Sid Bream doesn't like coffee. During his dozen years in the Major Leagues, he was told repeatedly that he would inevitably turn to the caffeinated brew to get through the grueling span of 162 games in 180 days.
But he never did.
"I might have had a (soda) from time to time," Bream says, "but I didn't like the taste or even smell of coffee."
Now with all the pick-me-ups and supplements available, athletes have to pay careful attention to what they put in their bodies. Bream, perhaps best known for his famous slide in Game 7 of the 1992 NLCS that sent the Atlanta Braves to the World Series, has a suggestion: honey.
"It's an all-natural energy booster," he says. "It's going to be better for your system than a candy bar or a coke or hopefully not greenies anymore."
September is National Honey Month and Bream has teamed up with Kansas City Royals nutritionist Mitzi Dulan to spread the word about the sweetener. Dulan, a registered dietician, says she's spoken with players and some are adding it to their game plan in Kansas City.
"I have seen players actually making a peanut butter, honey and banana sandwich prior to games," she says.
That's one of Bream's favorite ways to incorporate it into his diet as well. To stay in shape, he walks four to five miles several times a week, and he fuels up with a spoonful of the liquid gold, usually spread on whole grain flatbread with bananas.
"I have it almost every morning now," he says.
But could honey really catch on in MLB clubhouses? Will players give up their Red Bull for a squeeze from that little plastic bear?
Bream thinks so. He says the landscape of the sport has changed since his retirement in 1994.
"Back in my playing days, the topic of nutrition wasn't nearly as evolved as it is today," he says.
It's one of the subjects Bream broaches when he speaks to young baseball players, who are often bombarded with sometimes dangerous or illegal shortcuts that promise a pathway to the pros.
"Before I get into hitting or anything like that, I talk about the mental process first," he says, "learning about how to have the confidence to not let those outside pressures in."
So if you're a teen or a pro ballplayer who needs a pick-me-up during a long season, reach for the other, safer HGH: High Grade Honey.
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