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Coming to a Theater Near You: Barryjuice

WWW- Barry Bonds’ claim that he never knowingly took steroids shattered like an old bat yesterday, undone by a new book that says he was a hard core steroid user as far back as 1998.

According to excerpts of “Game of Shadows: Barry Bonds, BALCO, and the Steroid Scandal that Rocked Professional Sports,” published yesterday in Sports Illustrated and on the San Francisco Chronicle’s Web site, Bonds knew exactly what he was injecting into his backside well before he ever met Victor Conte. The Giants’ slugger apparently was driven by jealousy, angered by the attention and adulation Mark McGwire received during his record-setting 1998 season. Bonds then reportedly turned to an old friend and weightlifter, grabbed a needle and joined the world of juicers, according to the book.

“I just heard about it two minutes ago,” Bonds said yesterday at the Giants’ camp in Scottsdale, Ariz. “I won’t even look at it. For what? There’s no need to.” He laughed, walked away, and would speak no more.

Bonds’ reaction was far more succinct than the tale he spun before a federal grand jury more than two years ago when questioned about the notorious BALCO lab. At the time Bonds said he believed that BALCO founder Victor Conte and his friend Greg Anderson had given him “flaxseed oil,” rather than an anabolic steroid.

Instead, the book says, he took Winstrol, the substance that Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson and McGwire took, as reported a year ago by the Daily News. The powerful drug is known to turn pencil-necked geeks into mammoths. He took Deca-Durabolin, another favorite of gym rats; and the hormones insulin, EPO and human growth hormone, drugs used by the world’s most sophisticated cheats, the book says.

But as Bonds tried to dismiss the book, MLB officials hunkered down to discuss what they could do with the game’s greatest player and biggest embarrassment, just as he goes for baseball’s most storied title as the all-time home run king. Sources said commissioner Bud Selig, who was not available for comment, was angered by the revelations, especially coming on what was supposed to be a day of celebration for the World Baseball Classic’s American debut. But while Selig may be unhappy, there appears to be little MLB can do about the situation.

Baseball’s best hope seems to be that federal prosecutors will conclude their long-running investigation of Bonds for perjury and tax evasion with an indictment. The BALCO grand jury is still empaneled, and Bonds’ alleged former mistress, Kimberly Bell, reportedly testified last year about his steroid use and told investigators that he gave her undeclared cash from memorabilia sales.

Baseball could also turn its longtime monitoring of Bonds’ legal problems into a formal investigation. Officials have described their probe as “an investigation with a lowercase ‘i,'” saying they have simply been keeping track of developments, as the Daily News has reported. Selig could decide to appoint an investigator to draw up a report similar to the Dowd Report that sank Pete Rose’s career.

Selig could also suspend or fine Bonds, making the argument that his behavior took place before he was under the protection of baseball’s current steroid policy, or seek to punish Bonds for violating the “just cause” clause of the basic labor agreement, but both arguments would probably be losing battles.

For now, sources said, it appears Selig will sit back, review all options, and wait to see whether prosecutors take the problem out of his hands.

In the book, due to be released March 27, Chronicle reporters Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams write that Bonds started taking steroids after the 1998 season under the guidance of Anderson. The book says that Bonds was so upset about McGwire’s run of glory that when the Cardinals came to San Francisco in 1998 and Bonds saw that security had put restraining ropes around the batting cage, Bonds angrily knocked them down, saying, “Not in my house!”

He also reportedly said to Bell that as McGwire chased Roger Maris’ single-season home run record, “They’re just letting him do it because he’s a white boy.”

According to the excerpts, Bonds’ early dabbling with steroids had bad results at first, contributing to several injuries in the 1998 and 1999 seasons. But after Bonds met Conte, the book details, he began taking a more sophisticated regimen designed to maximize his performance and avoid detection.

Even Conte, before he left for prison in December, told the Daily News it would be shockingly easy to continue to beat baseball’s new testing, just as is is to beat the Olympic’s system. Not speaking specifically about Bonds, Conte said an athlete could vanish for a couple of weeks and do a serious steroid cycle, avoiding testers. If his name came up during that time, the athlete would simply apologize when he resurfaced and submit to an exam. By then, the drugs would be out of his system, but he would still benefit from their use for months to come. To maintain his strength, the player would take human growth hormone, which can’t be detected, and just enough testosterone (maybe in a cream form) to keep up his strength but not enough to trigger a positive test.

“It’s a joke,” Conte said at the time.

According to the book, Barry Bonds took these drugs took to pump up his home run numbers in response to Mark McGwire’s 1998 season:

Winstrol – Injectable anabolic steroid used to increase muscle mass, strength and decrease recovery time.

Deca-Durabolin – Injectable steroid used to increase muscle mass, strength and decrease recovery time.

Human growth hormone – Can be synthetic or harvested from cadavers, hGH is a hormone used to slow the aging process, improve recovery time from injury and workouts and build lean muscle mass. Not considered effective unless combined with some form of testosterone.

EPO – Hormone that improves red blood cell production. Helpful for endurance athletes.

Testosterone decanoate – Fast-acting steroid known as Mexican beans.

Trenbolone acetate – Steroid created to improve the muscle quality of cattle.

Clomid -Fertility drug that boosts the body’s hormone levels. Popular for ‘roid users when they cycle off.

Insulin – Hormone that can increase muscle mass.

The Clear (thg) – Form of testosterone designed to build strength and mass and avoid detection.

The Cream – Mild form of testosterone designed to keep levels up, but low enough to avoid detection.

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