Tuesday, April 18, 2006

High Heat

“We ignored what now seems obvious about McGwire and dozens of other hitters in the late '90s,” wrote Klosterman. “McGwire looked like a bipedal Clydesdale swinging an elm tree; he was somehow far stronger at age 34 than he had been 10 years before.”

Add in some comments about Barry’s big head, the profusion of 50-homer seasons, and a ‘chicks dig the long ball’ jibe, and you’ve summed up the standard indictment of the steroid craze.

Not so fast.

Five minor league players received suspensions today for performance enhancing substances. Four of the five were pitchers: 21-year-old Diamondbacks lefthander Angel Rocha; 21-year-old Mets righthander Jorge Reyes (pictured at left); 22-year-old Angels righthander Karl Gelinas (yes, he’s from Quebec); and 24-year-old Padres righthander Matt Varner.

Performance enhancement isn’t just about muscle mass, although the propulsive force surging from Dontrelle Willis’s thighs is evidence enough of the benefit that weight training can offer pitchers. It’s also about reducing recovery time and increasing endurance – both benefits thought to be on offer from steroids and other banned substances such as amphetamines and HGH.

Before we get back to the Bonds watch, which will no doubt resume when the first homer of the season splashes down into McCovey Cove, let's hear some of the critics nominate their favourite candidates for Juiced Pitcher of the 90s, and call to have their Ks and Ws stricken from the record book. It would be a refreshing change of pace.


At 6:20 PM, Blogger Andy Grabia said...

Why would the Angels suspend Gelinas? With a name like that, he is clearly destined to get some clutch strikeouts and take the Angels to the World Series.


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