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The Bonds 'advantage'? Probably not
2007-08-07 09:51
by Bob Timmermann

In the wake of Michael Witte's article in Editor and Publisher that Barry Bonds gains an enormous mechanical advantage from his elbow guard, Will Carroll tracked down the man who makes the brace (it's custom made), orthotist Mark Silva, for Baseball Prospectus.

In the article (which is for subscribers) or the podcast (which anyone can listen to), Silva describes the process for making the guard and you find out that it's a relatively mundane process. Also, the elbow guard's main function is, not surprisingly, to protect Barry Bonds's elbow. Silva wants to make a guard that is as light as possible so the person using it doesn't feel it at all and think it's a hindrance.

Silva also mentions that he hasn't had to change the mold for the guard in the last 12 years because there has been no meaureable change in the size of Bonds arm in that time and players like Mo Vaughn and Rickey Henderson have worn similar guards and have had similar sized arms.

Update - From Edman8585, you can read another rebuttal of Witte's report.

My question is: Why would Editor & Publisher run such a piece? It's not exactly what their readership is looking for.


2007-08-07 10:25:22
1.   Humma Kavula
he hasn't had to change the mold for the guard in the last 12 years because there has been no meaureable change in the size of Bonds arm in that time

Interesting. Now let's track down the guy who makes Bonds' helmet, and we can put that one to rest, too.

2007-08-07 10:27:28
2.   D4P
Seems to me that the guard probably consists of at least two main parts: the guard itself, and whatever straps it into place. I would guess the straps are adjustable, which is probably more relevant than the size of the actual guard.
2007-08-07 10:32:29
3.   Knuckles
2 Nope- I read elsewhere that the straps that hold it to his arm are original, and also haven't changed in size. Of course, they may have stretched a bit, given that they're made of the discarded elbow ligaments of former pitching prospects Brien Taylor, Todd Van Poppel, and Erik Hanson….
2007-08-07 10:39:36
4.   D4P
"If it still fits, you must acquit."
2007-08-07 10:41:04
5.   D4P
BTW: Is the point of this thread to suggest that the size of Bonds's right arm hasn't changed (esp. increased) in the last 12 years...?
2007-08-07 10:47:51
6.   Jacob L
Am I missing something? Just because the device is intended for protection doesn't mean it can't also help groove his swing.
2007-08-07 10:50:49
7.   D4P
And just because the size of the guard (allegedly) hasn't changed doesn't mean he hasn't gotten any bigger in the last 12 years.
2007-08-07 11:12:11
8.   Bob Timmermann
If you read or listen to the whole thing, the man explains how the guard doesn't provide any mechanical advantage.
2007-08-07 11:21:03
9.   Hythloday
If it grooves his swing why would he take extra batting practice to correct a flaw in his swing? If he could replicate the swing over and over again then it would simply come down to eye hand coordination. I don't buy it.
2007-08-07 11:24:36
10.   RIYank
And it does claim that Bonds' arm hasn't grown. (The guy measures him annually.)
2007-08-07 11:32:38
11.   D4P
It will take some effort to convince me that Bonds's arms looked like this 12 years ago:

2007-08-07 11:37:46
12.   Xeifrank
if I was making $$$ selling body armor to major league atheletes, I would also say lots of nice things about them too. Fox, hen house, credibility...
vr, Xei
2007-08-07 13:11:14
13.   standuptriple
No matter what I think it still gives him an advantage by minimizing the danger of the inside pitch. It's hard to measure the mental side of this advantage too.
2007-08-07 13:19:50
14.   Bob Timmermann
So why doesn't Craig Biggio have 755 home runs?
2007-08-07 13:33:31
15.   Sam DC
Next thing you'll be telling me that his bionic eye is still hazel.

Sure it is.

2007-08-07 14:45:51
16.   standuptriple
14 Probably for the same reason I don't. Warning track power.
2007-08-07 17:35:05
17.   Edman8585
Witte's article is one of the worst things I've ever read. The physics and terminology he uses show he clearly has no idea what he is talking about. I put an admittedly rudimentary response on my fledgling blog linked below.

2007-08-07 17:42:20
18.   sanchez101
what exactly is a 'mechanical consultant?'
and I don't get it, is he a illustrator (which makes his 'professional' opinion seem more dubious than Skip Bayless) or a mechanical consultant? Are they similar/related?

Also, I've heard from numerous people things like, "I don't know, I saw some pictures of Barry ... I don't buy it." They guy is taking presice measurements of Bonds' arm for more than a decade.

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