Sunday, March 12, 2006

Wood On Sports Special: The Missing Barry Bonds Grand Jury Testimony

= Who knew flax seed oil shrunk your testes?

The San Francisco Chronicle this morning printed excerpts from the forthcoming book, Game of Shadows, including direct testimony from Barry Bonds during the grand jury trial of the founders of BALCO. Since Bonds was subpoenaed to testify and his agreement with officials precluded him from utilizing the fifth amendment, he created an elaborate explanation for how illicit drugs entered his system without his knowledge.
Below is some actual testimony from Bonds found in Game of Shadows. After each quotation from Barry is lost transcript items that were not included in the documents revealed to the SF Chronicle reporters. To protect my source of these "lost quotes", I will refer to him only as "Deep Throw".

Barry: I was fatigued, just needed recovery you know, and this guy says, 'Try this cream, try this cream.'

Barry's Follow Up: When Greg first approached me about the cream, I said, "What you talking about? I've got perfect skin." And then he explained it would be indetectable and help me to hit home runs. I ordered two cases on the spot.

Barry: And he rubbed some cream on my arm ... gave me some flax seed oil, man. It's like, 'Whatever, dude.'

Barry's Follow Up: And then I was like "Greg, stop giving me this flax seed oil. It isn't doing anything. Give me more of the damn cream though."

Barry: You know me, I'm 39 years old. I'm dealing with pain. All I want is the pain relief, you know? And you know, to recover, you know, night games to day games. That's it. And I didn't think the stuff worked.

Barry's Follow Up: I didn't think the stuff worked, because I knew the stuff worked. You think a 39 year old can go nine innings, head back to a hotel room for a tryst with my away-game mistress, sign some more memorabilia to pay off said mistress' house, and then wake up the next morning and bang two home runs? Helll no. That's why I was rubbing in the cream...I mean, arthritis cream.

Barry: I never asked Greg. When he said it was flax seed oil, I just said, 'Whatever.' It was in the ballpark ... in front of everybody. I mean, all the reporters, my teammates. I mean, they all saw it. I didn't hide it. I didn't hide it ...

Barry's Follow Up: I definitely didn't hide it. In fact, I shared it with Benito Santiago. As long as I was pretending it was flax seed oil, what was there to hide? Plus, my lawyers told me to do it in front of everyone. I was always shocked Mark McGwire wasn't shooting up over at first base, because that's the least likely place someone would suspect him to do it. No one would be like, "Hey, why does Mark have a syringe out at first base and why is he pinching his own ass?"

Barry: You know, trainers come up to me and say, 'Hey Barry, try this.'

Barry's Follow Up: And I always say "No way!" Unless it's steroids, then I say, "Yes, please" and "Can I have some more?"

Barry: I don't know what G is

Barry's Follow Up: And if it was "Growth", wouldn't that "G" on the calendar be followed by "rowth"? (raises eyebrow to Grand Jury)

Barry: I never paid Greg for anything. I gave Greg money for his training me

Barry's Follow Up: And I've never contradicted myself. OK, once I did, but that was a long time ago.

Barry: Greg is a good guy, you know this kid is a great kid. He has a child.

Barry's Follow Up: And everyone knows that if you have a child, you can't be guilty. (looks over at lawyers sheepishly) And I have children too (raised eyebrows to the Grand Jury again)

Barry: If it's a steroid, it's not working.

Barry's Follow Up: So if you guys would like to suggest some possible steroids that might work, please be my guest (takes out pencil and paper)

Barry: T could mean anything. G could mean anything. And pee could probably mean anything

Barry's Follow Up: I mean, he could have written "pee", but actually meant the letter "p". Maybe he was teaching his kid the alphabet on my flax seed oil intake calendar? Kids are in such a hurry these days, no need to learn the rest of the alphabet (crickets chirping)

Barry: One, I'm black. And I'm keeping my money. And there's not too many rich black people in this world. There's more wealthy Asian people and Caucasian and white. And I ain't giving my money up

Barry's Follow Up: And yes, I don't know that Causasian and white is the same thing. But back to my point...I'm not buying Greg Anderson a mansion...but if you vote not guilty, I'm not saying that you white and Asian jurors won't find a very nice check in your mailbox. And you black jurors will become instantly rich, and remember there aren't too many rich black people in this world.

Barry: I don't really believe half the s -- I'm saying, anyway.

Barry's Follow Up: But you fine jurors should believe 100% of the s-- I'm saying. I want to thank you all for your time, and let you know that your autographed BALCO t-shirts are in the mail. And don't forget, you too can look this ripped at 39 years of age solely by using flax seed oil and the occassional arthritis cream.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

This Week In Sports---Barry, Daunte and the Little Cheerleader That Could

= Mini-Barry...with hair, testicles and fairly little back acne

Barry Creams the Ball: It feels like my birthday is coming up in only 12 days. Small-time publisher Gotham Books has moved up the release of the the Barry Bonds tell all, Game of Shadows, from March 27th to March 23rd. SI has an excerpt of the book, and it is fan-tastic. The two SF Chronicle writers who covered the Balco scandal have written a compelling look at the life and lies of one Barry Lamar Bonds. Though I'm loathe to necessarily trust a book whose leading source is an ex-mistress, count me on the list of people that are pre-registering with Amazon to get this book when it hits the shelves. Here are my thoughts on the book:

1. Could someone please get me Greg Anderson's home phone number? Barry put on 15 pounds of solid muscle during one off-season, going from a svelte 210 to a solid 225. I've tried protein shakes before and all I've gotten is a bad chalky aftertaste. I think I'm ready for the cream and the clear, especially since Anderson reportedly supplies these at cost.

2. Note to celebrities: Don't leave voicemail messages. It brought down Pat O'Brien. It's helping bring down Barry. Ex-mistress Kimberly Bell apparently has tape upon tape of Barry threatening to kill her.

3. Second note to celebrities: Don't have a mistress. And if you must have a mistress, don't buy the mistress a house. Even if your agents in LA pay for the mistress' house, there is in fact a paper trail. And when you tire of her and find a new mistress to take on road trips, you still have to make payments on mistress #1's house in Scottsdale.

Daunte's Invierno: Now that Spring has sprung, and NFL's free agency has finally started, the question arises: Who wants to trade for Daunte Culpepper? The answer: seemingly no one. The guy's got shoddy knees that make him a liability. But the most likely scenario has him going to the Oakland Raiders, relieving the recently cut Kerry Collins. But isn't this a case of jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire? You're going from the Vikings sex cruise to the Oakland boos cruise? And do you really want a reunion with Randy Moss? Even Romy and Michelle would skip that one.

NFLers Go Back To School: Several NFLers went back to school recently, at least for a few days, to the executive MBA program at Stanford University. The problem is that the guys who go to these programs are similar to Donnie Edwards (UCLA) and Coy Wire (Stanford): educated and ambitious. They had a similar program at Harvard Business School a while back, and the attendees included ex-Stanford Cardinal Tank Williams. They need this program for the 78% of players who end up divorced, bankrupt or unemployed less than two years after football. Perhaps someone should tell the Ravens' Chris McAlister about this course.

Cheerleader Suffers (But Still Can't Spell) Concussion: 18 year old Kristi Yamaoka has stirred national debate recently by embarrassingly falling during one of Southern Illinois University's cheer routines, then managing to do some sort of spirit-like arm motions as the medics wheeled her off on a stretcher. Now there's debate as to whether cheerleaders should be thrown into the air at all during basketball games. Here's my take: throw out a few more free t-shirts, give out a free pizza or two, and skip the aerials. We come for the brawls and for the your aerials for late night ESPN2 competitions.

Stay tuned tomorrow for a very special second weekend edition of Wood On Sports...

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

A Look Back---Tamir Goodman, "Jewish Jordan"

= Like Mike, Only Jewish

If you have a radio in your car, and anything resembling a commute, chances are you have heard the Hasidic stylings of Matisyahu, the Jewish rapper/reggae star. Born Matthew Paul Miller (perhaps his parents intended for him to be a serial killer), Matisyahu is a bit of a contradiction. In an industry that now celebrates "crunk" and the street life, Matisyahu tends to glorify things like Joseph's saving of the people of Egypt. He's a latter day Jewish Bob Marley, if you will.

Matisyahu's recent success reminds us of another famous member of the chosen people, Tamir Goodman. Dubbed "The Jewish Jordan" by Sports Illustrated for his skills on the basketball court, Goodman was a media darling in the late 1990s for his jumpshot and his uncompromising devotion to his chosen faith. He took up the game at six years old, by his sophomore year at Talmudical Academy was already averaging 27 ppg and impressed many of the scouts who came out to see him play. There was only one caveat: he refused to play games on Saturday during the Jewish sabbath.

Nevertheless, the University of Maryland offered him a scholarship, vowing to schedule as few games as possible on Saturday afternoons. But I guess the Terrapins didn't think Goodman was as important as Steve Blake or Steve Francis (perhaps if his name were Steve Goodman?). They failed to accomodate his schedule, and he handed back a scholarship that would have allowed him to play on an ACC basketball powerhouse team.

He ended up playing at a school close to his hometown outside of Baltimore, Towson University. Towson is certainly not a household name, though it can boast of famous alumni such as NFL kick-returner Dave Meggett and actor John Glover (the father of Lex Luthor on Smallville). But Goodman thrived under coach Mike Jaskulski, and averaged close to 6 points per game his freshman season. Jaskulski was ultimately fired for his team's poor performance, and the school ironically brought in a coach that Goodman claimed was anti-semitic. The new coach Michael Hunt (who I doubt ever went by a shortened first name) allegedly kicked a stool into Goodman in 2001, and the boy once dubbed the Jewish Jordan walked away from college basketball forever.

So where is our favorite yarmulke-wearing baller now? He dropped out of Towson completely, taking up an offer to play with Maccabi Tel Aviv, a powerhouse in the European league. He has since played on a number of other Israeli professional teams, gotten married, had a child and served his time in the Israeli army (see above picture). He has since returned to the United States (not 100% sure if that is a permanent move), and hit the speaker circuit with other famous Jewish celebrities such as rapper Etan G and mentalist Marc Salem.

Goodman once said: "I remember when I was a kid how many times people told me that because I was religious I could not play sports. I want to show kids that if you try to use (your talent) in the right way, Hashem is going to be there to knock down all the doors so you can be successful." (source) And so it was that Tamir Goodman, aka Jewish Jordan, knocked down not only doors, but jumpshots to enter our collective conscious. So while Steve Francis and Steve Blake make the big bucks in the NBA, Goodman is scoring points with Hashem, the ultimate commissioner of basketball (sorry David Stern).

Monday, March 06, 2006

Editor's Note

To encourage readers to come back on a more regular basis, I'm going to start posting on the below schedule:

Monday: The Top 4 List-A list of four things...Kinda like The Sports List, minus Summer Sanders (Interesting note from the SJ Mercury News: Summer Sanders' family likes the Olympics).

Wednesday: A Look Back-A look back at a player, coach or event that you probably had forgotten about.

Saturday-Sunday: This Week in Sports-Pretty self-explanatory...commentary from the previous week in sports.

Let me know what you think. Changes take effect on Wednesday. Suggestions on topics always welcome. Check out this update on where Freddie Mitchell isn't partying.