TCS Daily


A Barry Bad Guy?

By Michael Rosen - March 20, 2006 12:00 AM

I remember well the day in December 1992 when the new owners of the San Francisco Giants announced the centerpiece of their recently-acquired franchise: former Pittsburgh Pirates superstar Barry Bonds. Although I grew up a diehard fan of the crosstown (and occasionally rival) Oakland Athletics, I bore a grudging respect for the Giants and was genuinely excited to see fresh ownership (which rescued the franchise from its planned departure to Tampa Bay) and a new headliner assume command.

The Bonds acquisition nearly slipped through the cracks but, over the years, proved a dramatic success for the Giants, who in 2000 opened a gorgeous bayside stadium that to this day makes A's fans slobber with envy. It was there in Pac Bell Park (since renamed SBC and now AT&T park) in 2001 that Bonds shattered the single-season home run record and stroked his 73rd and final bomb of the season. It may well be there, too, that Bonds breaks both Babe Ruth's and Hank Aaron's career home-run marks of 714 and 755, respectively.

But all of these accomplishments, past, present, and future, were called into question this month with the publication in Sports Illustrated of excerpts of Game of Shadows, a book due out in late March by Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams, two San Francisco Chronicle sports writers. The excerpt and the book allege that Bonds's gaudy home-run statistics are attributable to an intensive, lengthy, and knowing regimen of steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs.

The story isn't exactly news, in the sense of a grand revelation hitherto unknown to the public. Back in 2002, another landmark SI article based largely on the confessions of former baseball Most Valuable Player Ken Caminiti claimed widespread steroid usage throughout professional sports. And in December 2004, the Chronicle itself reported that Bonds testified to a grand jury that he used substances widely knows as "The Cream" and "The Clear."

Instead, what's groundbreaking about the recent SI story is the astounding level of painstakingly researched and agonizingly personal detail about Bonds's jealousy-induced descent into the seedy world of designer performance-enhancers. Equally intriguing are the authors' investigative techniques, which involved examining sealed and unsealed grand-jury testimony, documentary evidence, and interviews with Bonds's confidantes.

The authors' approach, however, raises several serious questions about the treatment of Bonds in particular and steroid usage in general.

The slugger has never been a media darling, to put it mildly. Another book about Bonds -- which ESPN The Magazine, not to be outdone by the competition, has excerpted in its next issue -- is entitled Love Me, Hate Me: Barry Bonds and the Making of an Antihero, to be published in May. Bonds has a gruff and surly demeanor and while he donates generously to Bay Area charities, he has few adoring fans outside of Northern California. His public statements have been larded with false modesty -- when they're not filled with forthright bravado -- and he's put his foot in his mouth more than once. He's been married twice and he kept a girlfriend, Kimberly Bell, on the side through the dissolution of one marriage and into the start of another.

Fainaru-Wada and Williams mince no words when it comes to Bonds' troubled relationships. In the excerpt, they lavish attention on Bell, who "provided legal correspondence, transcripts, audiotapes of voice mail and many documents regarding her relationship with Bonds." The star's aggressive, volatile, and at times threatening behavior toward his girlfriend is offered as further evidence of the violent mood swings ascribed to steroid usage. The shady cast of characters Bonds befriended that populate the article only help show that he's a very bad man.

As described above, depicting Bonds as a boor requires little of the writers' effort and even less of the reader's imagination. Many of Bonds's defenders (or at least non-antagonists) contend that he's been treated unfairly. Some have suggested, implicitly or explicitly, that racism has played a role in his demonization: neither rumored steroid users Mark McGwire nor Jason Giambi have been as badly pilloried as the Giants' slugger.

But the Game of Shadows excerpt does something more interesting with its brand of Bonds-bashing. In addition to making Bonds look bad because of his use of steroids, the authors make steroids look bad because they were used by Bonds. The player's stain rubs off on the drugs.

All of which raises the question: what is it exactly that's so bad about steroids? Or rather, what about steroids is so much worse than other performance enhancers or risky medical surgeries designed to give athletes an extra edge?

Let's start with the obvious: steroids are dangerous and illegal without a prescription. The drugs set a terrible example for kids; one athlete using them inspires others to follow suit; they beckon us to sacrifice our long-term health on the altar of short-term gain.

But apart from illegality, can't the same things be said about plenty of other substances and procedures in which athletes regularly indulge? If steroids devalue present athletic achievements when compared to those of the past, don't modern equipment, workout regimens, and nutritional supplements do the same? And if it's just the fact that steroids are illegal, well, they weren't even prohibited in baseball until a few years ago.

To illustrate this point, take the case of Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling. A three-time 20-game winner with a career Earned Run Average of 3.40, Schilling may be best known nationally for the heroic role he played in the epic 2004 Sox-Yankees American League Championship Series. He overcame a badly sprained ankle to pitch in Game 6 of that series in which the Red Sox became the first team ever to overcome a three-games-to-none deficit. He went on to pitch Game 2 of the World Series, in which the Sox also reigned victorious. Schilling's bloody sock will forever remain the symbol of that magical Boston team.

But in order to pitch, Schilling had to undergo a novel and controversial treatment, now known as the Schilling Tendon Procedure, in which the ankle tendons are stabilized through three deeply implanted sutures that must be removed immediately following the performance. Schilling's ankle was quite simply stapled together. But while the 37-year-old Sox hurler was widely praised for his bravery, he also may have caused long-term damage to his ankle tendons and he stumbled through the 2005 season with an 8-8 record and a 5.69 ERA. Schilling gambled with his body. He took a chance that may well inspire fellow athletes and young kids to do the same. He risked his future health for his (and his team's) gratification.

So what's so bad about steroids, then? Well, perhaps it's just a matter of degree. The kinds of sophisticated cocktails and doping schedules prescribed to Bonds and others, as laid out in the Fainaru-Wada-Williams article, were incredibly potent and hazardous. Schilling's procedure may end up wrecking his ankle -- but it won't cause him testicular shrinkage, prostate cancer, or liver damage, as steroids might. The incredible, immediate surge in strength and speed generated by a few drops of a clear substance placed under the tongue is an indication of technology run amok.

But more importantly, hard-core workouts, nutritional supplements, and even radical medical procedure bear another feature distinguishing them from steroids: openness. Training, legal chemical enhancers, and surgeries are on wide public display, available to all, open for debate.

Illicit performance-enhancing drugs, of course, are not. Worse, part of the mystique of steroids is precisely their secrecy, the lengths to which their purveyors will go to conceal them from drug testers and the public. Much of the SI piece is devoted to the evasive maneuvers and stealth products developed by the likes of designer drug labs like BALCO. The covert manner in which these substances are manufactured, administered, and discussed reflects something sinister about them that transcends mere illegality. That they were so carefully concealed even when they weren't banned by baseball is a further testament to their disturbing nature.

Should all of this keep Bonds out of the Hall of Fame, though? That's for the sports-writers to decide. Should the public loathe and fear the effects of steroids? Should we criticize Bonds for using them? Yes and yes. But it's important to understand why we should.

Michael M. Rosen, a TCS contributing writer, is an attorney in San Diego. His Oakland A's open their season at home against the Yankees on April 3.
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42 Comments

Evil of Steroids Grossly Exaggerated
"The kinds of sophisticated cocktails and doping schedules prescribed to Bonds and others, as laid out in the Fainaru-Wada-Williams article, were incredibly potent and hazardous."

- The Bonds 'Cocktail' included many things other than steroids - HGH, insulin, etc., which canindeed be dangerous but the dangers of anabolic steroids are grossly exaggerated and mostly unknown. Part of the problem is that there are virtually no long term studies on the usage of anabolic steroids taken in the protocols that athletes take them, so even doctors are guessing.

"Schilling's procedure may end up wrecking his ankle -- but it won't cause him testicular shrinkage, prostate cancer, or liver damage, as steroids might."

- Testicular shrinkage is temporary as the testes are no longer having to produce testosterone as the athlete is taking it exogenously. Once the athlete quits the steroids the ********* go back to their orginial size in most cases.

- There is no danger of prostate cancer unless you 'already' had the cancer in the past and are in remission, otherwise it's safe.

- Liver damage occurs 'only' from taking 'oral' steroids, NOT injectable. NOBODY TAKES TAKES ORAL STEROIDS anymore for that reason(!), just injectable. This is steroids 101, why people in the media are too lazy to research and understand this is one of the many reasons people remain so ignorant on this subject.

Steroids do indeed give an athlete a competitive advantage so sport should regulate them but the reason for making them illegal is dubious at best. Whatever the health risks may be, they are cetainly less than alcohol and tobacco and unlike alocohol and tobacco, takers of anabolic steroids do not risk the health of others around them.

No Subject
Neanderman wrote: "Whatever the health risks may be, they are cetainly less than alcohol and tobacco and unlike alocohol and tobacco, takers of anabolic steroids do not risk the health of others around them."

I would add that most of the other substances an athlete uses/abuses cause an erosion in the skills needed for sport. However, the substances the sports punditry community is so outraged about actually can lead to better athletic performance. It seems odd that athletes of another era are remembered fondly for coming to the ballpark drunk or hungover (see: Ruth, George Herman or Mantle, Mickey) and hitting well despite the self-inflicted stupor. Yet the 90's/00's player is vilified for taking a substance (allegedly) that enhanced their production for their team.

what a couple of cheaters
neanderman's - "Steroids do indeed give an athlete a competitive advantage so sport should regulate them but the reason for making them illegal is dubious at best."
Dubious? You give the answer yourself in that very sentence. Steroids give a competitive advantage, it is cheating, thats why it is illegal. Nothing dubious about that.

"Whatever the health risks may be, they are cetainly less than alcohol and tobacco and unlike alocohol and tobacco, takers of anabolic steroids do not risk the health of others around them."
Who are you trying to kid? Secondhand smoke is one thing, that obviously affects others. Who would you rather face in a dark alley, a drunk ******* or an ******* on a roid rage? Your argument is equivalent to a Bush argument- the "bad thing" is actually good because its not the worst. You're technically correct, alcohol affects more people only because A LOT more people use alcohol than steroids.

sautter's - "I would add that most of the other substances an athlete uses/abuses cause an erosion in the skills needed for sport. However, the substances the sports punditry community is so outraged about actually can lead to better athletic performance."
So you seem to be saying we should honor athletes for using steroids because they want to be better, because they're willing to cheat to be better at their sport. Makes perfect sense, to cheaters.

In my opinion, Bonds should be stripped of all records and accomplishments that were achieved while he was using performance enhancing substances. We know enough about the short-term affects of steroids versus nutritional supplements, etc. to recognize what gives a player an unfair advantage. Besides he is an egotistical jerk who blames everyone but himself for his own problems. He cheated to get his accolades, plain and simple.

Bonds
Just another article justifying Bonds and what he has done. Either find some postive stories to do about the game or give it up. Die-hards and owners have continued to support these losers and until this issue is directly faced by the league and players and fans... it will never go away and will only grow as a cancer within this league. Mostly the league and players are to blame for allowing those like Bonds to run this game into the ground!

It's about integrity
Steroids, whether illegal or harmful to health, shatter what makes sports great: an honest competition between two relatively equal competitors, usually representing a city or country. Sports are about achievement and pushing human endurance. I know, I know, sports are greatly influenced and corrupted by commercial interests. But fans are still willing to believe that once the game begins, the financial and commercial concerns become irrelevant, and all that matters is the game itself.

Steroids makes it impossible for fans to buy into this. It's hard enough to overlook the egos, the money and literally the criminals that play professional sports, but fans will as long as they believe what happens between the first and last inning is pure. Once steroids changes that perception, the whole reason for competing becomes a farce.

Undoubtedly, athletes have always looked for an edge. I can just imaging Greek runners developing special diets or exercises to get an edge in first century races. But steroids speak to something else. They tell the fan they are fools for ever believing the athletes still played just because they love the game. And nobody wants to feel like a fool.

Think So, Huh?
Take a look at the Bodybuilding/Pro Wrestling/Football/Weightlifting deaths..so many from heart attacks we just don't associate with people with really low body fat and pulse rates in the 50's.

Powerlifters Jon Pall Sigmarsson, and O.D Wilson, Wrestlers "The British Bulldog"(can't remember real name @ moment), "Ravishing" Rick Rude, Lyle Alzado, Ken Caminiti, Steve Courson was on a death watch for years prior to being killed in an accident.


Then there's the guys who suffer the indirect effects of being too big, such as Korey Stringer, who died of hyperthermia, or Reggie White-who died of sleep apnea -positively associated with extra body mass - these guys weren't even suspected for Steroid use. Then there's the pyschological effects of steroid use-depression leading to suicide-Wrestler "Texas Tornado" Kerry Von Erich and former NFL'er Terry Long both committed suicide-and yes both of those guys were suspected users.

I wish I had a nickel for all the names of former high profile "body-mass intensive" athletes who died early deaths that I've forgotten.



Sound like..
"Your argument is equivalent to a Bush argument- the "bad thing" is actually good because its not the worst."

You really need to get over the Bush obsession. Whats with you guys? You actually make a few coherent points about the use of steroids but somehow need to make an extraneous (and incoherent) analogy that has no bearing on the matter at all, simply to indulge a persistent and compulsive need for a gratutitous swipe at Bush. Everybody knows you, -R and Fortunato hate Bush and consider him the root of all evil. So you do nothing to enhance your argument and impeach your credibility.

You know, it might be better for you if you quit dark roast Seattle blends and Mother Jones for a while. Then you might be able to understand that the true master of the obfuscatory argument is palling it up with Bush Sr. If you guys get your way, we'll all be longing for the good old days when Hillary's famously even temperment is ginned up on hotflashes and the other traumas of menopause.

Oh yeah, I indulged my need for a gratutitous swipe (and her I go again) at HRC (her rotten blank)Annoying, isn't it?

Barry Bonds not in the Hall of Fame?!!!!
Michael Rosen asks, "Should all of this keep Bonds out of the Hall of Fame, though?"

This is some kind of joke, right???!

Barry Bonds is--without question--one of the top 10 everyday players of all time. In fact, a solid case could be made that he's the *greatest* player of all time.

There are currently only four players with 300 home runs and 300 stolen bases. There are NO other players with 400 home runs and 400 stolen bases. And Barry Bonds has more than 700 home runs and 500 stolen bases! In short, he is the greatest combined hitter and runner of all time, without any doubt.

He's also won ***8 Gold Glove*** awards.

And he's won an amazing SEVEN MVP awards:

http://www.baseball-reference.com/b/bondsba01.shtml

In short, if Barry Bonds doesn't belong in the Hall of Fame, they might as well clear the building of everyone but pitchers.

Bonds NOT in the HOF, with good reason
1.) Anybody whose every been around a gym knows that 35 year old men don't suddenly "hulkify" the way
Bonds did-especially if they are in baseball, where 6 months of the year one's ability to engage in the kind of of intensive weight training necessary to produce those kind of results would seriously impair one's ability on the field. Additionally, SI points out that Bonds has hit 345 HR's after the age of 35, after hitting only a few more in the DECADE PLUS he played prior to age 35. Had he continued on without the "chemistry" and ended up with say 450-500 Hrs, I'd be all for it, even with No. 2.

2.) Clubhouse nightmare- there was an article a few years ago about Bonds installing a big screen in the clubhouse and not allowing other teamates to watch. Even if this particular story isn't true there's too many other stories to conclude he's a team playerI know a lot HOF'ers weren't candidates for sainthood-but geez. If you don't think character counts- Ask Pete Rose.

Rose has not only been denied HOF consideration but banished from anything MLB for gambling AFTER his playing days. Mobody's ever said Rose got one less or one more hit because he gambled, or that he gambled as a player.
Remember, its not been asserted that he threw games or bet against his team- ITS THE APPEARANCE of impropriety.

I think HOF voters need to look @ guys like Bonds, Sosa and McGwire with a jaundiced eye.




What Does Illegal Mean?!
"neanderman's - "Steroids do indeed give an athlete a competitive advantage so sport should regulate them but the reason for making them illegal is dubious at best."
Dubious? You give the answer yourself in that very sentence. Steroids give a competitive advantage, it is cheating, thats why it is illegal. Nothing dubious about that."

Illegal means against the law. I was not referring to their ban in sport which I support.

"Whatever the health risks may be, they are certainly less than alcohol and tobacco and unlike alocohol and tobacco, takers of anabolic steroids do not risk the health of others around them."
Who are you trying to kid? Secondhand smoke is one thing, that obviously affects others. Who would you rather face in a dark alley, a drunk ******* or an ******* on a roid rage? Your argument is equivalent to a Bush argument- the "bad thing" is actually good because its not the worst. You're technically correct, alcohol affects more people only because A LOT more people use alcohol than steroids.

I would much rather face a person on roids than a drunk behind the wheel. FYI - Roid rage is a myth and is more attributable to other drugs like amphetamines.





You back up that pseudonym with a trip to the gym now and then?
Roid rage is a myth and is more attributable to other drugs like amphetamines.


I've been lifting for 25 years. I've been to plenty of gyms-from the $25.00 for a day pass shrines to the worst smelly mildew hole.

One thing is always the same-there'll always be some roid heads around- they stand out like a sore thumb. Loud, overly aggressive, etc. Perhaps the 'roids play on existing personality defects- but the behavioral changes are noticeable.

However, lets assume that 99% of the hyperaggression is related to existing "issues". The hyperhydrosis, acne, capital alopecia, hirsuitism and testicular atrophy aren't. We won't even bother with the effects on females-clitoral hypertrophy being the least visible of the changes only due to public decency laws. Can always tell the voice though-a little like they are talking with a mouth full of marbles.








Gody Mass Is Indeed the Key
Yes it's body mass that is quite often the killer, not steroids.

Sigmarsson died from a heart trauma while lifting, ruptured valve if I recall correctly, O.D. was a natural giant, 6'10(?) and 400 lbs, people like him don't live long natural lives, Lyle Alzado died of brain cancer, not steroids, regardless of what Lyle thought. Just ask his doctors. Caminiti died of a drug overdose due to cocaine and opiates.

Unfortunately when an athlete dies young some are quick to think steroids when in fact often it's due to some other drug (e.g. cocaine, amphetamines, etc.) or underlying disease. Results of autposy tests which take time are sometimes buried in the newspapers but the initial press specualtion that it was steroids is what lingers.

Well then..
You keep on truckin' with the Winstrol, eh?

Add a little HgH and you could actually have acromegaly to go with the gynecomastia-should be on the covers of all the ladies magazines by then.

People can "bulk up" late in life. And even with 500/500 Bonds is the best hitter/runner ever.
Some people who have "bulked up":

1) Will Smith gained 35 pounds at age 33 for "Ali."

2) Robert DeNiro gained 60 pounds at age 37

for "Raging Bull."

Rhttp://image3.excite.co.jp/jp/cinema/photos/Reps/992519/MSDRABU/MSDRABU_EC010_T.JPG

http://www.theage.com.au/ffximage/2005/03/22/pt_23DENIRO_ent-lead__200x286.jpg

3) Hugh Jackman gained 20 pounds at age 33 for "X-men 2".

http://www.listology.com/content_show.cfm/content_id.21314/Movies

And yes, I've been around gyms. (I thought Nautilus was spectacular. When I used it, I'd come out literally trembling, I was so tired. And it was a much better whole-body workout than I ever seem to get with free weights.

Look at Bonds' stats starting in 1998 (when he is alleged to have started "using"). Note that his walks-to-strikeouts ratio got better and better as he's gotten older. It's interesting that steroids made him an even more disciplined hitter!

Not to mention the fact that some pitchers are almost certainly ALSO taking steroids...which would presumably make them harder to hit.

Regarding Pete Rose: He bet on baseball. EVERYONE knows that betting on baseball gets one a lifetime ban. (And Pete Rose's stats don't come even close to Barry Bonds' stats!)

Why is Barry so bad. It is the league that let him get away with it.
Face it, Major League Baseball like the NFL is responsible for setting the standards of conduct of players in the game. And in this instance like several others they failed and looked the other way.

The NFL risked player backlash in their attempt to halt steroid use when they had several players get ill after leaving the game. MLB just looked the other way.

A lot of folks thought it was great that two players crushed the 61 homerun record until it was clear that these juiced up monster players could start breaking the home run record on a regular basis.

Well guess what, it is too late for baseball to stop now. They should let Bonds, Big MAC and Sosa in the Hall of Fame and have the guts to stop this kind of crap when it starts not when the drug enhanced players start breaking all the records.

Just wait until some enterprising young doctor figures out that they can mechanically enhance a pitcher to through the ball harder or with more spin. Will MLB do anthing there?

Gym Life, etc.
"One thing is always the same-there'll always be some roid heads around- they stand out like a sore thumb. Loud, overly aggressive, etc. Perhaps the 'roids play on existing personality defects- but the behavioral changes are noticeable."

This behavior is well known but I think is more attributable to mostly to existing personality 'issues'. There are lots of people who exhibit those behaviors BTW who are not on steroids.

"The hyperhydrosis, acne, capital alopecia, hirsuitism and testicular atrophy aren't."

These are hardly significant health issues. Changes in sweat and acne patterns due to hormonal changes is something we all go through in puberty and clear themselves in adulthood with hormone stabilization. You won't suffer hair loss unless you are geneticly predisposed to lose your hair, testosterone just accellerates this, again, not a serous health issue. A I addressed testicular atrophy earlier as being a temporary thing in most cases.

Side effects that don't affect others should be a personal choice, IMO. If a woman doesn't mind excessive hair growth, or a man doesn't mind that his natural hair loss is accelerated, I think that's their choice and no reason to make it illegal. The reasons that drugs (in most cases) are made illegal are because of the damaage they do to the rest of society, like drunk drivers, meth heads robbing and kiling people, etc. A women with a big clit hardly affects me. I guess you could call me a libertarian on this issue.


Bulking, Pitchers, etc.
If you never lifted in your life and you then go through an aggressive lifting and diet routine you can indeed add significant mass to your body, even in your 30's and 40's.

That's not to say that some actors have enhanced this with steroids as I think this has indeed happened.

The BIG Dirty Little Secret
The BIG dirty little secret in profesional sports is that steroids actually 'enhance' an athletes health(!) by way of superior recovery.

That's probably the biggest reason pro atheletes use steroids, even over superior muscular strength and speed. That's why pitchers for example are some of the biggest users of steroids, to enhance the recovery of their throwing arms between games.

And that's one of the main reasons owners have been dragging their feet on this issue, they try and cram as many games into the season as possible to maximize revenue. But the more games you jam in the season, the less chances for recovery and therefore the increased demand for recovery enhancers, i.e. steroids, especially for pitchers. Also, the more quickly you can rotate your pitchers the better your chances of having a winning record.






Clarification
I just wanted to clarify that I was referring to 'anabolic' steroids in the above post. But the same is true of cortico steroids and actually worse.

The use and abuse of cortico steroids in sport is well documented. Injecting athletes joints to speed recovery is very effective but can also be very dangerous and lead to long term serious health concerns. If you want to dump on steroids dump on cortico steroid abuse with their known health hazards.

No Subject
"Undoubtedly, athletes have always looked for an edge. I can just imaging Greek runners developing special diets or exercises ...."

Yep. Ancient Greek runners used to chew a certain type of tree bark for it's supposed endurance enhancing effects. It may have acted as a low grade stimulant.

steriod use or abuse.
The commercial on TV for 20 years was, "Better living through chemistry", so now we are, why complain. We knew alcoholic drinks are bad for you, smoking bad for you, eating can be bad for you because of chemistry, a double edge sword. Now my experience with steriods is approx. 30 years, there is use and their is abuse, I know the difference, do you? Most comments come from people who are not athletic and have no experience, why comment on something you know nothing about. I'm almost sixty and have a body of a 35 year old athlete, play basketball twice a week, lift twice a day, vegetarian, firm beleiver in God. Health consultant over 40 years, never a side affect, always ready to help others, there is use and there is abuse, Know the difference, thankyou Peter

talking out of turn.
I read the above comments and the vast majority of them come from people who have no experience. For someone to comment, who has no personal knowledge, is like men deciding for women which feminine pad they should use. thankyou. get off the track, back to your kool-aid.

One problem with your thesis
A pitcher cannot be "enhanced" in a vaccuum. He's not throwing at barn, but at another human. If they mechanically "enhance" pitchers to throw 110 mph, there's a mitigating factor in that if the catcher doesn't keep up-they'll be more wild pitches and passed balls.

Pitchers are way behind. Almost all the best technology aids have been to the NET benefit of hitters, whether it be weights, or mechanical pitching machines or things that refine hand eye-coordination. Most putchers today start later and persist only through repeated surgery-even with the later, you don't see the 2.00 ERA, 300 SO, 300 IP, 10 CG seasons, you used to see. I'll worry about statistical inflation among pitchers when I see a 105mph fastball, but before then I'm looking to seeing "catch up", which would when we drop the specious statistic "quality start"

Agreed..but
Face it, Major League Baseball like the NFL is responsible for setting the standards of conduct of players in the game. And in this instance like several others they failed and looked the other way.

I agree on this and it wasn't a failure it was intentional.. MLB needed something to get rid of the bitter after taste of the strike in 94. The homerun race summoned the ghosts of the past. Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, were both engaging guys in 98. Everybody remembered McGwire picking up his kid and graciously interacting with the late Roger Maris' family.

However,the judgment of the hall of fame is the judgment of history. Three men sailed past a statistic of excellence thst had only been met twice before, and each repeated it. We know now it wasn't hard work, talent or luck. It was the consumption of drugs that weren't only not available to players of the past-they were ILLEGAL. Therefore, the custodians of that historicity need to judge those "accomplishments" with the thought how they were accomplished.

Not exactly
I guess you could call me a libertarian on this issue.

Actually, I would generously call you ill-informed and at worst blind and brainwashed. There's nothing I can say that'll change your mind, so go for it. The testicular atrophy and gynecomastia will come in useful when the DEA gets you on possession and you enter the prison system.

Use and abuse
Use: prescribed by a licensed MD/DO/PA/CRNP with approriate supervision as necessary and dispensed by a licensed RPH to a patient with informed consent by as to risks/benefits and used to treat or pallliate a medical disorder.

Abuse: Recommended and dispensed by self-styled "health consultant" with obvious degree of narcissism(sp?) and lacking medical or pharmacy degree, showing muscles instead of license, with the intention of increasing strength or making mere cosmetic changes, rather than palliating or treating a medical condition.

Of course, these are merely definitions, and I wouldn't imply or assert that you fit either category.

Yes but
But as I said earlier, the life of baseball player gets in way- read the article - you'll notice that the change in Bonds was somewhat sudden and immediate-not the kind of change that comes from hardwork and vitamins.

Interestingly, the SI article mention Bonds like one of the BALCO balms precisely because it allowed him NOT to work out.

Ancient Greeks Used Drugs
Ancient Greek competitors used to ingest an extract from tree bark to help them gain endurance for athletic competition. The extract may have been a form of mild stimulant.

No Gyno
Users of steroids don't get gynecomastia because they use estrogen suppressors. Yet another factoid you don't know about the subject.

Abuse?
"...with the intention of increasing strength or making mere cosmetic changes, rather than palliating or treating a medical condition"

So if I am a female who gets a boob job which has known deleterious side effects, is done strictly for cosmetic purposes but is done by a licensed medical professional - is that abuse?

What is Abuse
Peter -

That is indeed the key, it's the difference between drinking a beer every now and then and being an alcoholic. People who try and paint all drinkers, steroid users, etc. as being abusers are not thinking critically.

A Better Article on Baseball and Steroids
Here's a better and more intelligent article on the baseball steroids issue. It's over 6 months old but more informative and not like the usual 'steroids' articles you normally see in print - http://www.t-nation.com/findArticle.do?article=05-167-feature . Check it out.


May the 'roids causes ADD/ADHD too
Not sure what purpose this non sequitir has to the conversation, but its "abuse" in the context used here. On the other hand, the procedure is performed by a licensed physician, who can explain the risks and evaluate the contraindications, and be sued if the procedure is mis- or malfeasantly performed-unlike the know it all dope peddler @ the gym.

No Brains -NeanderIQ
If I don't advocate steroids, what makes you think I'm going to advocate YET ANOTHER dope?

Brilliant, instead working hard, practicing, eating right, sleeping 8 hours etc. Take A, and when that creates a problem, take B. When you find the estrogen suppressor has an effect, then what? When do you stop screwing with your endocrine system?

Here's the deal. I went from 165-240 over 20 years and got my bench from 135 to 320 despite a physical disability. Other than a little whey and Centrum, its all hard work and discipline. I'm an old school competitor (against myself) athlete you are apparently a chemistry experiment.


The Bottom Line
The bottom line is that what gets made legal vs. illegal is often a politicial judgement, not a medical one.

Many drugs and procedures that are more dangerous than steroids are made legal because society wants them to be - Tobacco, alcohol, boob jobs, viagra, even aspirin have more health risks and hurt and kill more people than steroids ever will. Steroid users don't have a good lobby in Washington. Smoker's, drinkers, womens advocates, etc. do.


superheated on use and abuse
Thankyou for all comments. My comments are for personal use only, recommending others to learn, experiment and keep training. Life is fun when you know what your doing, self knowledge has always been the walk into the unknown with courage.The attitude of My life is my example (Mahatma), has very little to do with Narcissism. To beleive that Doctors, Pharmacists, can know more than you can learn,is Academic insecurity, READ all you can, then walk your talk. Have fun, keep training. Two educations in Life, one from an Institution another you give yourself, be in school all your life, now have fun.

Neanderman sincerely
About the Boob Job, lets be straight on this, if it's done for cosmetics, (just to look different), a little closer to narcisistic tendencies, falling in love with your own reflection. A whole different Barbi-doll conditioned society. Nothing to do with chemistry to train hard, or athletic performance. To enhance existing discipline of training, has nothing to do with the above, sorry poor example.

superheater, roids causes.
Thankyou, the whole idea of implants for cosmetic purposes, to me is more mental insecurities. To enhance existing, or maintaining or recover from injuries, or replacing the chemistry that is lost to aging, as long as your training, consistant, eating for function more often than for fun, your expectations are realistic, Then, better living through chemistry. All the cosmetic implants, is mkt. Create a problem, show them a solution, make some money, unfortunately this is mainstream hypnosis.

bottom line
RESPECTFULLY, bottom line... There Is No Bottom line. Legal or illegal, is not always the only way. Rules are for the general public that has little control of themselves. Rules and regs has always been for the ill informed, and is necessary for the vast majority. However there are exceptions, expansions and new thinking. Evolution doesn't always exist through human mainstream thinking. Travel wide, read everything non-fiction, and remember Wisdom is knowledge in action, and that the aquistion of knowledge carries a responsibility, and that is to share. Stand alone knowledge base is ok, but to share that knowledge is even better.

Back to Barry
Unfortunately most of to-days Athletes are wimpy when it comes to the truth. Lets get off Barry's back and look at reality. A 13,000 dollars a year, is approx. the cost of chemistry, supplements, protein powders etc. With this investment and your exceptional performance, could earn you, an extra 7-9 million dollars in salary, another 20 million in endorsements. Capitalism, no brainer, 13 grand, hard work and 29 million, Great investment in yourself, the American way! worried about the kids, worry about touching your privates on MTV, worry about violence in the music, worry about the 380 million last year made on Pionography, but get off these Athletes back! As for todays pro athletes, get some courage, stand up for yourself, you don't need a lawyer to help you tell the truth, talk only about yourself and leave others to their own destiny. Thankyou

Yes, but! superwarm
I'm old enough to have know Mickey Mantle, socially very few have ever seen him sober, two livers he destroyed, everyone loved him, personality plus, fantastic guy, the public said nothing, no one rushed to hide their children, The Babe, another drunk, drugs are drugs are chemistry, better living through chemistry, was the commercial on tv, for years, now don't forget to take your pepti-acid before you eat your grandmother's pizza, and its ok to take your prosac weekly. Our entire society is a chemical reaction to our mental respose, to an inherited environment. Who are you, and how you go about being you,is chemistry. Hall of fame, records and legacy's, its all public ego self gratification, you have no idea how far back steriods go, what else we used in the past that the public never knew, Olympic records, how far back do we go, who cares, enjoy these athletes, don't get too attached, get out and move around, and always remember, no matter what they took, they still had to put in the hard hours of training, sacrifices, discipline, and the ability to go for it. Public has a long way to go to catch up to that.Obesity 50%

more accurately
Freedom comes in many forms, freedom to abuse, as your above comment, or their is use, no side effects, no negatives. Life is great when you know what your doing. Years ago, more my time, no athlete in university and pros, had tatoos. Ugly large tatoo's. My time they were an embarrasment, like pulling your privates in public, tatoos were a sign of ignorance. BUT look its a new day, and a new way, its all part of social changes. When money got big in the Pro's steriods came with it. When Olympics became politics as in Russia of the sixties, steriods played the field. When pros came to Olympics, through politics, steriods was there all along. The biggest problem is NOBODY TOLD the TRUTH about any of it.Some eastern countries were promoting them like candy to the inspiring kids.Both East and West are chemical addicts of various kind. Difference is in attitude and degree of freedom.

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