Monday, November 17, 2003
Bulking up baseball's players
By Tom Farrey
Like players on other Major League Baseball teams, most members of the Florida Marlins began playing competitive sports after Arnold Schwarznegger retired as a competitive bodybuilder in 1980. They grew up in an age when he was more movie star than athlete.
Even so, his work on screen and continued presence in muscle magazines impacted the careers of some players on the World Series champions. Several Marlins players shared their thoughts with ESPN.com on Schwarzenegger's impact on both them and the game of baseball.
On Arnold's influence: "He came out with that body. He worked on the weights and stuff. There are a lot of vitamins around that you have to use to keep yourself strong and healthy. And he came out with that kind of workout, that kind of body. But to be honest with you, being that big in baseball is too much, really. If you work out with other things like [a] medicine ball and weights, it's better, because you need to be quick in baseball. That's my workout.
"Myself, I use multivitamins like everybody else. I use a lot of vitamin C. I just eat right and cook good meals and go to the park and be aggressive."
On Arnold as a role model for steroid use among athletes: "Some people do it, some people don't." Rodriguez said he doesn't.
On Arnold's influence on him: "He upped the ante for people staying in shape. For me, I remember hearing about Arnold Schwarzenegger when I was going through my junior high and high school years. And just that emphasis on fitness at a young age helped propel me into a better athletic-type build that helped me perform better on the field or on the court or whatever I was playing at the time.
"I was a real frail, skinny kid in high school growing up. So for me, seeing that image of a big human being [was inspiring because] I wanted to go into [professional] sports, and trying to put that mass on was a tough thing for me. So I looked at him and it was something to aspire to -- maybe not to be that big, but I definitely aspired to put on weight in those days."
On Arnold's role in the super-sizing of professional sports: "Most definitely. Athletes today are bigger, faster, stronger. I think that shows in a lot of the numbers, a lot of the records being broken in our sports. You see a lot of power numbers. So I think he has made a difference."
On whether Arnold bears responsibility for baseball's steroids problem: "No, I don't think so. If not him, then [it was going to] be somebody else. Things that are bad tend to get into sports. Whether [Arnold] helped the game or hurts the game, who knows."
On Arnold's influence on baseball: "Nowadays there's a huge emphasis on guys getting stronger and working out a lot more. In 1993, my first year in [minor league] baseball, guys didn't even work out. We didn't worry about eating healthy, we didn't lift weights, we didn't do anything. So things have changed tremendously in the last 10 years, and he's a big part of that. Nowadays if you want to come into the big leagues you have to be in great shape, and continue to improve yourself, especially as you move along.
"In high school I first took notice. He obviously was a huge guy and in unbelievable shape. I remember seeing him in [muscle] magazines, the pictures of him, as big as he was, and no one was like that. He was the guy who got weightlifting, heavy weightlifting, on the map, and he's taken it to where it is."
On the popularity of muscle mags among baseball players: "Everyone's trying to read and pick up little hidden tips. Everybody's always trying to mix up their routines and their offseason workouts. So, sure, guys read magazines to get a little different routine or workout. You can pick up things all the time that are worth trying."
On who's the Arnold Schwarzenegger of MLB: "I know it's not me, for sure. Maybe Gerald Williams. Brian Giles. There are a couple guys in great shape."