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Juiced 381

Posted by timothy
from the dopey dept.
AdamBa (Adam Barr) writes "Juiced is not a great book. The writing is workmanlike but not particularly entertaining, none of the stories are more than slightly amusing, and its protagonist projects an unappealing mixture of vanity and whining. There is a bit of dirt on players, and a couple of nuggets about Madonna and the sex lives of baseball players (and the intersection of those two), but as a baseball autobiography, it pales besides better competition. And yet, Juiced may be one of the most important baseball books ever written." Specifically, the book provides an insider's account of one aspect of biotech that has achieved widespread use, if not acceptance. Read on for the rest of Barr's review.
Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits, and How Baseball Got Big.
author Jose Canseco
pages 290
publisher Regan Books
rating 6
reviewer Adam Barr
ISBN 0060746408
summary Canseco used steroids and maybe we should too.

Canseco, for those who spent the last 15 years hidden under a rock, played major league baseball for 17 seasons, from 1985 to 2001. He was most famous for belting massive home runs, but he was also pretty fast: in 1988 he became the first player in history to hit at least 40 home runs and steal at least 40 bases in a single season. For his career he hit .266, with 462 home runs and a .515 slugging percentage. He was a 6-time All-Star, won a Rookie-of-the-Year and MVP award, and picked up two World Series rings.

(How good was Canseco as a player? In his book Whatever Happened to the Hall of Fame?, Bill James presents several methods of estimating how likely someone is to be voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. On the "Hall of Fame Standards" test, where 60 percent of players with a score of 40-49 have gotten into the Hall of Fame, Canseco scores a 38. On the "Hall of Fame Monitor" test, where a score of 100 indicates someone is likely to get in, Canseco scores an 103. So Canseco may not get elected to the Hall of Fame (and likely won't, after the publication of his book), but a reasonable case could be made that he belongs there. The answer to the question of how good Canseco was is "very, very good.")

What's important about Juiced, especially to the average Slashdot reader who may not know a baseball diamond from the Hope diamond? The answer is buried in the subtitle's heap of verbiage: "Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits, and How Baseball Got Big." Canseco's book is about the growing user of steroids in baseball, something you hear a lot about today. But Canseco has an unusual opinion: steroids in baseball are not bad; in fact they are very, very good.

Spurred in large part by Canseco's book, the U.S. House Government Reforms Committee subpoenaed some of the biggest names in baseball -- including Mark McGwire, Jason Giambi, and Sammy Sosa -- to testify at a hearing on March 17. Allegations are flying that Barry Bonds was on steroids when he set the single-season mark of 73 home runs in 2001. The typical press reaction to this is one of disgust: words such as "tainted," "artificial," and "cheating" are common.

Not so fast, says Canseco. Steroids in baseball are good. Steroids help players get stronger, and enjoy longer careers. And it's not just baseball players who can benefit: steroids can help almost anyone live a longer, healthier life. His book is a wakeup call not just for baseball, or sports in general, but for all mankind. That's his view, anyway, but he makes a decent case for it, using himself as an example.

Canseco explains how he used steroids (which in this context really means a combination of steroids and human growth hormone) to transform himself from a skinny kid to the beefed up example of manhood that gazes soulfully at you from above a bulging bicep on the back cover of his book. He gained confidence as well, and there's no doubt his ego was pumped up: the book is full of references to how good-looking he is, with some attempts to balance those with descriptions of how ugly he was as a kid.

The book also has a B storyline, which is that the media discriminated against Canseco because he is Cuban, in comparison to the All-American image of Mark McGwire. The current media dismissal of Canseco's claims that McGwire took steroids only adds fuel to his conspiracy theory. If you read the book, you would be hard-pressed to doubt that McGwire took steroids on a regular basis. Canseco is not describing rumor or innuendo; he is talking about obtaining steroids and then personally sticking a needle containing them into McGwire's gluteus maximus, repeatedly, over a period of years when they were both with the Oakland A's, and then later injecting his Texas Ranger teammates Rafael Palmeiro, Juan Gonzalez, and Ivan Rodriguez.

A glance at the rookie cards of players like McGwire and Barry Bonds shows that those guys have put on a lot of muscle since they reached the majors (rookie cards are a good source of pictures since a hitter with no action photos from major-league games usually gets the basic pose of bent elbow, bat over shoulder). A Giambi minor-league card shows a lot of loose sleeve around the bicep. If Canseco is making all this up, he is doing an excellent job, and the fact that nobody is threatening to sue him over the book lends credence to the accuracy of his claims.

Remember, Canseco is not "accusing" anyone of using steroids, in the usual negative sense of an accusation. He is merely stating that people used them, and in fact applauds them, considering it a wise decision both medically and financially. Unlike almost every other media report, Canseco's book discusses steroid use in a factual way, absent the finger-pointing and hand-wringing. He presents steroid users not as cheaters, but as vanguards of a new era of athletic performance.

So how should a libertarian, "I'll believe it when I see it" cynic view the accomplishments of juiced-up baseball players? People are talking about asterisks on records, Hall of Fame bans, revoking MVP awards. Is this reasonable?

It's a fact that in sports where achievement is measured in objective terms, athletes today are much better than they used to be. Yet in sports where opinions are subjective, the older athletes are usually recalled as being better than their modern counterparts. In 1920, the year that Babe Ruth began hitting home runs at a previously unprecedented pace, the world record for the mile was 4 minutes, 12.6 seconds; today it is 3 minutes, 43.13 seconds. That doesn't sound like a huge difference, but if you picture the race as four laps of a quarter-mile oval, as it is usually run, the modern miler would finish almost half a lap ahead of his 1920 counterpart, an obviously dominating victory. Today a good college runner can run the mile faster than the 1920 world-record-holder. It would seem logical to assume that a good college hitter (a good college power hitter, anyway), if magically transported back to 1920, could hit more home runs than Babe Ruth.

Almost any baseball analyst today would laugh at that notion. I think they are wrong; I think a modern hitter, or pitcher, would in fact completely dominate their counterparts from early in the last century (even if you let the pitchers throw spitballs, which have now been banned from baseball, yet their erstwhile practitioners are considered crafty, not cheaters, and their statistics remain unblemished by any asterisks). It's documented that pitchers of yore could mostly take it easy out on the mound. In books like Christy Mathewson's Pitching in a Pinch, it was explained that pitchers could save their energy for the dozen or so times in a game that they really had to bear down.

I'm not saying that Babe Ruth or Christy Mathewson, if born today, could not become great major-league players. They obviously had natural talents that separated them from their peers. What they were lacking was all the knowledge that has been built up over the years. It's not just diet and conditioning -- it's all the miracles of modern life that keep us going. Even up to the 1970s, pitchers could never see video of themselves pitching (a huge advantage in correcting flaws in their pitching motion) unless they happened to pitch in the World Series. Jose Canseco had surgery three times for back injuries, any one of which presumably would have ended, or severely curtailed, his career 85 years ago, yet nobody accuses him of cheating for undergoing surgery.

One of the miracles of modern baseball medicine is "Tommy John surgery", named after the pitcher on whom it was first performed. It involves repairing the ulnar collateral ligament in the elbow using a ligament from another part of the body. A pitcher who undergoes this surgery is not only avoiding a career-ending injury (the linked article above says that Sandy Koufax, who retired due to a self-described "dead arm," is thought to have had damaged UCL). The surgery usually leaves the elbow stronger than it was before. And more than 10% of major-league pitchers today have had this surgery. Are they cheating? Do they need an asterisk next to their records? There is no doubt that in the near future, athletes will undergo surgery not to repair injuries, but to prevent injuries that have not yet occurred. One day athletes with artificial limbs will be relegated to their own Olympics not because they perform worse than their non-bionic counterparts, but because they perform better.

The Olympics, of course, have taken a hard line on pharmaceuticals: popping a Sudafed before the big event will disqualify you. Nobody is suggesting that baseball go that far, but what is the dividing line between steroids and a lot of other substances that athletes put in their bodies? As Jim Bouton points out in his classic book Ball Four, baseball players have long been searching for that extra chemical edge. His diary of the 1969 Seattle Pilots describes rampant use of "greenies," or amphetamines. Bouton expounds further on this topic:

"I've tried a lot of other things through the years -- like butazolidin, which is what they give to horses. And D.M.S.O. -- dimethyl suloxide. Whitey Ford used that for a while. You rub it on with a plastic glove and as soon as it gets in your arm you can taste it in your mouth. It's not available anymore, though. Word is it can blind you. I've also taken shots -- novocain, cortisone, and xylocaine. Baseball players will take anything. If you had a pill that would guarantee a pitcher 20 wins but might take five years off his life, he'd take it."

The issue with steroids, of course, is that they really work. They're not magic: you still have to work out, hard. But you do get stronger, and according to Canseco, even more important is the increased stamina, the ability to hit as well at the end of a 6-month season as you do at the beginning. Canseco also points out that baseball players used to be known for drinking and recreational drug use. But a steroid-user can't afford to tax their liver with alcohol and drugs, and they don't need to mess around with greenies, so Canseco feels that the arrival of steroids also ushered in a time of "clean living" among baseball players.

Canseco presents himself as "The Chemist," the one who did the experiments with steroids, learned how to use them properly, and then passed his knowledge on to others. He maintains that he taught McGwire in Oakland, then Palmeiro, Gonzalez and Rodriguez in Texas (and that McGwire taught Giambi), and when Canseco returned to Oakland, he taught Miguel Tejada. Canseco views the $72-million, 6-year contract that Tejada signed with Baltimore in December 2003 as proof that Tejada made a wise decision to increase his physical ability (although Canseco adds a disclaimer in this case: although he claims to have taught Tejada about steroids and saw him grow bigger and stronger, he did not actually witness Tejada using steroids).

Fans, of course, do love home runs. I saw a baseball game in St. Louis in 1999, and I have never seen an audience so clearly devoted to a single player. The only jersey you saw in the stands was Mark McGwire's number 25. The fans loved him, and the place came alive when he was batting. And when, mirabile dictu, he cranked a four-bagger over the left-field fence, the place went nuts, and I bet every fan felt they got their money's worth. What about those kids, the ones in the stands, when McGwire is revealed to have feet of clay?

Canseco has an answer: we shouldn't worry about those kids having fallen heroes, because in his eyes, they aren't fallen. Furthermore, he accuses baseball's owners and management of being complicit in trying to hush up steroid use, in order to give the fans what they wanted.

Juiced, as mentioned earlier, has problems. Canseco states that young athletes should not use steroids, but beyond a blanket disclaimer at the beginning of the book, does little to discourage teenagers from attempting to emulate the professionals. He gives an unsurprisingly sympathetic and glossy account of his various run-ins with the law: gun possession charge, a couple of domestic violence cases, a bar fight, three months in jail in 2003. He tosses around the names of various steroids, but for someone who claims to know so much about the subject, he gives little background on them: how they were discovered, the legal uses for which they are manufactured, how suppliers obtain them.

But as background reading for today's steroids controversy, and as a potential harbinger of the future of our species, it's worth a look.


You can purchase Juiced from bn.com. Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews -- to see your own review here, read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page.
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Juiced

Comments Filter:
  • SlashJock (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 18, 2005 @01:32PM (#11977696)
    News for jocks. Stuff that doesn't matter.
    • Steroids have helped me become a better programmer.
    • News for jocks. Stuff that doesn't matter.


      Would you prefer a dupe?

      How about 3 stories all on "Linux Distros Found Vulnerable By Default" but with different titles (which by slashdot convention means they are different subjects)
    • didn't there used to be a subset of nerds who really got off on baseball statistics? there used to be alot of jokes about Trekkies who memorized entire seasons worth of numbers without ever picking up a bat or ball in their entire lives. whatever happened to those guys?
      • Baseball nerds (Score:4, Insightful)

        by DrSbaitso (93553) on Friday March 18, 2005 @04:47PM (#11979966)
        Many of us hang out at baseballthinkfactory.org. However, most people who post there have played a lot of ball; I would say the average proficiency is high school, but I don't know for sure. Certainly, we're not very good (compared with the players we follow, at least), but it's probably unfair to say we've never picked up a bat or ball our entire lives. Certainly a much more athletic crowd than the one here, judging by the reaction that this and any other athletic-related thread gets.
    • Wrong! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Sloppy (14984) * on Friday March 18, 2005 @04:40PM (#11979878) Homepage Journal
      You are wrong. This is a technological issue, and now that the federal government is starting to act like it wants to interfere (that's what really put it into the limelight), it's going to be a political issue too. Transhumanism goes way beyond sports.

      How are you going to like it when you want to inject some longevity nanobots or install cybereyes, and you're not allowed to, because the government has declared you're not allowed to modify your body as you please?

  • Drugs = Biotech? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by null etc. (524767) on Friday March 18, 2005 @01:32PM (#11977699)
    Specifically, the book provides an insider's account of one aspect of biotech that has achieved widespread use, if not acceptance.

    Uhm, yeah. Steroids are "biotech". Nice justification for submitting a baseball story review to /.

    • by AtariAmarok (451306) on Friday March 18, 2005 @01:38PM (#11977760)
      "Uhm, yeah. Steroids are "biotech". Nice justification for submitting a baseball story review to /."

      What would it take to satisfy you? Sordid accounts of Jose Canstrikeout injecting nanoprobes into the ass of McGwire ("Mack McGwaa" as Ted Kennedy calls him).... followed by rhe recruitment of "Inning 7 of 9" to the Toronto Blueborg team?

    • Deal. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Mr. Underbridge (666784) on Friday March 18, 2005 @01:44PM (#11977861)
      Uhm, yeah. Steroids are "biotech". Nice justification for submitting a baseball story review to /.

      And we sports fans put up with similar lame justifications for submitting a story about the latest inane Star Trek/Wars spinoff/episode/whatever. So deal with it.

      Regardless of the merits of the Congressional focus on baseball, it's a whole lot more newsworthy than the usual popular media related drivel on slashdot.

      • Re:Deal. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by TheFlyingGoat (161967) on Friday March 18, 2005 @02:09PM (#11978128) Homepage Journal
        Damn straight. What most Slashdoters don't realize is that far more science and technology goes into most sports than any of their favorite TV shows. A few examples:
        - golf ball dimple patterns (planned using computer simulations)
        - baseball bat swing motion (motion tracking and computer analysis is used in the pros)
        - football game planning (teams keep extensive stats that are used to find weaknesses in defenses)

        That's just touching the surface, too. There's a LOT of really cool tech being used in sports these days.
        • Re:Deal. (Score:4, Informative)

          by captain_craptacular (580116) on Friday March 18, 2005 @03:07PM (#11978857)
          As a matter of fact there have been Slashdot stories regarding the custom software [diamondblog.com]* Curt Schilling designed and uses to study opposing batters and their reactions to certain pitches before each game/inning (I believe it's on a laptop he keeps in the dugout).

          *I have no affiliation with that blog, it was just a handy link.
      • Re:Deal. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by gl4ss (559668) on Friday March 18, 2005 @02:13PM (#11978179) Homepage Journal
        *Regardless of the merits of the Congressional focus on baseball, it's a whole lot more newsworthy than the usual popular media related drivel on slashdot.*

        that nicely sums up what's wrong with slashdot nowadays. users that want just MAINSTREAM NEWS THEY WOULD GET FROM THEIR NEWSPAPER.

        slashdot is NEWS FOR NERDS. now, baseball isn't NEWS FOR NERDS. some geeky electric circuits project would have been, or some nice memoriable on computer gaming. but fucking book about baseball? no way.
        • Re:Deal. (Score:2, Insightful)

          slashdot is NEWS FOR NERDS. now, baseball isn't NEWS FOR NERDS.

          I'm a nerd. I like baseball. I'm not the only one. QED.

          And if you want to maintain that lofty standard, then /. should stop accepting stories about Buffy.

          • *And if you want to maintain that lofty standard, then /. should stop accepting stories about Buffy.*
            yes it should.

            that a nerd likes baseball doesn't mean that baseball is 'nerdy'. I'm sure a lot of nerds like death metal but should we announce slayer gigs on slashdot? no.
      • it's a whole lot more newsworthy than the usual popular media related drivel on slashdot.

        But is it really? It seems to me that these hearings are based on media drivel, as you put it. Congress doubtlessly doesn't have a heavy concern about the industry. but you know with MSNBC and their ilk running big big headlines about it that eventually someone somewhere is going to put the political spin on this and come next elections we're going to hear the roar of the crowd; "What about the steriods they ignored?
  • by lecithin (745575) on Friday March 18, 2005 @01:33PM (#11977705)
    "Juiced"

    Wasn't that Nicole Brown Simpson's Biography title.

    Sorry.
  • Sorry, at this time I only read baseball books written by W. P. Kinsella. I've read two so far, and have two or so more to go.

    Maybe he'll get around to a steroid book someday. I'll have to wait until his "Roidless Joe" novel.

  • by ackthpt (218170) * on Friday March 18, 2005 @01:35PM (#11977725) Homepage Journal
    These guys have been summoned to speak before an increasingly irritated congress. Selig and the Players Union are likely to achieve what they least want with their watered-down slap-on-the-wrist penalties. In Europe it's called "Sporting Fraud" in many countries and can lead to prison time for a first offense.

    I think that's fair for here, too.

    There's a reason why I no longer follow baseball, do you think they can figure it out without first going through a lot of ass-covering and denial?

    • Yeah, like Congress should be wasting its time investigating the mismanagement of a game by a monopolistic system they rubber-stamped in the first place.


      It's not like there's more important issues to delve into currently.

      I'm sure Eliott Spitzer has time to add investigations on the abuses carried out in the name of "Teh war on tERROR" along with Tycho, Worldcom, Enron and George II's plan to destroy social security and medicare (actually, that's his brother -- so far).

      • Yeah, like Congress should be wasting its time investigating the mismanagement of a game by a monopolistic system they rubber-stamped in the first place.

        Exactly my sentiment. I wince every time I hear about Congress taking up an issue related to MLB. Remember that tired old phrase? "For the good of baseball." Whatever- maybe that was something to be concerned about 80 years ago when it was one of a handful of entertainment outlets, but not any more.
    • "do you think they can figure it out without first going through a lot of ass-covering and denial?"

      Check Canseco's account. There's ass-UNcovering and denial.

  • If so, this is the best thing ever. I could submit a review of an Alton Brown cookbook, because it at least has some geek appeal.

    Er, um, excuse me. I have something to do.

    (Rushes off to submit another worthless book review to /.)

    • I think no.

      and it's not like you could sell your karma anyways...hmm..
      anyone who wants to buy excellent karma slashdot account? 4818 comments, ~40 fans(hey that's more than in my computers). 50 bucks or 4 slices of pizza(or highest bid).

      (I write like shit yeah, but fuck, I'm not pretending that I'm writing a review of a book. if i were i'd probably spell check it.. though what would matter more would be content checking)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Like every other Slashdot reader, I LOVE sports!

    Please post more sports stories.
  • okay (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    this gets posted under the guise of 'biotech'?

    this book was written by JOSE CANSECO!. The man is a moron. His knowledge of anything 'biotech' is right up there with my knowledge of the female psyche.
  • Baseball's that game with the ball and the stick, right? Or am I thinking of something else? Cricket?

    (Yes, I'm being sarcastic.)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    If you don't like drugs in baseball, stop watching it on TV, and paying for tickets until they come up with a policy that the fans demand. I hate the sport and only participate in its business to the extent the state demands (ridiculous taxpayer funding, etc). The government should have NO ROLE in this. They will but they shouldn't. That doesn't stop them from the myriad areas where they get involved with no business. Much like Terri Schiavo. There will always be some lobby somewhere for some government inv
  • womanlike? (Score:2, Funny)

    by heidi (82179)
    what the hell does womanlike writing mean ?
    do you wonder why you don't have a girlfriend ?
  • by dfn5 (524972) on Friday March 18, 2005 @01:39PM (#11977778) Journal
    not particularly entertaining, none of the stories are more than slightly amusing, and its protagonist projects an unappealing mixture of vanity and whining

    So the book sucks and has nothing to do with Sci-Fi, Fantasy or Technology. I'm confused, why is it being reviewed here?

    • "So the book sucks and has nothing to do with Sci-Fi, Fantasy or Technology. I'm confused, why is it being reviewed here?"

      This has everything to do with tech, as in videogames. What is MLB any more than something that provides material to EA for one of its sports games? After reading this, you will not be surprised when they add the hypo needle icon to the setup for the players in the game.

    • by genomancer (588755) on Friday March 18, 2005 @01:58PM (#11978019)
      Yeah, you're missing something. You're missing the fact that "Technology" no longer means "Silicon" or "Ray guns". Technology is becoming less about metals and electrons and more about proteins and chemistry every day. Hell, even your aforementioned Sci-Fi writers have known this for decades; from Niven to Gibson and back to Heinlein, the masters have long known that once we've reached the boundaries of hard tech, soft tech will dominate. If you haven't realised that it's already happening, either catch up or get out of the way.

      As such, the social issues of "new technology" ARE what "Nerds and Geeks and Libertarians" should be thinking about... and while Canseco is no genius philospher, he appears to have guts and some degree of vision. His stance is important, if not correct or wise. This article is more about "tommorow's technology today" than any other I've seen on Slashdot in recent memory.

      G
  • by RobertB-DC (622190) * on Friday March 18, 2005 @01:39PM (#11977779) Homepage Journal
    We have horses, so it's interesting to see two well-known horse meds mentioned (though not in Canseco's book):

    I've tried a lot of other things through the years -- like butazolidin, which is what they give to horses. And D.M.S.O. -- dimethyl suloxide. Whitey Ford used that for a while. You rub it on with a plastic glove and as soon as it gets in your arm you can taste it in your mouth. It's not available anymore, though. Word is it can blind you.

    Butazolidin is commonly known as Bute (byoot), and it's available in tablets (those work best if you grind them up and mix with molasses in the horse's feed) or as a paste you squirt into your horse's mouth (whether they like it or not).

    DMSO is hardly "not available anymore." One informative article [horses-and...mation.com] notes that "there is hardly a trainer's trunk that is without DMSO. It is used because it works."

    But I wouldn't use it on my own horses -- it has a distinctive and somewhat nauseating odor. A fellow boarder at one stable used it on his mare, and it was hard to even walk past her stall. It's hard to see how something that smells that bad could be doing any good. If a ballplayer were using DMSO (either on its own or as a carrier for some other drug), the fans behind home plate would know as soon as he came up to bat.
  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Friday March 18, 2005 @01:40PM (#11977801) Homepage Journal
    I want to see the "Extra Special Olympics". Only people barred from competing in their sport for "performance enhancement": steroids, cocaine, adrenochrome, implants, unsportsmanlike conduct, battery, card counting. There's even an "exhibition event" for cheaters, where everyone wins a tin medal. I want to see footballs thrown 85 yards, followed by a ripped-off arm in a final gesture. I want to watch ESO scores and action make all these official leagues look like schoolyard charades. If we're going to pay these freaks millions to perform on TV, I want a legion of mutants and cyborgs making the greatest spectacle possible. All this "fair play" and "model citizen" crap is holding back sports. The Extra Special Olympics is long overdue on my Pay-Per-View
    • by floateyedumpi (187299) on Friday March 18, 2005 @01:50PM (#11977923)
      Perhaps you would also enjoy The All Drug Olympics [jt.org]
      Dennis Miller: In response to what its sponsors claim is an idea whose time has come, the first All-Drug Olympics opened today in Bogota, Columbia. Athletes are allowed to take any substance whatsoever before, after, and even during the competition. So far, 115 world records have been shattered! We go now to correspondent Kevin Nealon, live in Bogota for the Weightlifting Finals. Kevin?

      Kevin Nealon: Dennis, getting ready to lift now is Sergei Akmudov of the Soviet Union. His trainer has told me that he's taken antibolic steroids, Novacaine, Nyquil, Darvon, and some sort of fish paralyzer. Also, I believe he's had a few cocktails within the last hour or so. All of this is, of course, perfectly legal at the All-Drug Olympics, in fact it's encouraged. Akmudov is getting set now, he's going for a cleaning jerk of over 1500 pounds, which would triple the existing world record. That's an awful lot of weight, Dennis, and here he goes.

      [ Kevin steps aside to reveal the steroid-bulked athlete bent over to lift the 1500 lbs. weight. Sergei tightens his grip on the barbells and pulls up, but instead of lifting the weights, his arms are pulled off and blood squirts ferociously out of his pulpy stubs.

      Kevin Nealon: Oh! He pulled his arms off! He's pulled his arms off, that's gotta be disappointing to the big Russian! [ Sergei's trainer wraps a towel around him ] You know, you hate to see something like this happen, Dennis! He probably doesn't have that much pain right now, but I think tomorrow he's really gonna feel that, Dennis! Back to you!

      Dennis Miller: Thank you, Kevin. Very nice form on the Russian. Canada, of course, is leading that competition.

    • It's been done, and it was called the XFL...
    • Just had a flashback of Phil Hartman's "All-Drug Olympics" sketch from SNL (transcript [jt.org]). Anyone got the video?
  • Señor Canseco is just trying to make money. His baseball career turned to utter shit because of injuries (injuries he says he tried to avoid by taking steroids???) and he really has no other source of income.

    But is he really lying? And is everything about this book bad (talking about how steroids helped him, how it helps other professionals = bad influence)? This book is the only reason a congressional hearing was called so they could force a clean up of america's (former) favorite pastime. Witho
    • You missed the point. He supports steriods use. He won't be donating money to an anti drug program any time soon.
      • No, I read the book. He only supports Jose Canseco (again, self centered) taking steroids. He doesn't tell little kids to go out and take them, not once. I am saying he shouldn't profit from the book because the book is essentially, "..hey kids I took steroids and look at what i did.." and I don't feel that his message is right.
  • by Brandybuck (704397) on Friday March 18, 2005 @01:43PM (#11977847) Homepage Journal
    Am I the only one who thinks Congress's priorities are completely out of whack? Aren't there more important things they could be focusing on? Sheesh.
    • by dr_canak (593415) on Friday March 18, 2005 @02:09PM (#11978143)
      "Am I the only one who thinks Congress's priorities are completely out of whack"

      That's a pretty typical criticism of these hearings, and there is no doubt that there are many important things congress should be directing their energies towards. With that said,

      (1) Baseball is exempt from some anti-trust laws. For example, Major League Baseball (MLB) gets to decide how many teams there are and more importantly, where those teams are located. There are very densely populated parts of this country that have no chance in getting a baseball team because MLB says no. No one can override MLB's decision because MLB is free to run their shop and determine the economical competitiveness of their own decisions without worrying about someone else stepping in to compete. They are a congressionally protected monopoly.

      (2) Tax payer dollars have subsidized something like 1/2 of the current major league stadiums. Yes it can bring revenue into the area, but MLB and team owners are the ones to most benefit from these added tax dollars because it reduces the financial burden on team owners.

      Here is a nice summary article from Sports Illustrated (SI) detailing some of the times when congress has involved itself in the game of baseball:

      http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2005/baseball/m lb /03/16/bc.bbo.congress.baseball.ap/

      so its hardly a new phenomena. I don't disagree that there are more pressing matters going on right now, but i'm not sure it's entirely out of whack either.

      jeff

      • (1) Baseball is exempt from some anti-trust laws. For example, Major League Baseball (MLB) gets to decide how many teams there are and more importantly, where those teams are located. There are very densely populated parts of this country that have no chance in getting a baseball team because MLB says no. No one can override MLB's decision because MLB is free to run their shop and determine the economical competitiveness of their own decisions without worrying about someone else stepping in to compete. The

    • Am I the only one who thinks Congress's priorities are completely out of whack? Aren't there more important things they could be focusing on? Sheesh.

      This is not the first time that baseball has taken a hit for America. Consider what Congress would be doing if they weren't obsessing about baseball, then be thankful that Congress's priorities are so out of whack that they give baseball a higher priority than business as usual.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 18, 2005 @01:45PM (#11977874)
    Its hard to believe a word of this book considering a lot of it can be proved is a lie.

    Let's have a look ...

    On his rookie season (1986):

    We went to Detroit ... Walt Terrell gave me a good pitch to hit. I took a big swing and hit a home run to center field that ended up in the Tiger Stadium upper deck. They told me afterward that I had already hit a home run in every AL ballpark as a rookie.
    -- p. 65

    Jose Canseco

    Jose Canseco back in his heyday with the A's.

    Canseco didn't hit a home run in Detroit in 1986. Or in Kansas City, for that matter. So what "they" told him about hitting a homer in every ballpark as a rookie was wrong, even if you take into account his 1985 September callup.

    According to Retrosheet, Jose went 4-for-8 (three singles and a triple) in three games against Terrell in 1986. That monster shot? Canseco is probably remembering Mark McGwire's first major league homer, a colossal 450-foot blast off Terrell in Detroit on August 25.

    On Bret Boone:

    I remember one day during 2001 spring training, when I was with the Anaheim Angels in a game against the Seattle Mariners, Bret Boone's new team. I hit a double, and when I got out there to second base I got a good look at Boone. I couldn't believe my eyes. He was enormous. "Oh my God," I said to him. "What have you been doing?"

    "Shhh," he said. "Don't tell anybody." Whispers like that were a sign that you were part of the club ...
    -- p. 264

    This conversation almost certainly didn't take place.

    The Mariners and Angels played five spring training games in 2001.

    On Friday, March 2, the Angels beat the Mariners, 5-2. Jose went 0-for-2 as a DH, and did not reach base.

    On Friday, March 9, the Mariners beat the Angels, 8-3. Canseco struck out twice in two at-bats. Boone did not play.

    On Sunday, March 11, the Angels beat the Mariners, 5-4. Neither Canseco or Boone played.

    On Monday, March 12, a Mariners split-squad beat an Angels split squad, 4-2. Canseco did not play.

    On Tuesday, March 27, the Mariners beat the Angels, 15-2. Canseco did not play.

    In spring training 2001, Canseco hit only one double in 39 at bats. He did not steal a base.

    On the 2000 Subway Series against the Mets:

    In Game 6, though, I was sitting there on the Yankee bench on a cold night at Shea Stadium ... But all of a sudden, Torre called down to me. "Canseco, you're hitting." ...

    I went up to the plate to pinch-hit for David Cone, and it was bad. Three strikes and you're out.
    -- pp. 232-233

    There was no Game 6 of the 2000 World Series!

    • C'mon -- a handful of chronological errors hardly qualify as "lies". It's not as if I have complete faith in the guy's credility but the stuff you're citing is pretty petty.

      For example, did he not pitch-hit against David Cone in 2000? Or was it just in Game 4, not 6?

      Maybe you're poking some tiny holes in his accuracy, but even if he's confused about some at-bat against Walt Terrell 20 years ago, I can still believe he remembers whether he did or did not inject steroids into Mark McGwire's ass.

      • As one of the reporters noted in a radio interview, it's unfortunate, but you don't get the information you need for cases like this from choir boys and Eagle scouts. The details aren't so important here, but the main gist about the rampant use of steroids by a broad portion of baseball players is very believable.

        It's amazing that this book would have so many detailed facts that are flat-out incorrect, however. You'd think, given the dangerous topics that are being broached, that the publisher's lawyers
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Might want to point out that this was taken word for word from an article on ESPN.com.
  • by dameron (307970) on Friday March 18, 2005 @01:46PM (#11977882) Homepage
    Bush mentioned baseball and steroids in his State of the Union a couple of years ago. At the time I thought "Huh, thats seems incongruous." but now I'm starting to see why he did it.

    This baseball steroid issue is a great smokescreen to distract the media from several much more important stories:

    1) Jeff Gannon - gay prostitute/republican media plant gains access to Whitehouse without security clearance, the second gay hooker security controversy in as many Bush administrations

    2) Propaganda - Whitehouse pre-packaging new stories for anonymous airing, secretly hiring pundits like Armstrong Williams to advocate policy, coordinating political coverage with Roger Ailes at Fox news

    3) Iraqi Corruption - Who walked off with $9,000,000,000 in cash?

    4) Political Appointments - Karen Hughes (no experience) at State, Bolton to the U.N., Wolfowitz to the Wold Bank

    The whole world is talking about steroids in baseball and it's hardly an important issue. That W. staked out this political cover years ago is a testament to Karl Rove's genius.

    evil bastard,

    -dameron
    • Not only that, George W. Bush put a boot sector error in my hard disk lask week. Is there nothing that diabolical genius Rove won't stop at in order to distract me from the "Ignored Important Issues" (TM) ?
    • Signed by George W. Bush as owner of the Texas Rangers, so when they were grilling some baseball executive (I forget who) yesterday asking him why he didn't intercede with Canseco's steroid use I almost puked.

      They asked for a "zero tolerance" policy for baseball because steroids are illegal, but they change the House ethics rules so DeLay can stay in power even 'though he's going to be indicted in Texas, and there's certainly now "one strike" rule for getting kicked out of the government for breaking the l
    • It should also be mentioned that George W. Bush was an owner of the Texas Rangers and managing general partner from April 1989 - December 1994, right in the time where steroids was getting rampant and every insider turned a blind eye.
    • Dang, beat me to the punch.

      This steroid controversy is nothing but a distraction. The federal prosecutor in this case could investigate anything he wants to. There are huge looming issues with MediCaid, America's waning financial strength, corruption in the Iraqi occupation with poor pentagon accountability, war crimes committed. But what does he investigate? A poorly hidden scandal of athlete performance enhancement.

      But what of the children?

      Well, now the children know more, don't they? I don't see any p
  • with all the talk of this, you have to consider the source. Now while Jose does want to sell books (and this controversey has done that) would he really lie about SO MUCH that he claims has happened? I mean really, one or two it'd be hard to believe, but with all the allegations, I find it hard that no one is buying it. Heck, even 'big mac' didn't deny anything. The cat is outta the bag IMO. bo
  • quote (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dante (3418) * on Friday March 18, 2005 @01:52PM (#11977942) Journal

    "Baseball players will take anything. If you had a pill that would guarantee a pitcher 20 wins but might take five years off his life, he'd take it."

    I had to ask myself, if I could take a pill that increased my IQ by 60 points, but might take five years off my life would I take it?

    Yep.
    • Re:quote (Score:2, Insightful)

      by smoker2 (750216)
      I had to ask myself, if I could take a pill that increased my IQ by 60 points, but might take five years off my life would I take it?

      And with your IQ so increased, you might understand that it wasn't worth five years off your life ?
    • Re:quote (Score:3, Funny)

      by ameoba (173803)
      ...but would you take a second dose?
  • It's not like Fridays are slow news days or anything. Steroids is now biotech?

    Slashdot needs open voting on the submission queue.
  • Steroids, even if taken under the supervision of a physician, can have severe side effects if taken for long periods of time. Little things, like blindness from cataracts, have happened to people that I know.

    It's one thing to use them to treat real medical problems, after having weighed the risks and benefits. Using them to outperform the non-juiced competition is dishonest, unethical and stupid. I don't care if J. Random Ballplayer smokes dope or snorts cocaine. I do care if he uses drugs that artificial

  • Here's why steroids suck:

    Once you walk down the path of comparing these people, not on the basis of what they can do with their bodies, but how augmented their bodies are, we begin to dehumanize the concept of sports, and as long as you're paying $1m for "the best", you'll get a constant lineup of folks who will subject themselves to ANYTHING in order to be the best.

    I don't want to watch several hours of the finest machines money can buy slugging balls out of the park. I want to watch human beings doing w
  • Juiced is not a great book.

    [sniff] You had me at hello. [sniff]

  • by Drunken_Jackass (325938) on Friday March 18, 2005 @02:03PM (#11978079) Homepage
    Is it anything like pong?
  • What's with all the anti-baseball comments? Out of any sport, baseball is probably the nerdiest one, since it is ALL about statistics. Who to put in as pitcher, what pitches to throw, who to walk, how to arrange your batting lineup, etc etc. It's certainly not a sport with a lot of action in it. The real strategy involves probability and math, I would say even more so than a game like poker. You can see why the athletes will do anything, including steroids, just to raise their stats by a few points...
  • Juiced is not a great book. The End.
  • This is a SPORTS STORY! What's it doing on /.?

    Man, the slippery slope is getting steeper and steeper!!

  • The writing is workmanlike but not particularly entertaining, none of the stories are more than slightly amusing, and its protagonist projects an unappealing mixture of vanity and whining.

    Charles Dickens' Great Expectations, anyone?

    I don't think I've despised any other main character as much as that sniveling spoiled ass, Pip.

  • by randall_burns (108052) <randall_burns@hotmai l . com> on Friday March 18, 2005 @02:11PM (#11978157)
    HGH like this guy is using is made possible because of recent advances is recominant DNA research. Maintaining HGH and testosterone levels is claimed by some doctors(Dr Elmer Cranton [drcranton.com] is and example) to help with mental performance and memory(other docs are real suspect of this particular therapy). Now, I put use of testosterone to maintain youthful levels and maintaining youthful levels of HGH in a different category than I do use of steroids-which are new substances the long term effects of which aren't really well understood. Still, what a lot of this stuff in baseball means: will these substances gain enough acceptence for research to continue with potential introduction into the mainstream?


    This is especially important because some docs are thinking HGH/bioidentical hormonal supplementation just may have life extension possibilities. Whether life extension technology takes off-and how it is accepted is an important question. It would be a shame IMHO if baseball players were prevented from using the best available medical technology for purposes of life extension. There is a fine line between experimental life extension treatments and risky practices.

  • This was actually a very good review of the book. I don't think of this as being a sports issue as much as a political one. If it were just a sports issue, Congress wouldn't be trying to intervene.

    Unfortunately, people think of Canseco in the same breath as Pete Rose and John Rocker - people who have destroyed their reputations on bad judgement. This book, as the reviewer describes, could prove amongst the most important baseball books ever.

    If this book really breaks open the steroid concerns, and bett
  • by rsidd (6328) on Friday March 18, 2005 @02:19PM (#11978280)
    Canseco, for those who spent the last 15 years hidden under a rock, played major league baseball

    I suppose that's American for "those who don't live in baseball-speaking countries"?

    I mean, there are more countries that play cricket at the top level than baseball. And an order of magnitude more people who follow it.

    • I mean, there are more countries that play cricket at the top level than baseball.

      That's 10 "Test-playing" countries (really only 8 good teams though), in case you were wondering.

      And an order of magnitude more people who follow it.

      And that's because one of them is India with a billion people.

  • Look... I like Slashdot. I think dupes have a certain quaint charm. I like the discussion and am not overconcerned about "Slashbots" or "group think". I believe that open source is morally superior to closed. Heck, I have journal here and 2000 posts under my belt. Slashdot's a good place.

    ... BUT DO NOT EVER POST A STORY ABOUT SPORTS AGAIN, YOU MOTHERFUCKING FUCKERS. I GO TO SLASHDOT TO GET AWAY FROM THIS BULLSHIT. OKAY? READ MY LIPS. NO MORE SPORTS. NO SPORTS. OR SOMEONE DIES.

    Gah.
  • Well-written (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Angst Badger (8636) on Friday March 18, 2005 @02:33PM (#11978464)
    I've got two observations to make here. Firstly, this article's claim to belong on Slashdot is tenuous at best. If simply using pharmaceuticals makes this a biotech story, we are in for an awful lot of biotech stories, mostly involving Courtney Love.

    And secondly, despite that, this is one of the best-written articles to appear on Slashdot in some time. It smacks of actual journalism, which isn't something that happens often here.

  • He was good, all right, but he's no Clem Johnson. And Johnson played back in the days before steroid injections were mandatory!

  • Cripes. Did Canseco get it wrong, or just the reviewer? Here's a link [wikipedia.org]. It's used a solvent for a lot of chemical applications and it's used in NMR almost to exclusion as the solvent of choice. It's considered kind of dangerous because of the rapid uptake through the skin--spy novels use it a lot as a delivery mechanism for nefarious compounds. I remember when working with concentrated HF we had to have a DMSO cream nearby to flood the bloodstream with calcium ions to keep HF from killing us if exposed. Good

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