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Steroids Confidential 

Greg Anderson has given up his freedom rather than testify about Barry Bonds. But one man has learned the deepest secrets of the trainer behind baseball's new home run king.

Wednesday, Sep 26 2007
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As the 2007 regular season — and Bonds' time with the Giants — draws to a close this week, the sordid details threaten to further tarnish Bonds' legacy. Nonetheless, in Leftwich's view, exposing the secrets amounts to a public service for a city and team held hostage too long by the mercurial godson of Willie Mays. "Game of Shadows just scraped the surface," he says, referring to last year's book on Bonds and BALCO written by two Chronicle reporters. "It's time to tell the rest of the story."

The defiant gym rat who won't rat out his superstar friend. The obtuse loyalist who puts his wife and son second to a seven-time MVP. The cunning opportunist who has sacrificed his freedom to squeeze a big payday from a notoriously cheap narcissist.

Descriptions of Greg Anderson vary widely, much like the theories about his motives for refusing to discuss Barry Bonds before the BALCO grand jury. The conjectures persist because he spurns the media with the same mulish resolve with which he defies the court. He remains an enigma — an enigma with a soul patch.

Given his past obstinance, SF Weekly dispensed with contacting Anderson or his attorneys, who without fail inform reporters seeking interviews that their client will never talk about Bonds. In fact, until Marlon Leftwich emerged, the sharpest insight into Anderson's psyche came from another well-known grand-jury resister, video blogger Josh Wolf, who served time in the same prison. In a July interview with the Associated Press, Wolf said of Anderson, "He was always eating eggs."

Leftwich confirms news accounts that the fitness-obsessed Anderson requested kitchen duty so that he could exert control over his diet while locked up. "Yeah, that's true, Greg was always eating eggs," Leftwich says. "His egg-white omelets? They were the only things that helped me forget where I was."

The dust-brown buildings that make up the Dublin prison complex squat behind metal fencing garnished with coiled razor wire. The main wing of the minimum-security facility houses 1,200 female inmates. A smaller adjacent building holds 100 male inmates awaiting trial or transfer to another prison, or who have been found in contempt of court. Two men occupy each cell, furnished with a bunk bed, sink, and toilet. They battle tedium more than fear, unless the plumbing backs up.

On the March afternoon he saw the BALCO update on TV, Leftwich, his curiosity piqued, returned to his cell and decided to ask Anderson about the scandal. He figured that the pharmaceutically enlarged "weight guru," as Anderson had advertised himself to clients, would play the clam. Instead, Leftwich says, "he gushed like a lanced boil."

As chronicled in Game of Shadows, Bonds, first through Anderson and later through Conte's Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, obtained performance-enhancing drugs that enabled him to rewrite baseball's home run records. Leftwich relates that Anderson refers to the book's authors, Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams, as "the prick twins." But rather than dismissing their assertions, Leftwich says, the trainer freely offered tales from his years of shooting steroids into the buttocks of a future Hall of Famer.

Long after falling out of touch, Anderson and Bonds, friends since their youth baseball days in San Carlos, reconnected in late 1998. Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa had chased the single-season home-run mark that year, and Bonds, jealous of the adulation they received, wanted to reclaim baseball's spotlight. Fainaru-Wada and Williams recounted how he hooked up with Anderson, a personal trainer at a Burlingame gym, who with free weights and copious steroids had morphed into a bulging slab of muscle.

Under his friend's tutelage, the authors reported, Bonds pumped iron and steroids alike with ferocious zeal. He endured numerous physical changes symptomatic of doping, Game of Shadows asserted, including sexual dysfunction, hair loss, and skin irritation. Yet unlike the book's somber treatment of such topics, Leftwich claims Anderson fondly reminisced about using an emery board to sand down his prized client's back acne. Leftwich recalls Anderson saying, "One time I told Barry I was gonna sell a snuff tin of his skin flakes on eBay. He got the biggest fucking grin on his face and said, 'Be sure I get my cut of the profits.'"

But his smile would go south in 2001 during spring training. Rapid skull growth, another indicator of heavy steroids use, had placed undue strain on the slugger's neck, resulting in hairline fractures in three upper vertebrae. According to Leftwich, Anderson disclosed that, as a remedy, doctors implanted a small titanium brace at the base of Bonds' skull to keep his abnormally large head upright. The procedure was an unqualified success: He hit 73 home runs that season, breaking McGwire's record by three.

Doping calendars seized from Anderson's home by federal authorities in 2003 showed that he closely tracked Bonds' drug-taking cycles. There was, however, little doubt about who dictated the schedule, as Game of Shadows laid bare. "If [Anderson] told Bonds he didn't need a cycle," Fainaru-Wada and Williams wrote, "Bonds would just tell him, 'Fuck off, I'll do it myself.'"

His hubris nearly cost the 2002 National League batting champ the use of his little Louisville Slugger — and may have prevented the Giants from winning the World Series that year against the Anaheim Angels (now known as the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim).

Leftwich attributes to Anderson a story about Bonds, angry over steroids causing his testicles to shrivel, taking matters into his own hands. Prior to a rendezvous with his then-mistress, Kimberly Bell, after Game Five of the Series, he shot a full dose of human growth hormone into his scrotum. Within the hour, as her lover's penis swelled to the width of a Coke can, Bell had to drive a moaning, half-conscious Bonds to an emergency room. Doctors gingerly drained the fluid and applied dry ice to his groin, narrowly averting a catastrophic eruption of his organ. The next night, unable to bend properly due to the soreness between his legs, Bonds misplayed a ball late in Game Six, helping the Angels surge from behind to win. Anaheim would take the series the following night.

About The Authors

Nic Foit

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