Hamm on Bonds
Let's agree that Barry Bonds is a dink. He's rude, bristly, unlikeable, smug, and boorish. He is also an unparalleled talent, a sure Hall-of-Famer, and a freak of nature even without performance-enhancing substances. I will jump right on the "crucify Bonds" bandwagon just as soon as anyone can demonstrate that steroids actually contribute to higher home run totals.
Yeah, you heard me right. Provide some A+B=C evidence and I'll get on board. We seem to be missing the fact that such evidence is entirely lacking. It's like the "missing link;" we just keep on theorizing, under the assumption that someone, somewhere down the line, will provide the evidence we have already decided is out there to be found.
Steroids and such things as Human Growth Hormone increase muscle mass and quicken recovery from injuries. That's it. Someone please explain how steroids do any of the following:
- Improve hand-eye coordination
- Study a pitcher's tendencies
- Read the rotation of a pitch
- Practice in the batting cage
- Improve stance
- Improve swinging form
- Choose a pitch to swing at
- Improve plate discipline
- Get batters on base ahead of you
- Wind the ball tighter
- Shorten the distance to the outfield walls
- Expand the league, watering down pitching talent
- Coach and manage
- Provide years of support from family and friends
- Take you back in time and make you start practicing at age six
Why? Because strength increases velocity and faster healing increases durability. These young players told me that the Hulk isn't going to hit any home runs, and that his musclebound form restricts his speed on the basepaths and defensive agility. But even the wildest pitcher who throws 97 miles per hour due to increased muscle is going to be drafted high and paid a lot; they'll always think they can straighten out your mechanics.
I'm not saying legalize steroids, even though several of my young pitcher students argued that point with passion and youthful short-sightedness. But I'm trying to figure out where we all started assuming that the only thing you need to hit the ball farther is more muscle?