“Juiced,” The Book that Ruined Baseball
The suspicion that performance enhancing drugs (PED’s) were affecting baseball was brought once again to the front of peoples minds in 2005. I recently posted about the home run race of 1998, and this season was looked at strongly for PED use. McGwire and Sosa both hit over 65 home runs, defeating a record that had stood for a long time. Of course the use of PED’s came about, and McGwire did test positive for using a substance, but it was not actually steroids. Despite the fact that it was not steroids, McGwire still has not received enough votes to enter the Hall of Fame, so his reputation was most certainly tainted by this incident. His case was then further blemished when Jose Canseco, an ex-Major League baseball player, came out with a book called “Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant ‘Roids, Smash Hits & How Baseball Got Big.”
This book, although mainly an autobiography of Canseco’s life, stirred up the PED pot in baseball to a great extent. The book talked about his professional career with the Oakland Athletics, his personal life, his daughters, his multiple marriages, and even the bar fight he was involved in in 2001. The biggest thing that he did in his book was to announce to the world that he had in fact used steroids while playing professional baseball, and did not only stop at his name. He also mentioned Mark McGwire, Jason Giambi, Rafael Palmeiro, and Ivan Rodriguez as fellow steroid users. This text was ground breaking. It caused serious investigations to take place, and even grand jury testimonies by players such as McGwire and Palmeiro. As seen in the image to the right, Rafael Palmeiro testified to a grand jury stating that he had “Never taken steroids. Period.” As it turns out, he did use steroids and was then tried for lying to a grand jury.
It is a shame to see that baseball has come to this. When I was playing in the pros, we didn’t need any substances to help us play better. We relied on talent, hard work, and preparation. The fact that players in the pros are currently cheating to get ahead of the game is appalling. As soon as the Home Run Race of ’98 restored my faith in the game of baseball, this took it all away. Baseball needs a true super star to emerge, one who doesn’t cheat and can play the game as it’s meant to be played. Until then, I’ve lost my faith in the game.