Steroids, Canseco

and the Game

of Baseball


 









Steroids in baseball are very much in the news again because of
Canseco's book.


Care for game? Not these guys
By Ron Cook, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


You have to wonder if they even care.

Barry Bonds, the best ballplayer of our lifetime, who will
forever be linked to the cream and the clear as much as to Ruth
and Aaron.

Jason Giambi, who has admitted to using steroids.

Sammy Sosa, who has used a corked bat for sure and, if the
whispers are true, steroids.

Gary Sheffield, whose name came up in the BALCO scandal.

And Jose Canseco, whose tell-all book doesn't just acclaim the
wonders of steroids but outs just about everyone from his time in
the game, from Mark McGwire to George W. Bush.

No, the president didn't use steroids.

But he tacitly condoned their use during the time he ran the
Texas Rangers, Canseco writes.

Do you think any of them give a damn that they have stained the
sport that was so good to all of them?

I don't, either.

Steroids in baseball are very much in the news again because of
Canseco's book, which is due out this month. This is the saddest
part of his little snitch:

He is a loser and a low-life with virtually no credibility, yet
the rat's story he tells is thoroughly believable.

How sad is that?

How sad has baseball become?

We know too much now to dismiss Canseco's tale merely because he
has been in one legal scrape after another, has done jail time
and is so desperate for money and attention that he has been
selling himself -- literally -- for years with his vain
spend-the-day-with-Jose events ...

What?

You thought Bonds and Alex Rodriguez invented the $7,500
handshake-and-10-minute-chat?

According to the New York Daily News, Canseco writes in his book
that he injected McGwire in the backside with steroids in a
clubhouse bathroom stall and watched McGwire and Giambi inject
each other when they all played for the Oakland Athletics. What
is so hard to believe about that? After Giambi has admitted to
steroid use later in his career? Especially after the BALCO
scandal, which has disgraced Bonds and will leave a figurative
asterisk next to his records for eternity?

McGwire, of course, denies using steroids. His character
witnesses already are lining up to say how reprehensible they
think it is that Canseco is trying to bring him down for a
monetary gain. Tony La Russa, their former manager with the
Athletics, is among them, telling the New York Times, "I am
absolutely certain that Mark earned his size and strength from
hard work and a disciplined lifestyle."

Is it just me or do you believe that about as much as you did
Bonds when he said he didn't know the cream and clear substances
he used were steroids?

Canseco also writes he introduced teammates Rafael Palmeiro, Ivan
Rodriguez and Juan Gonzalez to the miracle of steroids after he
was traded to the Rangers in 1992 and that Bush had to have known
about it. Bush began to condemn steroid use a few years ago,
about the time doing so became politically expedient. He went so
far as to pick the preposterous time of his 2004 State of the
Union address to rail against it. But is it really so hard to
believe that he looked the other way when his players were using?
Is it so hard to believe that all of the owners looked the other
way when they saw how home runs were selling? Did it really
matter to them what McGwire, Sosa, Bonds and the others were
doing, as long as they kept hitting those long flies and the fans
kept coming to the parks?

But back to the original question:

Do you think this generation of players and owners regrets
smearing the game almost beyond recognition and leaving us in a
very bad place, trying to guess what is real and what is the
result of modern chemistry?

That really is a stupid question.

Canseco writes as much. He says he never would have hit 462 home
runs or been the 1988 American League MVP without the help of
steroids. He leaves little doubt that he would do it all again.

Life was good for Canseco and McGwire when they were known as the
"Bash Brothers" on the Athletics. They were young, strong,
wealthy and famous. (For those with prurient interests, Canseco
writes about how easy it was to satisfy his hunger in
those days, although you might be surprised and disappointed to
learn that he says he never slept with Madonna). It's no wonder
Canseco would laugh when warned about the potential long-term
health risks of steroids.

"He'd say, 'Come on, man, what are you talking about? I got the
world by the tail,' " La Russa told the Times.

Maybe that's the real problem here.

Too many people in baseball have the world by the tail. The money
is outrageous. The fame. The adulation ...

The players and owners got theirs.

They wouldn't re-write history even if they had the chance.

The hell with the game.



Copyright 1997-2005 PG Publishing Co., Inc. All Rights Reserved.
http://www.post-gazette.com



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