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.
So...is 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?