SAN FRANCISCO -- Barry Bonds thinks he has it rough these
While the San Francisco Giants slugger shows signs of strain as
he struggles to hit five more home runs and become Major League
Baseball's career home run king, his boyhood friend and personal
trainer unhappily toils away for 12 cents an hour in a prison
kitchen, unsure of when he'll be freed.
Greg Anderson, 41, is being held in contempt of court for
refusing to testify before a grand jury investigating Bonds'
alleged perjury. He's been there since November in this, his fourth
and longest jail term connected to the federal government's
seemingly endless investigation of steroid use by Bonds and other
This quiet, remarried father of a young son could remain
incarcerated for many more months.
"He's not doing well, but he is doing," said lawyer and
longtime friend Paula Canny, who has visited Anderson regularly at
the Dublin Federal Correctional Institution.
Anderson will remain federal inmate No. 93389-011 until he
testifies under oath about Bonds' alleged use of steroids, or until
the term of the grand jury investigating the perjury allegations
That could come as soon as Thursday, but prosecutors are widely
expected to ask a judge to extend the grand jury's term. That could
keep Anderson behind bars for up to six more months -- or until he
breaks his vow of silence.
"Greg's not talking, period," said his lawyer, Mark Geragos.
He's among those who believe prosecutors will seek an extension of
the grand jury's term.
"He's resolute as a rock," Geragos said.
As children, Anderson and Bonds were neighbors in the San Mateo
County suburbs, south of San Francisco. They played Little League
baseball together before Anderson moved away during high school,
and their paths separated for a time. Anderson's baseball career
ended at Division II Fort Hays State in Kansas, where he was a
power-hitting shortstop and designated hitter.
Bonds, the son of ex-Major Leaguer Bobby Bonds, went on to
become one of the greatest hitters in the sport's history.
After the two were reunited through a mutual childhood friend,
Bonds hired Anderson to be his personal trainer before the 1999
season, according to the book "Game of Shadows," by two San
Francisco chronicle reporters.
The muscle-bound Anderson was then spending up to 12 hours a day in a Burlingame gym where steroids were openly bought and sold. It
was a few blocks from the now-infamous Bay Area Laboratory
Co-Operative, known as BALCO, which was raided by federal agents in
2003 and became the epicenter of sports' biggest doping scandal to
Anderson's home was raided on the same September day, and
investigators found $60,000 in cash and a small amount of steroids.
He pleaded guilty to steroid distribution and money laundering
charges and served three months in prison and three months of home
Anderson's lawyers, Geragos and Canny, said he was offered
probation in exchange for his cooperation. He refused, setting the
stage for what was to come. If nothing else, Anderson has stuck to
his vow not to participate in prosecutors' relentless pursuit of
The current grand jury investigation of Bonds can be traced to
his late 2003 testimony before the BALCO grand jury. He said then,
under oath, that he believed the substances he was given by
Anderson were arthritis balm and flaxseed oil, rather than a newly
developed steroid designed to evade detection, according to
transcripts obtained by the Chronicle.
Prosecutors are apparently convinced he was lying, but they need
Anderson's testimony to prove it.
U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup sent Anderson back to
prison last year after he refused to testify against Bonds.
Geragos said he's planning to soon ask Alsup to free Anderson by
arguing that the trainer's imprisonment has now reached the level
of being purely punitive instead of coercive -- the goal of such
"It really has reached the point of absurdity," Geragos said.
A spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney's office in San Francisco,
which is leading the Bonds investigation, declined to comment.
Alsup can also order Anderson's release if he decides
imprisonment will not persuade the trainer to talk. But Alsup is
not expected to be so moved any time soon.
In December, the judge declined to free Anderson even for a
brief furlough that would have allowed him to spend Christmas with
his 8-year-old son Cole. No further court dates have been set.
In the meantime, Anderson passes his time in the prison kitchen,
a job the fitness buff requested in order to have better control
over his diet.
"He was always eating eggs," said Joshua Wolf, a video blogger
who served five months in prison with Anderson. Wolf, who was also
jailed for refusing to cooperate with a government investigation of
a separate matter, hasn't spoken to Anderson since his release in
Wolf and Anderson "ended up with an elevated status among a
certain segment of people," Wolf said, in a prison rife with
informants and inmates cooperating with government investigators.
"There were a couple of people who asked for Greg's autograph
to send to relatives because Greg is connected to Barry Bonds and
Barry is a legend," Wolf said. "You could tell he was flattered,
but mostly embarrassed."
Wolf said the federal minimum security prison, located in an
affluent suburb east of San Francisco, is more boring than
"It was like being in an all-guys day camp, but you were
waiting for a fishing trip that never comes," Wolf said.
Anderson declined an interview request. But by most accounts,
he's everything Bonds is not: A failed baseball player who is
considerate, kind and humble.
"He is one of the nicest guys I have ever met," Wolf said.
"He is surprisingly un-jock like."
His decade-long friend and lawyer, Canny, said Anderson is more
concerned with her recent diagnosis of breast cancer than with his
"He tells me that I have it worse. He's the nicest guy I have
ever met," said Canny, a self-described gym rat who met Anderson
at the same gym where he once worked out Bonds, a few blocks from
the BALCO warehouse.
It's now called Family Fitness and the manager there declined to
discuss Anderson. But in the lobby there is a can requesting $3
donations with a sign saying: "Support Greg Anderson." Donors
receive a bumper sticker with the same message.
Geragos and others say Anderson's determination to remain jailed
has everything to do with principle, and nothing to do with any
financial arrangement or the possibility of an expected future deal with Bonds.
"There is absolutely no quid pro quo," Geragos said. "They
are lifelong friends."