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3.03.2004

Giant Takedown?

Yes, steroids are considered fairly widespread in baseball. But the Giants seem to be ground zero. BALCO is in their backyard; Bonds is Suspected Juicer Numero Uno; Bonds' childhood buddy Greg Anderson is involved. Giambi and Sheffield both spent time with Bonds. Marvin Benard, who will not be testifying to the defensive improvement steroids can confer upon their ingesters, and Benito Santiago are now implicated. The Giants let Anderson roam freely in the clubhouse. When SBC backs out of its sponsorship, maybe we should rename it HgH Field.

And what if Giants' management is found to be complicit? Could this weaken the franchise so much that it falls into disrepair? Would Magowan's investor partners start to bow out? The franchise may be cast in shame for a while. If Bonds goes down, we're talking major disarray, major PR debacle, and -- especially if they can't reallocate Bonds's paycheck to other players -- a majorly bad team.

Even if Bonds isn't forced to step aside (or suspended? arrested?), the swirl of controversy and media frenzy, a taste of which we're already seeing these first few days of spring training, could drive the team to distraction. It might be hard to recruit players, or, if Alou doesn't re-up his contract after this year, a good manager. What manager would want to step into this situation? Dusty skipped town just in time.

If the Giants don't contend this year or fall to .500 or below, season ticket sales for next year will be down. The Giants can't afford a slump in sales, and it would be reflected in payroll in the next few years.

Am I overreacting? Maybe. It's one thing to see the Bonds era end naturally and the rebuilding begin; it would be another to see a bleak horizon of mediocrity hastened by the everpresent cloud of the steroid problem.

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