I doubt Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams, authors of the Barry Bond’s steroid exposé “Game of Shadows” previewed in Sports Illustrated and published 3/23, know who Andreas Munzer is. It’s a shame, because their book commits the same mistake with Bonds that a German magazine named Der Spiegel made with Munzer. The result of repeating history? Game of Shadows is almost certain to double steroid use in the US, at least among athletes.
Andreas Munzer was one of the most famous bodybuilders of the 1980s. Known as the most “ripped” physique of his time, he met a tragic end when his liver, kidney, and heart failed, leaving blood pooling in his stomach. The alleged cause? Massive overdoses of anabolic substances and diuretics, including both injectable and oral steroids, thyroid medication, insulin, Insulin-like Growth Factor (IGF-1), clenbuterol, Lasix (furosemide), erythropoietin (EPO), Human Growth Hormone (HGH), and dozens of other expensive ergogenics. His monthly costs were at least $ 6,150.
Following Munzer’s death, Der Spiegel published a full account, including the exact drug regimen he used to show muscle striations on stage and ultimately die on the floor of a hospital. The public was shocked and outraged… then they decided to duplicate the death recipe. Even though Munzer died from his drug use, his “stack” was copied by bodybuilders and athletes worldwide, who began calling it the “Munzer Cocktail.”
Back to Bonds. All quotes henceforth in this article are from “Game of Shadows” or its preview article posted on SI.com on March 7th. What happens when a book promoted on primetime (not Der Spiegel) sells itself by claiming to detail the “day-to-day, drug-by-drug” anabolic regimen of “the greatest hitter who ever lived” using statements like the following?
“Not only did the growth hormone keep him fresh, but after complaining in 1999 about difficulty tracking pitches, he noticed it improved his eyesight as well.”
“Bonds had completed the transformation of his body and his game and, it seemed, had discovered the Fountain of Youth.”
“Through 1998, for instance, when he turned 34, Bonds averaged one home run every 16.1 at bats. Since then — what the authors identify as the start of his doping regimen — Bonds has hit home runs nearly twice as frequently (one every 8.5 at bats).”
The result of a wide-scale sales campaign using teasers of this type is as predictable as it is unfortunate: every baby boomer and aspiring athlete sitting on the steroid fence will jump online to take a closer look at Bonds’ compounds, all of which can be readily imported, albeit illegally.
In the Sports Illustrated excerpt, the authors pay lip service to the usual side-effect suspects of hair-loss, acne, and sexual dysfunction, but the overpowering reports of superhuman benefits will nonetheless create a market for anabolics that will dwarf the anabolic renaissance of the record-setting 80’s.
If you’re susceptible to hero worship and plan on using steroids, make haste. Once Game of Shadows hits the bestseller lists, you could find yourself on a long waitlist. If you’re a sports fan and not a drug user, don’t worry; Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams might destroy Barry Bonds, but they’ll create 1,000,000 more to take his place.
In an age where book sales take precedence over social impact, where books on dirty bombs provide would-be terrorists with practical blueprints for building them, Game of Shadows is yet another exposé that provides an excess of facts, particularly those that can and will be misused. If only this book were the exception to the rule.