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Tuesday, February 25, 2003

Now What For Barry?

Or, it’s hard to have a late peak when you shave your head.

Actually, it’s impossible to have any kind of peak (early, late, or widow’s) when you apply razor to scalp, but that’s not what I want to discuss here.

My goodness, Barry Bonds. I’ve already looked at his 2002 performance in an earlier article here; as most of you already know many times over, Barry has put together two consecutive years that rank amongst the top five single-season performances ever.

The question that I’d like to explore (yes, that’s explore, not answer) is what lies ahead for the most amazing hitter most of us have ever seen.

And to do that, I’m going to use some data originally provided to me by Justin Kubatko (of Baseball Survivor fame). Awhile back, Justin (who is another one of those DB whizzes out there) created a file for me that organized batter OPS+ by age, which makes for a spiffy little tool. (Yes, there are better measures, but we’re not here to make any serious predictions.) From that dataset it’s possible to extract information about “late peak” performances by hitters.

Which is exactly what I’m gonna do, starting now.

Barry’s “baseball age” for 2003 is 38 (the date of demarcation has been established as July 1), so for our purposes he was 35 in 2000, a year in which his OPS+ was 191. Let’s look at the list of players who show up at the top of the OPS+ list at age 35:

Player 35 36 37 38 39 40
BABE RUTH 212 223 205 180 165
NAP LAJOIE 196 142 145 131 85 99
TED WILLIAMS 192 203 164 226 173 113
BARRY BONDS 191 262 275
TRIS SPEAKER 181 141 165 128 119
HANK AARON 179 147 190 143 173 126
MARK McGWIRE 177 205 106
SAM THOMPSON 174 108
TY COBB 171 134 126 170 131
MEL OTT 170 150
HONUS WAGNER 168 131 154 146 115 94
ROGERS HORNSBY 163
JACK FOURNIER 162 122
HANK GREENBERG 161 132
DAN BROUTHERS 161 129
WILLIE McCOVEY 161 163 131 131 98
ROBERTO CLEMENTE 160 146 141
FRANK ROBINSON 156 130 153 144
JOHNNY MIZE 156 112 143 102
REGGIE SMITH 155 133
DWIGHT EVANS 155 135 135 103 120
JOE DiMAGGIO 153 116
MICKEY MANTLE 151 144
DON MONEY 150
WILLIE MAYS 150 127 159 128 142 161
MICKEY VERNON 150 140 133 125 98 126

(A couple of quick notes about the data. Justin’s PRO+ calcs differ slightly from the ones in Total Baseball or at baseball-reference.com, mostly because he applies park factors a bit differently. Second, any gaps for players-such as Reggie Smith or Jack Fournier-are because I asked him not to include PRO+ figures when a hitter had less than 300 PAs in a season.)

As you can see, I’ve added on these players’ future performance. The things that leap out at you from this list are: 1) this list is composed almost completely of Hall of Famers; 2) the attrition rate is pretty severe even for these guys; and 3) Bonds’ rate of league-relative improvement in subsequent years is simply unprecedented.

Let’s move on to age 36. Basically, what I’m presenting in these lists is a sort by age of all players with a PRO+ of 150 or higher. There were 26 such players with more than 300 PA’s at age 35. Let’s see what the subsequent lists look like:

Player 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42
BARRY BONDS 191 262 275
BABE RUTH 212 223 205 180 165
TED WILLIAMS 192 203 164 226 173 113 186
STAN MUSIAL 143 172 145 107 119 117 136 103
CAP ANSON 139 172 133 139 129 113 113 131
ZACK WHEAT 148 164 144 99
WILLIE McCOVEY 161 163 131 131 98 105
DAVE WINFIELD 116 159 123 119 135 102 91
GABBY HARTNETT 114 156 123 119
DEACON WHITE 110 155 111 111 109 129 93
ERIC DAVIS 153
MIKE SCHMIDT 148 152 142 113
DARRELL EVANS 119 151 106 138 116 137 105 88
MEL OTT 170 150

Barry (represented here by his 2001 season) is, of course, rather easily at the top of this list. We do pick up some interesting names here, players who were either bubbling under our cutoff point (Stan Musial, Cap Anson, Mike Schimdt) or ones whose performance levels were especially erratic (Gabby Hartnett, Eric Davis, Darrell Evans).

I extended the future age out to 42 in order to pick up a little more information about longevity. Of the fourteen players performing at this level at age 36, three of them did so again at age 37, two at age 38, two at age 39, none at age 40, and one (Williams) at age 41.

If we lower the bar to a PRO+ of 130 (still a reasonably useful player, yes?), those totals rise to eight at age 37, four at age 38, three at age 39, two at age 40, two at age 41, and one (Anson) at age 42.

Let’s move on to age 37:

Player 35 36 37 38 39 40
BARRY BONDS 191 262 275
BABE RUTH 212 223 205 180 165
HANK AARON 179 147 190 143 173 126
BOB JOHNSON 137 128 175 124
TRIS SPEAKER 181 141 165 128 119
TED WILLIAMS 192 203 164 226 173 113
TONY GWYNN 140 130 161 139 122
WILLIE MAYS 150 127 159 128 142 161
GEORGE BRETT 149 124 155 102 100 96
HONUS WAGNER 168 131 154 146 115 94
ANDRES GALARRAGA 115 123 154 123 106
FRANK ROBINSON 156 130 153 144

The list has dropped down to twelve hitters, with Bonds (here in his 2002 incarnation) just simply dominating it.

There are some interesting names that pop up on this list-Indian Bob Johnson, Tony Gwynn, George Brett, Andres Galarraga (in his stathead-defying Atlanta incarnation). My old pal Brock Hanke, who noted that a sizable plurality of hitters evidenced an “iambic” or “serpentine” pattern of development, might be interested to see how many players on this list appear to have a similar pattern in their “decline phase.”

Of the eleven hitters on this for whom we have future data (we await Bonds’ 2003 season…), two remained above the 150 PRO+ limit in the following season (age-38); six remained above 130. The biggest “crash and burn” was Brett.

Let’s move on to the age 38 season, to see who Bonds will be competing with for the title of “best age 38 season ever.” (Actually, you could figure it out from the above data, but we’ll resort it here for your convenience.)

Player             35   36   37   38   39   40
TED WILLIAMS      192  203  164  226  173  113
BABE RUTH         212  223  205  180  165     
TY COBB           171  134  126  170       131
WILLIE STARGELL   148  125       155  138     
CY WILLIAMS       131  136  132  155  130  119
HONUS WAGNER      168  131  154  146  115   94
FRED CLARKE       128  125  105  146          
FRANK ROBINSON    156  130  153  144          
HANK AARON        179  147  190  143  173  126
CAL RIPKEN        103   94   89  140          

There are only five players in baseball history who have achieved a PRO+ of 150 or higher at age 38. (I extended the list down to 140 in order to create a top ten.) The three guys at the top of the list are the ones who are most often named when people are identifying the greatest hitter in baseball history.

Bonds has some amount of “breathing room” in order to stay ahead of Ted Williams’ 1957 season, given his performance levels in 2001 and 2002. Will he be the best at age 38, too? Stay tuned.

Don Malcolm Posted: February 25, 2003 at 06:00 AM | 51 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Michael Posted: February 25, 2003 at 02:32 AM (#608914)
Until you have proof in actual testing...which may come this season that Barry is using as you put it please stop the character assassination.

Michael
   2. wcw Posted: February 25, 2003 at 02:33 AM (#608920)
children, children.. if you must cast aspersions, try using at least one among evidence, logic, or references to others who do.

not so doing makes you thread hijackers of the lowest sort.
   3. Barry Bonds Posted: February 25, 2003 at 02:33 AM (#608924)
Finally some respect!
   4. Mike Posted: February 25, 2003 at 02:33 AM (#608926)
Chris H. is right. Bonds' recent success has nothing to do with strength. It has everything to do with batting eye and plate discipline. Readers of these pages should be the first to recognize and appreciate that. Barry Bonds epitomizes the "Thinking Fan's" batter.
   5. Dan Szymborski Posted: February 25, 2003 at 02:33 AM (#608928)
Clearly, all performance-enhancing drugs were invented between November, 1992 and March, 1993.
   6. Comic Strip Person Posted: February 25, 2003 at 02:33 AM (#608932)
he is appearently prone to violent rages

Oh yeah? He seems like one of the most even tempered guys on the field and during interviews. With all the hbps and walks he takes, I would definitely expect him to have an angry outburst, like you see a lot of nowadays. When's the last time Bonds charged the pitcher, let alone acted violently? Even in the altercation with Kent last year, Bonds wasn't a raving lunatic.

Weight lifting doesn't give you the body that Bonds has now

Apparently you haven't met any powerlifters. Not to say that they all don't use roids, but I personally know several who do not use steroids and are bigger than bonds. Any Olympic powerlifter is tested for steroids, and (although I don't know how convincing the testing is), they are plenty bigger than bonds, and their size was not chemically asissted. It's impossible to tell just by looking at someone or their growth pattern.

Please keep this discussion on topic, out of respect of Don's useful analysis.

As others have said, Bonds' greatest strength is his plate discipline, his incredible hand-eye coordination, and his quick bat. It's not like he's hitting balls 500+ feet every time; he just makes the most consistent solid contact of any player I've ever seen. It's going to take huge drop-offs for him to avoid being the best 38-40 yr old hitter ever.
   7. Floyd Thursby Posted: February 25, 2003 at 02:33 AM (#608933)
When's the last time Bonds charged the pitcher, let alone acted violently?

Back in 1998, for violating an unwritten rule.
   8. Jason Posted: February 25, 2003 at 02:33 AM (#608935)
Anybody care to project Bond's PRO+ for this season?
   9. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 25, 2003 at 02:33 AM (#608938)
Old guys can continue to add strength just like young ones, if they're dedicated and hard-working. Ever see a photo of Bill Kazmaier?
   10. Walt Davis Posted: February 25, 2003 at 02:33 AM (#608944)
In the following, I use OPS+ from B-R, slightly different than the PRO+

Did you steroid-phobes even bother looking at those tables that Don took the time to put together.

If you did, one thing you may have noticed is that it's not at all uncommon for great players to have great seasons late in their careers. Yes, even peak seasons. That 194 OPS+ for Aaron at age 37 was the best of his career. And the 178 and 177 he had at ages 35 and 39 were the 4th and 5th best.

Nap Lajoie at 35 had his 3rd best; Ted Williams had his Barry-like career highs at ages 33 and 34 and his age 38 was his 3rd best after age 22; Speaker at 35 had his 3rd best season; from age 33 to 35, Honus Wagner's OPS+'s were 187 (#2 career), 205 (#1 career), 173 (#6); Clemente had his best seasons at 32, 34, and 35; Mays had his career high at 34 and was putting up a 160 OPS+ at 40; Cap Anson didn't become a dominant hitter until 29; McCovey's 2 best years were at 31 and 32, and those 35/36 seasons were his #5 and #6; Winfield had his #2 season at 36; Schmidt had his career year at 31 and almost every year after that till age 38 was better than what he did in his 20's; Tony Gwynn had his career highs at 34 and 37; Hartnett had his 2 best at 34 (#2) and 36 (#1) and he was a C for chrissakes.

And stepping outside the greats, that was Don Money's career high at 35; Bob Johnson's career high at 38; Galaragga's career high at 37; Reggie Smith had his career highs at 32 and 33, with his age 35 ranking #4; Dwight Evans had 4 of his top 6, including his #2, from ages 32 on; and King of the Old-Timers Games, Darrell Evans had his 2nd best season at 36, 3rd best at 38, and 4th best at 40.

Don notes one amazing thing about Barry Bonds in his article: what Bonds is doing even surpasses the greats. But Don also notes another amazing thing that you lunkheads and your "reasonable assumptions" based on no evidence missed: Bonds is doing what all the greatest players have done. What puts these players in the inner circle is that they continued to improve throughout their careers. By putting up some of his best seasons ever, Bonds is just doing what lots of players, especially truly great players, did.

There's a reason walks and HRs are considered "old man skills."

But since you jackasses don't rely on evidence for your "obvious" conclusions, I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that you overlooked all the evidence in Don's article.
   11. Bill Posted: February 25, 2003 at 02:33 AM (#608947)
The Bonds swing has been perfected. It is shorter and faster than it was in 1992. He also has developed instant pitch recognition.

I suggest bitter steroid bashers get some videotapes from 1992 and last year. Bonds was smaller in '92 (not so much smaller in 1993), but his swing had a little loop in it. You thought it was pretty compact then, but there is no way to improve upon it now. The explanation for improved power is that he has continually improved his technique to work out any imperfection, he has continually improved his knowledge to know what pitchers will do before they do it, he has
been committed to his body as the major tool of his profession, he has also improved his tool. This guy's been working on being the best hitter he could be since he was 5. He's had the benefit of the caring advice of some excellent hitters.

This is a very experienced, practiced person that still has the body to execute the plans.

Too bad the bitter idiots miss out on the show. Then again, they deserve to.

   12. Rob Wood Posted: February 26, 2003 at 02:33 AM (#608949)
FWIW, early reports from spring training camp indicate that Bonds is noticeably slimmer this year. Reportedly he did less heavy weightlifting in the off-season and instead concentrated on flexibility and toning.
   13. wcw Posted: February 26, 2003 at 02:33 AM (#608955)
don, you wrote a great article, which I enjoyed. too bad relatively few people want to talk about the common thread that ties together ruth, williams and bonds, rather preferring rank speculation about chemically-assisted training methods.

thanks, by the way, for nonchemical observations, like Bill's notes on the swing, or Tom's great one on motivation, of which at least one sentence bears repeating: he performs at his best when challenged by the impossible.

my thesis for the rabble is simple: even if Bonds is juicing on any number of magic chemicals, it doesn't matter, because muscles do not account for his current success.

contention I: steroids/hgh/whatever don't improve your batting eye. this would seem obvious, but it bears mentioning, since a huge portion of Bonds's increased value has been in obp. take away all his plate appearances that ended in IBB last year and he still has a historic OBP -- .530ish, good for a pathetic #5 or so all time. wasn't it Bobby Valentine who asked rhetorically about the 'roid rumors, "what's he doing, shooting them in his eyes?"

contention II: raw power doesn't help you hit the ball on the sweet spot. if you miss the two-inch sweet spot, you lose your home-run power.:
http://www.npl.uiuc.edu/~a-nathan/pob/honors-talk-00/sld020.htm
some argue more strength results in more "bat control," but I don't see any evidence. highly-trained professional athletes don't need steroids to control a three-pound stick. the curveball is an excellent object lesson. it's not hard to hit because the bat's too heavy -- it's hard to hit because it takes your brain an extra 150 milliseconds to figure out the break. see http://www.napa.ufl.edu/98news/baseball.htm

contention III: Bonds's always-stellar bat speed hasn't gone up appreciably (afaik). increased bat speed, ceteris paribus, would definitely send batted balls a lot further. bigger muscles might generate better bat speed (though even here, I think technique matters a lot more than bulk). bat speed, it turns out, is very easy to measure. broadcasters caught Atlanta widening the catchers box by a few inches a couple years back; you'd think someone would notice any large increase in bat speed by the number one news story in all of baseball in 2001. note: the only way to hit a ball hard is to generate bat speed at impact.

to sum it up: no juice exists to improve human motor processing, which is what you'd need to improve pitch recognition (and OBP) to historic levels. no juice can help you put a two-inch circle of the bat on a wicked heater or, most especially, a decent curve. last, no concrete evidence in terms of measurably increased bat speed exists.

if "the juice" can increase OBP and SLG and decrease Ks, all without increasing measured bat speed, maybe, just maybe, it's not anabolics, or hgh, or pixie dust at all. maybe it's greatness. Ruth had it. Williams had it. Bonds might have it. catch the show before it's too late.
   14. Bangkok9 eschews 1 from Column A Posted: February 26, 2003 at 02:33 AM (#608959)
Bonds' surge to become the greatest hitter of this half century can be attributed to plate discipline and the replacement of a sub-optimal training regimine with an optimal one. Nothing more, nothing less.
   15. Scott B Posted: February 26, 2003 at 02:33 AM (#608961)
Another thing to note: these are context sensitive measures. PRO+ shows how much better than their average peer they are.

Even if Bonds is on steroids (I'm in the camp that A. doesn't care and B. thinks it would be of minimal help if he was and C. doesn't claim to know either way without evidence) he is being compared to other players that are also just as likely to be on steroids. Therefore, if steroids help, then they would raise his peers stats as well as his own and the PRO+ number would theoretically be barely effected.
   16. Walt Davis Posted: February 26, 2003 at 02:33 AM (#608965)
For those who question Bond's use of steroids (which seems like pretty much everyone) please read....

an article devoid of facts.

And completely unsubstantiated claims like the following: "Most of baseball's power hitters, and others, began their strength programs with anabolic steroids and rigorous weightlifting workout regimens during the off-season."

An article which actually presented facts about baseball power hitters using steroids would have been big news, don't you think?

Bonds may use steroids. He may not. The point is nobody has any evidence that he does. Well, except for that "puffy face", damning evidence if ever there was any.

If a cavorting Ruth could hit 60 and skinny Roger Maris could hit 61, with 40 years of advance in training knowledge and technique (not to mention bat technology), why is anyone surprised that a player today can hit 70?

Just look at the explosion in professions such as personal nutritionists, chefs, and trainers. The knowledge base, even compared to 5-10 years ago, is greatly expanded and is far more widely diffused. Barry Bonds is able to hire experts in those fields whose sole job is to design a nutrition and training regimen specifically tailored to him.

What Barry has done is unprecedented in magnitude, but not uncommon in pattern. His pattern of peaks is not particularly different from Williams, Ruth, Aaron, Mays, etc.
   17. Mom makes botox doctors furious Posted: February 26, 2003 at 02:33 AM (#608966)
Thanks, Don. I've been waiting to read something, anything, providing an intelligent approach to Bonds speculation. Nice.

And yet again Walt provides a calm & collected voice of reason.


But elsewhere:

..of course we don't have any conclusive proof that he is taking steriods, but it seems like the only reason to assume that he isn't is that you happen to like him..

Now this above ... I ... say what? ... no .. how?

hoo boy... bring on the Lagavulin..
   18. Dudefella Posted: February 26, 2003 at 02:33 AM (#608967)
All the folks that think it's impossible to dramatically bulk up after age 30 should head into the free weight room in their local gym sometime. From what I've seen, the big guys - I'm talking big, not necessarily cut - are all over 30.
   19. Comic Strip Person Posted: February 26, 2003 at 02:33 AM (#608971)
To those insisting Bonds uses steroids:
After reading a great article on Bonds, compared to other hall of famers, it is very upsetting to immediately see comments about how he's juiced. Most of us don't read Primer for tabloid-style info.

Ask yourselves - given the improvement in training, technology, etc. in baseball over the last decade, is it really that outlandish to think what Bonds has done is impossible without chemical assistance?
If you truly believe that Bonds could not have done what he is doing without steroids, then you haven't noticed the progression of the game, even before steroids existed. Humans should be expected to improve on any long-term endeavor, and it's not impossible to imagine that someone would break away from the pack like this.

No one can argue that Bonds developed some new skills over the last 3 or 4 years; every skill he possesses now is just a natural progression of his skills from 5+ years ago. He's just improved his existing skills within the bounds of what should be expected from someone who spends his life training to improve his hitting.

I can't say he isn't using steroids just as no one can say that he is for sure, but the best theory is always the simplest one, and steroids are not necessary to explain Bonds' ability. That is why your comments are not appreciated. They are unfounded and they contribute nothing to the discussion.
   20. wcw Posted: February 26, 2003 at 02:34 AM (#608976)
Lagavulin is nice, but the pro-juice camp drove me to stronger stuff last night: that traditional medicinal for hard times legally imported during Prohibition, prescription-strength Laphroiag. today, though, I will go at my comment unjuiced by fine scotch whisky.

let's summarize the score so far:
- juice cannot increase obp
- drugs cannot put the sweet spot on the ball
- chemicals cannot track a curve or recognize a slider
- Bonds still swings the same weight bat
- nobody has measured any increase in Bonds's bat speed

let me harp on that last point a bit.

the physics of batting is pretty simple. the batter cannot affect the speed of the incoming pitch or the weight of the ball. he is not allowed to use an aluminum bat or a rubber superball. he can influence where the ball ends up after he swings in only a few ways:
- timing, so the ball goes left, right or center
- trajectory, the angle at which the ball rebounds
- sweet spot, hitting so the bat imparts maximum impulse
- bat mass, a heavier bat transfers more energy
- bat speed, a faster bat does the same (indeed more so)

of those five variables, I think we can safely dismiss all but bat speed for the purposes of arguing about putative substance-aided performance. stronger people don't hit the ball further because strength gives them better timing, pitch recognition or aim, and Bonds's bat weight is known and has not changed.

that leaves bat speed alone. it is a simple fact apparently difficult for some that the impact of the ball on the bat is so short (less than a millisecond) that the only thing the ball 'sees' at impact is the mass and velocity of the barrel of the bat. your hands, arms and legs may be powerfully muscled or spindly like mine -- the ball only cares about bat mass and speed.

strong muscles can and do help batters accelerate the bat head to the ball, generating bat speed and distance from any given swing. however, strong muscles have absolutely no effect on distance once they've generated bat speed. none. zero. zilch. this is an absolute and experimentally-verified fact; any doubters are encouraged to browse a very good physics-of-batting site at http://www.npl.uiuc.edu/~a-nathan/pob/

bat speed, like pitch speed, can be measured and indeed is sometimes displayed during television broadcasts. I know of no evidence that Bonds has dramatically increased his bat speed at any time during the last ten years. if that is indeed the case, then the conclusion is inescapable: his performance increase is not due to strength.

we might as well be arguing about whether he smokes cigarettes. smoking is a filthy habit. it makes your clothes, car and breath smell. smoking damages your cardivascular system and eventually kills you. but like anabolics and hgh, smoking did not make Bonds the hitter he has been the last two years.
   21. Mom makes botox doctors furious Posted: February 26, 2003 at 02:34 AM (#608978)
Laphroiag will do.

And nice commentary, too.
   22. wcw Posted: February 26, 2003 at 02:34 AM (#608982)
to everyone here except the poster now known as "well," forgive me for even responding. I can't stop myself. must be 'roaig rage.

to "well": in re, steroids have a significant effect on bat speed, I don't even need to waste my time outlining the manifold shortcomings of relying on your source. if the assertion were true, you couldn't hide the increase in bat speed. instead, you can measure no such thing, because it doesn't exist.

Barry Bonds has always had great bat speed. here's a link to an old rec.sport.baseball post from 1993, by a guy who did frame-by-frame analysis of batter's swings as an approximate measure of bat speed: http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=C5r5B8.D1u@ucdavis.edu

the analyst's top-three bat speeds based on 1992 and earlier video: 1, Barry Bonds; 2, Gary Sheffield; 3, Mark McGwire.

if you can't measure an increase in bat speed, then what exactly have the hypothetical magic beans been doing to affect performance?

answer: hypothetically nothing.

people are calling you names because you can't follow a logical argument or tell the difference between a hobby web site and the American Journal of Physics. I've made two posts walking you through what makes a good swing. the only factors related to batter strength are bat speed and bat mass. Bonds has changed neither. therefore, any change in his performance is not related to raw strength. kick out the QEDs, brothers and sisters.
   23. wcw Posted: February 27, 2003 at 02:34 AM (#608987)
I've placed my answer to Well at the bottom in brackets so the saner among you can scroll right past it.

Monty -
Follow the link I posted before and wade through the first AJP article. Just skip all the math. It turns out that what you're saying is true, but only at very slow speeds where there are multiple ball-bat collisions. At normal baseball speeds, there is but a single, very short impact. The ball has already recoiled off the bat before you can swing through it.


everyone but Well probably wants to ignore this part:
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Well -
Your argument is puerile. Rather than address any of my points or defend your thesis, you just keep asking me to explain every possible issue. Still, since I'm a charitable soul, I'll play along.

Bonds may have any number of reasons to gain 30 pounds of mass over the last dozen years. Maybe he couldn't help it -- lots of men gain weight in their thirties. Maybe it was peer pressure. Heck, in one interview he mentioned that his wife likes it -- increased sex appeal is the only reason some of my friends go to the gym. Doesn't matter unless it helped him swing a heavier bat or a faster one.

Now, there are any number of reasons, from rehabbing injury to increasing foot speed why a baseball player might take anabolics. It might be peer pressure, vanity, stupidity, it might not work, it might even help certain players increase bat speed. None of this matters since Bonds did not increase his bat speed or mass.

Last, athletes are not expert trainiers, they are expert performers. I don't care what makes them suspicious, especially one as bad at training himself as Gwynn was. Get back to me when an expert on training, like Stan Conte, says the same thing.

As a coda, you should look at some of the side effects of anabolics, and compare admitted users to Bonds. Unstable bahavior? Canseco yes, Caminiti yes, Bonds no. Injury-prone? Canseco yes, Caminiti yes, Bonds no. At what point does the utter absence of positive evidence finally exonerate the man in your mind?
-----------------------------------------------------------------
   24. Bangkok9 eschews 1 from Column A Posted: February 27, 2003 at 02:34 AM (#608990)
If the point of using steroids or other magic beans is to make the ball go farther, can't we look at Total Bases per Hit for some clues?

Year Barry NL other Delta YoY
1986 1.870 1.499 0.371 ---
1987 1.882 1.545 0.337 -0.034
1988 1.737 1.458 0.279 -0.058
1989 1.715 1.480 0.235 -0.044
1990 1.878 1.489 0.389 0.154
1991 1.758 1.486 0.273 -0.116
1992 2.007 1.459 0.548 0.275
1993 2.017 1.509 0.508 -0.040
1994 2.074 1.549 0.525 0.017
1995 1.960 1.544 0.416 -0.109
1996 2.000 1.551 0.449 0.033
1997 2.006 1.556 0.450 0.001
1998 2.012 1.564 0.448 -0.002
1999 2.355 1.597 0.758 0.310
2000 2.245 1.620 0.625 -0.133
2001 2.635 1.620 1.014 0.389
2002 2.161 1.578 0.583 -0.431

So, let's see Barry loses some of his advantage over the pack from 1987 - 1989, gains it all back in 1990, gives it all back again in 1991, has a breakout season in 1992, then slips against the field until 1999 when he has another bump up.

If '99 is because of juice then isn't '92? And if '92 was because of juice, how do you figure the game's best player would lose ground to the field for SEVEN years? How is it the game's BEST PAID player can't get magic beans that are as effective as everyone else's?

No, no, no. What you see here is a supremely talented and dedicated baseball techincian honing his craft.

---

Monty, I think you're correct. Bat speed through the entire interval when the bat and ball are in contact is the key. And keeping the bat moving through the same original plane during contact is important. If the bat is knocked downward by the ball, Newton says the ball must go up as a function of the relative mass of bat and ball. In other words, a popup.
   25. wcw Posted: February 27, 2003 at 02:34 AM (#608993)
BJBirdy -
Your hypothesis is, at least, an argument that makes sense. I have no idea what the standard age-related decline of bat speed might be, but I'm sure it exists. However, there are lots of alternate explanations for maintaining bat speed in the face of aging -- continually refining your swing is the most-likely method.

Bangkok9 -
I appreciated the table enough to pull it into a spreadsheet and make it readable. However, measuring power output will not, of itself, tell you if more power came from strength (bat speed/mass) or skill (sweet spot/timing/trajectory).

In re: bat speed and Newton, I can only refer you to the physics papers if you're feeling geeky, or the pool hall if your feeling practical. The path of the bat will definitely change if you happen to let go of it at the precise moment of impact, but the path (and speed) of the batted ball will not.
   26. wcw Posted: February 27, 2003 at 02:34 AM (#608995)
you probably want to ignore this post -- it's a response to juice hypothesis apologist number two, The Whoneedsparagraphs Kid

TSK-
If you make an assertion (in your case, "juice make Barry hit ball hard"), you have the burden of proof. If you do not accept that burden, you yourself pee on the very notion of causality. [ed: nice turn of phrase!]

I gave you the five ways a batter can influence how far a ball travels. Only two can possibly have anything to do with strength. Bonds swings the same weight bat he ever did, so if you can't show he swings it faster, you can't even begin to argue his power comes from juice.

You show no evidence that Bonds has materially increased his bat speed. I presented you with the fact that Bonds has always had stellar bat speed -- the best in the game over a decade ago. You want to disagree? Present us with solid counterevidence. Hell, present us with any evidence at all. You didn't even manage a lame 'he looks quicker.'

The rest of your post is an object lesson in statistics gone wrong, rhetoric gone awry, handwaving and baldfaced lies. I honestly don't know where to start, but I'll hit some highlights.

if his bat speed has improved it would not only allow him more power but also possibly a better batting eye Unlikely. Most of the time a batter spends at the plate is spent picking up the ball and identifying the pitch. That's where any batter has the most room for improvement.

bonds increased selectivity resulted in more power..WRONG Not selectivity -- aim. Hitting the ball with the sweet spot at the right time with a nice, 35-degree trajectory results in more power. You can't measure that skill by pretending it's the same thing as walks versus strikeouts.

give up our most fundemental notions of physics and logic in the context of your posts, this had me laughing almost as hard as peeing on causality. seriously, if you're Andy Kaufman having us on, just tell us, OK?

obscene amount weight Bonds added in the blink of an eye this would be the 'baldfaced lie' portion of our evening. disagree? give us dates and weights.

whatever it is that lets big guys mash more than little guys please, for the love of god and all that is holy, follow the link I posted above and read some physics-of-batting slideshows. it's bat speed -- but Bonds already had the best in the game.

there is zero reason to put the burden of proof on either side he who makes the assertion has the burden. you said, "I would say it is likely that Bonds uses." you have the burden of proof.

I can't prove its steriods, but it sure as hell ain't normal. fine. just move from the evidence -- whatever it is you don't find normal -- to your conclusion, rather than making your conclusion and flailing about in a desperate attempt to confuse yourself.
   27. Comic Strip Person Posted: February 27, 2003 at 02:34 AM (#608997)
I don't know how apt this analogy is, but the whole idea of bat speed reminds me of golf. Golfers don't bulk up because there's a huge loss of club head speed due to the decreased flexibility. Now, I know that flexibility is less of an issue in the baseball swing, but any golf instructor will tell you that when you try to 'grip and rip,' you actually lose club head speed. The swing needs to be fluid, and guided by proper mechanics instead of brute force.

Again, this is not an attempt to compare the golf swing to the baseball swing, but there are similarities. I think it's important to note that regardless of his size, the biomechanics of Bonds' swing are (by today's standards) optimal. And as we know from golf, biomechanics are more important than pure strength. Everything Bonds does right is seemingly ignored by those who want to attribute his success to steroids.

Sassafrass Kid - I've given up on reading your posts; although the content may or may not be substantive, your language capabilities make it more frustrating to read than your arguments. Plus, wcw has done a nice job at putting down the most inane of your points.
   28. Dudefella Posted: February 27, 2003 at 02:34 AM (#608998)
Sassafras Kid - I'd like to address one point you made. You said in your post that to gain 38 pounds in four years is "a ton".

Absolutely not. A motivated weightlifter who eats well, sleeps well, and trains hard, can put on 10 pounds a year pretty easily (up to a certain point - the freaky big guys can't do that). Now, Barry can't train superhard year 'round due to that whole baseball season thing, but he also has genetics that would make Watson and Crick weep with joy, and we know he's enormously intense about his fitness regimen. I have no problem believing that he could add 38 pounds in four years with his dedication.

I have no idea whether he's juiced, but based purely on his mass gains, there's no reason to believe he is.
   29. Bill Posted: February 27, 2003 at 02:34 AM (#608999)
First, the real comment. Barry Bonds is such an expert hitter that I think when his bat speed decreases to the point he has the power of normal power hitters he could change and become Tony Gwynn (with more walks) on a dime, even when he's 44 (a 44 year old Barry would probably have a better body than a 37 year old Tony).


The steroid hijackers use extremely bad data. There is no way Barry Bonds weighed 190 pounds in 1997. He was big, barrel-chested, and extremely powerful in 1993. He may have weighted 190 in 1989. Press release and "official" weights are bogus. Anyway, he still weighs 190, probably has since he broke in to MLB. Check out baseball-reference for "proof":
http://www.baseball-reference.com/b/bondsba01.shtml

Attributing "normal" to Barry Bonds is clearly silly. He has super genes. His dad and his dad's entire family were tremendous athletes. He is in the 99.99 percentile genetic predisposition for athletics. Normal people obviously aren't. I'm not going to give a statistics lecture here, but they are so misused, occurrences 3 standard deviations from the mean are not impossible, they are just unlikely and there are a defined number of exceptions. If Barry Bonds is anything, he is exceptional.
   30. Bill Posted: February 27, 2003 at 02:34 AM (#609012)
It is really hard to treat certain people with respect. Steroids bashers are losers plain and simple. Misstate facts. Lie. Make stupid generalities ("doctors say he exhibit steroid use symptoms", make you say what doctors and doctors of what?)

Bonds and power; more home runs, less strikeouts. This is not new for Barry.
Look up 1994. Bonds had a better strikeout ratio in 1994 than he did last year (43 in 391 ab vs. 47 in 403). He was moved up to 3rd in the order early summer 1994 and started hitting home runs more frequently, and got even hotter upon the acquisition of Strawberry to hit 5th. I believe he hit 25 home runs in the last 48 games of 1994 (which is actually a better pace than his 73 home run year), 12 in the last 19 games of the year. Someone can check retrosheet. His pace was only 52, but he had picked it up so much and was so locked in since being moved to a more favorable place in the order, that had the strike not occurred, I believe he could have hit 25 more in the last 47 games to break Maris's record that year. He finished 6 off Williams' pace, and Matt was on pace for 61 at the strike date. I have little doubt Bonds would have passed him.

Bonds' workout regimen changed significantly in 1999 when the tear in his triceps tendon was repaired. I don't know how long it had been damaged, but I think it had been with him for a while. I had a biceps tendon reattached in 2000 that it turned out had been ripped in 1980 playing baseball. My strength had been noticeably decaying for a few years before the surgery (I didn't go in until it was painful however which wasn't very bright) and I gained a great deal of strength and stability when the injury was repaired. I hope that I don't have to back in to get a suture removed.
   31. Bill Posted: February 28, 2003 at 02:34 AM (#609019)
Hamilton is exactly right. The 29 year old 1993 Barry Bonds weighed at least 210 pounds. He was a big strong man then, as now. He was a dominant power hitter as well.
   32. Mom makes botox doctors furious Posted: February 28, 2003 at 02:34 AM (#609021)
In 2002 Bonds did strike out less, but his HR rate was way down from the last 2 years.

Nope. His home run rate was higher in 2002 than 2000.

Second, as stated above Bonds power increase occured in 98, so the fact that Bonds had a tendon repaired in 99 cannot be the cause of this increase in power.

Regards to home run rate, '94 was certainly a power spike. And '99. '98 was not.

..but Bonds biggest power year was his worst for K's.

Incorrect. See 1986, rookie year.

There is evidence to support Bonds' 2001 home run rampage as being an aberration relatively in line with how player careers cater to such aberrations. Maris in '61, DiMaggio in '37, Foster in '77, Anderson in '96, Yaz's bizarre 3 year aberration ('67, '69, '70), Gonzalez '01, Bell in '87, Sandberg in '90, Boggs in '87, Frank Robinson in '66, Jay Bell in '99, Petrocelli in '69, Rosen in '53, Greenberg in '38, Fisk in '85.

And then there's Earl Webb and Owen Wilson... and John Olerud's two seasons of .350 BA+. And Tommy Davis in 1962.

and so forth
   33. wcw Posted: February 28, 2003 at 02:35 AM (#609035)
must.. resist.. the urge.. to post..

..but I just can't. many heartfelt apologies.

First, some overview point.

ONE: it's pretty clear that various posters still don't understand what happens when a bat meets a ball. browse the physics site I posted. scroll up, cut 'n' paste, and do a little reading -- please. the slide shows are very digestible.

TWO: certain posters still do not appreciate the difference between evidence and speculation. if you'd like to gather evidence on, say, the visible side effects of athletic doping, you should be searching Medline for journal articles, not soliciting inexpert opinions or personal anecdotes on the web. here's the link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/PubMed/

THREE: stop conflating association with causality. even if you find certain statistics associated across the population of all batters, that hardly means one caused the other, especially in the case of a single, given individual.

FOUR: stop putting words in others' mouths. nobody has claimed that steroids, ephedra or crack cocaine are not problems in baseball. you'll find it hard enough to defend your actual assertions, logic and evidence without wasting your time with straw men.

FIVE: making #### up does not bolster your position.

Now, a few specific notes.

any golf instructor will tell you that when you try to 'grip and rip,' you actually lose club head speed (Brandon). the baseball swing is not that different. strength is a factor, but technique is much more important. even in beer-league softball, I get way more power with a nice, easy grip than a tight one.

a motivated weightlifter who eats well, sleeps well, and trains hard, can put on 10 pounds a year pretty easily (Jon Koltz) indeed -- and that's muscle. my brother can put on ten pounds of fat in four months by drinking more beer and sitting on his ass.

[Bonds] was big, barrel-chested, and extremely powerful in 1993. He may have weighted 190 in 1989. (Bill) yep. the man didn't add 20% muscle to his body in a year, he added 10% over a decade. totally unremarkable for a dedicated athlete.

unless you people think you have more inside information than actual basball players (Well) well, we do: we have Harvey, an ex-college player. he noted that he and a lot of his colleagues used -- and said, the one really common thread among all of us who shot up was that we were constantly in the trainer's room for tendon/ligament/hamstring injuries Bonds, on the other hand, has been almost preternaturally durable compared to the Larry Walker and Ken Griffeys of this world, not to mention the broken-down 'roid carcasses of Caminiti and Canseco. count the DL days, baby.

it seems many of you have yet to acknowledge that steroids is even a problem in today's game (Well) we ignore it because it is not germane to the subject of whether Bonds is taking them. you, on the other hand, have yet to acknowledge that there is zero positive evidence that Bonds is on them.

i have already quoted a medical doctor (in an earlier post) saying that it is almost impossible for players to amass this much muscle without the use of steroids (Well) first, try to remember that when you say, 30 lbs of muscle in a relatively short period of time that you are making #### up. Bonds has put on thirty pounds in fifteen years, not five months. second, one interesting article I found in about five seconds of looking is a recent overview of anabolic doping at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=10932810&dopt=Abstract which says, "the majority of 'evidence' concerning the efficacy of anabolic steroids as performance enhancing agents is anecdotal."

huh.

I doubt Bonds aim increased simply because i see no reason why (TSK) er.. practice? oh, wait, there's another reason -- he had a chronic tendon injury repaired in 1999. which, it stands to reason, might improve his aim. and all Bonds's numbers start to go up in 2000. look, an alternate explanation that fits all the data. remember what happened to Bill when he had his tendon injury repaired: I gained a great deal of strength and stability when the injury was repaired all without steroids -- imagine that.

adding a bunch of muscle.. should have caused an increase in bat speed (TSK) no, not necessarily. great bat speed doesn't come from raw muscle strength, but from a highly efficient swing. how far can you jump? say five feet. you weigh 190, right? if you could transfer that same energy to a two-pound bat, you'd have great bat speed without adding a lick of muscle.

'99 season was the power season.. would mean Bonds bat speed increased er, no. two words: sweet spot. leave your bat speed unchanged, and hit on the sweet spot instead of an inch away, and voila -- more power. look: http://www.npl.uiuc.edu/~a-nathan/pob/honors-talk-00/sld020.htm on top of that, there is evidence that the physiological sweet spot that 'feels right' is an inch from the spot of maximum hit ball speed (next slide). maybe Bonds figured this out. maybe his aim got better after surgery. maybe his swing got more efficient, too. lots of possibilities that don't involve juice of any sort.

if anybody truly believes these two (and many others) aren't using you're in a serious state of denial (XRU) hey, they might be. what I really and truly believe is that if Bonds is using, it has not helped him at the plate. as I put it in my first post: it doesn't matter if he is, because there's no plausible mechanism whereby juice increased Bonds's obp and power. disagree? convince me: how?

there is more than likely a reason people are using them--because it enhances performance (Well) sure, there's a reason -- because as the article I cited notes, "despite the lack of conclusive evidence, steroids users will continue to hold the view that their effects are efficacious." but are they? just because anabolics help you lift more weight, do they make you a better hitter? have you got a controlled study? have you got any evidence at all?

No evidence, no logic, no study.. well, you do have an awful lot of rumor, innuendo, and hearsay. Congratu-freakin-lations. With that you will convincce everyone who wants to believe you in the first place.
   34. Bill Posted: February 28, 2003 at 02:35 AM (#609039)
Selectivity improvement described as "waiting for the pitch that the batter can hit very very hard" is not at all uncommon in the older fantastic players.

Hank Aaron's had his highest HR/AB ratio when he was 39.
Ted Williams was .004 off his career high slugging percentage at 38.
Willie Mays had his career high in walks at age 40 (the only year he ever broke 100).

They get smarter as they get older.

New issue: Another thing that is often forgotten in looking at player performances is what is going on in their personal lives.

The Bonds divorce occurred in 1994 and stayed in court for about 6 years or longer. How much of a distraction was it? How unhappy was he about it? He got married again in 1999 or so and appears to be drawing strength and purpose from that relationship. I was thinking about this because Bobby Bonds (Barry's father) has been diagnosed with lung cancer. He had a cancerous tumor in his kidney (or on) removed last year.

In addition, Bonds has the Pac Bell pump. It's easier to motivate when you sell out almost every home game.

There are just so many variables affecting Bonds performance it's impossible to explain the past, much less predict the future accurately. I have rooted for Barry because he seems to be completely dedicated to being the best he can be and I think he's achieved that goal.
   35. Srul Itza Posted: March 01, 2003 at 02:35 AM (#609054)
It's not the steroids. It's the swing. Joe says so.

Jamison(Fair Lawn, NJ): Hi Joe, I like to compare my swing to pros. Which ones do you think have the nicest overall swings? I like Piazza's, but is he a good choice? Thanks

Joe Morgan: Barry Bonds! It's the most effective! There are a lot with nice swings but Barry's is so short, quick and powerful.

Joe Morgan, one of the smartest baseball players of all time, knows everything about everything, so he's right and you're wrong.

Glad I could clear that up for you.
   36. Bill Posted: March 01, 2003 at 02:35 AM (#609055)
It's the swing plus the brain plus the muscle memory and experience.

X-Roid User, I want to know about the growth hormone. I believe it's mass marketed, so I guess it's not illegal, and if it doesn't have harmful side effects, I want to take it. Seriously. In fact, if any of these drugs don't have harmful side effects, I don't know why they'd be illegal anyway.
   37. Barry Bonds Posted: March 02, 2003 at 02:35 AM (#609064)
I say, "Go ahead and throw as hard as you can."

The catcher is going to catch it, and I'm going to catch the ball with my bat and let the pitcher supply the power.

http://espn.go.com/gammons/s/2003/0301/1516711.html
   38. Steve Posted: March 02, 2003 at 02:35 AM (#609074)
I just want to point out that the website mentioned above, where it seems everybody is getting the weights ( http://www.baseballplayamerica.com/page3.html ) also claims that Bonds grew an inch from '97 to '98, from 6'1" to 6'2".

Also, 1999 was the year that Bonds had the elbow surgery. He got injured in the middle of April and missed about 2 months. At the time, the trainers said that the injury was from a cumulative effect of wear and tear on the elbow.
   39. Steve Posted: March 03, 2003 at 02:35 AM (#609081)
I just checked some old baseball cards, and Bonds was listed at 6'1" 190 from his rookie year in '86 to '97. In '98 his vitals jumped to 6'2" 206 and his weight has gone up about 5 pounds a year since then to 228 in 2002.

It looks to me like the Giants started updating player weights annually in 1998, so I doubt he was really 190 in 1997. This makes his weight gain look much more reasonable.
   40. Bill Posted: March 03, 2003 at 02:36 AM (#609098)
I just checked some old baseball cards, and Bonds was listed at 6'1" 190 from his rookie year in '86 to '97. In '98 his vitals jumped to 6'2" 206 and his weight has gone up about 5 pounds a year since then to 228 in 2002.

That is what I remember too, that his signing weight was 190. According to Barry Bonds he didn't start lifting weights until 1990 because before then baseball "wisdom" was that weight lifting made the hitter too inflexible. Recalling him in 1993, his most significant weight gain came between 1990 and 1993, and the biggest annual increase occurred between 1992 and 1993. Steroid bashers use only bad data and anecdotal evidence to make their case.

However, looking into growth hormone which is rather easy to obtain and doesn't have the side effects or steroids and was approved as a prescription drug in 1996, if his advisers "know" the healthy dose and frequency for a man his age (which I couldn't find, I found it for older men), it wouldn't surprise me if he took that. It wouldn't surprise me if any fairly wealthy active man approaching 40 and older took that (like, say, the President of the US). Testing for that would be a total joke.


   41. Bill Posted: March 03, 2003 at 02:36 AM (#609110)
SK, bad science, twisted logic, really bad data, a misunderstanding of statistics, in combination with clear stupidity do not help me draw any conclusions. No use in responding. Wasted breath.

You can choose to watch the best hitter you will ever see and enjoy it or you can fabricate reasons to discount his performance. Kinda like obsessing on a spot on your hand 24 hours a day.
   42. Bill Posted: March 04, 2003 at 02:36 AM (#609135)
3 home runs in 7 spring training at bats. Not gonna be a singles hitter this year.

Looks like Barry Bonds recovered his 1994 power stroke in 2000. The year 2000 power was not new. Check out his DP's. Where are the ground balls? 3 DP's in 1994 (when he wasn't walked as frequently), 6 in 2000, 5 in 2001, 4 in 2002. I note a marked decrease in DP's in Hank Aaron's 2 best slugging years (when he was 37 and 39). Barry and Hank have gotten more selective and hit more fly balls as they have gotten older.

Interestingly, Ted Williams DP rate did not go down as he aged.
   43. Bill Posted: March 05, 2003 at 02:37 AM (#609165)
I'll help here.

Refutation is pretty easy. Deny the premise.

Fact #1, beginning assumption easily refuted by denying the premise.

Barry Bonds has gained 30 lbs of muscle in his late 30s.

Barry Bonds has just entered his late 30's. I don't even know if he's gained a pound of muscle in his late 30's. He's 38. He's not 40-something. Was he more muscular in 2002 than 2001? WTF would it matter? Bonds has gained probably 30 pounds of muscle since he was 20.

There's no need to go any further. For your argument you have to make up data, use bad data, and distort facts. The rest is irrelevant innuendo.


   44. wcw Posted: March 05, 2003 at 02:37 AM (#609176)
from an email I sent to TSK in a vain attempt to stop the madness:

One: why is Bonds so freakin' good?
- improved OBP
- improved AVG
- improved SLG
OBP mostly from walks
- excellent eyesight
- excellent ability to track pitches
- excellent knowledge of strike zone
- excellent selectivity
- pitcher fear, IBB
- star power effect on umps
AVG, add to above..
- swings mostly at good pitches
- great timing and aim
- few Ks, popups, foulouts
SLG, add to above..
- consistent sweetspot contact
- consistent HR trajectory
- superb bat speed

Two: should we consider anabolics?
OBP no
AVG maybe
- what if >bat speed => >BABIP?
- check bat speed
SLG maybe
- certain that >bat speed => >power
- check bat speed

Anabolics help you increase muscle mass. They cannot possibly have helped almost all the things that probably account for Bonds's performance surge, though they might have helped him increase bat speed. So, check bat speed!

spring 1993
- obsessive fan doing frame-by-frame analysis
- Bonds was fastest in the game in '92 or before
- along with McGwire, Griffey, Sheffield, and a few others
1999 McGwire article
- McGwire now faster.. by a grand 1mph or so
- bunched in upper 90s with Bonds, Sosa and Belle

Fit evidence?
- TSK found power surge starting in 1999
- no significant bat speed increase at that point
- empirically denied

But I know he's juiced, I just know it!
- no strength increase in other areas (foot speed, throwing arm)
- no objective standard for assessing any player

..and on and on and on..

Those who believe here remind me of monks chanting the trths of their faith. I'm all for religious freedom, but as the bumper sticker says:

don't pray in my school, and I won't think in your church.
   45. Comic Strip Person Posted: March 06, 2003 at 02:37 AM (#609200)
If a cop sees you staggering into your automobile, driving erratically, what is he going to do? Now in your world, he would insist to himself, well, I have no HARD EVIDENCE that this man is drunk, I will let him go. In the REAL WORLD, he would argue, that you were drunk, proceed to stop you, give you a breathalyzer and if positive, arrest you

Apparently you've been missing many of our points.

No one is saying that because we don't have anything beyond visual evidence that we will never be able to conclude that Bonds used steroids. We're saying that in order to conclude that Bonds used steroids, we need more evidence. So in our world, we would go do the breathalyzer. If we couldn't do the breathalyzer, then we wouldn't arrest him.
In your world, you would. You see something, can't test it, but assume it's true anyway, when in fact, it's possible that he has a sprained ankle or something else is contributing to his staggering. But in your world, he's drunk because it looks like he's drunk. Even though you don't have a breathalyzer, you arrest him. You don't have a "breathalyzer" for Bonds. But you are insisting for a fact that he is drunk.
   46. wcw Posted: March 06, 2003 at 02:38 AM (#609224)
</i></b></a>
yeah, that abstract was a little much. here's a more balanced view:
http://rphr.endojournals.org/cgi/content/full/57/1/411

The term "anabolic steroids" refers to testosterone derivatives that are used either clinically or by athletes for their anabolic properties. However, scientists have questioned the anabolic effects of testosterone and its derivatives in normal men for decades. Most scientists concluded that anabolic steroids do not increase muscle size or strength in people with normal gonadal function and have discounted positive results as unduly influenced by positive expectations of athletes, inferior experimental design, or poor data analysis. There has been a tremendous disconnect between the conviction of athletes that these drugs are effective and the conviction of scientists that they aren?t. In part, this disconnect results from the completely different dose regimens used by scientists to document the correction of deficiency states and by athletes striving to optimize athletic performance. Recently, careful scientific study of suprapharmacologic doses in clinical settings - including aging, human immunodeficiency virus, and other disease states - supports the efficacy of these regimens. However, the mechanism by which these doses act remains unclear.

however, the only study I've seen of hgh supplementation indicates that the increased mass you gain doesn't increase strength:
http://www.kurtis.it/en/mags/jei/1999_05.cfm#17
The anabolic properties of growth hormone (GH) have been investigated extensively. The effects of GH on normal, hypertrophied and atrophied muscles have been studied previously in animal experiments that demonstrated an increase in muscle weight and size, but no comparable increase in performance or tension. In adults with GH deficiency, the changes in body composition can be corrected by GH treatment; lean body mass and strength increase within a few months. In children with GH deficiency, Turner?s syndrome or intrauterine growth retardation, an increase in muscle tissue is seen after treatment with GH. In acromegalics with longstanding GH hypersecretion, the muscle volume is increased, but muscle strength and performance are not improved. These observations gave rise to the interest shown by healthy subjects and athletes in using GH to increase their muscle mass and strength. The improvements in muscle strength obtained by resistance exercise training in healthy older men or young men were not enhanced by additional administration of GH. The larger increases in fat-free mass observed in the GH-treated groups were obviously not due to accretion of contractile protein, but rather to fluid retention or accumulation of connective tissue. In experienced weightlifters, the incorporation of amino acids into skeletal muscle protein was not increased and the rate of whole body protein breakdown was not decreased by short-term administration of GH. The results of a study in power athletes confirm the results of these investigations. The study used GH treatment in power athletes compared with a placebo-control group, and the results indicated no increase in maximal strength during concentric contraction of the biceps and quadriceps muscles, although levels of insulin-like growth factor-I were doubled. In highly trained power athletes with low fat mass and high lean body mass, no additional effect of GH treatment on strength is to be expected.
   47. Bill Posted: March 07, 2003 at 02:38 AM (#609229)
The larger increases in fat-free mass observed in the GH-treated groups were obviously not due to accretion of contractile protein, but rather to fluid retention or accumulation of connective tissue.

If this connective tissue is growing in the right place, my shoulders, knees, and ankles are seriously considering growth hormone. That would certainly be a help to injury prone older ball players.
   48. Bill Posted: March 08, 2003 at 02:39 AM (#609314)
xroid user

try that post again
please.
   49. wcw Posted: April 17, 2003 at 01:58 AM (#610422)
this article should almost certainly be appended both to the original article and the largely-unrelated subsequent spat: http://www.mensjournal.com/feature/0305/barrybonds.html

it includes an overview of Bonds's workout history, which apparently has changed dramatically twice in his career: once in 1993, when he began working out intensively for the first time, and again in 1998, when he consciously added more strength training to his regimen.

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