Barry Bonds: hoisted on his own Louisville slugger

March 26, 2006 | By Jim Stovall | Filed in: journalism.

Call me crazy, but if I were Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams, I wouldn’t be all that anxious to get a judge to dismiss the suit that Barry Bonds had filed trying stop the collection of profits for the book Game of Shadows (web site).

A judge in San Francisco almost did that this week.

The book details the steroid use of the San Francisco Giants superstar. It tells how Bonds began using steroids after the 1998 seasons to pump himself up and to start – at the twilight of what was probably a Hall of Fame career – putting up monster numbers, especially in the home run category.

The book was painstakingly research by Fainaru-Wada and Williams, two reporters for the San Francisco Chronicle. They conducted dozens of interviews, heard audio tapes, and read hundreds of documents. Some of those documents were grand jury testimony that was supposed to remain secret.

Bonds has not denied the allegations specifically. Instead, he has refused to talk about it. Now he has had his lawyers file suit to stop the authors and publishers from collecting any profits on the book. Why? It’s a novel legal argument that the profits are illegal because some of the documents used in the book were obtained illegally (a somewhat questionable assertion in itself).

That argument has the strength of a piece of cellophane in a hurricane.

This week a judge in San Francisco recognized it as such as refused to grant an injunction against the defendants based on it. He even said the suit had little chance of success. But he didn’t dismiss it.

And that may be a victory for the authors.

If they are forced to defend themselves against the suit, they would probably be able to depose Bonds himself. That would be a reporter’s dream – a major source have to answer questions UNDER OATH.

Man, don’t you know they have a question or two for the slugger.

But, unfortunately, it probably won’t happen. Some judge will do the right thing and throw the suit out as a waste of everybody’s time.

That’s too bad. The thought of Barry Bonds having to tell the truth in the presence of a couple of top-ranked reporters comforts the mind as we head toward Opening Day – when all things become new.

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