This silent treatment impressive
Do any of you have a friend like Greg Anderson? Do you have a guy who is willing to go to prison to keep you out of prison?
Anderson is the nefarious character in the middle of the Barry Bonds perjury trial taking place in San Francisco. Anderson is Bonds’s longtime friend and personal trainer. He must have watched all three “Godfather’’ movies multiple times. Greg Anderson is to Barry Bonds what Frank Pentangeli was to Michael Corleone; only in this case, Bonds’s defense team didn’t have to import Greg’s brother from Sicily to remind Greg what he no longer remembers.
Anderson knows everything. He is the pharmaceutical bag man. He is Bonds’s Dr. Feelgood. But he won’t give it up to the feds. He has gone to jail for more than 14 months and he’s in jail again, flipping the bird at those who would question Barry. Greg loves Barry and he loves sticking it to The Man. Anderson is a prosecutor’s nightmare.
Only one question remains. How many bags of cash has Bonds committed to Greg Anderson and future generations of the Anderson family? What is the price of a man’s personal freedom and reputation? What is the monetary value of prison time? And will the feds ever be able to prove the cash-for-quiet deal?
Anderson’s continued silence is Bonds’s best chance to remain a free man. Anderson is the polar opposite of Brian McNamee, Roger Clemens’s former trainer who has made it his mission to blow the whistle and take Clemens down.
Bonds doesn’t have Clemens’s problem. He has the all-time homeboy, the sycophant gopher who will do anything to save Barry from taking a fall.
An alleged childhood pal of Bonds and a pedestrian high school ballplayer from northern California, Anderson watched Bonds star at Junipero Serra High School in San Mateo (later the high school of Tom Brady). According to the authors of “Game of Shadows,’’ Anderson started using steroids when he was 16, became a personal trainer, and in 1999 convinced Bonds that he could help him with weight training and conditioning. By 2000, “Bonds gave him the run of the [Giants] clubhouse,’’ according to the book’s authors, Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams.
The rest is history.
“Anderson’s primary job was to provide Bonds with performance-enhancing drugs and to track his regimen,’’ wrote the authors. “Anderson obtained the drugs and administered them. In file folders, and on his computer, he kept calendars of Bonds’s use of the substances, recording the drugs, dosages, and cycles.’’
You know the story from there. Bonds hit 73 homers in 2001 and in 2007 broke Hank Aaron’s career home run record. Bonds finished with 762 career homers and now is trying to beat the rap for allegedly lying to a grand jury in 2003. Anderson is his best hope.
Here’s the abbreviated timeline on Greg Anderson: In 2004, he was named in a 42-count indictment, charged with possession of human growth hormone and money laundering. A year and a half later, he pled guilty to money laundering and steroid distribution. He served three months in prison.
In 2006, he was imprisoned for refusing to testify to the grand jury investigating Bonds. He was jailed three more times for contempt of court, for refusing to testify. The feds raided the home of Anderson’s mother-in-law in 2009.
Tuesday in San Francisco, Anderson again refused to testify against Bonds. One of Anderson’s lawyers pledged that he will never cooperate in the case against Bonds. On the sidewalk outside the courthouse, Anderson was cheered by folks wearing hooded sweatshirts that read, “Support strength and honor — Greg Anderson.’’ Anderson will remain in custody for the duration of the trial, which is expected to be at least four weeks.
This is no mere fan-boy we’re talking about here. This is the big leagues of jock suck-up. Reading the history, I’d swear Anderson grew up in Charlestown. He honors the Code of Silence. He will not give up his friend.
This reminds me a little of the criminal who asked for an extra three years on his sentence so that he could honor Larry Bird with 33 years in the slammer. Not even pathetic “In Bill We Trust’’ zealots would go to jail for the Hoodie.
Anderson’s future could include a maximum prison sentence of 10 years for criminal contempt and obstruction of justice. Now that’s what I call taking one for the team.
Call it loyalty. Call it defiance. Call it Baseball’s Black Hand.
Just don’t call Greg Anderson a rat.
Dan Shaughnessy is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at email@example.com.