Saturday, August 8, 2009

Steroids? Who me? I had no clue what I was taking.. But it sure wasn't any type of steroid..

"A ballplayer's got to be kept hungry to become a big-leaguer. That's why not boy from a rich family ever made the big leagues." Joe DiMaggio

I'll get onto steroids in a few, but I first have to make mention that my summer class is finally over!! Thank goodness, my life has returned for now, at least until classes resume at the end of August.

Since I finally have some time on my hands, I have made it my goal to finally catch on some of the dozens of baseball books that I have bought, but never had the time to read. The first book up for review, which I started and completed yesterday (took me about 2 hours to read, big font, very few pages) was Vindicated: Big Names, Big Liars, and the Battle to Save Baseball. I must make mention that I did not purchase this book: I found it at the library after tutoring and I thought it would be interesting to see what more Canseco had to say about steroids.

Overall, it was a decent read. I wouldn't recommend anyone paying for the book, as it certainly wouldn't be worth the money. The first book, definitely worth the money. I own two copies of it and would recommend that anyone. This one, like I said, not so much. But if you are heading to the library, or borrowing it from a friend, I would recommend at least taking the time to read it. As I said, it won't take you that long to get through it Here's a brief synopsis of what it contained (I know its long, so if you don't have the attention span to read it all, at least check out the most important quotes, which I did decided to bold):
  • Followed the same mantra as the last book- He believes MLB blackballed him which was the reason why he decided to write both of the books. He said he didn't want to name people, but he really dint have a choice. He would have never gotten a book deal if there weren't a few names listed. As for why he didn't mention A-Rod in the first book, he believed that he had too much against him and people would say he used his name out of spite.
  • He claims that he included information about Clemens' steroid use in his first book, which basically was speculation as he said he never saw him using, but how he always thought he was on steroids. Apparently HarperCollins, his publisher, removed the contents from the book. It was something he wasn't happy about, but they didn't give him much of a choice.
  • He also stated that he mentioned Roger Clemens steroid use in the 60 Minutes interview that he was part of. His comments pertaining to Clemens were again removed from the final edited version that was on TV. He stated in the beginning that it could be a possible conspiracy on the Bush organization. Apparently Clemens is very close to the Bush family and he believed they were doing whatever possible to keep Clemens' name clean. I will add though that at the end of the book, he does state that his conspiracy could be flawed and that he realized his publisher may not have been keen on the fact that he didn't have actual experience with administering steroids to Clemens, as was the case with the other names that he listed within the book.
  • Regarding Mark McGuire: He states that when McGuire joined the A's in 1987, he was very curious about Canseco's regime. He states, "The following year, not surprisingly, McGuire underwent a miraculous transformation, and shortly thereafter the fans began to call us the Bash Brothers. I wonder how that happened?" He's right and many of us were either blind or just didn't care or want to care. I was only a year old so I think I am rightly excused as far as being naive about this transformation.
  • Found this quote to be dead on: "And here the thing: everyone knew. Nothing happened in the clubhouse that wasn't approved by the ownership. From top to bottom, the whole thing was institutionalized. Everybody knew about the bogus b12 shots, and everyone was using them. And you want to know why they were using them? They were using them because they were afraid of losing their jobs. It's that simple. They had to perform to stay in the game, and steroids gave them the edge they needed."
  • He also talks about how there isn't a such thing as a "one time user." When one takes steroids, you are committing yourself to at least a 6 week cycle, minimum. It is a process and he states that players who say it was a one time, short time deal, are blatantly lying.
  • This part is one I want to note, and this statement relates to the nonsense we are even seeing with David Ortiz. Canseco states that, "There were also plenty of steroids about steroid cream, which guys apparently kept slathering on by accident. Or it kept getting slathered on by their trainer when they weren't looking. 'I never knowingly took steroids or other performance enhancing drugs!' Jesus, How naive are we? If you're a professional athlete, one of the elite, you know exactly what your eating, how hard you're working out, how much you're sleeping, what (legal) supplements you're taking, and what (illegal) substances you're injecting. Your body is your career, and you watch anything and everything connected to it."
  • He talks about his 10 year old daughter, and how he spends time with her watching movies, playing semi-inappropriate videos games, and teaching her how to play poker. Ill decline to comment and give my opinions about his parenting skills.
  • Many good points where made in this book, if I have to admit. He touches on the subject of the Mitchell investigations, which I feel needs to be quoted. The other thing that really irked me was the shamelessness with which Mitchell betrayed his bias towards the Red Sox, for whom he was a director when the investigation began...Why the discrepancy? Does the Big Apple really have that many more juicers than Beantown? I seriously doubt it. I played on both teams, and when I said four out of five players were juicing, I meant across the board. And Beantown was no exception. This exhaustive report, which was conducted independently and with no bias whatsoever would have use believe that the New York Yankees were a bunch of juicers, while the Red Sox were almost as clean as a whistle. Again, I don't think so." He also mentions how there wasn't one current Marlins player on the report. He notes that Mitchell also serve on their board of directors.
  • He takes a different stance in the book, in which he finally acknowledges that he doesn't believe players should use steroids. He does make a good point though about steroids and the history of the game. "And hell, its not like baseball has always been squeaky clean. the game has a rich tradition of cheating, gambling, spitballs, corked bats, and worse. The game has been around for 130 years and we've seen it all: the Juiced Ball Era. The Corked Bat Era. The Spitball Era. The Pitcher's Era. The Power-Hitter's Era. This will go into the book as the Steroids Era. It's as simple as that."
  • "...when I saw things were getting out of control, and that I had to tell the truth about what was going on." I find some of the statements he made to be extremely egotistical. To me, I am confused how Canseco can sit here telling us how he basically introduced steroids to all these players, and then tell us how he found it his job to be the big man and clean the game up. I am glad he did it, and for that I give him credit, but I do at times wonder where his motives originally did stand.
Overall, I have to admit it was a pretty decent book. There were points in here that agree with and I believe. I think he clearly knew what was going on around him, as he was actually part of the game and using steroids himself. I believe every word he said about players he directly injected (Giambi, Ordonez, Palmiero, etc) but I believe his statements about A-Rod were purely fabricated.. While he was correct about A-Rod using steroids, I believe it was because he was tipped of by someone that Alex was included on the 2003 list of players that tested positive. It is just my belief that Canseco wanted to make himself part of the story, so he made up some sort of story that would include A-Rod discussing steroids with him (knowing that he did use steroids so either way he would look correct) which would put his name back in the paper. Since many see Canseco as a reputable source, now that many of his assertions have deemed to be correct, many would see this situation as something else that also did occur.


Kyle said...

Good post!

I haven't read that book. His 1st book was a quick read. I still have to find time to finish the A-Rod book also. I'll make a trip to borders or something and read sometime.

Kyle said...

I agree with you and Canseco in regards to players using PEDs.

These guys know exactly what they're taking. They also realize that the sport has become more than a game and is a business. A lot of them figure that PEDs is a way to get an edge.

They figured they had a perfect storm to avoid getting caught. Owners and a Commissioner that liked increasing revenues, fans that will fill parks when runs are scored, players that won't rat out other players, and a media that feared losing their job or being heavily bashed if they claimed someone used PEDs without having proof.

They never thought they'd get caught. I'd hope we don't need to wait til 2015 to find out that guys we thought might be cheating actually were cheating.

I also agree that Canseco probably fabricated the A-Rod story. He figured he's got credibility from being right so much and he probably knew that A-Rod used steroids.

The Commish! said...

Great post Christina.

Congrats on being done with school until the end of August too. Now you can relax and watch Yankees baseball all the time, although you do that when you have school work anyway, LOL.

I am not sure if I will read the Conseco book. The next baseball book I want to read is the Thurman Munson biography by Marty Appel.

I agree with Kyle that the players knew what they were taking. Their livelihood depends on their bodies and they aren't going to put something in their body without knowing what it is.

Owners, Commissioner Selig, and the media all turned a blind eye to it because fans returned after the 94 strike, everyone was into the Sosa-McGuire home run chase, and there was record attendance.

I would like the 2003 list to just come out already so we can move on and not have to have leaks every few weeks.

I really hope Pujols is clean and if I found out Jeter or Rivera used PED's, I might seriously consider stop watching baseball.

Although I am against the use of PED's, I do understand why players used them so they could keep their job. Although, I think they will definitely be feeling the effects of them later in life.

Al Leiter's Bullpen Catcher said...

Commish- I have the Munson book and that is the next one on my list actually to read. Ill let you know how it is.

Steroids are a tough subject only because you dont know who used and didnt use. People i hear are bashing the Red Sox 2004 and 2007 season saying they all cheated, but you cant use that mentality because I can probably think of a handful of guys on the 96,98,99, and 00 Yankees team that cheated also.. If you take away the Red SOx for cheating, then you take away just about every world series winner in the past 15 years or so...

At some point we need to move on I guess and accept it. Guys are always going to find a way to cheat and escape the system.