Sunday, March 12, 2006

Mike Lupica: A Tale Of Two Juicers

Another piece about the Bonds/Giambi steroids saga, this time by Mike Lupica. I'm just going to point to some excerpts and give my take on them:

These paragraphs are the kind of thing we need to hear more from the media, rather than everyone just kissing Giambi's fanny:

We now hear all about Giambi's new training program, and his new trainer, some guy named Mark Philippi, a former World's Strongest Man competitor who looks as if he could pull a Jeep Cherokee down the street with his teeth, right before he tries to bench press Legends Field. We are supposed to believe everything now with Giambi is so clean it's as if he's been greened.
Of course, we are now in the brave new world of drug testing in baseball. But that is a world in which no player can be tested for human growth hormones, which only shows up in some blood testing, but not all. It is the same world in which you could conceivably back up hGH with enough testosterone-producing drugs to keep you from triggering a positive test in a urine sample, and pass a urine test with flying colors. Looking sharp and feeling sharp.

But here's where I think Lupica is way, way off:

According to the new book "Game of Shadows," Bonds did not tell anything close to the truth about steroids when he appeared before the BALCO grand jury in December of 2003. According to the same coverage in the San Francisco Chronicle that produced this book, Jason Giambi did tell the truth.
For now, that is the only difference between them, other than the fact that Giambi comes across as a much better guy, and was healthy enough to have a much better year than Bonds did. But Giambi is supposed to be in the clear now — though not the kind of steroid "clear" that Bonds is alleged to have used like body lotion — and Bonds is the one in a world of trouble. Unless, and until, he starts hitting the ball over the wall again.
Maybe Bonds really does think that if he can stay standing long enough to do that, he will get the same kind of cheers and coverage as a big comebacker that Giambi got, and is frankly still getting.

First, that line about the "clear" makes me cringe. Plus, if Lupica or Bonds think that Barry will win fans over by having a good season, they've gotta be crazy. The better Bonds does, the closer he gets to baseball immortality. The jeers will become louder, and the outcry nastier. Outside of San Fran, Bonds will get the Rafael Palmeiro treatment, if not worse.

Giambi's approach to coming back worked: get hot again, hit some big homers, and make the fans love you all over again. Bonds can't do that. Not when the Babe and Hank Aaron are within striking distance.

If Bonds wants some love from the fans, he oughta quit while he's behind. Because things will only get uglier from here.

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