“A couple of readers suggested that I wrote a deliberately controversial column about Stan Musial to raise my page views,” scoffed provocateur/blogger Murray Chass over the weekend. “I barely know what that means, but I know it has something to do with the number of people who come to this Web site.” After that somewhat disingenuous intro that Chass cannot help but add, “Mike Piazza fans become outraged whenever I use their hero’s name in the same sentence with steroids. Add his back acne into the mix, and they go crazy.” What, no LOL, Murray?

But in case they (Piazza fans) missed Thursday’s testimony in the Barry Bonds trial, I’ll be happy to fill them in

Chief science director of the United States Anti-Doping Agency, Larry Bowers, was on the witness stand in federal court in San Francisco, and under questioning by a prosecutor he told the jurors about steroids and human growth hormone.

According to The New York Times, Bowers testified that “both acne and bloating were common side effects of steroid use.” Later in the trial, the Times reported, Kimberley Bell, who was Bonds’ girlfriend for nine years, “is expected to testify that she saw acne on Bonds’ back.”

What a coincidence, Bonds and Piazza both having acne on their backs. Maybe it was just a baseball thing.

Just in case you’re confused by the context for the above attack on Piazza, Chass has long maintained Mike’s Bacne Heard ‘Round The World all but guarantees the catcher’s historic offensive output was a byproduct of chemical assistance.  However, at no time during Bonds’ trial have witnesses for the prosecution been asked “did Mike Piazza suffer from acne?” nor are other possible causes for such a condition been explored.  So yes, in lieu of an actual admission from Piazza or stronger evidence (other than, y’know, his career going into the tank right around the time steroids became Public Enemy Numero Uno), that’s pretty much the definition of “a coincidence”.