Baseball: Bonds still slammin'. Prove anything?

So Barry Bonds is off to another amazing season start with HR’s. If we assume that IF he was on steroids before, he almost certainly is NOT on them now, given all the attention. Doesn’t his HR performance demonstrate that regardless of whether he used steroids, the man has got the goods?

Also:

  • yep, he put on a lot of muscle weight. But he hasn’t lost weight this year, the way that, say, Giambi has.
  • He doesn’t seem to get that adult acne or regular tendon/muscle pulls that McGwire did on andro.

Look, I don’t want to come across as naive - the Balco scandal is pretty damning, although the real test will be if they re-analyze his samples from last year. Either way, he is still hitting.

Your thoughts?

I’m kinda surprised at his current pace and must admit that if there was any question about his use of an illegal substance that I’d liked to have seen his performance drop without their continued use. I think he’s guilty but in answer to your question, while it’s still early in the season, I have to lean towards the opinion that yeah, the guy’s got the goods.

Here’s an interesting article that says his pace will not only drop off (age related) but that when he retires he’ll still be behind Aaron.

Recently I went on a tour of a lifetime. I got surprise tickets for a behind the scenes tour of Yankee Stadium. Including a walk on the field and visit to the actual locker rooms. I stood on the spot Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig (sp?), Ty Cobb etc…etc… stood. I loved every minute of it.

The OP’s Question was actually brought up in a slightly different light, though answers it non-the-less. Barry Bonds and steroids. He has hit how many homers so far? I do not remember. The all time record holder is Hank Aaron with 755 homers. Without any Steroids. So If bonds does in fact beat the record, it should have a little asterisk next to it…*
*a percentage of these homers were hit while Bonds was known to have been taking steroids.
Oh and there are modern steroids where instances of acne and such are diminished.

I doubt Bonds will do it, but even if he does, it will be a shallow victory in my mind.

A better record to beat would be lou gerhrigs record of 57 consecutive games with a hit.

First off, of course Barry Bonds has the goods. He had MVP’s before he was bulked up. He is the greatest hitter that I have ever seen. And as far as I know steroids don’t help your hand-eye coordination. Or his discipline at the plate.
Did Bonds do steroids? I don’t know. I hope not. But either way he is a great hitter.

Lieu- I don’t agree with that article. Barring an injury Bonds will break the record. My prediction is late in the 2005 season.
The reasons they give for him not breaking the record are stupid. Getting walked and playing in one of the toughest homerun parks hasn’t stopped him for hitting ALOT of homers the past.

-Shaggarito

I’m a Giants fan, by the way.

Why should we assume that he is not on them now? From what I understand, MLB’s steroid testing in not at all that random.

Of, course, that would be DiMaggio’s 56 game hitting streak.

:cool:

Shaggarito - half the article agrees with you. Personally, I look at Aaron’s physique at 40 and at Bonds’ and, well, barring a debilitating injury, it’s gonna happen.

Giants fan here, and I’m calling you on this bullcrap.

How do you know that Barry Bonds has taken steroids? I’m not talking about circumstantial evidence, I’m asking you (and everyone else) how do you KNOW he did.

Like a gorilla in the zoo, I can fling the circumstantial evidence right back at any accusers, so here you go:

His offseason workouts last four hours a day. When he came to the Giants from Pittsburgh in 1993, he weighed about 195 pounds. 11 years later, he weighs 228 pounds. Experts say that absent any chemical enhancements, the most muscle you can hope to gain in a year is about eight to ten pounds. He’s gained 40 pounds in 11 years; shouldn’t he have gained a lot more?

Here’s something else to ponder: his 228 pounds are stretched over his 6 ft, 2 in body. Brett Favre, of the Green Bay Packers in the NFL, is also 6’ 2", and weighs 225 pounds. Why isn’t anyone accusing him of steroid use?

Hank Aaron hit his 715th home run thirty years ago. Since then, the pendulum has swung toward the offensive side of the game, slowly at first but more rapidly beginning in the late eighties, to the current expansion era with smaller, hitter-friendly ballparks and severely diluted pitching staffs. Shouldn’t the real question not be “How is Bonds doing it?” but rather, “Why hasn’t anyone else done it?” Given that steroids are by-and-large undetectable, regardless of who uses them, shouldn’t we see other people challenging Aaron’s record if Bonds’s physical gifts aren’t all that extraordinary unless they were augmented by steroids?

I believe we’re witnessing an awe-inspiring career, and I’m getting fed up with all of the negative vibes surrounding Barry Bonds. What is wrong with us that we cannot simply enjoy greatness when it is apparent in front of us?

I am only a Yankee Fan by Marriage. And my knowledge of baseball only comes from my recollection of this past weekend :slight_smile: Dimaggio that is…with the 56 games…and hits…I did see his plaque at the stadium…it’s right next to Gehrig…

As for whether or not Bonds did steroids, I have no physical evidence of course, but there is an aweful lot of speculation out there. Many of the die hard fans I know (mostly yankee freakishly fanatical fans) say that they think he has done steroids.

Barry is a great hitter. He passed my hero’s (his Godfather) tally of 660, and I think he’ll break Hank Aaron’s record as well.

As an aside, I think Willie’s total would have been a lot closer to Hank’s if he hadn’t played in Candlestick all those years. (Or if he batted left handed :wink: )

I can’t link to my source because it discusses the specifics of steroid use, but I read an interview with a steroid guru in mixed martial arts who had this to say:

What do you want us to do, hire a private detective? Absent the services of Thomas Magnum and Higgins, circumstantial evidence is all we have. If the union was willing we could have a robust testing program that settles the question. Without that there are strong grounds to suspect Bonds of using steroids.

First, every professional athlete works out rigorously. Cal Ripken engaged in legendary workouts and his head muscles didn’t swell like a balloon. His involvement in the Balco investigation and the indictment of his best friend for selling steroids is pretty damn convincing. He claims that he didn’t know his best friend was involved in steroids. That stretches credulity to the limit.

So why do we pick on Bonds

  1. Rapid muscle gain out of proportion to the gains of most players in the league
  2. Close ties to a supplier of steroids
  3. Home run distances and numbers that are better than anyone has ever seen for a man his age.

Were I Bonds, and I was clean, I would be the loudest voice there is demanding a robust testing policy. I haven’t heard him demanding any such thing. I am not saying he is guilty beyond any doubt. I do think there are more than ample grounds for suspicion.

Throughout the world of sports, ask anybody how prevalent steroids are, and you’ll get the same answer: “they’re everywhere. Fact is, only the STUPID athletes get caught.”

Even in sports where there’s random testing on a regular basis (and baseball is NOT one of those sports), the cheaters are always a step ahead of the people trying to enforce the rules. There are numerous ways to mask steroid use, and a guys like Barry Bonds has access to all of them.

In fact, considering what a joke baseball’s anti-steroid policy is, it’s amazing that 5 to 7% of players tested positive. I mean, I knew that major league ballplayers are a pretty dumb bunch, on the whole, but I never dreamed there were so many idiots who couldn’t even beat the weak system Don Fehr put in place for them!

I’m more than willing to give Bonds the benefit of the doubt because I’m rather tired of people calling for his head without actual evidence. However, the question should actually be “did he suddenly bulk up between any two seasons? Did his strength and size increase over a period of years, or did he just look bigger one March?” That seems significant to me. According to one article I just found,

“But the biggest name of all is Bonds, who after an off-season with Conte and Anderson emerged, according to the team media guide, 18 pounds heavier, solid as a rock – and a better hitter than he had been in his entire life.”

I remember being very impressed by an account of his training in the NY Times some years ago (before he broke the record), and it seemed like he took incredible care of himself. Perhaps he took other, legal supplements, or perhaps he was even given something without his knowledge. I don’t know. Either way, I don’t think there should be any asterisks anywhere until someone actually proves something.

To me (not particularly a baseball fan anymore) even if he breaks the record his accomplishments are tainted, MLB parks have been “bringing in the fences” for years now (smaller parks = more dingers) and the use of “performance enhancers” (legal or not) is rampant, the game is a shadow of what it once was.

As far as why I gave up on MLB, during the first strike I watched millionaires and billionaires arguing over how to carve up my thousandaire fortune and I decided to help them out, they just don’t need to worry about my money.

Unclviny (who is sour on most pro sports, it didn’t seem to be all about money when I was a kid)

Well, as has been pointed out, no one’s denying he is/was a great player w/o the 'roids. IF he was using, I wouldn’t assume he’s stopped, and even if he is, those muscles don’t go away instantly.

No one’s saying Bonds isn’t a legit 40-HR guy. The question is whether he’s a legit 70-HR guy.

Why are you certain? He can’t be tested in-season. After a spring training test, he can go load up again.

[QUOTE=WordMan]

Doesn’t his HR performance demonstrate that regardless of whether he used steroids, the man has got the goods?

[quote]

You DO realize that the muscular gains made from steroid use subside much slower than testable levels in the blood? And that testosterone and hGH are naturally in the blood, and almost impossible to prove abuse ?

Giambi must wear his IQ on his jersey. HE lost a LOT of weight this year. Then said it was 4 pounds by cutting out fast food. Forgot the 3 in front of that, Jeremy? And he had ready made excuses - the trade of Nick Johnson, and his knee surgery in the offseason. He could say he lost 30 pounds to allow him to play increased innings in the field, or to lessen the strain on the repaired knee.

McGwire historically had problems staying on the field. He tied his high in games played the year before he hit the 70. He played a TOTAL of 74 games in 93 and 94. And andro was legal - you could buy it OTC in any mall. The Oluympics banned it? They ban Sudafed too.

Have any intermediate figures? Did he go 195,200,204,208, etc? Or was it sudden? He ballooned suddenly. His HRS did too. Career high at 36. Second best at 35. Tied for 3rd at 37. One HR behind at 38.

And ** Marley23 ** cites a team source with an offseason gain of 18 pounds. Twice what your expert says for a max in a year, in half a year.

If Favre showed up in this mid 30s 20 pounds heavier than before in a sport where there was NO steroid testing and STILL no inseason testing, he would be accused if his trainer was caught IIRC coming from the park with steroids and he was a paid endorser of a lab that appears to have sold steroids.

Fruitbat

You are kind - I’d also cite the AGE at which the gains were made. Players have added power at an early age - see Kirby Puckett - soon after entering the league. Not 10 year vets. (Puckett hit 0 his rookie year, in over 500 AB)

It’s just not possible to get so much bigger so much faster at that age with simple hard work and clean living. Given the growth of his *head * (a side effect of HGH) and the BALCO thing, it’s just not realistic to suppose he isn’t juiced up, and heavily. Even now, for that matter - MLB’s joke of a testing program doesn’t even have consequences until a player’s *fifth * positive test. Further, given all the advance notice a player has, it’s been called “not a drug test, it’s an IQ test.”

Which is the pity of it - we’ll never know. He was a fine player when he was still normal, and might have really caught fire naturally, as some older players do. As it is, we’ll have to apply a correction factor when evaluating him against players of other eras, or even clean ones of this era. I’m one fan of the game who can never admire his accomplishments.

One sentiment I’ve heard and can’t disagree with is this: “Babe Ruth was the best player in the Caucasian Leagues. Barry Bonds is the best player in the Steroid Leagues. But Willie Mays was the best player of all time.”

(Shrug) Until 2003 steroids weren’t against the rules. Bonds cannot be faulted, as a baseball player, for doing something that was within the rules to make himself a more effective hitter.

What’s also being forgotten is that the impact of steroid usage on his home runs hasn’t really been established. IMHO, the effect is probably not significant. Assuming he’d have gained some weight and strength throughg weight training even without juicing up, you’re going to have trouble establishing that the small marginal difference in strength is what made him such a great hitter. It’s absurdly obvious that strength is a very small part of effective power hitting; Hank Aaron wasn’t a big man, and Willie Mays wasn’t a big man, but it didn’t slow them down.

Bonds’s home run totals against league norms haven’t gone up as much as you might think, and except for one fluke season he’s gotten as many as he has by being really good for a LONG time, not by having a run of 60-homer years.

The most remarkable thing about Barry Bonds as a hitter isn’t the home runs, believe it or not. It’s his strike zone judgment. He has an amazing on-base percentage. If the ball is not a strike, he lets it go. If it’s a strike, he swings – and rarely misses.

IMO, he’s an amazing hitter who’s being persecuted because of his race.

Despite the fact that Mark McGwire was admittedly using performance-enhancing drugs, nobody has suggested that his accomplishment bear an asterisk in the record books. Why? Are we really that uncomfortable with a black athlete being one of the greatest all-time? I’d like to think not – we have a number of highly regarded black athletes in basketball and baseball – but I’m having a hard time figuring out why Barry Bonds gets the acrimony when McGwire got the acclaim.