We've always been suspect of the Spring Training claims of a new-found diet, rededication to the weight room, yoga, Pilates, etc. The NY Times George Vescey has a long tome on the subject today:
Baseball clubhouses seem to be getting bigger this spring, with more room to move around. Or maybe the players are becoming smaller.
Out of the roughly 1,000 major leaguers in spring training camps, a couple of dozen appear to have lost significant weight in the off-season, all in the name of health and agility.
Some of them did it by eating grilled fish. Others played active video games with their children. Some went on diet programs or took up yoga. Others cut back on alcohol. Whatever they did, clubhouse attendants are coming up with smaller uniforms all over Florida and Arizona.
Among the biggest losers are Brett Myers and Ryan Howard of the championship Phillies, who lost 30 and 20 pounds. Yankees relief pitcher Brian Bruney, Mr. Avant-Garde himself, shed 25 pounds before last season by giving up beer and eating healthy food. He has slimmed down another 10 this year, and essentially does not look like the same person.
Vescey landed a good quote from a damn reputable source:
“You have to be a little skeptical, given the context of watching bodies change,” Dr. Gary Wadler, an internist and member of the World Anti-Doping Agency, said Thursday. “The explanation then was that they were eating more and working out more. Now if you hear players say, ‘We changed our ways,’ all you can do is be suspicious.”And that's all we're left with, as fans: suspicion. We can't assume all players are clean, just as we can't assume all players are dirty. Can we really put all our chips on Pujols, Jeter, Wright, Sizemore, Longoria, Howard, Utley? I think the only way we can get to a place where we, the fans, can have a greater degree of confidence in the testing program is if they start TODAY taking, testing and storing blood. There are questions that blood testing/storing open up, but that can be addressed some other time. I can see this being a major issue when the CBA next expires.