Sunday, 6 May 2012

The clean Albert Pujols is much smaller, thinner, weaker than the Pujols we remember

The obvious difference in Albert Pujols is his size. I don’t watch baseball ever since the Expos left Montréal, so I’m no expert, but this gives me a perspective that baseball fans may not have, in that they may have seen him shrink gradually and not noticed. To me, to see the way he looks now compared to when he was unavoidable on SportsCentre, and when I didn’t have a PVR and couldn’t skip over baseball and basketball, is qualitatively different. His arms, his shoulders and traps and backs, he used to look like a block of granite. Now he’s a lean, slim guy. Even his face, he used to have a comic book superhero face, with muscles in his neck and jaw that were prominent. No longer, I hardly recognized a picture of him in the dugout in his Angels uni.
During the steroid scandal five years ago or so, there were people holding him as an example of a player who was naturally, cleanly huge and powerful, and doubters were shouted down. He was one of the good guys, the anti-Roger Clemens, the anti-Mark McGwire. He never had a ‘growth spurt’ like Barry Bonds. Yet the evidence seems to be in. Mr. Pujols seems as shrunken as Mr. Bonds does now. The coincidence that MLB has started to test for HGH this season is a detail that is hard to overlook.
It’s now impossible to ignore the possibility that a ball player is juiced, same as track stars, Olympic weightlifters, MMA fighters. Unfortunately, the sane reasonable man now has to assume that all athletes who play in sports where strength, speed and power are crucial are guilty of using performance enhancing drugs until proven innocent.

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