Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Joseeee, Jose Jose Jose ....

Regarding Dids's proposed "new segment": buddy, you are behind the times. ESPN has been doing it, and doing it better and more thoroughly, for years now. This one is from April of 2002, and yes, it contains Bibby/Troyer. As Jon Stewart classically said of women giving handjobs, "We appreciate the effort, and we appreciate the enthusiasm. But ... you're messing with the master, baby!"

Regarding Canseco's allegations: Come on. Ten Percent? Do you honestly believe that? Tell me, was the public at all surprised by the accusations he's making in his book? Haven't we suspected - not just recently, but for years - everything he's saying? Tne percent? Do you think steroids aren't really a problem in baseball, or do you just think that Canseco specifically is lying?

If you disagree that steroids are a big problem for baseball, well, you haven't been paying attention. Drew Sharp of the Detroit Free Press, among others, has pointed out that "before 1995, about the time the Steroid Era began, there had been two 50-homer season in 25 years. Cincinnati's George Foster hit 52 in 1977 and the Tigers' Cecil Fielder belted 51 in 1990. Between 1995-2002, players hit 50 or more homers 18 times." The Brett Boone and Brady Anderson examples alone merit serious investigation - something is (or was) going on.

So is it just Canseco, then? You seem to think that because Canseco is "crazy, broke, and needs the cash," that he is therefore lying. Well, I don't disagree that the guy is unsavory. He's an asshole, a narcissist, and a buffoon. But those things and "truth-telling" aren't mutually exclusive. So Canseco says somewhere in the neighborhood of 80% of all MLB-ers are on the juice. Ken Caminiti said something similar before he died. Does the fact that he wasn't crazy or broke mean that it's impossible that he was lying? Does being a generally good guy mean that you're definitely not a liar and being a scumbag mean that you are?

Remember that Canseco isn't specifically accusing everyone. He as recounted stories of first-hand knowledge of former teammates, including McGwire, Rafael Palmiero, Juan Gonzalez, and Pudge Rodriguez taking steroids. When asked about others, specifically Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds, for each one Canseco has said something along the lines of "I have no personal knowledge about them. But if you're asking me what I think, then yes, I believe they both used steroids." In that respect, he's no different than I am. I've suspected these guys of juicing up for the past ten years.

And if you think McGwire turned into Thor using over-the-counter supplements ... well, you can go ahead and try to keep your little "Summer of '98" fable as real as you can. Those guys were loaded with the crap. Testimony from Fred McGriff: "Myself personally, I would laugh when I'd see these guys hit long home runs. I mean, basically, we all came up at the same time and had about the same power. But before you knew it, they were hitting 50, 60, 70 home runs -- steroids were everywhere." One writer pointed out: "McGriff and McGwire were rookies in 1987. By the end of the 1991 season, McGwire had hit 178 home runs and McGriff had hit 156. Bonds was a rookie in 1986. By the end of the 1991 season, he had hit 142 home runs. McGwire went on to hit 70 in a season, then 65. Bonds hit 73. McGriff never hit more than 37. And Sosa's production exploded in similar fashion."

Is this all speculation and extrapolation? Of course it is. Because everyone around the scene is being so tight-lipped about it, and because baseball obviously doesn't want its records sullied anymore by known steroid abuse, we're likely to never know the whole, actual truth. Regarding your point about how Sosa has never been explicitly linked ... well, almost no one has. And the only actual information we have at this point came from grand jury testimony that was leaked to the San Francisco Chronicle. Sosa wasn't involved there, and Canseco was never teammates with him. How would we have any hard, reasonably-informed speculation about him cheating (besides, you know, his CORKED FRIGGIN' BAT)?

And if Canseco were in fact lying about this, wouldn't there be a whirlwind of defamation and libel suits going on right now? Palmiero has made a comment about possibly doing it, but no action has been taken. Personally, if someone said something like this about ME, and it were 100% untrue, I'd be slapping a lawsuit on the motherfucker so fast his head would spin. And doesn't his publisher have editors and fact-checkers? Wouldn't they want to protect themselves from possible suits by researching the whole thing and making the book as accurate as possible?

The bottom line is, Canseco isn't telling us anything shocking. Hell, many people have expected EXACTLY what he's claiming here for YEARS. How can you just dismiss what he's saying, just because he's a douchebag?


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