Tuesday, June 24, 2003

A Club of One
Last night, Barry Bonds became the sole member of the 500/500 club. To those who are not baseball folks, that means 500 home runs and 500 stolen bases. Not only are there not any other members, but there are also not any 400/400 members and only three 300/300 guys. Bonds has been baseball's most dominant player for the past two seasons, which is remarkable because he is nearly 40 years old.
Bonds has always had his detractors, people who thought he was not quite friendly enough. And others who think that Bonds could not have accomplished his physical feats without the assistance of steroids. This is the knock on Bonds that most annoys me. I hear all these arm chair experts question how anyone could so significantly change his body over the course of several years without "performance enhancing drugs." Being a bodybuilder and having drastically transformed my own body in my late 20's to early 30's I understand that such things are possible without steroids.
When I hear some dope talking about how he goes to the gym, etc. yet does not put on muscle like Bonds has, I am torn between laughter and anger. They fail to comprehend that getting into that sort of condition requires an enormous amount of dedication- not just in the weight room, but in terms of one's diet and sleep. The average person has no clue just what it takes to build a body like Bonds. According to an excellent piece on Bonds in last month's Muscle and Fitness, he has his blood measured multiple times per year to determine levels of nutrients, hormones, etc. and then has his supplement and diet regime tailored to address any deficiencies.
If Joe Sixpack, who thinks Bonds is juicing, put down his beer and pizza and nachos and ate clean and took some basic supplements (a good anti-oxidant, multi-vitamin, creatine, essential fatty acids and protein) he just might be able to see the same drastic change in his body type as Bonds has. But one has to also remember that genetics play a huge role in one's ability to pack on muscle.
There is a possibility that Bonds has done steroids. And, if that is the case then shame on him. But the "evidence" that most arm chair experts base their allegations on is so flimsy as to be laughable. It stems more from a misunderstanding, or lack of knowledge, of human physiology than any "fact".


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