Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
August 17, 2007
BASEBALL: Bonds. Barry Bonds.

Posted by Dr. Manhattan

I guess I need to discuss Barry Bonds, who - as you may have heard - recently broke some record.

I have a few thoughts on why his record-breaking inspires such controversy:

1) Overcompensation amongst the media for not having aggressively reported the growth in steroid use throughout the 1990s.

2) An aesthetic revulsion in the media towards big muscular guys hitting lots of home runs - being so different from the way the game was played when the members of the media were younger, it doesn't fit their idea of the way the game "should be" played (which is part of why they assume the entire impact of steroids on the game is in the increase in home runs);

3) Bonds' long-standing reputation as a lout generally and particularly to the media (with the latter, of course, being far more important);

4) Bonds' career path, plus the incredible detail unearthed by the authors of "Game of Shadows" as to his drug use, provides the most obvious example of "but-for" causation likely to be found outside of a double-blind lab study.

Regarding point #2, it is clear - if only from the number of pitchers who have failed steroid tests - that steroid users are not restricted to cartoonishly built power hitters. In fact, steroid rumors (never proven) have been associated with the baseball player who would probably win a poll as "least likely steroid user." Who is that player? A hint: he recently broke a long-standing seasonal hitting record. Click below:


Ichiro Suzuki. Yes, the famously small Ichiro who broke George Sisler's record for hits in a season. As Robert Whiting wrote on page 26 of The Meaning of Ichiro (terrible title, good book - retitled The Samurai Way of Baseball for the paperback):

From mid-2000 to the spring of 2001, while no one was really watching, Ichiro had gained nearly 20 pounds on top of his listed weight of 156 pounds through intensive weight training. In fact, when he reported to the Mariners camp in sub-drenched Arizona, the uniform they had readied for him was too tight, thanks to new muscle mass in his arms, shoulders and legs. This raised suspicions in some quarters, although never proven, that he had been taking steroids, suspicions fueled by the fact that he had refused to join other NPB stars and play on Japan's baseball team in the Australian Olympics. Reporters speculated that he was afraid to take the required drug tests. Whatever the reason, Ichiro was stronger than he had ever been. He also insisted that the Mariners' 5'9" height listing was off by nearly two inches.

This certainly is not any form of proof that Ichiro has ever taken steroids. But it does illustrate the extent to which steroid use is associated with players other than power hitters. Yet the common media narrative still draws a straight line from steroid use to the offensive levels of the last 13-14 years.

One additional aspect relating to point #4. Bonds attracts added notoriety in part because of just how insanely great he has been since 2001. Past now-tarnished players such as McGwire, Sosa, Palmeiro et al may have broken records, but they did not completely shatter the bounds of what was previously considered possible for a baseball player. McGwire, admittedly, came pretty close, but he still struck out 162 times and had an OBP that was in line with the best efforts of the past decade. By contrast, only Babe Ruth's best seasons could compare to those put up by Bonds in 2001-2004. The story is told by Bonds' intentional walk totals - he shattered the records in that category to a greater extent than Ruth broke the home run records. (I should note that intentional walks were not separately measured in Ruth's time, so we do not know how Ruth's totals compared to Bonds'.) The intentional walks show the extent to which pitchers gave up on the idea of getting Bonds out - shattering the equilibrium between batter and pitcher that exists even with respect to the best hitters. In this respect, I always felt that the appropriate parallel to Bonds was the fictional Sidd Finch, a character (presumably) beloved of Crank's. But it is better when characters like Finch don't really exist.

Posted by Mike Rogers at 1:47 AM | Baseball 2007 | Comments (30) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

Bonds' production in those years--with the exception of 2001, when he actually got almost 500 AB in setting the single season HR and SLG marks--was distorted by the fact that the Giants really had a godawful hitting order except for Bonds himself and Jeff Kent (who departed after 2002, making things worse). In a normal lineup, Bonds' obscene number of walks would have resulted in far more runs scored for both himself and other Giants, forcing pitchers to throw strikes to Bonds and accept the cost of a few more home runs while lowering his on base percentage to less unearthly levels. As things stood, a lot of those intentional walks were still irrational, but the proposition was a close enough call that the baseball media wasn't second guessing managers for giving Bonds four wide ones.

Bonds was a three-time MVP long before anyone has plausibly suggested he went near any PEDs. The writers may take the opportunity to take vengeance on him for his abuse of them, but if Bonds gets shut out of the Hall of Fame altogether it will cease to exist as a credible entity for honoring the game's best. The accusations are going to permanently burden any arguments that he was one of the game's very best (i.e., arguably better than Cobb, Aaron, or Mantle and mentionable in the same sentence as Ruth, Wagner, and Mays), but if he'd been struck by lightning on opening day of the 1997 season, he probably would have been inducted by the writers within weeks no matter how much they reveled in dancing on his grave beforehand. Accordingly, he belongs in Cooperstown.

Posted by: M. Scott Eiland at August 17, 2007 3:08 AM

Having watched the Giants/Braves series just finished, I can now state without concern of error: Bonds is BY FAR the worst outfielder in baseball. The 'roids have wrecked his joints/knees to the point that he can only make it up to mid-jog (and, no, it's not the surgeries. I had two of the same surgeries that he had on one knee...it's now stronger than it ever was in my lifetime). Two fly balls that even Manny Ramirez would've flagged fell in safely. He's nothing more now than a glorified Rob Deer plus some points on his batting average.

BTW, Alex Sanchez failed a drug test. Roids don't simply give strength, they help with the fast-twitch muscles (which only boosts Bonds' homer rate even further as he can wait another milli-second before initiating his FT muscles and ultra-bat speed & send the pitch to the moon) & helps make guys faster. Any questions about this assertion can be forwarded to Ben Johnson.

If Ichiro gained 20 pounds of muscle within a year, there is NO DOUBT that he had some pharmaceutical help. I dabble with the bodybuilding thing, guys, I take the creatine, I take the N/O Explode, I have two protein shakes per day, I get in 200+ grams of protein per day, I toss around the weights constantly, I do what "clean" bodybuilders do & I've put on between 25 & 30 pounds of muscle....of course, it's taken me NINE years. You. Do. Not. Gain. 20. Pounds. Of. Muscle. In. One. Year. Naturally.

I mean, come on, a few billion teenage & divorced males have tried it for decades and failed by about......19 pounds, generally.

Posted by: RW at August 17, 2007 8:21 AM

Hmmm, how many good outfielders are in their 40's? Even without the roids he would still be a terrible outfielder at this stage of his career. So much of the criticism of Bonds is based on his adversarial relation with the media. But, all in all Bonds answers the question what happens when a great player begins to cheat and uses drugs to add an element to his game.

Posted by: Javaman at August 17, 2007 8:31 AM

****Hmmm, how many good outfielders are in their 40's?***


Does it matter? Are we grading on a scale? Do we accept a certain number of extra hits because "well, he's over 40, so we shouldn't judge him as we would a 27 year old"? The guy - who used to be an acrobat in LF - was atrocious the entire series. It was embarrassing. On one hit he misjudged the ball off the bat and simply walked, assuming that the CF would catch it...it fell 10 feet from him in left field. SF fans should've been embarrassed. As a baseball fan it reminded me of seeing Steven Segal still trying to put on fight scenes while wearing size 48 pants. Put him at 1B & let him go ahead & admit that he's only there to hit and couldn't care less about the rest of the game. Clearly, when you need a day of rest because you've jogged to and from left field from the dugout for 14 innings (happened a few weeks back), you're just phoning it in.

****So much of the criticism of Bonds is based on his adversarial relation with the media****

Personally, that makes his stock rise in my book. I wish he'd go off on those idiots more often.

Posted by: RW at August 17, 2007 11:31 AM

****ut if he'd been struck by lightning on opening day of the 1997 season, he probably would have been inducted by the writers within weeks no matter how much they reveled in dancing on his grave beforehand. Accordingly, he belongs in Cooperstown.****

Pete.
Rose.

Posted by: RW at August 17, 2007 11:31 AM

As I live in NorCal and am self-afflicted with the disease known as "life long Giants fan", I've watched Bonds regularly since he came to the Giants in 1993. His abilities and pre-1997 achievements are there for all to see. Personally, I think he qualifies for the HOF.

What is galling to me personally, is that he is so obvious about remaining in the game only to pad his own records. As his batting skills faded, his obsession to pull rather than hit the ball where it was pitched has really hurt the team. As most of you have seen, the defense stacks up on the right side of the field, the pitcher does his best to throw outside strikes, and Bonds obliges them by hitting grounders to 2nd base. ALOT!! This occurs because he wants to hit homers to right field.

The last two homeruns prior to tying and passing Aaron occurred in the midst of a terrible slump of pop-ups and grounders to second base. When he finally hit the two he'd been waiting for, surprise, surprise, surprise, they were hit to center and left center showing he is still capable of going the other way.

The Giants stink this year, and they're going to lose more than they win. But with an offense as pathetic as theirs, Bonds would have been the better teammate to forget about trying to pull and taking advantage of close to zero defense between 2nd and 3rd base. There would be a few more wins. Pitchers like Matt Cain would certainly have deserved it.

Oh yeah, you guys are right, he really stinks it up as a fielder. In addition, he cannot take third on an obvious triple to the deep part of right center at AT&T Park. I'd have hoped he'd retire the day after 756.

Posted by: NRA Life Member at August 17, 2007 12:40 PM

Point being he would have been a run down outfielder at 40, roids or no roids. Before this entire steroid era began it was rare to have any player into their 40's even on the field. We could make a long list of things that was rare and a true feat before the entire steroid era began. In the 70's 30 HR's and 100 RBI's was a career year and a benchmark.

If Bonds is staying around to pad his stats is he the first in history of baseball to do that?

Posted by: javaman at August 17, 2007 1:54 PM

It's hard to say with any assurance that Bonds is the first to stay way past his dispose by date just to pad his stats simply because these guys don't talk to me personally, and that includes Bonds of course. I am really guessing.

I've heard it said that DiMaggio retired when he realized that he wasn't the genuine Joe Dimaggio anymore. I always took that to mean it was a matter of pride.

Some of these guys may stay too long because they need the money (hard to imagine in these days of > $1 million contracts) but I think it was done for that reason in the past. Paul Waner (Big Poison) alluded to doing that when he played for the Yankees during WWII. Of course, players were so scarce then, they might have even taken me.

Early Wynn pitched until he got win #300, and then adios, and he was way past his time. The year prior he was 7-15, and then he got three decisions in 1963 (1-2 overall). I think the one win was his last game.

Posted by: NRA Life Member at August 17, 2007 4:22 PM

Pete Rose played in Montreal, Roger Clemens body growth and resurgence in his mid 30's. Most athletes find it hard to walk away for many reasons. But, a large percentage in my opinion, stay b/c of ego and records. Hard to blame them for all the perks they get.

Posted by: Javaman at August 17, 2007 6:08 PM

It's hard to not get on Bonds. He's a jackass to everyone, and always has been, so you can see why the press can't wait to vilify him. Since I've seen him play his entire career, I would have said he was, at the very least, the best player since Joe Morgan, but possibly the best player since Willie Mays.

So why do we get so much on someone was was an immortal by 1993? And someone who has never failed a drug test? Well, let's face it, he was pretty much an equivalent to Stan Musial, which is pretty rarefied air. At the age of 38, he became the second coming of the Babe, which has no atmosphere, it's so high. And nobody,not Thorpe, not Nagurski, not Ted, not no one, no how, ever got better at 38. You can move to an easier stadium, as Aaron did, to equalize your numbers. But you simply don't set every single season offensive record of import at an age of almost 40. Unless he's a mutant.

Posted by: Daryl Rosenblatt at August 17, 2007 9:35 PM

"Pete.
Rose."

Truth be told, I'd let Rose in the Hall too--though his offense went to the very integrity of the game, not just of the record book. However, he should never be allowed near a responsible job in baseball again. The whole Rose saga was largely an unnecessary self-inflicted wound for MLB--the Commissioner's office should have fought in the courts for the right to discipline Rose as they saw fit--a battle which they would have almost certainly won in the long run--and punished him based on the findings of the Dowd Report that Rose now admits were on target. By short-circuiting the process and going against the spirit of the agreement struck when Giamatti said publicly that he believed Rose to be guilty created a lot of sympathy for Rose that he clearly didn't deserve and made the Commisioner's office look bad. It was a mistake.

That being said, Bonds isn't Rose, and the arguments for banning Rose don't work for Bonds. If Bonds had been staring at a plaque in every clubhouse in baseball from his rookie year on stating that "players who use steroids will be banned from baseball" or something similar, I might buy the parallel.

Posted by: M. Scott Eiland at August 18, 2007 1:21 AM

****If Bonds had been staring at a plaque in every....****

Common misconception. Back in '91 (after Bonds' rookie year, but long before he obviously began to juice) commissioner Fay Vincent added steroids to baseball's banned list in memo he sent to all teams and union.

Link

The thing was, the union refused to allow drug testing so the memo and rule was quickly dismissed and ignored since it had no 'teeth'. Nonetheless, steroids were banned & thus anyone taking them was breaking the rules.

Plus, Bonds taking juice went to the integrity of the game as well, in my opinion (worth what you paid, of course). How many on-the-bubble middle relievers who were playing without steroids did Bonds remove from the game (and, consequently, out of a job) when his phamaceutical body caused their ERAs to skyrocket? How many games' outcomes did he screw with by his rule-breaking? Dunno - and I dunno how many Pete changed, either.

Of course, I think Bonds deserves to be in the Hall. He deserved it prior to '99. Then again, so did McGwire prior to '98 and he certainly didn't get the vote in year one. The voters can make a stand against illegal use of substances by not voting for Bonds in year one, either. He can sail through with 95% of the vote in year two, but don't let him "get away with it" as he's done to date.

Personally, I say let Pete be allowed on the vote for the HOF....after he dies. He should never be allowed to know that he entered the Hall, but he does deserved to be there.

Posted by: RW at August 19, 2007 1:07 PM

Lets see Bonds best year was at 36, Hank's best year was at 37. Hank moved to a better park, Bonds moved from candelstick to pac bell and a better right field porch.

Barry went from 185 in 96 to 210 in 98. So 25 pounds in 2 years, or 12 or 13 pounds a year, not 20 in a few months.

Does anyone remember Mays stumbling around the Mets outfield in the early 1970's. Pro players stay around as long at they can. Only difference is that before 1976 teams would just end players careers for them and the players couldn't do much about it. Curt Flood changed the game and allowed players to play longer as long as somebody was willing to give them a shot.

Of course the most players that have been busted for roids have been pitchers. The questions is how many middle innings guys did Bonds face that were on the juice?

And last but not least it was not until the mid 90's that baseball players started to lift weights anyway. Before then it was considered bad for a player to bulk up so nobody really lifted weights until and then there was an explosion when that mindset changed.

Posted by: rob M at August 19, 2007 8:25 PM

****Barry went from 185 in 96 to 210 in 98. So 25 pounds in 2 years, or 12 or 13 pounds a year, not 20 in a few months.***

Er, he didn't start to bulk up until after the '98 season (google the pics...everyone else has). Read the Game of Shadows book that details his jealousy of McGwire & Sosa after the '98 season. Go read Sheffield's quotes. Yes, you have the years wrong. And, yes, he put on the mass in a matter of months. But, you can prove us all wrong by following through with your preferred (if, incorrect) scenario: go put on 25 pounds of pure muscle in two years while still maintaining your day job.

Billions of men are waiting to see how easy it is without pharmaceutical help.

*****And last but not least it was not until the mid 90's that baseball players started to lift weights anyway.****

It was the late '80s. The Bash brothers started the trend. The mid 90s was when the steroid explosion took place.

Posted by: RW at August 20, 2007 9:16 AM

RW,

What is the basis for your opinion that "Roids don't simply give strength, they help with the fast-twitch muscles" other than the Ben Johnson analogy?

Also, sorry your metabolism limits you from gaining 20 lbs. in a week, month, year, period od years but that may just be you.

Fact is, people do it all the time. Without illegal help. Stop painting others with a broad brush just because of your own personal biases or shortcomings.

Posted by: Charles Slavik at August 20, 2007 9:43 AM

Charles, people don't do it all the time. And top athletes don't add that much poundage, and get a head that much bigger, and don't get that much better at the age of 38. Not all the time. It's never ever ever been done. Bonds was among the greatest players I ever saw before 2001. Why did he do it? Did he think he wouldn't get caught? Did Nixon think his tapes would ever be made public?

Every great player started a decline by 32 or so. If you worked out well, then the decline slowed. Players like Mantle and Hornsby did not pay attention, and were quickly done. Mays and Aaron, Stan and Ted, they all took care of themselves, which maxed what they could do in their primes, and certainly when they aged. Also, except for Mays, who was exiled to the purgatory of Candlestick, they were in parks that suited them well. Great pitchers don't age well in Wrigley for the same reason. By 38, they are generally shadows of what they were. Was Ted that much better? Not as good as he used to be, but a 37 year old Ted batting .388 always stood out like a sore thumb. He made adjustments, used a lighter bat, pulled the ball less, and so some of his numbers did go up. But he wasn't better than he was in 1946. Bonds was better than anyone who didn't work for the Daily Planet at that age. Bonds was a great player who probably cheated. No we don't know if he or Clemens cheated, we can only guess.

Posted by: Daryl Rosenblatt at August 20, 2007 11:40 AM

Bond's juicing answers the question "What if griffey took care of his body". Griffey has all the skills of Bonds except he could hit more HR's naturally.

My theory on why Bonds cheated was ego. He saw players of much less skill cheating and getting a free pass. They were closing the gap between in his skill and their skills.

I wonder how his pre juiced stats stack up against todays player?

We should make a list of player who also have developed mid thirty head growth.

1. Roger Clemens
2. Johnny Damon (look at a young Johnny in his KC days)
3. Bonds

Posted by: javaman at August 20, 2007 2:31 PM

Daryl, people of all stripes add 20 lbs. quite often. Athletes ad/subtract 20 lbs. in an off-season quite easily, easier than lay people.

The other stuff is diversionary tactics. I agree Bonds is the rare guy his age whose stats and career trajectory look better with age. Aaron and Williams, as you mentioned are others.

None of that means athletes of this era have to be locked in to an arbitrary "statistical model" by those of us who pine for a return to a bygone era.

Those days are long gone. Like a Bonds HR.

Posted by: Charles Slavik at August 20, 2007 2:33 PM

Charles, adding 20 lbs OF MUSCLE is not something people do quite often. Adding 20 lbs is easy, sure. All you have to do is eat tons of carbs and fats and not exercise. But adding muscle, especially as one gets older is very hard to do. It is just not natural for a player in his late 30's to add 20 lbs of muscle to his frame in a year.

And Williams numbers did not get better with age. His decline, along with Aaron's steadiness was because they took care of themselves as somebody else pointed out.

Bonds went from being a great hitter with some power and had never hit more than 46 home runs in a season to a guy who ** averaged ** 51.6 home runs from the age of 36 to 41.

Posted by: Jay at August 20, 2007 5:29 PM

Bonds has earned a HOF seat. You do not gain 20 pounds of muscle just by taking steroids, you have to work at it, too. I'm sure he spent time in the gym.

I'm probably around 95% sure he took steroids. 95% of me wonders why he felt the need to enhance an already stellar career. It did reward him financially. Others were already doing it. He belongs in the HOF, but his stats are tarnished, and he falls short of "the greatest to play the game" talk.

Posted by: Chester at August 20, 2007 6:54 PM

Charles, Aaron did not get better with age, he moved to the launching pad in Atlanta, which upped his home run total. Ted Williams and Stan Musial, like Ruth, were among the few who did not have to work in the off season, and actually worked out (Ruth did daily workouts with Dempsey's trainer). I think Cobb also did workouts in the off season, Honus I know did. So what you perceive as the "rare" improvement at an older age is simply a slower decline relative to the players who did not work out as much. Bonds is not rare, but totally unique among every day players: He actually got better. Much better. He became the greatest player in the history of the game after age 37.

Java, I disagree with your comment that Griffey had all the skills of Bonds. Junior was the second best player of the 90's, much more all around than Albert Belle or Frank Thomas--Thomas was a better hitter than Junior. But pre 2001 Bonds was the best player of the decade by an awful lot. When I think of Bonds in those days I think of Stan. When I think of Junior I think of the Duke. Both Hall of Famers, and both deserving, but just as Snyder was no Musial, Griffey was no Bonds.

Posted by: Daryl Rosenblatt at August 20, 2007 9:05 PM

"Charles, Aaron did not get better with age, he moved to the launching pad in Atlanta, which upped his home run total."

In fairness, Aaron's adjusted OPS+ numbers (which adjust for the Launching Pad factor) from ages 35 to 39 were as good or better than any similar stretch of his career, topping off at 194 in 1971 (his 37 yr. old season). Of course, that paled in comparison to what Bonds did in *his* 35 to 39 yr. old seasons (again, all numbers are adjusted OPS+, courtesy of baseball-reference.com):

2000--191
2001--262 (2nd all-time)
2002--275 (1st all-time)
2003--231 (T10 all time)
2004--260(3rd all-time)

His prior high was 206, registered in 1993-- his third MVP season. Clearly, *that* sequence was utterly unprecedented for a player of that age, though Ruth and Wagner had similar if lesser five year runs when they were younger.

One more point--if you look at Bonds' OPS+ numbers in the mid-nineties, you can see that anyone who says that Bonds was clearly in decline by 1998 is either ignorant or lying. After his peak in 1992-1993, Bonds settled in and rattled off the following adjusted OPS+ numbers:

1994: 182
1995: 168
1996: 186
1997: 170
1998: 177

No decline there that I can see--particularly when a check of his stolen base numbers for those seasons(165 steals in 211 attempts for a solid 78.2% success rate) is conducted. The evidence that Bonds was using PEDs is fairly overwhelming--but many of his critics are peddling bogus claims to make him look even worse.

Posted by: M. Scott Eiland at August 21, 2007 5:08 AM
What is the basis for your opinion that "Roids don't simply give strength, they help with the fast-twitch muscles" other than the Ben Johnson analogy?
That's sort of like the old saying "other than the murder of your husband, how did you like the play Mrs. Lincoln?", isn't it? I mean, by attempting to brush aside the most infamous instance of where someone who was among the fastest people on the planet while "clean" suddenly became the fastest person in the history of mankind - by a wide margin at Seoul - after taking the juice, you're basically trying to limit the conversation. Well, my basis is science and any number of studies published in Muscle Media, Muscle & Fitness, Ironman and Flex (I have about 8 years worth of each at my disposal). Read up. Study. The data is available to anyone willing to find out.
Daryl, people of all stripes add 20 lbs. quite often. Athletes ad/subtract 20 lbs. in an off-season quite easily, easier than lay people.
MUSCLE, dude. The equation is gaining 20 pounds of MUSCLE.

Like I stated earlier: prove us wrong. Go do it & report back when you're finished.

Posted by: RW at August 21, 2007 7:33 AM

Okay, let's cover some ground:

Also, sorry your metabolism limits you from gaining 20 lbs. in a week, month, year, period od years but that may just be you.
It has little to do with metabolism & everything to do with physiology. The human body can only 'work out' so much before it fatigues. Optimally, around an hour and a half it the maximum period that someone can seriously weight train and not see negative effects (note: this is 'clean' training. Pro bodybuilders are chemical freaks who can go for hours). Steroids & other pharma methods help the recoup time & thus there is faster muscle gain available. Secondly, metabolism can be adjusted. You can increase it via cardio activity or lower it by doing less. Thirdly, metabolism pertains to calories burned, not the synthesis of branch chain amino acids & protein breakdown as it morphs into muscle rebuilding and mass muscle gains. True, too much aerobic activity can curtail muscle growth and can even eat into existing muscle mass, which is why it's wholly impossible for Barry Bonds to gain as much muscle mass as he did while playing major league baseball during the summer months. It's well known that players break-down & wilt during the seasons (especially catchers) and to consider that he could gain scores of pounds of muscle all the while is physiologically improbable. That said, it's not one's "metabilism" that inhibits mass muscle growth over a shortened period of time: it's the body's physics and the inability to process THAT much protein, THAT much amino acid, etc. Alonzo Mourning found out the hard way (Zo endorsed EAS protein products) that the human kidney can only process so much protein.

And from reading your site I see that (a) you take claims from advertisements from supplement companies as gospel; (b) are a devout Bonds apologist, to the extreme.
Both are fine and I'm not trying to attack you personally (really), but....that doesn't help your cause. The post bemoaning why folks are cheeroing about A-Rod's exploits while noting Bonds' obvious cheating really stood out, my friend. As in, "acolyte". When A-Rod's head swells during the season, then, maybe. C'mon, how much more obvious does it need to be? I mean, other than he admitted to using under oath (oh, but it was just cream) and that his personal trainer is sitting in a jail cell right now because he refuses to testify about all those "clean" supplments that he gave Barry.

Fact is, people do it all the time. Without illegal help.
Okay, fine. Name one who is over 35. And not from an advertisement. There are plenty of welterweights who'd love to have that big paycheck by moving into the heavyweight division; reckon why they haven't been able to do it within that short time period?
You do not gain 20 pounds of muscle just by taking steroids, you have to work at it, too. I'm sure he spent time in the gym.
He spent a lot of time in the gym. The steroids allowed him to recover quickly & thus have more intense workouts that the normal human body could not undertake. For example, of someone were to do, say, 12 sets of various chest exercises (bench presses, dumbbell presses, flyes), all to fatigue, they'd need at least 3 or 4 days to recover. DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) tells the body that the muscle is repairing itself - and the muscles grow during that time, not during the workout - and once it's recovered it it broken down again by another workout. Steroids/HGH/etc., allow the user to not only work our more frequently, but with a much higher intensity. Yes, he did the work. Without the steroids, his work would've been much more spread out and with lighter weights. IOW, he was able to do what a 'clean' person could not.
In fairness, Aaron's adjusted OPS+ numbers (which adjust for the Launching Pad factor) from ages 35 to 39 were as good or better than any similar stretch of his career, topping off at 194 in 1971
In 1969 MLB lowered the mound due to pitchers' dominance. So, Aaron's late-versus-early statistical comparisons benefitted from the move to the Launching Pad in Fulton county stadium as well as a change in the rules of baseball that were intended to increase offensive output. It's not quite similar but in line with comparing the an NBA scoring leader during his seasons played before the 24 second shot clock & after. One would assume that a great offensive player would blossom in the years after '68; that was the design of MLB. Posted by: RW at August 21, 2007 10:33 AM

"Well, my basis is science and any number of studies published in Muscle Media, Muscle & Fitness, Ironman and Flex (I have about 8 years worth of each at my disposal). Read up. Study. "

RW:
WOW, That explains everything. MM, M&F, Ironman and Flex. Good choices. Seriously, I have read up and studied, see jumping to erroneous conclusions without doing the research.

"That's sort of like the old saying "other than the murder of your husband, how did you like the play Mrs. Lincoln?", isn't it?"

No, that's not a good analogy, nice try though.
I asked what was the basis of the opinion that steroids specifically help with the development of fast-twitch muscle fibers? Snappy retorts are diversions when you can't address the question at hand.

Perhaps you should find the answer in the stacks of MM, M&F and Ironamn and report back. Don't stop to read the ads, or the reports and "research" imbedded in the ads though or we may never hear from you again.

"Charles, Aaron did not get better with age, he moved to the launching pad in Atlanta, which upped his home run total"

Agree, 100%. which demonstrates the weakness of using one piece of statistical data as a "smoking gun" to reach conclusions.

In terms of home runs, Bonds and Aarons career trajectory are remarkably similar. In some respects Aaron is actually better. Look at some of Alberts work re: career trajectories, Hint: it won't be in any muscle magazines, I believe he is a member of SABR.

I have done the some of the research, my friend, perhaps you should as well. Good researchers however, leave a thing called selection bias at the door, or they try too anyway.

"Like I stated earlier: prove us wrong. Go do it & report back when you're finished."

It's difficult to compare eras and reconcile the myriad of factors that explain change. I may just be a little more skeptical when a conclusion is reached based on one or two pieces of data without examining those other factors. It leads to bad conclusions and bad policies.

Google: Scientific Method:

http://teacher.pas.rochester.edu/phy_labs/AppendixE/AppendixE.html

The scientific method is the process by which scientists, collectively and over time, endeavor to construct an accurate (that is, reliable, consistent and non-arbitrary) representation of the world.
Recognizing that personal and cultural beliefs influence both our perceptions and our interpretations of natural phenomena, we aim through the use of standard procedures and criteria to minimize those influences when developing a theory. As a famous scientist once said, "Smart people (like smart lawyers) can come up with very good explanations for mistaken points of view." In summary, the scientific method attempts to minimize the influence of bias or prejudice in the experimenter when testing an hypothesis or a theory.

THAT WAS EASY.

Posted by: Charles Slavik at August 21, 2007 10:44 AM

"Charles, adding 20 lbs OF MUSCLE is not something people do quite often. Adding 20 lbs is easy, sure. All you have to do is eat tons of carbs and fats and not exercise. But adding muscle, especially as one gets older is very hard to do. It is just not natural for a player in his late 30's to add 20 lbs of muscle to his frame in a year."

Jay,
Agreed, it's not easy, but do-able. I don't want to get caought up in relative terms. It's possible. It takes some blood, guts and sweat (and some puking) but people do it. Even at my advanced age.

For examples that you could independently verify, look at Roy Jones career, late stage weight gains and losses to fight for belts. I know many in boxing say it damaged his career, especially the severe weight loss at late stage.

Also, read Art DeVany's stuff.

All I say is keep an open mind. I've found that often those that pound the table the loudest, seem to know the least-est (maybe crank can comment on that, it's a cliched lawyer tactic, I believe)

I don't apologize for anyone, except myself. When and if a GJ indicts, no convicts, Mr. Bonds, I'll be the first to say his record should be asterisked or removed.

That's America. Save your court of public opinion stuff for the next vigilant meeting or lynching. JMO.

A GJ (two actually, going on three) has seen/heard the best "evidence" against Bonds and done nothing. I need to see something substantive come from that.

I have nothing against A-Rod, I do find it amusing that people ignore the fact that he has hit 25% more HR's than Aaron at comparable periods of each man's career and nobody blinks an eye at that. That doesn't indicate that other factors, that effect all hitters aren't at work? And maybe some of these inter-era statistical comaprisons aren't bogus? Answer me that one. Anybody.

A rising tide lifts all boats. The rising tide of factors that helped lift the "average" HR rate approximately 30% from about the middle of Bonds career to now puts that jump that you see in his HR rate late in his career. IMO. Other people interpret that jump in ways that appeal to them individually. I recognize that.

A-Rod has benefitted from playing virtually his whole career under the new-inflated conditions. I think it's great. A lot of people are going to have to re-think their theories as to what's going on (and that's all they are thoeries, even though some pound the table and call them facts) when A-Rod ends up at about 1000 HR's. If Canseco doesn't derail him first.

That's all I'm saying. And I'm just an observer.

Posted by: Charles Slavik at August 21, 2007 11:23 AM

Charles,
You obfuscated. The request was for someone over the age of 35 who gained 20 pounds of muscle within a year & your response was a quote of the scientific method. You said it happened all the time, so...you should have a name w/o having to google. Roy Jones took years & slow growth (which buttresses my point) so he helps my cause. Name?

BTW, did you really intend to imply on your site that Barry Bonds may have gained all that muscle because Greg Anderson gave him something that made him BELIEVE it was steroids, thus he got extra results? Or was that an incorrect inference on my behalf? Really, the old "sugar tablet" theory?

Snappy retorts are diversions when you can't address the question at hand.
Ben Johnson was already mentioned. Alex Sanchez was brought up on another thread. A later thread hints at Ichiro's rapid weight gain. And, finally, it should go without saying that a google search on "steroids fast twitch" can give you all you want. Did I really need to do that for you?

They DO drug test sprinters for a reason, Charles.

Posted by: RW at August 21, 2007 11:51 AM

RW,
First off, how dare you!! Me obfuscate??? Never. Good term though. I try not to, I may not always communicate as well as I'd like to. 'll cop to that.

Roy Jones late in his career, in the age bracket we are discussing, both gained and lost weight to fight Ruiz in the HWT(?) division an then he went back down to figh Tarver, i believe. . He's since gone back down. I cite him because it's readily verifiable.

Devany as well. Verifiable. Speaks about weight gain and loss at an advaced age. Trust me, I know it's difficult. I'm there.

Certainly, it's easier for the clients I tend to work with, who are much younger and athletic than I am currently (it really hurts to say that, I think I sprained my ego). My point is though, even for us older guys, it's not impossible.

The Roy Jones example does nothing to help your argument. You need to look into his career and wieght gain/loss numbers. I'm assuming of course, most of the weight gain/loss was muscle in proportion to his original bodyfat%, if his trainers are any good. I believe they are.

I could give you my name, but you might reject my data or history out of hand as self-serving. Some clients names I work with, but I'm bound by confidentiality there. You understand.

No, I think you read wrong on the Anderson thing. Or I assume you probably skimmed through it. I said at one point it's not totally out of the realm of possibility that Anderson may have slipped his star client a substance or lied and told Barry, this is flaxseed oil or arthritis balm, with Anderson knowing what it actually was, in the same fashion the East German doctors gave their athletes "vitamins" that were actually steroids. If you read what I'm guessing you read. I think Ben Johnson at one point employed a similar defense with his spirnt coach Charlie Francis, but I'm not 100% whether he backed off on that. I know it's a common "my dog ate my homework" defense, but if you've read the story of the East German women, you know it's not entirely impossible.

I've heard anecdotally of personal trainers who would prepare "drinks" for clients with supp's to effect weight gain or loss. Seems unbelievably reckless to me. But they get the results, the clients are happy, if unwitting. I've written that they should come down hard on some of these guys as well, who make their careers by latching onto a star and selling the relationship rather than their knowledge. But its a common practice and people buy it.

Not saying I buy all of it. Some information I put out as items of discussion and food for thought. Same as the advertisement and other information re: ecydosterone. You conclude that I buy the information hook line and sinker. I don;t think you read through that one completely either because I don't, not yet. I have no personal experience with the product. Creatine, I do have personal knowledge of. I stated the claims and my personal knowledge of Dr. Mayol, I believe.

I prefer peer-reviewed studies to google searches, if I'm going to make conclusions, but you lost me on with the Ben Johnson. My point is, I don't believe
steroids discriminate between fast-twitch or slow twitch, Ben Johnson had a preponderance of fast-twitch muscle fiber BEFORE, DURING AND AFTER steroid use. That's why he was a sprinter, not a marathoner. I'm just not sure what the point was there.

By the way, it is metabolism. Very important factor in weight loss and weight gain. Google Basal Metabolic Rate. I have the textbooks but I can't get them into the darn computer for you. :)

Anyway, I think we're taking way too much time here and taking this very far afield but it's good to examine and re-examine your beliefs from time to time and have them challenged, and sometimes changed.

Don't get me started on testing sprinters. I don't mind that they do it, I am appalled at how they can ban a guy now for not testing positive, on another competitors word that they cheated?? WADO, IOC, UDADA, they;ve all run amok.

Grossly un-American, but that's the nature of International sports, I guess. For another rant.

I appreciate the dialogue.

Posted by: Charles Slavik at August 21, 2007 1:05 PM

Charles,
I enjoyed it, too. I'll add that "it is metabolism. Very important factor in weight loss and weight gain" is an apple. MUSCLE loss and MUSCLE gain is the orange.

BTW, creatine adds a significant amount of water weight (8+ years experience talking). When you cycle off (6+ weeks) your weight will slowly drop, accordingly, leaving - hopefully - the muscle gains to monitor. I highly endorse N/O Explode; great pre-workout supplement & I've had amazing results.

****I'm just not sure what the point was there.****

Barry Bonds' bat speed is the sprinter. A pitcher seeking arm strength to go from middle reliever to starter is the marathoner. Bonds being 'strong' isn't necessarily what gives the increase in homers; the increase in bat-speed at age 40 does, which is why improving the fast-twitch muscles on a superior athlete like Bonds most certainly will give results.

And, thank you for the follow-up. I didn't skim, I read, which is why I wanted to ask if I inferred incorrectly. Contrary to what I tell my wife, I can make a mistake from time to time.

Posted by: RW at August 21, 2007 1:19 PM

Wives are a great device for keeping you on your toes. Mine does much the same.

Steroids also have the problem of water retention.

This was my point about the Scientific Method:
The removal or reduction of bias in some of this stuff. I think sometimes that gets missed is all this hysteria regarding Bonds.

Just recognition of our own bias is difficult, as you pointed out, I have biases, you have biases, all God's children got biases, Hellelujah :) We all view life though the prism of our experiences and such.

"Recognizing that personal and cultural beliefs
influence both our perceptions and our interpretations of natural phenomena, we aim through the use of standard procedures and criteria to minimize those influences when developing a theory. As a famous scientist once said, "Smart people (like smart lawyers) can come up with very good explanations for mistaken points of view." In summary, the scientific method attempts to minimize the influence of bias or prejudice in the experimenter when testing an hypothesis or a theory."

I work with kids (HS, LL, etc.) and they will ask we why I continue to support Bonds. I support our Justice system. Which has parallels to good statistical analysis and the use of the Scientifc Method.

Type II errors and all that good stuff from Stat. 101. But that's important for them to learn as well. And we discuss it. If you're gonna convict the guy, do it the right way.

That's what most of my posts are about and the audience they are aimed at. We try to challenge them to ask questions, think for themselves, etc.

Hopefully, we continue to do so. And I don't fear being wrong. I supported Pete Rose for a long time as well and I still feel (strongly) that he should be in the HOF as a player. IMO he did more to show a generation of players how to play the game the right way than any other player I can think of. He gave their Dad's an example to point to and say, "Son, that's how you do it." For that alone, HOF.

Posted by: Charles Slavik at August 21, 2007 2:33 PM
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