story, and it reeks of truth. But BALCO was just a "Little League" operation. The journalists allude to this at times, but never make this point explicitly. If you wanted to build a world class doping operation, you wouldn't waste time with an unpredictable and narcissistic loudmouth like Victor Conte. You wouldn't invest time or money or trade secrets in someone who was incapable of good science, incapable of maintaining confidentiality, incapable of professionalism; incapable of maintaining good relations with colleagues; and incapable of running a successful business. And you wouldn't have obvious juicers like Greg Anderson distributing the stuff. And without a doubt, you wouldn't want your precious illegal chemicals in the hands of difficult, unpredictable, uncontrollable nuts like Barry Bonds or Bill Romanowski, no matter how special their athletic talents. Most of the characters in this story would be unwelcome in a powerful, widespread and self-protective drug-doping syndicate.

    So what do the "Big League" operations look like? The answer to this question is beyond the scope of the book, unfortunately. But think about this for a moment. It is possible to answer this question even if the facts are not provided by "Game of Shadows." Just do a functional assessment of the antecedents, behaviors and consequences described by the authors, and the hidden will become obvious.

    First off, the big league operation targets a wealthy and reliable clientele. (I was amazed at how little "Game of Shadows" athletes paid for their drugs; Bonds was portrayed as cheap and unreliable). The business will find athletes, coaches and organizations who are willing to pay large sums of money for quality products. That's not difficult because there's no shortage of individuals who will subscribe to the "cheat or lose" strategy. Moreover, the clientele will need to follow instructions and keep secrets. They will need to keep evidence hidden from competitors, the media, and law enforcement personnel. If caught, they wouldn't dare drag others down with them. One remarkable aspect of "Game of Shadows" is how easily things unraveled; how easy it was to get the characters in the saga to turn on each other. In a more solid operation, run by organized crime, the consequences of snitching outweigh any benefits of telling the truth.

    Second, the "big league" chemical products need to change and improve frequently, to maximize chances of winning, and to minimize chances of getting caught. They would be upgraded and changed at least as frequently as Mac OS10. Your rogue chemists must develop designer drugs that are highly sophisticated, remaining anonymous. "Game of Shadows" provided a glimpse of this chemical engineering, though chemist Patrick Arnold was far too visible to be a sensible designer-drug chemist. The chemists who work for organized crime syndicates remain hidden, and do not seek "guru" status. The serious guys aren't out there bragging, especially online, leaving a paper trail.

    Third, if your big-time organized illegal business is making huge amounts of money, you'll be able to influence athletic governing boards, sports teams, the media and even government. If an athlete gets caught, it isn't a huge problem. If a small-time punk competitor like Conte gets busted, well hallelujah. But if a doping scandal becomes too big, you'll be able to use your power and influence to minimize its impact. That seems to be what happened with BALCO. For instance, the big fish found ways to squelch the legal momentum of this story, using Kevin Ryan and others. Government hearings took place, and a few stars were sacrificed on the congressional altar... and now it is back to business as usual. Fans continue to flock to professional sports like sheep.

    If you, the reader, look a little further under the rock you'll find that organized crime permeates professional sports. One author who suggests a strong link between organized crime and professional sports is the crime writer Dan Moldea. I don't know if I accept all of what Moldea says, but it makes sense to me that the mob would LOVE to design and sell performance-altering drugs. The mob loves money and they have few scruples about how they get it. They design, produce and distribute illicit drugs. They strive to influence government and policy. No doubt, they'd love to see the little guys (Conte/BALCO) go away. They'd love it if the sports commissioners kept drug issues and testing completely private. They'd love it if the doping stories didn't upset the cart too much.

    So my take is that there is a a huge untold story behind Game of Shadows: Small independent outfits like BALCO have gotten plenty of attention because of their ineptitude and the fact that they've sold products to some famous athletes. But the "gold standard" performance enhancing drugs are designed and distributed competently and quietly by organized crime. For the most part, they do this under the radar of the law, media and fans, leading to huge profits.

    This BALCO story is indeed reminiscent of events during the Watergate era. Thirty years ago, during the Watergate scandal, Americans came to terms with reports put forth by Woodward and Bernstein, and other journalists. They learned, en masse, of the initial criminal events (in this case, a break-in); of a massive cover-up involving famous people and key government officials; of a widespread problem that was not going away. Some people denied the facts or tried to find fault with the journalists. Fanatics spun the events based on their extreme viewpoints. Many sheep err I mean people were simply too stupid or apathetic to understand much, or to understand the importance of the story. Some people followed the story but viewed it as an isolated event. And a few tried to understand the implications at a deeper level. I hope that as you read Game of Shadows, you find this deeper level. ...more info
  • american hypocrisy outlined but if felt like "Enquirer" magazine
    first off the authors made a very good case with the numerous accounts of governmental patronizing attitude towards some athletes that have supposedly cheated on their record breaking and personal best of their respective sports, while at the same time harshly criticizicing other countries denial of doping practices for not coming forward and admitting their less than rigorous demands they impose upon their athletes to what the writers call it ''the American hypocrisy" when effectively dealing with this problem.

    other than that, in my opinion the rest of the book fails into the same undistinguished category than tabloid magazines are published in the first place. the constant gossip that more than a handful of sensationalist journalists would be more than happy to get their hands on with messages exchanged between a known person and a woman he was dating or those on internet message boards between a supplement seller and a chemist, left the book with the impression the writers were on a mission to discredit and demoralize more than one individual.

    since most of the book was aimed at a delineation of a baseball player in particular, is it plausible that:
    1-he received all the substances but decided after trying them, to stop the dosage altogether.
    2-he received some, not all of the aforementioned steroids and administered them during the off season and quit shortly after.
    3-he received all the steroids but used them only twice on an inconsistent basis.

    the question is, is it plausible beyond a reasonable doubt any of it could have happened. Again, beyond a reasonable doubt do you firmly believe this baseball player used steroids as depicted by the authors ? I surely don't...more info
  • This is a GREAT read
    You don't have to be a baseball or track and field fan to enjoy this read. The American athletes have this holier than thou attitude with regards to doping, but they're just as guilty as the former East Germans! The journalists who wrote this book deserve a medal for their research. They turned me into an informed skeptic.

    Barry Bonds comes across as the conceited, unfriendly, self-absorbed person we know him to be. Neither he nor Mark McGuire, nor Sammy Sosa will ever be prosecuted for 'roiding up, but on the basis of the systematic and convincing evidence presented in this book, Roger Maris' record should still stand. Shame on Barry and Shame on Marion. Be skeptical of the "Fastest Man in the World"...more info
  • Complete and Useless Garbage.
    Let's just get this straight out of the way and show this book for what it really is: a personal vendetta on the part of two writers looking to make a quick buck off the name of a guy who wouldn't piss on them if they were on fire. Everything in this book is complete speculation, there is no concrete evidence that Barry Bonds ever took steroids, and you will be hard pressed to find one person who ever witnessed anything to the contrary. As far as the record books are concerned, it's funny how most of the whining regarding Bonds and steroid use is coming from the wrinkled up dry old ballplayers whose records are being obliterated by the likes of the modern athletes like McGwire, Bonds, Sosa, etc. "God forbid somebody breaks my record", they say, "I thought I was special." Please, give me a break already. Most of these guys like Frank Robinson and Hank Aaron are so worried about being forgotten that their insecurity about their place in history comes shining through with each attack on Bonds. And really, does anybody really know if any of their records are legit, anyway? Whose to say Aaron, or Robinson, or Reggie Jackson or any of these guys never used steroids? They were available back then as well. The only thing that wasn't available was the technology and testing we have today to weed out the cheaters, so in reality, nobody knows what the hell records are legit or not, so why start singling out this era as "The Steroid Era"?

    People just need to get over the fact that records were made to be broken, and just celebrate the accomplishments we are watching today instead of looking for any little reason to tarnish them. MLB has a stricter testing policy now, but no way should that be any excuse to differentiate one record with another by saying "This guy did it the clean way." People are always convicted in the court of public opnion because of stupid books like this before any concrete evidence is provided to back up the allegations. You want an example of proof? Rafael Palmeiro failed a drug test last year. That's PROOF. Jason Giambi admitting it in front of Grand Jury. That's PROOF. Bonds has never failed a drug test, and neither has McGwire or Sosa, yet because of this witchhunt, all of these guys are convicted as guilty by association because they were leaps and bounds ahead of their peers. It's funny how guys like Bonds are attacked, but pitchers like Roger Clemens, who also seemed to find rejuvenation after the age of 40, are beyond suspicion as far steroid allegations are concerned. Give me a break. But everybody seems to be banging on Roger's door in hopes of getting him on their team. Please, this double standard is ludicrous. That's what makes the witchhunt on Barry Bonds seem more and more like a personal one, because of the fact that he's never given the media the time of day. And all this speculation with no concrete proof that the man has done anything knowingly wrong.

    People need to just sit back and enjoy watching the history that they are fortunate to watch unfold before their very eyes. Because when it's all said and done, and there is no more Barry Bonds to bash, people will be on their knees wishing for the next Barry Bonds to come along. Because in the end, whether you want to admit it to yourself or not, you people will miss Barry Bonds....more info
  • Revealing
    This book finally gave me some detailed information about the BALCO scandal and the role Bonds played in it. As an avid baseball fan for many years I was disappointed in the way Baseball handled the steriod issue. The game will never be the same to me, especially in this era. The book was very revealing and it was well written. It was the necessary writing of a story that had to be told. Sadly its content revealed that at least for this generation Baseball has truly been a game of shadows....more info
  • Devastating expose of steroids in American sports
    One misconception about this book is that it is solely about Barry Bonds. To the contrary, this meticulously researched book documents the infiltration of steroids into many American sports, from bodybuilding to track and field to football and ultimately to baseball. This is a must-read for anyone to fully grasp the context in which baseball went through a steroids era and why simply saying "I never failed a drug test" is a hollow defense. The book does no favors for sporting heads such as Bud Selig, who at worst was complicit, ignorant at best, with respect to the home run chases led by Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds.

    With respect to Barry Bonds, either this book is one of the greatest compilations of libel ever against a public figure, or it is a devastating expose of the fraudulent pursuit of Ruth and Aaron. After reading this book, I am convinced it is the latter. It is intellectually impossible to read Game of Shadows and conclude Barry Bonds wasn't using steroids and/or didn't know what was being provided to him....more info
  • The truth about steroids, exposed!
    Remarkably well written account of steroids rampant use in sports. Speaks to the heart of Barry Bonds and steroids. Brings the whole mess of steroids into focus and clarity. A great read and well worth the money. A book you will enjoy....more info
  • When Arrogance Exceeds Ability
    As Barry gets closer and closer to breaking the incomparable record that Hank Aaron set, Game of Shadows becomes even more relevant. The authors go into great clinical detail of Bond's drug regimen that was obtained thru leaked grand jury testimony. I find it extremely ironic that the lawyer who leaked the information is going to jail for two years while Barry (as well as Scooter Libby) remains free.

    Page after page, all the dates, dosages and drugs are listed. No, this isn't a Tom Clancy novel. It reads more like a medical textbook. Those who proclaim Bonds "innocent until proven guilty" status should read those chapters and then look at the physical changes Bonds went thru in that time frame. His personal trainer is still in jail for dealing steroids and Victor Conte, Bonds "nutritional advisor," just got out of jail. Sorry, but flaxseed oil and pumping iron won't transform a human into the grotesque being Barry has become. And they won't make your hat size increase, either. Anybody who thinks Bonds gained all that muscle "naturally" probably also believe O.J. continues to search every golf course in the country for his wife's killer.

    How can a man who never hit more than 46 home runs in a season (when he was 28) suddenly average over 51 home runs a year between the ages of 35 and 40? What, did Ponce de Leon spike the water cooler? What other player in history has shown that remarkable improvement in the tail end of his career?

    Does Barry get a bad rap from the press? Is he being picked on? Bonds is a baseball player of remarkable ability, a rare combination of speed and power that were easily enough to get him into the Hall of Fame without drug abuse. His ego, and his arrogance, however, far exceeds his natural talents. As described in the book, jealousy over Mark McGwire's adulation drove him to take performance enhancing drugs. Bonds figured he would level the playing field by juicing like Mark. Then we'll see who's the best. Breaking the single season home run record was not enough for his grandiose personality. Now he has to break the record set by one of the most dignified and honest people in sports. As Rick Reilly puts it, when Barry breaks the record, it will be "like a man robbing a bank and then having a giant party to watch him count the money."

    The book isn't just a beat down on Barry. Many other athletes are exposed, particularly in track and field where undetectable doping is so vital to cheating the system. Unlike baseball, track and field takes doping very seriously. Sure, Barry has never tested positive for steroids, but when was he tested? Baseball did not even start testing until 2002. For two years, the tests were anonymous and results were not released. Only in 2004 were penalties invoked for testing positive. What a joke. Let's not forget, there is no test for human growth hormone, which is likely what Bonds continues to use to maintain his bloated musculature.

    It is July 26, 2007. I will make a few predictions. Bonds breaks the record in mid-August. The hapless Giants have no post season and Barry fades into anonymity for a few weeks. After the World Series in which the Mets beat the Red Sox (sorry Boston fans), Bonds gets indicted for perjury, obstruction of justice and tax evasion.

    The tax evasion charges will stick, they always do. Anytime you have an outflow of cash to a mistress or drug dealer, the source of that cash can be traced. It will be baseball card and autograph show cash that was never reported as taxable income. Barry will get convicted and do a little time, just like the other talented egoist, Pete Rose.

    And maybe like Pete, Barry will get into the Hall of Fame, posthumously.
    ...more info
  • Mixed Bag
    Firstly, this book is very poorly written. I was reading a lot of Tom Wolfe before I read this and so it was kind of like flying Cathay Pacific first class and then stepping onto a third class Mexican bus. These guys are earnest, they have done their homework (perhaps), but they can't write worth five cents, so don't be prepared to be blown away by their scintillating prose. Instead it's kind of like plodding through two hundred pages of a Reuters news wire, with lots of facts on the main players ages, histories and day to day movements, even down to which doors they walk through (aka serious padding).

    Secondly, on the issue itself, it's a hard call. Read it and make your mind- perhaps it's woth buying and reading just for that. The economic libertarian in me says look, if athletes, cognizant of the risks, want to inject extract of sheep's testes into their butt in order to give them an edge over their competitors then fair play to them. For me the government should be there to fight wars, put away dangerous types, protect our borders etc. - government agents poking around medical waste at 10pm just doesn't seem the optimum way to spend our tax dollars........more info
  • Great, Great, Book. 'nuff said.
    Any true fan of baseball will love this book. Not only does it provide factual reporting, but is presented in a way that anyone who picks it up can read it & understand.

    It is nowhere near a "long read," it's long, but is written in a way that it will suck you in until you flip that last page. I liked it so much I ordered a copy for my dad!

    I am nowhere near a Barry Bonds fan, but this book doesn't 100% focus on Bonds. A great read!!!...more info


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