?Does my a** look fat in these jeans??
I?ve never said those words. The cliché feared by every man is seldom uttered by any man, outside those headcases and Red Sox you see on ***** Eye. (As an aside, if someone showed up and said they were going to make you look better and give you a bunch of free stuff, wouldn?t your first thought be more akin to ?I won the lottery!? than it would be ?I?m going to kill my so-called friends!??)
What I don?t look like ? and I imagine my *** doesn?t either ? is what I looked like when I was playing ball. That?s right, I played this game; not very well or very far, but my 5?10, 230 pound current set of circumstances is not only unhealthy and unattractive, it?s unnecessary. For the last year of my life, I followed the trail of steroids and supplements around the game of baseball and chronicled this in my book ?The Juice: The Real Story of Baseball?s Drug Problems.? I learned a lot and after the book came out, I kept learning.
I met people that taught me a lot and people that scared me, on both sides of the issue. Still, there was one phrase that stuck with me: ?Give me six weeks and I?d have you in the best shape of your life.? Those words were the last thing that ?Dr. X?, the chemist I profiled in ?The Juice? said to me and while they chilled me to the core, they also echoed in my mind every time I looked in the mirror.
If I could consider taking his advice and whatever he?d give me, how could I fault the athletes that consider taking steroids? There?s little financial gain for me comparatively. Maybe I?d be healthier, need less coffee, need a new pair of jeans, or look better on TV, but that?s about it. I?m like you, a guy who sits in his chair in front of his computer a bit more than he should, who watches way more baseball than he should, and is, when it comes to exercise, flat lazy. I don?t want to get up early and hop on the elliptical. I?d much rather have a Big Mac than a salad. I?d rather have Snickers than celery.
And I?d rather have Scotch than water. I had both in my glass, more of the former, when I found myself sitting in the lobby of the Wyndham Anatole. Alan Schwarz, the great sportswriter from Baseball America and the New York Times had stopped by to talk to a mutual friend and sat with myself, James Click and Joe Sheehan of Baseball Prospectus, as well as Brad Wochomurka of BP Radio and a few others who I?ll protect with some anonymity. We?d been sipping Scotch and talking baseball a table over from Mike Scioscia, Joe Maddon, and last year?s Angels coaching staff when Alan came by and, in the course of conversation, started me thinking.
?Someone should take steroids for a year and write about it,? I remember him saying. It?s a bit out of context and I?m sure not word for word, but the idea was there. A couple calls the next week told me that publishers would be interested in just such a book. ?A natural followup to ?The Juice?,? one told me. Another quickly made an offer.
Just one problem. I don?t want to take steroids, even for a six-figure advance. Now, you?ll need to read the book to find my position on steroids, an admittedly complex one, especially given the last year. I spent much of that year questioning the effectiveness of steroids in baseball, so if I were to suddenly start taking them cosmetically, where they are proven to be effective, it would send the wrong message.
So I?ve decided to do what I should have been doing all along and combining it with my quest to bring out the truth ? the real truth ? about steroids and supplements. I would spend a year using the most advanced legal technology to bring my weight down, my strength up, my cardio to a solid level, and most importantly, prove that steroids aren?t needed to make the type of gains that we?ve all secretly wondered about.
I?ll take the next year of my life as a quest to do what I should have been doing all along ? staying in shape ? and also conducting a bit of an experiment. I?ll use what I?ve learned in researching steroids and supplements for good, not evil. I?ll have goals, talk to professionals, chemists, trainers, doctors, gurus, wackos, and whoever else could help this process along.
And I?ll write about it.
I?ll have goals for fat loss, weight, strength, power, cardiac endurance, and muscle building. I?ll guarantee that I won?t be a major league caliber ball player at the end of this, but I do think we?ll have a much better idea on what a world-class athlete with resources far beyond mine could do. I?ll be calling in favors, looking for suggestions, and in the end, I?ll succeed.
That?s right ? I?ll guarantee success.
How can I do that? I have a year. One year, starting on February 1 and not a day more. Who knows what I?ll do if I get desperate? It should be an interesting ride.