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Monday, January 06, 2014

Neyer: Bryce Harper’s winter plans: Eating.

Instead of making sandwiches with bread, use Pop Tarts! Instead of chewing gum, chew bacon!

ESPN.com’s Anna McDonald got to wondering how baseball players spend their winters, and actually broke a bit of semi-surprising news:

“I’m excited to take a month off, that’s something I’m excited for, let the body rest,” Bryce Harper said recently. “Let the body heal a little bit and get as big as a house. ... That’s the biggest thing I try to do.”

Wait ... what? While the rest of us were trying not to add to many extra pounds over the holidays, Harper is trying to gain weight?

“I want to go into spring training about 240, 245,” said Harper, who weighed around 218 pounds at the end of the 2013. “I’ll lose about 20 pounds during the season.”

What’s probably going to happen is Harper… will get bigger and hit more home runs, but make fewer plays in the outfield. That’s usually a solid trade…

McDonald’s article is also a useful reminder that players work harder in the off-season than ever before… That’s worth remembering when you’re reading a column by an old baseball writer who questions the integrity of modern players.

The District Attorney Posted: January 06, 2014 at 03:59 PM | 38 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: bryce harper, bsohl, food, nationals

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. Morty Causa Posted: January 06, 2014 at 05:34 PM (#4631660)
Well, okay, but only as long as he wears a mumu and launders his Chef Prudhimme fat man cap himself.
   2. TerpNats Posted: January 06, 2014 at 06:11 PM (#4631716)
D.C. media has been reporting this news about Bryce for a few months now. He wants to gain weight, with hopes it will translate into power. Remember, he's all of 21.
   3. Chris Needham Posted: January 06, 2014 at 06:16 PM (#4631723)
This coincides, most likely, with a new manager and some offseason transactions basically guaranteeing that he won't have to play center again. So bulk up! Win that damn MVP.
   4. Into the Void Posted: January 06, 2014 at 06:28 PM (#4631746)
Bryce Harper really is old school, taking a cue from Babe Ruth's offseason training.
   5. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 06, 2014 at 06:33 PM (#4631751)
If he really wants to get serious, he should consult nutrition coach Rich Garces.
   6. Davo's Favorite Tacos Are Moose Tacos Posted: January 06, 2014 at 06:42 PM (#4631760)
As a newlywed with a kid on the way, I have the same plan this winter!
   7. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: January 06, 2014 at 07:08 PM (#4631777)
That regimen didn't work so well for Eric Chavez.
   8. Anonymous Observer Posted: January 06, 2014 at 08:16 PM (#4631845)
Bad post.
   9. Sleepy supports unauthorized rambling Posted: January 06, 2014 at 08:36 PM (#4631855)
Bryce Harper really is old school, taking a cue from Babe Ruth's offseason training.


And the LAA version of Albert Pujols.
   10. Greg K Posted: January 06, 2014 at 08:50 PM (#4631858)
Indians sign Jeff Francoeur to a minor league deal!

Apologies, this seems to be the only 2014 baseball season thread going.
   11. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: January 06, 2014 at 08:54 PM (#4631865)
“I want to go into spring training about 240, 245,” said Harper, who weighed around 218 pounds at the end of the 2013. “I’ll lose about 20 pounds during the season.”

Ah, the Andruw Jones plan. Works when you are young and then...not so much.
   12. Morty Causa Posted: January 06, 2014 at 09:15 PM (#4631877)
Bryce just realized that his contract allows him to work from home if he gains fifty pounds.
   13. bunyon Posted: January 06, 2014 at 09:27 PM (#4631882)
The kid is 21. Pretty much every 21 year old I've ever known figured out the best way to put on a few extra pounds.

That's a clown suggestion, I realize.
   14. depletion Posted: January 06, 2014 at 10:11 PM (#4631904)
Sid Fernandez used to come into camp in shape and get fatter as the season wore on.
   15. depletion Posted: January 06, 2014 at 10:12 PM (#4631905)
That's a clown suggestion

, Bro.
   16. Booey Posted: January 06, 2014 at 10:28 PM (#4631913)
Good thing PED's have been eliminated and players can go back to bulking up the old fashioned way, just like the rest of us.
   17. PreservedFish Posted: January 06, 2014 at 10:32 PM (#4631915)
When Jose Reyes was in the minors the Mets encouraged him to eat greasy foods in order to prevent injuries. No, I cannot find a source for this.
   18. Karl from NY Posted: January 06, 2014 at 10:40 PM (#4631930)
Harper is totally setting himself up for some baseless steroid accusations 10 to 20 years from now.
   19. eric Posted: January 06, 2014 at 10:59 PM (#4631955)
Harper is totally setting himself up for some baseless steroid accusations 10 to 20 years from now.


10 to 20 minutes from now?
   20. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: January 06, 2014 at 11:31 PM (#4631979)
The new supermarket inefficiency?
   21. ptodd Posted: January 07, 2014 at 12:46 AM (#4632007)
WEll, if he puts on 20 lbs of muscle in the offseason I hope he gets tested daily.

I would love to know more about the offseason testing. I read somewhere that they have 7 days to report for a test after getting notified. If so, this is the perfect time to bulk up with PED's so 7 days is plenty to clear your system unless you are using the longer acting steroids. That muscle gained does not all go away immediately once you stop, you can maintain much of it through the season

Sorry it took so long eric
   22. Rafael Bellylard: Built like a Panda. Posted: January 07, 2014 at 01:12 AM (#4632026)
If Bryce needs a coach, I'm here to help.
   23. Rafael Bellylard: Built like a Panda. Posted: January 07, 2014 at 01:16 AM (#4632027)
I would love to know more about the offseason testing. I read somewhere that they have 7 days to report for a test after getting notified.


My memory is players have to keep the league offices notified of their general whereabouts during the offseason so they can be tested the same day they are notified.
   24. valuearbitrageur Posted: January 07, 2014 at 01:27 AM (#4632032)
WEll, if he puts on 20 lbs of muscle in the offseason I hope he gets tested daily.


Any 21 year old guy who can't put 20 lbs of muscle on in 6 months is lazy, or 120 lbs.
   25. McCoy Posted: January 07, 2014 at 01:34 AM (#4632036)
Or already put on 20 pounds of muscle.
   26. valuearbitrageur Posted: January 07, 2014 at 03:09 AM (#4632054)
I was a 136 lb college wrestler, during 3 months of the offseason I added 10 lbs lifting weights, and my body fat measurement dropped. I'm thinking a big kid like Bryce can do better, even given he's already pretty muscular. I wasn't a 100% sand kicked in my face wuss when I started, 50% tops.
   27. Monty Posted: January 07, 2014 at 03:46 AM (#4632058)
My memory is players have to keep the league offices notified of their general whereabouts during the offseason so they can be tested the same day they are notified.


Is that feasible for players who return to their home countries in the offseason?
   28. Morty Causa Posted: January 07, 2014 at 05:04 AM (#4632062)
What, you enter a foreign country and go into some unpredictable quantum mechanics dislocation/space-time warp?
   29. Adward Posted: January 07, 2014 at 07:03 AM (#4632068)
That was how a friend described attending a wedding in Pakistan, baseball hotbed that it is.

While at school (edit: some) players were prohibited from running outside of practice. Wasted calories.
   30. Bourbon Samurai Posted: January 07, 2014 at 09:53 AM (#4632093)
WEll, if he puts on 20 lbs of muscle in the offseason I hope he gets tested daily.

I would love to know more about the offseason testing. I read somewhere that they have 7 days to report for a test after getting notified. If so, this is the perfect time to bulk up with PED's so 7 days is plenty to clear your system unless you are using the longer acting steroids. That muscle gained does not all go away immediately once you stop, you can maintain much of it through the season

Sorry it took so long eric


By golly you're right! We should lock them all in camps the whole offseason!
   31. Heinie Mantush (Krusty) Posted: January 07, 2014 at 10:25 AM (#4632111)
By golly you're right! We should lock them all in camps the whole offseason!


Gaining 20lbs in an offseason *is* a tell of PED usage.... If.

- If the player is over... 25? 27? and already very filled out with muscle.

- If the player has a really, really radical body transformation (i.e. a skinny 35 year old suddenly becoming musclebound.) The assumption has to be that this guy has already been working out for a long time, and different people have different body types.

It's not 1988 anymore. I doubt you'll find many (any?) MLB players who aren't living in the gym in the first place.

If Bryce Harper shows up 20 lbs heavier and it's roughly 2/3's muscle (and it doesn't sound like that will be the case), that's just a 21 year old taking advantage of his circumstance.
   32. AuntBea Posted: January 07, 2014 at 11:23 AM (#4632144)
Any 21 year old guy who can't put 20 lbs of muscle on in 6 months is lazy, or 120 lbs.


Or already put on 20 pounds of muscle.


McCoy has this right. Simple math says you can't keep putting on 20 pounds of muscle every six months, regardless of your age. In fact, it's probably easier for the 120 pound kid to do so, given that he almost certainly never put on the 20 pounds in the first place.

I weighed 145 when I was 18, and probably put on 20 pounds of muscle over the next 2 years. It took me 5 more years to put on the next 15 pounds, working twice as hard.
   33. billyshears Posted: January 07, 2014 at 12:36 PM (#4632203)
I'm not sure an extra 20 pounds is going to make a material difference in Bryce Harper's power production. It's not like he really needs the extra juice.

Also, I started my sophomore year in college at 130 pounds. Over the next 8 months, I lifted 6 days/week and ate 4000+ calories/day (mostly by way of cheesesteak) and was around 150 pounds when I left for summer break. But I was basically a twig to start with, and I've mostly been within 5 pounds of 150 for the last 20 years despite the occasional sustained effort to put on more bulk.
   34. zack Posted: January 07, 2014 at 01:22 PM (#4632267)
Don't all players do this to some extent? As he says, it's impossible not to lose weight during the season. I don't know how common it is for baseball specifically, but I know hockey players lose a ton of weight every year, and have to put it back on during the summer lest they waste away by the playoffs.
   35. WSPanic Posted: January 07, 2014 at 01:51 PM (#4632304)
It's not 1988 anymore. I doubt you'll find many (any?) MLB players who aren't living in the gym in the first place.


Billy Butler disagrees with you.
   36. Ron J2 Posted: January 07, 2014 at 02:13 PM (#4632340)
#21 According to Charles Yesalis you can retain ~90% of the physical gains for quite some time with serious training.

Also, Tyler Hamilton's book goes into a fair amount of details on how to beat out of competition testing. At heart it's pretty simple. Modern PEDs are undetectable after a fairly short period of time. Keep track of that time (known as "glowing") and quite simply avoid testers in that time. Hamilton specifically mentions testers showing up when he knew he was glowing and simply not answering his door.

Yesalis came to the conclusion a few years back that the only way to make a testing regime working basically amounts to putting athletes under 24*7 surveillance and wondered aloud whether that was worth it. Biological passports are the next step, but it seems likely to me that they can be beat. After all, you know what the acceptable parameters are.

Also, #34 Doug Gilmour was notoriously skin and bones by the end of the season. Not all that big to start with and just could not keep up to playing weight as the season went on.
   37. AuntBea Posted: January 07, 2014 at 02:34 PM (#4632370)
skin and bones by the end of the season


Amps.


*ducks*
   38. Squash Posted: January 07, 2014 at 02:37 PM (#4632375)
Don't all players do this to some extent? As he says, it's impossible not to lose weight during the season. I don't know how common it is for baseball specifically, but I know hockey players lose a ton of weight every year, and have to put it back on during the summer lest they waste away by the playoffs.

Football players do it too. Offensive lineman can often finish 20-30 lbs. lighter than when the season began.

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