02.15.05

Saving You The Trouble of Purchasing Jose’s “Juiced”

Posted in Baseball at 6:38 pm by


(if nothing else, Lou Ferrigno might’ve found the breakout part he’s been coveting since “Cage”)

Select quotes from the newly released “Juiced : Wild Times, Rampant ‘Roids, Smash Hits and How Baseball Got Big”

“I don’t know Sammy Sosa personally, so I can’t say for a fact that he ever took steroids. But I remember thinking that his transformation looked even more dramatic than Mark McGwire’s. … He gained 30 pounds, just like that, and got up to 260 so fast, you could see the bloating in his face and neck. It seemed so obvious, it was a joke.”

“Throughout his career, Cal Ripken Jr. was completely protected by the media. … He even got a pass on the way he dealt with the other players. He used to stay at a separate hotel from the rest of the team, and take a separate car from the team bus. The official explanation was that it was for security reasons, but we minority players couldn’t help feeling otherwise.”

“There was a huge double standard in baseball, and white athletes like Mark McGwire, Cal Ripken Jr. and Brady Anderson were protected and coddled in a way that an outspoken Latino like me never would be. Canseco the Cuban was left out in the cold, where racism and double standards rule.”

Is Jose Canseco a self-serving creep? Hell, yeah. Does that make him less than credible? Absolutely not. In what probably wasn’t the sort of launch Major League Baseball had in mind for their XM Home Plate Channel, Canseco sat down with former manager Kevin Kennedy and fellow brother-in-bulk Rob Dibble, and continued his less-than-contrite spiel, further implicating Sammy Sosa in the process (“the Sammy and Mark show, they were both juiced, no ifs, ands or buts about it.”_

Afterwards, XM’s somewhat overmatched Ronnie Lane struggled to contend with hysterical callers. Among the knee-jerk reactions aired :

Isn’t Jose just doing this for the money?

Well, sure. But the host of the show isn’t working for free, either. Maybe if someone would invite Jose to Spring Training ala Darryl Strawberry, he wouldn’t be writing nasty books or auctioning off the chance to hang out with him for a day.

How come we’ve never heard any other player talk about this until now?

Indeed, Canseco’s revelations are mindblowing, especially if you’ve not paid attention to the comments of Ken Caminiti, Andy Van Slyke, or Jason Giambi or Gary Sheffield’s own grand jury testimony. And you also might be, y’know, blind.

How come Jose is only trashing superstars? If ‘roids make such a dramatic impact on marginal players, why aren’t we hearing about any of them?

What, you’re gonna pay $25 to find out that Randy Velarde was on the juice?

Lane and his genius callers have been bringing up the notion of putting an asterix on the home run records of Bonds, McGwire and Sosa. Which is a stirring idea, except the only player from that trio that actually holds the single-year record is Bonds. Had Barry not passed McGwire, on what grounds would the latter’s ’98 total be qualified? Because he used substances that weren’t illegal at the time?

The prevaling sensibility of XM’s callers was summed up by the bozo who described himself as a “baseball purist”, whose fantasy would be to “climb into a time capsule and go back to watch Babe Ruth play.” Night Train Lane neglected to make a distinction between a time capsule and a time-travel machine. Climbing into the former would result in quick suffocation. Climbing into the latter, under the best of circumstances, would let you watch Babe Ruth play, and under the worst of circumstances, you’d find out that Crispin Glover was your dad. That small point aside, baseball purity can also be considered code for “whites only”.

For once, Dan Patrick deserves credit for accepting some small share of blame today, admitting that he, like 99% of the public, “bought into” baseball’s long ball barrage and was in denial about where the power came from. “You don’t want to know how they make the hot dogs.” said Patrick on his ESPN afternoon show. And while Jose Canseco is no Morgan Spurlock, I respectfully disagree. Let’s find out how they make the hot dogs.

7 Responses to “Saving You The Trouble of Purchasing Jose’s “Juiced””

  1. CSTB says:

    Kevin,
    jesus fucking christ…….that’s disgusting! I take it back…I don’t want to know the truth! I no longer want to know how hot dogs are made! Let me and the puritan callers to XM Satellite Radio’s Two Cans & A String Show reside in our blissful ignorance, eating rat’s lips, pig’s toenails and gasping in AWE as dinger after dinger soars out of Coors Field….hitting Pete Coors in the face.

    The more I think about it, the Ball four comparison isn’t totally wack. Jose is no master storyteller, his motives are suspect and he’s a buffoon, sure. But he’s not saying much (other than the naming names and gory details about McGwire’s ass) that many of us haven’t suspected for years. Among the dimwits on XM today was some gent who wanted to know if these claims of widespread ‘roid abuse were true, why did Canseco wait until now to say anything? Uhhh….because he’d have been kicked out of the game and denied a chance to make a living? The same mouth breather wanted to know how credible was Jose if none of his former teammates will verify what he’s saying. That would do wonders for their careers and public images, Carney Lansford can become a pariah without the book deal, great idea.

    Bouton’s book — an absolute classic, of course—- in its own way, told the baseball world that Santa Claus didn’t exist. He showed ballplayers as real people, funny, flawed, foul-mouthed, etc. In a far less subtle fashion, Jose is doing the same thing (though I’ll maintain that the results are far less shocking for anyone that’s been paying attention), his crude sketches showing a game dominated by avarice, greed and ambition. That’s what we’ve been watching, paying for, stressing out over, cheering, arguing, getting a pathetic vicarious charge over…a sport whose human toll, while not quite as high as the wrestling, porn or pro football industries, can be measured in the fate of former MVP’s like Caminiti and Giambi.

    You won’t get me to say the sky is falling, just that it has been polluted for a long time. My guess is that 50 years from now, the memories from this particular era won’t be any more or less tainted than any number of other transitional shifts in baseball history. Pitching records from the dead ball era. White guys who didn’t have to face guys who weren’t white. The Black Sox scandal. Coors Field. Cork Bats. Mike Scott. The “pure” game only exists in our minds. The real thing, Major League Baseball, has ALWAYS been played by flawed, greedy people…and it’s always been owned and run by flawed, greedier people.

    In spite of all this, these assholes will really have to do something COMPLETELY insane (like say, change the rules of the game so that pitchers don’t hit in the American League) to terminally fuck up a good thing.

    hugs not drugs (unless the drugs can help you turn on a fastball)
    GC

  2. John O says:

    Those drugs don’t make you better, they make you stronger, help you recover faster, and generally change your physiology to enable you to make millions of dollars a year entertaining people by playing a game. But you still have to hit the ball, catch the ball, and throw the ball, and those basic facts are the same no matter what level of baseball you are playing at. Anyone who thinks differently is invited to stand in the box and face someone (anyone) throwing that little white ball at them 80 to 100 MPH, and try and hit it with the stick in their hands. Then do it with 35,000 people or so screaming profanities at them, and then repeat that experience 3 to 6 times 4 times in nine innings over a hundred times over a course of 7 or 8 months. You might get better at it, or you might not. If you are a catcher you get to do this as well as crouch down behind the guy swinging the stick, catch the 80 to 100 MPH white ball stand up and throw the ball back if the guy with the stick doesn’t hit it, then crouch down again.
    It looks a lot easier on television than it does when said white ball is moving around in front of you, looking like it is heading straight for your head.
    You still have to hit the ball.

  3. ben schwartz says:

    I just hope this doesn’t turn into a modern day Black Sox where only the players get nailed instead of the moneymen behind them. The difference today is that you’ve got a strong players union and players with millions who can defend themselves. Does anyone think this will lead to Federal pressure for a real commissioner? If it’s becoming obvious the league won’t control itself, and Bush is as angry as they say over it, I’m hoping they’ll put John McCain in there when he realizes he’s not going to be President.

    As for the XM caller who wanted to know why Canseco’s former teammates haven’t spoken in his defense, well, Dave Stewart already has:

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2005/02/07/SPGG1B74JD1.DTL&type=printable

    Ben

  4. CSTB says:

    John wrote :
    “you still have to hit the ball, catch the ball, and throw the ball, and those basic facts are the same no matter what level of baseball you are playing at. Anyone who thinks differently is invited to stand in the box and face someone (anyone) throwing that little white ball at them 80 to 100 MPH, and try and hit it with the stick in their hands. Then do it with 35,000 people or so screaming profanities at them, and then repeat that experience 3 to 6 times 4 times in nine innings over a hundred times over a course of 7 or 8 months. You might get better at it, or you might not.”

    John, I’m not sure I get your point. With the exception of Jose’s dubious “steroids can make an average athlete great” proposition, I haven’t heard anyone claim that ‘roids can turn a schmoe into a bona fide ballplayer. Often times, though, the attributes that seperate a guy from making $10 million instead of 5 (or hanging around like Luis Sojo instead retiring early like Rey Ordonez) are a bit more subtle. If performance enhancing drugs didn’t provide a competitive edge, they’d call ‘em performance-stays-the-same drugs.

    And there are lots of things that can provide an edge. Superior nutrition (ephedra, andro, creatine), advanced training techniques (ie. shooting up in the toilet), etc.

    If it is going to be universally acknowledged that the steroid boom is what ushered in the HR explosion of the late ’90′s / early 2000′s, does that mean that the following no longer apply to said case?

    *- a watered down pool of big league pitchers thanks to expansion
    *- juiced balls
    * – arena baseball parks
    * – umpires who won’t call a high strike
    * – pitchers who are hesitant to throw inside
    * – mad max-style body armor enabling Barry, Bagwell, et al, to stand right on top of home plate.
    * – continued employment of John Franco.

  5. John O says:

    I think I was trying to imagine that Mike Lupica standing in on a Pete Martinez slider, or maybe just taking batting practice. I think the differences between the guy in single A ball here in Boise, and the guys on the parent club in Chicago (the Cubs) are sometimes subtle as well. But, I remember seeing Griffey JR. in Eugene back in the mid eighties, when he was in single A, and he was obviously better than anyone else there, on either team.
    And if I could climb into a “time capsule” I would go back and see Josh Gibson.

  6. CSTB says:

    I think the difference between single A and the majors would seem less subtle if you watched a short-season minor league club take on a major league team (other than the 2004 Mets) in a competitive game. Having seen Griffey play in the California League, I know what you’re saying, but history is littered with guys who tore up the lower minors and barely managed a cup of coffee in the bigs.