A daily accumulation of history and present as I follow the 2011 year through the baseball season and reflect on the glories and disappointments of the greatest game on Earth.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Victor Conte

Once an obscure 1970s musician, Victor Conte's life didn't amount to much of anything other than being a note on the music scene of the time when he was a part of Tower of Power. He didn't last long with the group, but it was his ability to figure out how to do pharmaceutical work on his own that made him, well... "great."
Starting the Bay Area Laboratory Cooperative and hooking baseball players like Gary Sheffield, Benito Santiago, Jason Giambi, and Barry Bonds to substances like the Clear and the Cream made him a household name. Game of Shadows documented all of it without revealing names and took Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams to jail for 18 months for not divulging sources. They sat in the same spot as Greg Anderson, Barry Bonds's trainer who wouldn't reveal any names either. Marion Jones was in prison for her use of steroids as well. Tim Montgomery, another track and field champ, suffered for his name's mention and so did Bill Romanowski. All in all, 27 athletes were destroyed for their association with the company.
And like his chemist Patrick Arnold who got 3 months in the pokey, Victor Conte was given 4 months in his own private cell only to come out claiming he never gave Bonds steroids, which seemed to be a 180 degree reversal of where he used to be, but alas... prison does strange things to people.
Now driving a $250,000 car and crusading against doping while selling sleep enhancers, Victor Conte's reform is apparently complete while Bonds (and Roger Clemens in a whole other ball of wax legal hearing) faces perjury charges. Fortunately, for him, he will do so without loud angry phone messages that he left on his ex-girlfriend Kimberly Bell's phone answering machine, which once again teaches all young people in relationships one of the two most important messages - don't allow your angry emotions to be recorded on modern technological devices that could be used against you (the other being, don't let your dirty bits be recorded on video - something that has absolutely nothing to do with Will I Am, by the way).
Thus, a judge who doesn't want to make the jury prejudicial of Barry Bonds (kind of hard to do after Barry went so far out of his way to be hated - Jeff Pearlman wrote all about it in his book Love Me Hate Me Barry Bonds), at least he saved Bonds from being sent up the river for steroids rage in the digital age, but nevertheless, it will be a long weekend for the home run king as his trial is set to start on Monday.
Let the games begin.

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