Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Imagine That

Someone uttered the phrase "rude awakening" at work yesterday. And because of my freakish brain wiring, my thoughts immediately drifted to the finishing maneuver of Ravishing Rick Rude, one of the greatest heels in WWF history. Then I had an odd thought...

Barry Bonds turns 41 years old in July. And trailing The Bambino by only 11 homeruns, he'll probably pass the immortal Babe in baseball's record books sometime before then, perhaps around that time if he's still hurt when this upcoming season starts. That'll put Barry just 41 homeruns behind one of his idols, Hank Aaron, a task well within reach by season's end given his post-millenial totals. But Barry's homerun performance of the past three seasons (46, 45, 45) indicates he'll most likely hit that goal in April or May of the 2006 season, just before his 42nd birthday.

Now let us assume for argument sake that Barry had been ingesting steroids pretty regularly for three or four years, which seems like a safe bet considering he's admitted to using performance-enchancing drugs in the past, albeit unknowingly. Let us also assume that despite not knowing the long-term effects of relatively new drugs like Human Growth Hormone, the cream and the clear and all the other new cocktails designed in the BALCO lab, they're probably still pretty harmful to one's health -- maybe as harmful as anabolics, maybe worse. And let us finally assume Barry hits only 40+ homeruns this season and needs the extra month or two of next season to pass Hammerin' Hank. it possible in the offseason before his 42nd birthday, or some other time before he hits 755, maybe tomorrow, is it possible that the guy gunning for the all-time homerun crown could die from sudden heart failure or another steroids-related defect?

You know, Bonds sitting on 750 with a trip to Colorado coming up, and then reports come that "he just never woke up this morning." I mean, could you even imagine how unbelievably tragic that would be, or how enormous the media circus would become? The world might implode.

The really strange part of this thought is, it's not entirely outside the realm of possibilities. The national symbol of steroid abuse, former All Pro defensive end Lyle Alzado, died at the age of 43. And according to a Real Sports investigation, more than 60 professional wrestlers under the age of 45 have died since 1998, capping off the "juiced" era of WWF-style wrestling.

Obvious Juice Monster/British Bulldog Davey Boy Smith died of a sudden heart attack at 39. Brian Pillman died of heart failure at 35. The master of the Perfect Plex, Curt Henning, died of, what else, heart failure at 44. One of my all-time favorites Hercules Hernandez died at 46, Road Warrior Hawk at 45, and most recently, Cobb County's finest, the Big Boss Man at 42 (Miss Elizabeth also died recently at age 42, but that was under far different circumstances).

And Ravishing Rick Rude died in 1999 at the ripe ol' age of 41. Sad, sad shit. All these wrestlers actually gave their lives for Vincent K. McMahon's, Ted Turner's and Paul Heyman's squared circles.

Here's the portion of this post where I concede some shit: Could Barry wake up tomorrow, come to work and get hit by a bus on the way? Sure. Could those wrestlers and Alzado (and others like Ken Caminiti) have died from poor genetics, sports-related internal injuries and/or drug use other than steroids? Absolutely. Could HGH and the new BALCO drugs not be as bad for you as anabolic steroids? Of course.

But whose to say Bonds never even took anabolic steroids...he never once took a test, and who knows if he's lying or not? Look at this picture of Bonds from a decade-plus ago and then look at this one. That's just abnormal, no? That can't be healthy. I'm not saying he's guilty of anything, especially since steroids weren't even illegal until recently, it's just abnormal human body growth for a man in his late 30s. And I really don't even care if he's been juicing, just pointing out the health problems of some other well-known steroids abusers.

(By the way, doesn't the best circumstantial evidence lie with the hat and helmet makers? Why can't they track down his hat and helmet size from the early '90s and compare that to today's sizes? If steroids really do make your head grow big like Sheldon Williams, let's see what the deal is.)

Anyway, this is a pretty morbid post, so I'm just gonna bow out here. This is quite possbily my weirdest post on this here blog, predicting the sudden death of one of baseball's most immortal mortals. Anyone wanna start a pool?


At 11:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just want to thank you for bringing up Ravishing Rick Rude, a wrestling personality who no doubt instilled a sense of mischief and a bit of swagger to our generation. I had no idea he had perished, but my admiration for him has not decreased. As should be the case with all things wrestling, blame McMahon. Do you know what's up with Bam Bam Bigelow?

At 12:31 PM, Blogger poophopanonymous22 said...

first off, holy shit, big boss man is dead??????? nobody, and i mean NOBODY, could wield a night stick like that man, god rest his soul

and nobody could slap gum they spit out of their mouth like mr perfect, god rest his soul too. damn, wrestling used to be supah sweet

At 12:49 PM, Blogger Ace Cowboy said...

First things first...Anon. poster, I have inquired as to the whereabouts of one Scott "Bam Bam Bigelow," but I have very little information for you. I would assume he is hanging out at the Asbury Park arcades playing Skee-ball for a living.

Poophop, you're right about both character traits you mentioned -- The Big Boss Man was the man with that nightstick, and I don't know a single person who looked better than Henning with the gum spit. I always tried that shiite. henning was a big tool, and Boss Man lost his luster towards the end of it all, but they're still legends in the biz.

People poke fun at professional wrestling, but it's possibly the greatest entertainment on the planet when it's at the top of its game (80s Hogan/Andre era and late 90s Rock/Austin/Triple H era).

Diversion extraordinaire. ECW was the best though, totally sucks that the WWF bought their souls.

At 2:18 PM, Anonymous Greg said...

The facts seem to be a little flawed here. Caminiti's death was an overdose. The only person that ever attempted to link Alzado's brain cancer to steroid use was amateur doctor Lyle Alzado. There has never been a study done on the long-term effects of steroid use anyway (to the best of my knowledge), so I'm not sure what it means for these new designer drugs to have the same long-term effects. And as a final note (and not a defense of Barry or to suggest that I believe him), Barry didn't admit to taking steroids/THG etc. unknowingly, he testified that he took a clear substance that he believed was flaxseed oil and used a cream to help his arthritis, both given to him by Anderson. Whether or not these were the now infamous "cream" and "clear", I don't believe Barry claims to know even now... certainly that is the conclusion reached by most though.

At 2:19 PM, Blogger poophopanonymous22 said...

yeah ecw was awesome, although i didnt get into balls mahnoey and the rest of the gang until very late in the game, right before wwf bought them

can someone tell me what the deal is with espnu, do i need directv to get it??? bueller, bueller?? and y are they making "the station's signature face and studio host" that douchebag mike hall??

At 2:47 PM, Blogger Ace Cowboy said...

Greg, obviously the whole post is one giant case of speculation and potential slander. So I won't debate facts and such (I'll grant you that Caminiti OD'ed, which is why I only included him as an afterthought).

I was merely pointing out a dangerous pattern of premature death among people that are known or believed to have taken steroids on a fairly regular basis. While the few facts you picked out could be flawed, there's no denying that all those wrestlers died before the age of 45, all of sudden heart failure, and all believed to be on the juice. The deaths are fact.

Look, you can say Barry never took anabolic steroids. But if you believe that he only took those two substances, and did so unknowingly, then that's just silly and naive. Only one or two times in my life have I ingested something without asking specifically what it was, even if it was a close friend, and on those occasions I figured it out pretty fucking quickly when my senses were heightened and I got all tingly when someone touched me.

Moving on to ECW, poophop -- I've been to two live ECW events in my life, and they were both incredible. One was the Hardcore Heaven PPV with Donnie and some other peeps, the other was in the tiny Aragon Ballroom (which was televised on TNN). At the ECW/TNN show, you can see me giving CW Anderson the finger as he battles Rob Van Dam, and then you can see the moment I bent down to take a one-y in honor of RVD-420. Ahh, I miss the old days.

At 4:44 PM, Blogger ethan said...

which cager has the most unfortunate head?

(a) sheldon williams
(b) charlie villanueva
(c) sam cassell
(d) gheorges murhesan (sp?)

vote early, vote often.

At 5:23 PM, Blogger Ace Cowboy said...

First off, Ethan, excellent use of "cager."

That said, this isn't even a contest. Sheldon Williams looks like he drank some of Mr. Burns' famed Nerve Tonic...his gigantic head is rivaled only by Griffey's cartoonish dome in that episode.

No contest -- answer, A.

At 9:46 AM, Blogger ethan said...

agreed. but i honestly think villanueva is an extra terrestrial. his hairless eyebrows stick out further than his nose. very bizarre.

At 10:02 AM, Anonymous Greg said...

Ace, like I said, I wasn't taking a position on the veracity of any of what Barry is saying, I was just pointing out that it's not accurate to say that he admitted to using steroids unknowingly (and god knows I've read it in many major publications too), because it doesn't appear that that's what he actually admitted to. As far as the premature deaths of wrestlers goes, if you accept that many many baseball players and other athletes have used steroids for some time as well, doesn't it seem curious that these premature deaths seem so prevalent among wrestlers and not so much other athletes? That might suggest that the problem may not necessarily be with the steroid use itself but with the specific "steroid programs" of the WWF and the wrestling industry...or perhaps it's even possible that it has little to do with steroid use and there is in fact some other aspect(s) of the wrestling industry that increases the probability of heart problems.... the incredibly hectic schedule of what was largely anaerobic activity (matches were much shorter in the 80s if I remember correctly) couldn't have helped much...

At 10:14 AM, Blogger Ace Cowboy said...

Ethan, Villanueva reminds me of the cast of Cats when I see him. Not sure why, but it's true.

Greg, I'm not following you on the Bonds thing. What do you mean he didn't admit to taking using steroids unknowingly? How is that not accurate? He didn't tell a grand jury that he used two BALCO steroids without knowing they were steroids? Yes he did (he tried to fuck him!). And to even believe that lie is just silly. Of course he knew what he was taking. Done, end of story.

As for the wrestlers deaths/steroids thing, I see your point there, it may be due to regimen and such. But it also might be due to the fact that wrestlers started the 'roids programs about 7-10 years earlier than baseball players, and who knows, maybe athletes will start dying en masse over the next few years as the steroids catch up. I doubt it, but it's possible.

Although I sincerely doubt that short matches had much to do with this many heart failures.

At 10:39 AM, Blogger ethan said...

ace, i think greg's point is that bonds has never admitted to taking steroids knowingly or unknowingly. he said he took some stuff but has been adamnant (is that a word?) in refusing to acknowledge these were roids. i know you, and i (and greg i presume) and the whole world think he juiced but since he stands firm on the "fact" that what he took was NOT steroids (however retarded this claim is) it can't be said that he admitted to unknowingly taking steroids.

that's what makes the whole bonds thing so funny to me, that he has either convinced himself into believing whatever he took could in no way be a steroid, or that he thinks he knows enough of the science on the matter to refute what the BALCO scientists say was in the stuff he took.

as for the wrestlers deaths - i'd say they were roid related, but like you said they started earlier so maybe had less healthy options. also, maybe they took more, because those dudes were waaay bigger than mlb-ers...

At 11:30 AM, Blogger Ace Cowboy said...

OK, fair enough. He really hasn't admitted that what he took unkowingly was steroids? I honestly didn't know Bonds was that delusional. Seriously, that's totally ridicurous on his part then (the rines are crossed).

I can't believe this post actually started a debate of any kind, as frivilous as it may be!

At 9:28 PM, Anonymous price per head said...

haha I cannot just imagine that but also feel how it is because at work some of my co-workers have done the same thing too


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