Luke Graham: Lost man in Barry Bonds trial
April 17, 2011
Steamboat Springs — I'm not sure anyone has paid attention at this point.
And I'm not sure, out of a certain circle, that anyone cares. But yes, Barry Bonds — the infamous one — was on trial for lying to a grand jury.
It essentially broke down to this: Prosecutors said he knowingly used and abused steroids in his career, and he testified he didn't get injected by anyone but a doctor and never knowingly took steroids.
He said, she said, essentially. Estimates say the trial cost taxpayers $6 million.
Regardless, it's sports. Barry Bonds — love him, hate him, loathe him — belongs in the Hall of Fame.
That's my opinion. Disagree, agree or think whatever.
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But the most interesting and compelling character in the trial wasn't Bonds. It was Greg Anderson, who wouldn't testify against Bonds.
Anderson wouldn't say anything. Nothing.
He went to prison five times for not testifying in the BALCO case — regarding the Northern California company that distributed performance-enhancing drugs — and refused to flip against Bonds.
The written law says he should have. But another thing about sports is its unwritten law. Don't throw a pitch at the head in retaliation. Don't run up the score. Don't steal bases when you're up a bunch of runs. Don't throw a bunch when you're up a lot.
Anderson followed the one rule we never should break.
See, Anderson and Bonds have been friends since they were 10.
They played baseball together as children. Bonds' dad was a professional baseball player and always on the road. Anderson's childhood was a mess. His old man was murdered when he was 10.
But baseball drew them together, presumably.
They were and still are buddies. Anderson never did the one thing that would ruin Bonds' career, or more importantly, their friendship.
This isn't Carmelo Anthony's "Don't Snitch" video explanation. It's not telling on someone. It's about doing what Anderson felt was right. I think, in this unfathomable case, he's the one who's right.
There's a chain email that goes out and resembles something like this: Name the last five Heisman Trophy winners. Now name the five most influential people in your life. The idea, of course, is that the latter list comes to mind much easier than the former.
Here's a guess saying one of Anderson's top five was Bonds.
They grew up together, went through it, became buddies and built that trust that is rarely built.
I assume they have a one-of-a-kind type of friendship.
Do you have that kind of person in your life? Barry Bonds does.
Bonds was able, at one point in his life, to acquire one person that wouldn't mess with him.
Sure, Anderson could have followed suit. He could have testified and told prosecutors and judges that Bonds knowingly used steroids. Their relationship? You know the result.
So despite a ridiculous trial about a game, a game in which few excelled the way Bonds did, here's to you, Greg Anderson.
You deserve a cap tip.
Barry Bonds — 762 home runs, phenomenal two-way player and one of the best baseball players of all time — has one person he can always count on.
Can you ask for more?