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Is Josh Hamilton losing weight a sign of … something?

Feb 14, 2013, 2:14 PM EDT

Josh Hamilton

I’ll preface all of this by saying that the author of the piece I am about to link, Jeff Pearlman, is fully aware that he’s throwing something of a bomb here.  That said, unlike some others people, I do not believe Pearlman is throwing a bomb for the sake of throwing a bomb. He’s not being cute or coy here and he fully acknowledges the limits of his knowledge. These are simply questions which genuinely occur to him and, whether you agree with him or not, he isn’t afraid to ask them.

He also knows fully well that I and a lot of other people are going to have a problem with this. Indeed, I talked to him online after I read it late this morning and he knows fully well that I’m gonna take issue with it. Indeed, I’ve taken enough issue with Pearlman over the years that he and have come to talk on occasion about these sorts of things, and while they haven’t done much to bridge the pretty large gap we have when it comes to PEDs in baseball, it is enough to give me comfort that he’s not just trolling and that when Pearlman does throw bombs it’s because he believes in what he’s saying, not because he simply wants to create chaos. You can decide for yourself if you think that’s worth anything, but it means at least a little something to me.

With all of that said, let’s get down to brass tacks: Pearlman looks at Josh Hamilton’s 20 pound weight loss this offseason with suspicion:

First, to be clear: I don’t know if Josh Hamilton used PEDs. I’d long assumed he hadn’t, because the idea of an ex-drug addict taking, well, drugs didn’t make much sense to me … And yet …in the modern era of baseball, with all we know and all we’ve seen and all the recent news concerning Alex Rodriguez and Gio Gonzalez and Ryan Braun and numerous others, well … I’m just not so sure we can continue to take reports like this at face value … I don’t know if Hamilton’s using. I really don’t. But one must be skeptical.

Pearlman offers examples of curious weight gain and weight loss — Pudge Rodriguez’s weight loss maybe being the most memorable example for all of us — and my inference from this anyway is that there is suspicion to be had about Josh Hamilton it’s that he lost a lot of weight just as scrutiny and testing is being ratcheted up again.

His ultimate end: for someone to ask Hamilton and others “the hard questions” about such things. I’m not sure what the hard question is. I’m not sure why weight loss is a sufficient predicate for a question and/or accusation of PED use. As we note with silliness all spring, lots of players yo-yo in weight. Are we supposed to ask them all these “hard questions?”

Heck, it’s not even about giving someone the benefit of the doubt. It’s about what in the hell is supposed to create doubt in the first place. In the past people have looked at all sorts of things to create that doubt, and half the time it’s silly. Home run totals, without reference to park size or expansion. Head size, as if we are able to measure such a thing. Back acne as if it can only be caused by steroids. Failure to prove negatives, which is something only baseball writers seem to think is an acceptable expectation. Acting out in anger as if all anger = ‘roid rage. With Pearlman, it’s weight fluctuation. That’s not enough to say anything with certainty, he says. But it’s enough to prompt more questions. We are required he says — we must! — be skeptical.

I simply can’t buy that. At some point you have to assume that the game has a strong testing program and, barring something actually indicative of PED use, take its negative results at face value. Weight loss isn’t doing it for me. I’m not sure who else besides Pearlman it should actually do it for.

  1. Old Gator - Feb 14, 2013 at 2:16 PM

    I bet he’s pregnant.

    • stlouis1baseball - Feb 14, 2013 at 2:25 PM

      He has played in Texas for several years. I have no doubt ‘W’ is responsible for this sudden weight loss.

      • historiophiliac - Feb 14, 2013 at 2:45 PM

        Well, he does unsettle the stomach…

      • skids003 - Feb 14, 2013 at 2:49 PM

        Typical of a media hack, just sling sh*t and see if some sticks.

      • Old Gator - Feb 14, 2013 at 4:38 PM

        He unsettles the stomach and, of course, he helped vitiate the food inspection bureaucracy while sucking the you-know-what of the big agricultural companies.

  2. jibzek - Feb 14, 2013 at 2:17 PM

    He’s in LA… probably on some algae/seaweed Hollywood diet?

    • cosanostra71 - Feb 14, 2013 at 2:35 PM

      No, he’s safely down here in Orange County.

      • stlouis1baseball - Feb 14, 2013 at 3:07 PM

        Hahaha! Keep fighting the good fight cosanostra! I realize this bothers you to no end.
        And it should. Stay strong!

  3. illegalblues - Feb 14, 2013 at 2:20 PM

    probably just did a bunch of crack and forgot to eat.

  4. nelsonsaint - Feb 14, 2013 at 2:20 PM

    This has the undertones of a more serious accusation. A relapse to non-performance enhancements.

    • bleedgreen - Feb 14, 2013 at 6:31 PM

      That was the first thing I thought of actually.

  5. philcokesbrain - Feb 14, 2013 at 2:23 PM

    Maybe #BSOHL could be confused with #NOPEDAM – Not On Performance Enhancing Drugs AnyMore.

    • Francisco (FC) - Feb 14, 2013 at 2:32 PM

      I like that hashtag. NOPE-DAMmit!

  6. wynams - Feb 14, 2013 at 2:28 PM

    Josh told BBTN that this was a bit of a misnomer … he actually typically puts 20lbs on in offseason after sweating in off in Arlington summers.

    This year, he did not add the weight back on in the offseason.

    Pearlman and others apparently bored at lack of any real PED news this week.

  7. alexo0 - Feb 14, 2013 at 2:28 PM

    I’m assuming that you also aren’t a fan of the recent opinions of Bill Simmons on Grantland regarding athletes and PED’s.

    • proudlycanadian - Feb 14, 2013 at 4:06 PM

      Bill Simmons? Isn’t he a commedy writer?

      • nelsonsaint - Feb 14, 2013 at 4:48 PM

        That would be funny if you spelled “comedy” correctly.

  8. kjericho43 - Feb 14, 2013 at 2:29 PM

    You make some great points Craig. Years ago, for sure weight loss raises a question. See Pudge, Giambi. Now? Why would it? There is a definite testing program the players all know about. Plus, isn’t Josh tested more often because of his past digressions as per his contract (three a week I think). He may be on roids. So may everybody in the game. Not cool to pick on one dude and just throw it out there. Journalists need to stop this behavior. Unless they have a story with evidence, stop the speculation.

  9. jibzek - Feb 14, 2013 at 2:31 PM

    Probably isn’t living off french fries and burgers in Texas. Have you seen the size of the people there? They look like a triple stacked, arby’s big beef with a side of mayo.

  10. misterchainbluelightning - Feb 14, 2013 at 2:31 PM

    Get paid, stop hurting your body by using PED’s ala Ovechkin? Possible

  11. sdelmonte - Feb 14, 2013 at 2:37 PM

    Clearly, everyone is using something. And we should all be up in arms or something.

    • stlouis1baseball - Feb 14, 2013 at 3:08 PM

      That’s what we do! Get up in arms! The outrage! The travesty! The Children!

      • historiophiliac - Feb 14, 2013 at 3:31 PM


      • abaird2012 - Feb 14, 2013 at 8:38 PM

        Rabble, rabble.

    • Uncle Charlie - Feb 14, 2013 at 5:27 PM

  12. missingdiz - Feb 14, 2013 at 2:38 PM

    Whoa, whoa, whoa. First of all, twenty pounds is not a huge amount for a guy his size. Had he added 40 lbs. of muscle over the winter, then I’d wonder. But dropping 20–no, I’ve done it without a lot of strain and I’m relatively small. I did it by cutting down on “stodge,” bread, pasta, potatoes, etc. Just say no to the bread if you’re eating a pasta dish, leave some of the potatoes, etc. Josh Hamilton of course couldn’t just do something like that because he’s Josh Hamilton and everything has to be over the top. So, he eliminates gluten. It’s too radical for me, but I’ve seen it work. A good friend, about Hamilton’s size, lost 40 pounds in a few months at age 60, without any special exercise program. Assuming Hamilton has been working out, dropping 20 pounds on a gluten-free diet is not in any way abnormal, weird or suspicious.

    • suziecue59 - Feb 14, 2013 at 2:52 PM

      You’re exactly right – 20 lbs for a guy his size is nothing. Somebody always has to have a reason to pick on Hamilton. As Bill James recently said on Club House Confidential – it’s not necessary nor appropriate. And yes, he’s drug tested 3 times a week, regardless of where he is.

      Irresponsible bullshit this is. When ya gonna call out Miggy for PED use? Don’t dare touch him, do ya?

  13. losanginsight - Feb 14, 2013 at 2:40 PM

    Lets all sit back and watch how Albert’s and Josh’s numbers shrink before our eyes.
    I can see los Jalos having the same issues as NYY in a couple years.

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Feb 14, 2013 at 3:27 PM

      Issues like winning the division every year? Being a perennial contender? Sounds about right.

  14. alang3131982 - Feb 14, 2013 at 2:46 PM

    Wait — so someone should ask the tough questions? Why the heck doesnt Pearlman ask them? Is he not a reporter? So he wrote something about asking questions when he could actually, you know ask them?

  15. Marty - Feb 14, 2013 at 2:47 PM

    I’d say that inciting Craig Calcaterra’s strong desire to write about his logical and moral superiority is a sign of breathing. So, job well done Mr Pearlman.

  16. illadelphiasphinest - Feb 14, 2013 at 2:49 PM

    Being that he stated he has completely cut caffine out of his diet which could absolutly cause a drastic loss in weight might have something to do about it. Yet nowhere is it mentioned in this story. Remember last year when he was having issues with caffine use due to him quitting tobacco??? Funny how bloggeres and the media are so quick to write an eye catching headline that they totally forget their past stories. They do anything for a click n a read. So lets accuse Hamilton who is a born again christian or whatever he his n ex addict and accuse and label his a PED user because he lost weight by cutting things out of his diet in an attempt to live a healthier life. Whoever wrote the original story is a douche n we all already know how desperate Craig is for clicks so….

    • cur68 - Feb 14, 2013 at 8:27 PM

      Craig once got a 6 page comment section out of a post about dessert 3 years ago. He’s hardly desperate for “clicks” since the topic of “cake vs pie” has not been exhausted to this day. Given that he could pretty much rehash that whole thing again any time he wanted to, what makes anyone think he’s “desperate for clicks”?

      Its been a long offseason, but this isn’t some filler post. Its a nationally known sportswriter engaging in some highly speculative and borderline slanderous opinionating. What should Craig do? Let Pearlman get away with this kind of low rent crapola?

      You must be new here if you think he’ll let this kind of thing pass without comment. Its one of the reason he’s so widely read. I expect him to do this stuff and I’d be disappointed in his writing if he didn’t.

      • stlouis1baseball - Feb 15, 2013 at 11:49 AM

        Pie over Cake. Every day of the week.

  17. natslady - Feb 14, 2013 at 3:05 PM

    Pearlman is questioning Josh Hamilton’s weight loss (20lbs), on the theory he dropped the weight because he was NOT on PEDs due to the additional testing?

    Now, to me, 20-30 pounds is not that much on a man his size. Nats’ catchers Ramos and Maldanado dropped in weight, probably due to the team “requesting” it; OTOH, Harper and Stras “bulked up”–does that mean they are using?

    LaRoche said he always comes to camp with extra weight because he drops 20 pounds during the season–and you can pretty much see that he does.

    With all respect to Pearlman, I feel that to think players lose weight so they won’t be suspected of PEDs is stretching it. I mean, wasn’t there a problem with ephedra (a weight-loss “supplement”) in what players were using it to lose weight and increase metabolism and they were dying of it? Yes, players use questionable methods, but they can go either direction on the weight thing, so to me weight loss or gain by itself is evidence of nothing.

    • historiophiliac - Feb 14, 2013 at 3:35 PM

      Yeah, but Delmon Young had to be offered $600K to lose — what? 10 lbs? Suspicious! lol

  18. halohonk - Feb 14, 2013 at 3:08 PM

    Amazing how the media can write what ever they want just to stir the pot. This guy gets tested 3x a week. Way more than anyone else in baseball and this writer brings up this bs speculation. Write about something real. Maybe something factual for a change. If Joshes power #s wall off the map then maybe jst maybe there could be some speculation. Man the guy hasnt even taken a swing yet. Give me a break. Next it will be Albert then Trout. Stop writing this crap and write something real.

  19. Matt Sneed - Feb 14, 2013 at 3:09 PM

    Get off of this guys back. Why can’t the media just believe people and the individual until they mess up. Just bc one guy is a liar, doesn’t make all guys liars

    • krispc - Feb 14, 2013 at 3:17 PM

      Just remember Josh has already messed up more than once. He has messed up at least 2 times while in TX. Thus by your logic we shouldn’t trust him since he has already messed up…

  20. unclemosesgreen - Feb 14, 2013 at 3:19 PM

    I strongly suspect that he has been living an increasingly healthy lifestyle and working out like a maniac to try and justify his new contract. Channelling the power of Popeil!

    • jrobitaille23 - Feb 14, 2013 at 4:27 PM

      right, cause nothing spells trying to live up to your contract as a power hitting lights out slugger like losing 20lbs and your power with it. The proof will be in the pudding. If like Arod, Irod, and a host of others who slimmed down for some make believe reason his numbers come down you will have your answer. And caffeine is a appetite inhibitor not the other way around.

  21. jeffa43 - Feb 14, 2013 at 3:29 PM


    You nailed it. Trout, Hamilton & Albert … Will be Trout and two huge contracts with breaking down bodies.

    On paper they look good, great… They built a farce in Anaheim.

    I’ll take the Rangers DH over Albert… Berkman (hated by mlbpa) has been screaming for years to have blood testing.

    In 3 years Houston will be a on verge of strong depth and being a perennial winner, and Anaheim will have huge payroll and never achieved the string of rings they think they are in line for.

  22. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Feb 14, 2013 at 3:29 PM

    But Josh has been forthright in admitting his other drug issues. Isn’t being forthright, according to the MSM, the ticket to the holy land?

    “If only he would admit…If only he were honest about…if he would just come clean…”

    These dudes are turkeys.

  23. randygnyc - Feb 14, 2013 at 3:43 PM

    Baseball and its players have through their own actions and in actions, lost getting the benefit of the doubt from me. Because ALL steroid users have denied their very usage, any and all indications of usage, to me, is to be considered with suspicion.

  24. somekat - Feb 14, 2013 at 3:46 PM

    I agreed with almost your whole article, until you said taht mlb has “a strong drug testing program” HGH anyone? MLB has the same program they will ALWAYS have. The bare minimum without losing thier anti-trust

  25. DelawarePhilliesFan - Feb 14, 2013 at 3:50 PM

    First – people should read the entire post, not Craigs editing

    Second – I know Jeff on a personal level (check my screen name, check Pearlman’s background….you’ll figure it out), he is a very sincere guy. And he has been on the right track far more then he has been wrong. Far more.

    • mybrunoblog - Feb 14, 2013 at 5:22 PM

      First off, nobody cares if you know Jeff Pearlman. Secondly,I like many others lost respect for Pearlman after his bizarre anti Tim Tebow hack job story a while back. Finally, you say “He has been on the right track far more than he has been wrong”. I don’t know what the “right track” is but if Pearlman is there I’m taking another train.

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - Feb 14, 2013 at 5:40 PM

        A) never post that you don’t care about something. Those who don’t care dont reply
        B) I called him very sincere. The natural rebuttal to that would be “And how would you know what he is like?”, so I pre-emptively answered
        C) he has been right about PED suspicions far more then he has been wrong

    • indaburg - Feb 14, 2013 at 7:13 PM

      Mybrunoblog didn’t say he doesn’t care about the topic. He just doesn’t care that you know him.

      Pearlman may be a great friend to you, but he’s off base insuinating that Hamilton used steroids on such flimsy evidence as a 20 lb. weight loss borders on slander. It is completely irresponsible.

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - Feb 14, 2013 at 8:06 PM

        Yes, he so much “didn’t care” that he posted a reply.

        I again say read all of the original post, not Craig’s take

      • indaburg - Feb 15, 2013 at 1:01 PM

        I finally got around to reading it. I still think his insinuation was unfair.

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