Don’t ask me nothin’ ’bout nothin’ — I just might tell you the truth

July 4th, 2006 → 1:29 pm @ // 4 Comments

In the year and a half since Jose Canseco published Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant ‘Roids, Smash Hits, and How Baseball Got Big, Madonna’s former paramour has served as a punching bag for those within baseball’s protective fraternity. During last March’s Congressional hearings, Curt Schilling, Rafael Palmeiro, Sammy Sosa, and Mark McGwire refused to be sworn in en masse because they didn’t want to be pictured with the greased-up, perma-tanned slugger. McGwire referred to Canseco as a “convicted criminal who would do or say anything to solve [his] own personal problems.” Schilling warned of “glorifying the so-called author” or “indirectly assisting him to sell more books.”

Canseco—who, at age 42, is attempting a comeback with the San Diego Surf Dogs (the same team for which the 47-year old Rickey Henderson put up a .456 OBP last year)—is back in the news, and it’s not because of his three strikeouts in his Surf Dogs debut last night. Before yesterday’s game, he had this to say: “They’re mafia, point blank, they’re mafia. I don’t think Major League Baseball is enthused about finding out the truth. There needs to be a major cleanup in Major League Baseball. I think they are treading on very thin ice, and [commissioner] Bud Selig has to be very careful what he’s doing because his job is on the line.” Has the new testing program solved the sports steroid problem? “The policy sounds great, but that’s not the problem,” Canseco said. “There are major problems not with the policies but the individuals who are instituting this policy. For example, and this is theoretical, if Roger Clemens gets tested and he gets tested positive and it comes back, what do these individuals do with this policy? I think it’s going to depend on a case-to-case, player-to-player basis.”

Canseco’s comments were treated with what must be by now a familiar brand of condescending disregard. At first, a baseball spokesman wouldn’t even deign to address Canseco’s allegations: “We wouldn’t comment on anything he said.” Later, an MLB official amended this statement, telling the Associated Press, “His allegations are complete nonsense.”

Of course they are. Just like his allegation that Rafael Palmeiro was a steroid user was complete nonsense. Canseco, after all, is the guy who embarrassed himself on national TV, the boob with the awful track record when it comes to telling the truth. Just look at the testimony!

Jose Canseco: “MLB did nothing to take it out of the sport. Baseball owners and the players union … turned a blind eye to the clear evidence of steroid use in baseball.”

ESPN The Magazine Special Report on Steroids, November 2005: “Who knew? We all knew: the trainers who looked the other way as they were treating a whole new class of injuries; the players who saw teammates inject themselves but kept the clubhouse code of silence; the journalists who ‘buried the lead’ and told jokes among themselves about the newly muscled; the GMs who wittingly acquired players on steroids; and, yes, owners and players, who openly applauded the home run boom and moved at glacial speed to address the problem that fueled the explosion.”

Mark McGwire: “I’m not going to go into the past or talk about my past. I’m here to make a positive influence on this.”

“My lawyers have advised me that I cannot answer these questions without jeopardizing my friends, my family and myself.”

“I will use whatever influence and popularity that I have to discourage young athletes from taking any drug that is not recommended by a doctor. What I will not do, however, is participate in naming names and implicating my friends and teammates.”

McGwire, described at the hearings by the Washington Post as a “shrunken, lonely, evasive figure,” has not, to date, been involved in public efforts to discourage young athletes from taking performance enhancing drugs.

Sammy Sosa: “Everything I have heard about steroids and human growth hormones is that they are very bad for you, even lethal. I would never put anything dangerous like that in my body. Nor would I encourage other people to use illegal performance-enhancing drugs.”

Sosa averaged 48 home runs a year in the five years preceding MLB’s new testing program. Last year, he hit 14. He is no longer on a major league roster.

Rafael Palmeiro: “I have never used steroids. Period. I do not know how to say it any more clearly than that.”

“I am against the use of steroids. I don’t think athletes should use steroids and I don’t
think our kids should use them.”

“To the degree an individual player can be helpful, perhaps as an advocate to young people about the dangers of steroids, I hope you will call on us. I, for one, am ready to heed that call.”

Palmeiro was suspended last August after testing positive for steroids. He is no longer on a major league roster.

Baseball commissioner Bud Selig: “Major League Baseball has always recognized the influence that our stars can have on the youth of America. As such, we are concerned that recent revelations and allegations of steroid use have sent a terrible message to young people.”

“Baseball’s policy on performance enhancing substances is as good as any in professional sports.”

In February 2005, after reports that Jason Giambi had told the BALCO grand jury that he knowingly used steroids, Giambi apologized in a much-ridiculed press conference. In October, MLB awarded Giambi its Comeback Player of the Year Award. (The award is sponsored by Viagra, for which Palmeiro formerly served as a spokesman.)

Baseball’s drug policy is so porous magazine articles give maps on how to beat it. Testing administered by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, the organization responsible for testing U.S. Olympic athletes, is far more stringent than the testing done by Major League Baseball.

What’s that old Sun Ra saying? Ah, yes: “A prophet is not without honor except among his own people.” (Fine, fine: Jesus came up with it first. But could Jesis have pulled this off?)


Post Categories: Baseball & Bob Dylan & Bud Selig & Jason Giambi & Jose Canseco & Rafael Palmeiro & Steroids & Sun Ra

4 Comments → “Don’t ask me nothin’ ’bout nothin’ — I just might tell you the truth”


  1. Nordberg

    11 years ago

    Anyone out there still think Canseco is full of hot air when it comes to steriods, HGH and other performance-enhacing drugs?
    Anyone? Buehler? Buehler?
    HGH. How Giambi Homers.

    Reply
  2. […] That’s all for now. I’ve written plenty about steroids in the past, including last August, when I wondered why no one was wondering about Roger, and way back in October ‘06, when I mocked the press’s surprise that Clemens had been fingered in he Grimsley affidavit. I also tagged Jason Giambi a gutless punk, ripped into the Players Union for defending the players’ right to destroy their livers, lamented the fact that Jose Canseco seemed to be the only honest guy around, and talked about how Bill James compared steroids to going through a divorce. (Sort of, anyway.) […]

    Reply
  3. […] In an interview with an Atlanta radio station, John “I’ll just keep talking until I get myself in trouble” Rocker says he and a bunch of other Texas Rangers were advised on how to juice without getting caught back in 2000. (According to Rocker, this little talking-to happened after he flunked a steroids test. He also takes pains to point out that A-Rod was one of his teammates at the time. It looks more and more like Alex’s stint with Texas wasn’t the best move: every two-bit punk who did time with him in Arlington is using him to gin up publicity.) Anyway, I believe Rocker is telling the truth. (Sort of.*) I’ve had an odd–well, soft spot isn’t exactly the right word, but you get the idea–for Rocker even since he went mano a mano with Deadspin’s Will Leitch, one of our all-time favorite sportswriters, period. (If you haven’t bought “God Save the Fan,” you should. It’s hysterical. And cut up into easily digestible chunks.) But that’s not why I believe him. I believe him because I think the Mitchell report underestimates — enormously — the amount of juicing within baseball. (I’m also surprised Mitchell, et al got away with the methods they used; that kind of crap would get me drummed out of journalism permanently. That’s a whole other story.) I also believe him because if the whole steroids mess has shown us anything, it’s that the least likely folks have ended up being the most honest. That’s in large part because of the frat house/high school locker room mentality of the entire baseball world, where the omerta code is lots stronger than it is in today’s mob…and guys like Jose and JR have already been kicked out of the club, so they have nothing to lose. […]

    Reply
  4. […] Ah, yes: Hall of Fame voting. For folks not living in New England, this year that means a debate about Mark McGwire. I don’t think McGwire deserves to get in, for reasons I’ve explained before. (CliffsNotes version: if I had a vote (I don’t and never will) I’d settle the whole steroids issue thusly: players I think would be HoF players without ‘roids — Barry Bonds, et al — would get a check mark next to their name; players who wouldn’t — McGwire, Sosa — would not.) I also have a philisophical problem with voting for anyone who makes Jose Canseco look honest in comparison. […]

    Reply

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