Book Notes #7: Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant ‘Roids, Smash Hits, and How Baseball Got Big

Every year there are a few books that change our perspective on the game of baseball; it’s a shame that, this year, Juiced is going to be one of them. Though the number of people who actually read it will be, one suspects, a lot lower than those who are going to be talking about it. Let’s face it, for many of us—YF included—the thought of putting $24.95 (or whatever cut he’s getting from Judith Regan) directly into Jose Canseco’s pocket is simply not something we can bear.

We did finger through the book at the local B&N however, and what we found was strangely compelling: deluded, but fascinating in its own way. Yankee fans will be interested in a section on managers, in which Joe Torre gets high marks for honesty. This based on Jose’s experience as a Yankee in 2000, when the Bombers picked him up as a waiver acquisition in order to block the Sox or A’s from doing so. Yankee fans will recall that this was not an acquisition the Yanks actually wanted to make—it was assumed that the D-Rays would pull him back—and that when Jose landed on the team’s proverbial doorstep, they were anything but pleased. Jose, however, can’t seem to come to grips with that reality—it’s actually kind of sad—instead suggesting the Yanks intentionally "traded" for him so Andy Pettitte wouldn’t have to face him in an opposing line up ("He just melts when he sees me"). Not exactly. He is, however, honest about his contribution to the team that season—basically, nada. Anyway, he liked the championship ring.

But of course the key topics of discussion will be his finger pointing in regard to other users. We’ll steer clear of that mess. A more fruitful area for discussion: his assertion that recreational drug use and also the use of amphetamines (those famous "little greenies") dropped as players began taking steroids. And Canseco’s argument that athletes should be allowed to dope does in fact have many legitimate promoters. It’s too bad that the source here is so utterly lacking in credibility. 

Okay, now we need a nice long shower.

1 comment… add one

  • But when will we get an utterly credible source of inside dope (pun intended)? It’s unlikely that a revered or respected figure of baseball will ever come forward to either a) speak of his own rampant steroid use or b) rat on his fellow players. Would Cal Ripken snitch? Would Mark McGwire call others out (or himself)?
    Until the day that an icon of what we think of as respectability comes forward to tell of how he and others shot up in the equipment room (I will not start holding my breath) then we are going to have to live with the marginalia giving us the goods, with players like Ken Caminiti talking to SI and then od’ing in a Bronx hotel, and Canseco blabbing to Judith Regan. It’s up to us to filter those tales, and to try to recognize how much of it seems logical, how much seems fantasy.
    Canseco lacks a lot of credibility on a lot of issues, but on this one, steroids, he’s got a load of expertise.

    SF February 16, 2005, 7:51 am

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