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April 14, 2005

What follows is a matter of enormous public interest

DC Media Girl gives us the heads up on Steve Shapin's review of Jose Canseco's Juiced. And rightly so...

The young man leads another to a toilet stall, cautiously looking around to make sure they’re not being observed. Then he has him lower his trousers so that he can get at his buttocks. What follows is a matter of enormous public interest. Years later, President George W. Bush makes a speech condemning it. Congressional hearings are held to investigate it and to frame public policy.

It is the summer of 1988; the toilets are in the home locker room of the Oakland Athletics; and Jose Canseco is injecting Mark McGwire with anabolic steroids. Or so Canseco recounts in “Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant ’Roids, Smash Hits, and How Baseball Got Big” (Regan Books; $25.95). “It was really no big deal,” Canseco writes. “We would just slip away, get our syringes and vials, and head into the bathroom area of the clubhouse to inject each other.” By the late nineteen-nineties, according to Canseco, teammates were pairing off together in bathroom stalls with such regularity that it became an object of clubhouse drollery: “What are you guys, fags?”

If this is a matter of public interest (and it is!), surely rumors about Apple's product pipeline deserve a special prosecutor, if not their own C-SPAN show.

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Comments

Like many other people in our nation, I enjoy following sports, and was mildly amused when Jose Canseco's ridiculous book came out. It was obviously a bid for attention and money on Canseco's part, which meant that any allegations in his book couldn't be taken with any degree of credulity.

So I tuned it out and waited to hear the scores, which is really why I watch ESPN anyway.

Later on I was watching TV while eating breakfast and lo and behold I hear someone talking about Canseco's foray into investigative journalism.

I've heard this already, I said. Who cares? I decided to switch to the real news.

But wait!

Huh, this is CNN, I said. Why the hell is this nonsense on CNN?!?! We have more important things to be concerned with, like the Global War On Terror, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Michael Jackson, Prince Charles and Camilla, and a brain dead woman.....

Then again considering everything, Jose Canseco really does fit in with the rest of the stories on CNN. And I had his baseball card when I was ten.

As someone who gets tested for steroids a couple of times a year, I'm bemused by Canseco's book.

On the one hand, I'm no longer interested in the banal cheaters who play professional sports. Yes, they take steroids, but only because it's necessary to ensure larger paycheques--the steroids aren't the point, the money is.

On the other hand, I'm fairly happy he's exposing the sordid circus of denial in for-profit sport.

A clue to all non-competitive athletes: if there is a prize at the end of competition, someone will take the juice to get it. Steroids work, and they work very well indeed. From one viewpoint only an idiot would not take steroids, if it meant economic gain versus failure.

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