March 29, 2011
RATTO ARCHIVEGIANTS PAGE GIANTS VIDEO
Editor's note: Follow all the developments at the trial with Ray Ratto's Twitter feed(@RattoCSN) from the courtroom. We'll have comprehensive analysis on SportsNet Central tonight.
If Monday was a bad day for Barry Bonds, and it was, Tuesday was probably as bad in its own way for his employers the San Francisco Giants and Major League Baseball.On Monday, Bonds was essentially humiliated on several fronts by his former mistress, Kimberly Bell, although her testimony didnt do a lot to put Bonds any closer to being convicted on any of the five counts against him in U.S. Federal Court.Tuesday, the prosecution veered back closer to the case they want to make that other players who knew Bonds former trainer, Greg Anderson, were knowingly supplied with some combination of the cream, the clear, human growth hormone and injectable testosterone.Knowingly, as in Anderson knew what it was, and the players in question, Jason and Jeremy Giambi and Marvin Benard, knew what it was too.The obvious inference the prosecution wanted to leave the jury was that if they knew they were taking performance enhancing drugs, it is unreasonable to assume that Bonds didnt know, which is the crux of the defenses case. Whether they managed it at all remains to be seen, and the prosecution still has four other players it can call, including Bobby Estalella, which the prosecution claims is the direct link to Bonds knowledge.But since Tuesday was about setting a foundation for the circumstantial tower of evidence they want to submit, the defense spent little time trying to rebut either Giambi, and hadnt finished with Benard when Judge Susan Illston called time.The Giants, though, were taken over the gravel earlier in the day by former trainer Stan Conte, who said that his concerns about Anderson and Bonds other trainer, Harvey Shields, were ignored by general manager Brain Sabean and manager Dusty Baker. Conte testified that he disapproved of Anderson in particular, saying he looked like he came from a neighborhood gym, but said that when he objected to Sabean, Sabean said nothing.Conte inferred from that that the Giants would not back him up on his desire to have Anderson and Shields banned, and slowly but surely his relationship with Bonds deteriorated from there.Conte has made this claim before, but it still must have stung the team even in this, the afterglow of the World Series. It is equally safe to assume that Major League Baseball, whose job through most of the steroid era has been to limit its duration to about 45 minutes on some Thursday in 2004, did not enjoy the reminders of the pharmacological wild west days.Defense attorney Allen Ruby tried to position Conte as a conflicted club employee whom Bonds distrusted because he through the clubs medical department was reporting his medical issues to the team and media. Conte, though, fought off the inferences and left relatively unscathed. Rubys greater questions about the odd marriage between medicine and commerce will have to be tackled another time, in another forum.The morning was taken up with two pillars in the chain of custody issue the defense would like to raise in its case. The perfectly named Dr. Barry Sample of Quest Laboratories discussed the techniques by which Bonds samples were taken and analyzed, and Dale Kennedy, the poor fellow who actually had to collect those samples in a setting and procedure that can most charitably described as semi-degrading. Their testimony was for the most part bland, but it will be revisited during the defense case.There remain, though, more players to call, including Randy Velarde, Armando Rios, Benito Santiago and Bobby Estalella, who is supposed to link Bonds to the knowledge of PEDs that is the true crux of the case. The defense seemed content to let the prosecution have a day of rope-a-dope victories, using limited cross-examinations and a futile fight to limit the use of Bells diaries as evidence. That wont last forever, though, and one can expect Estalellas cross to be particularly contentious.Indeed, Tuesdays session will probably neither long noted nor remembered. It had none of Bells salacious or ethical effervescence, nor did it lead to the aha! moment this trial still needs. But it was necessary housekeeping in a trial that will be won or lost on the small details.What'syour take? Email Rayand let him know. He may use it in his Mailbag. Follow Ray on Twitter @RattoCSN.