This week, Sports Illustrated published an excerpt from Game of Shadows, a book by two San Francisco Chronicle writers which details the steroid use of Giants star Barry Bonds. The published excerpt details the progression of Bonds's steroid use in very specific detail. According to the book, Bonds used designer steroids, human growth hormone, female fertility drugs, insulin, cattle steroids, and even something called "Mexican jumping beans". SI's selection also accuses Bonds of drug possession, adultery, and tax evasion. His mistress tells the authors that Bonds once choked her, and struggled with sexual dysfunction.
With all of this damaging, titillating information available already, one wonders what's left in the book to entice buyers. The answer is, plenty. Zembla will be presenting excerpts from Game of Shadows that are even more shocking than what already appeared in SI. Today we present the story of another one of Barry Bonds's illicit extramarital affairs.
Part One: Thunder Pup
Barry Bonds and Shawon Dunston began their relationship in 1998, after Dunston came over from the Indians in a midseason trade. Bonds insisted that Dunston keep the affair secret, since he'd gotten "too much s---" from the media in the past for dating utility players. Dunston moved on to St. Louis in 1999, but the two rekindled their affair when Dunston re-signed with the Giants before the 2001 season.
In just over two years, Dunston had noticed dramatic changes in Barry. He was much more muscular than in the past. Barry had begun shaving his head, suffered outbreaks of acne, and Dunston noticed that his testicles were significantly smaller than in the past. Bonds claimed he wasn't doing anything beyond taking flaxseed oil and studying extra game film.
In addition to the physical changes, Bonds had developed a vicious temper. Back in their shared hotel room, Bonds often shouted at Dunston, "Why do you f------ swing at everything? Would it kill you to take a f------ walk, you punk bitch?" In July, Dunston could only watch, hurt, as Barry dallied with right fielder John Vanderwal on a long road trip. Still, there were flashes of Barry's former tenderness. After Bonds hit six home runs in a weekend series against Atlanta, he and Dunston shared a Jacuzzi in the clubhouse.
Dunston told Bonds that, the way he was hitting, he might break Mark McGwire's single-season home run record. Bonds said, "F--- that white boy," and then promised to buy Dunston a Mercedes Benz if he did break the record. Then the two made love on the clubhouse floor.
Bonds made good on his promise. However, he had to hide the purchase from his accountants and Giants general manager Brian Sabean, who might ask uncomfortable questions about the money and gifts being lavished on Dusnton. As a result, Bonds paid for the car entirely in cash, which he obtained by selling jewelry, equipment, and hair dye stolen from Jeff Kent's locker.
On October 5, 2001, Bonds hit home runs #71 and #72, in a loss to the Dodgers. The Giants held a postgame story to commemorate the record, during which Bonds wept and a demonstrative Dunston hugged and consoled him at the podium. When Bonds initially became emotional, Dunston told the crowd about the new Mercedes, though he said the gift was "from a bet" they'd made about Bonds winning the home run title. Though Barry smiled for the camers, inside he was furious that Dunston had betrayed the secrecy of their bond, risking financial trouble with both the IRS and Bonds's ex-wife, Sun.
Things would never be the same after that between Dunston and Bonds, though their relationship continued through the 2002 season. Bonds became increasingly abusive and overprotective regarding Dunston. After losing to the Angels in the 2002 World Series, Dunston planned to re-sign with the Giants. His plans changed when he got a phone call from Bonds.
"I need you to disappear," said Bonds.
"What do you mean, Barry?" said Dunston.
"Did I f------ stutter?" Barry replied. "F------ retire, dawg!" Before the stunned Dunston could reply, Barry had already hung up.
For months, Dunston wondered if the Mercedes incident had ruined his relationship with Bonds, or perhaps the stress of losing the World Series had disappointed Bonds to the point he couldn't be with a teammate anymore. Dunston blamed himself, the flaxseed oil, even Giants pitcher Felix Rodriguez. Only later did he learn that his rejection came because a different veteran player had caught Barry's fancy: Outfielder Marquis Grissom.