Thursday, February 12, 2004

I wonder how this BALCO controversy will affect Barry Bonds. (BALCO was the outfit that provided Bonds with his 'nutritional supplements' these last few years--its leaders have just been indicted along with Bonds' personal trainer.)

On the one hand, he's an extremely smart hitter, very selective at the plate, etc. etc. At the same time, he's enormously strong, and a much bigger guy than when he was a young player with the Pirates. (Look at the old pictures, it's like a different person.) I can't imagine that the inevitable circus atmosphere will distract him much--last year he managed to play through his father's painful death from cancer, and compared with that, I doubt an investigation into one's personal trainer would be a distraction. So mentally I think he'll be fine.
Physically, though, I wonder how his body will respond now that his supply of steroids, oops I mean nutritional supplements or human growth hormone or whatever he calls it, has been cut off. Maybe he's got somebody else providing him with the juice and it won't make any difference. But I wouldn't be surprised if it's a little tougher for him to fist balls over the right field fence or if his body breaks down a little more frequently this season. If the intimidation factor starts to slip, he may not be able to be as selective at the plate... I predict 35-40 dingers.

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