“I apologize to Barry, Barry’s family, Barry’s friends and the Giants organization, my teammates and the Red Sox organization as well as anyone else that may have been offended by the comments I made.” — Curt Schilling
Sorry, Curt, apology not accepted.
Because no apology is necessary, that’s why.
Call me crazy, but I don’t usually expect apologies and retractions from people who tell the truth. And as anyone who has read “Game of Shadows” knows, Schilling was telling the truth. It seems that, for some, the passage of time since the book came out last year has effectively eroded the mountains of evidence against Bonds, including damning grand jury testimony that proves beyond the shadow of a doubt Bonds was guilty on all three counts referenced by Schilling.
Let’s review Schilling’s response on Boston’s WEEI radio comments on Tuesday, when asked if Bonds’ soon-to-be all-time home run record was tainted:
“Oh yeah … I mean, he admitted that he used steroids. I mean, there’s no gray area. He admitted to cheating on his wife, cheating on his taxes and cheating on the game … it’s sad … there’s good people and bad people.”
Within hours, condemnation of Schilling’s remarks came from all over baseball, none harsher than from his own locker room. Schilling’s manager and teammates publicly chastised him for opening his mouth about a subject unrelated to Boston Red Sox concerns. And with the firestorm growing out of control, the Red Sox starter issued his apology and retraction through his Web site. A quick glimpse at the well-documented evidence collected in “Game of Shadows,” however, shows that Schilling had nothing for which to be sorry.
“He admitted to cheating on his wife,” Schilling alleged. Is this untrue? Grand jury testimony given by Kimberly Bell, Bonds’ girlfriend before and after his 1998 wedding to Liz Watson, says it’s true. The house he gave Bell and $80,000 down payment for in 2003 says it’s true. The telephone answering machine messages Bell saved, which reportedly contained threatening, menacing messages from Bonds, say it’s true.
“He admitted cheating on his taxes,” Schilling said. Once again, Bell’s grand jury testimony, outlined in “Shadows,” proves he did exactly that. Fearful of his wife and/or accountants discovering large cash payments to his mistress, Bonds gave Bell stacks of cash from memorabilia sales and autograph sessions that he did not report to the IRS.
“He admitted cheating on the game,” Schilling charged. Does this even need further examination? Bonds acknowledged using the designer steroids dubbed the “clear” and the “cream” and tried to explain them away by claiming ignorance of the substances. Flaxseed oil, anyone? Further, Bell’s grand jury testimony reveals numerous admissions by Bonds, who told her, “it makes me grow faster, but if you’re not careful, you can blow it out,” referring to an elbow injury suffered after he started juicing.
Now, explain to me one more time what Schilling was apologizing for?
For three years running, Bonds supporters have argued there’s no proof Bonds took steroids during his monumental rise from five-tool superstar to hulking, one-dimensional longball king. Of course, pages and pages of proof are documented and presented for easy consumption in the book, but they mean nothing to myopic fans blinded by loyalty to their own. To them, the only “proof” that would change their minds is a positive drug test or a videotape of someone actually slamming the needle into Bonds’ backside for him. This is decidedly convenient, of course, because there was no Abraham Sapruder at Bonds’ juicing sessions with Greg Anderson, and baseball didn’t bother to conduct steroids tests when Barry morphed into Barroid.
A modest suggestion: Rather than excoriating Schilling for having the guts (initially) to say out loud what everyone else privately acknowledges, how about encouraging the rest of baseball to do the same? Imagine a scenario in which every player in baseball who agrees to an interview, for however many more weeks it takes for Bonds to steal Hank Aaron’s record from him, repeats Schilling’s words: Barry cheated.
Every last one of them. Every time a microphone is turned on.
Followed by a thank-you to Schilling for showing them the way.
Sports personality Bob Frantz is a regular contributor to The Examiner. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.