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timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the dopey dept.

Biotech 381

AdamBa (Adam Barr) writes "Juiced is not a great book. The writing is workmanlike but not particularly entertaining, none of the stories are more than slightly amusing, and its protagonist projects an unappealing mixture of vanity and whining. There is a bit of dirt on players, and a couple of nuggets about Madonna and the sex lives of baseball players (and the intersection of those two), but as a baseball autobiography, it pales besides better competition. And yet, Juiced may be one of the most important baseball books ever written." Specifically, the book provides an insider's account of one aspect of biotech that has achieved widespread use, if not acceptance. Read on for the rest of Barr's review.

Canseco, for those who spent the last 15 years hidden under a rock, played major league baseball for 17 seasons, from 1985 to 2001. He was most famous for belting massive home runs, but he was also pretty fast: in 1988 he became the first player in history to hit at least 40 home runs and steal at least 40 bases in a single season. For his career he hit .266, with 462 home runs and a .515 slugging percentage. He was a 6-time All-Star, won a Rookie-of-the-Year and MVP award, and picked up two World Series rings.

(How good was Canseco as a player? In his book Whatever Happened to the Hall of Fame?, Bill James presents several methods of estimating how likely someone is to be voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. On the "Hall of Fame Standards" test, where 60 percent of players with a score of 40-49 have gotten into the Hall of Fame, Canseco scores a 38. On the "Hall of Fame Monitor" test, where a score of 100 indicates someone is likely to get in, Canseco scores an 103. So Canseco may not get elected to the Hall of Fame (and likely won't, after the publication of his book), but a reasonable case could be made that he belongs there. The answer to the question of how good Canseco was is "very, very good.")

What's important about Juiced, especially to the average Slashdot reader who may not know a baseball diamond from the Hope diamond? The answer is buried in the subtitle's heap of verbiage: "Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits, and How Baseball Got Big." Canseco's book is about the growing user of steroids in baseball, something you hear a lot about today. But Canseco has an unusual opinion: steroids in baseball are not bad; in fact they are very, very good.

Spurred in large part by Canseco's book, the U.S. House Government Reforms Committee subpoenaed some of the biggest names in baseball -- including Mark McGwire, Jason Giambi, and Sammy Sosa -- to testify at a hearing on March 17. Allegations are flying that Barry Bonds was on steroids when he set the single-season mark of 73 home runs in 2001. The typical press reaction to this is one of disgust: words such as "tainted," "artificial," and "cheating" are common.

Not so fast, says Canseco. Steroids in baseball are good. Steroids help players get stronger, and enjoy longer careers. And it's not just baseball players who can benefit: steroids can help almost anyone live a longer, healthier life. His book is a wakeup call not just for baseball, or sports in general, but for all mankind. That's his view, anyway, but he makes a decent case for it, using himself as an example.

Canseco explains how he used steroids (which in this context really means a combination of steroids and human growth hormone) to transform himself from a skinny kid to the beefed up example of manhood that gazes soulfully at you from above a bulging bicep on the back cover of his book. He gained confidence as well, and there's no doubt his ego was pumped up: the book is full of references to how good-looking he is, with some attempts to balance those with descriptions of how ugly he was as a kid.

The book also has a B storyline, which is that the media discriminated against Canseco because he is Cuban, in comparison to the All-American image of Mark McGwire. The current media dismissal of Canseco's claims that McGwire took steroids only adds fuel to his conspiracy theory. If you read the book, you would be hard-pressed to doubt that McGwire took steroids on a regular basis. Canseco is not describing rumor or innuendo; he is talking about obtaining steroids and then personally sticking a needle containing them into McGwire's gluteus maximus, repeatedly, over a period of years when they were both with the Oakland A's, and then later injecting his Texas Ranger teammates Rafael Palmeiro, Juan Gonzalez, and Ivan Rodriguez.

A glance at the rookie cards of players like McGwire and Barry Bonds shows that those guys have put on a lot of muscle since they reached the majors (rookie cards are a good source of pictures since a hitter with no action photos from major-league games usually gets the basic pose of bent elbow, bat over shoulder). A Giambi minor-league card shows a lot of loose sleeve around the bicep. If Canseco is making all this up, he is doing an excellent job, and the fact that nobody is threatening to sue him over the book lends credence to the accuracy of his claims.

Remember, Canseco is not "accusing" anyone of using steroids, in the usual negative sense of an accusation. He is merely stating that people used them, and in fact applauds them, considering it a wise decision both medically and financially. Unlike almost every other media report, Canseco's book discusses steroid use in a factual way, absent the finger-pointing and hand-wringing. He presents steroid users not as cheaters, but as vanguards of a new era of athletic performance.

So how should a libertarian, "I'll believe it when I see it" cynic view the accomplishments of juiced-up baseball players? People are talking about asterisks on records, Hall of Fame bans, revoking MVP awards. Is this reasonable?

It's a fact that in sports where achievement is measured in objective terms, athletes today are much better than they used to be. Yet in sports where opinions are subjective, the older athletes are usually recalled as being better than their modern counterparts. In 1920, the year that Babe Ruth began hitting home runs at a previously unprecedented pace, the world record for the mile was 4 minutes, 12.6 seconds; today it is 3 minutes, 43.13 seconds. That doesn't sound like a huge difference, but if you picture the race as four laps of a quarter-mile oval, as it is usually run, the modern miler would finish almost half a lap ahead of his 1920 counterpart, an obviously dominating victory. Today a good college runner can run the mile faster than the 1920 world-record-holder. It would seem logical to assume that a good college hitter (a good college power hitter, anyway), if magically transported back to 1920, could hit more home runs than Babe Ruth.

Almost any baseball analyst today would laugh at that notion. I think they are wrong; I think a modern hitter, or pitcher, would in fact completely dominate their counterparts from early in the last century (even if you let the pitchers throw spitballs, which have now been banned from baseball, yet their erstwhile practitioners are considered crafty, not cheaters, and their statistics remain unblemished by any asterisks). It's documented that pitchers of yore could mostly take it easy out on the mound. In books like Christy Mathewson's Pitching in a Pinch, it was explained that pitchers could save their energy for the dozen or so times in a game that they really had to bear down.

I'm not saying that Babe Ruth or Christy Mathewson, if born today, could not become great major-league players. They obviously had natural talents that separated them from their peers. What they were lacking was all the knowledge that has been built up over the years. It's not just diet and conditioning -- it's all the miracles of modern life that keep us going. Even up to the 1970s, pitchers could never see video of themselves pitching (a huge advantage in correcting flaws in their pitching motion) unless they happened to pitch in the World Series. Jose Canseco had surgery three times for back injuries, any one of which presumably would have ended, or severely curtailed, his career 85 years ago, yet nobody accuses him of cheating for undergoing surgery.

One of the miracles of modern baseball medicine is "Tommy John surgery", named after the pitcher on whom it was first performed. It involves repairing the ulnar collateral ligament in the elbow using a ligament from another part of the body. A pitcher who undergoes this surgery is not only avoiding a career-ending injury (the linked article above says that Sandy Koufax, who retired due to a self-described "dead arm," is thought to have had damaged UCL). The surgery usually leaves the elbow stronger than it was before. And more than 10% of major-league pitchers today have had this surgery. Are they cheating? Do they need an asterisk next to their records? There is no doubt that in the near future, athletes will undergo surgery not to repair injuries, but to prevent injuries that have not yet occurred. One day athletes with artificial limbs will be relegated to their own Olympics not because they perform worse than their non-bionic counterparts, but because they perform better.

The Olympics, of course, have taken a hard line on pharmaceuticals: popping a Sudafed before the big event will disqualify you. Nobody is suggesting that baseball go that far, but what is the dividing line between steroids and a lot of other substances that athletes put in their bodies? As Jim Bouton points out in his classic book Ball Four, baseball players have long been searching for that extra chemical edge. His diary of the 1969 Seattle Pilots describes rampant use of "greenies," or amphetamines. Bouton expounds further on this topic:

"I've tried a lot of other things through the years -- like butazolidin, which is what they give to horses. And D.M.S.O. -- dimethyl suloxide. Whitey Ford used that for a while. You rub it on with a plastic glove and as soon as it gets in your arm you can taste it in your mouth. It's not available anymore, though. Word is it can blind you. I've also taken shots -- novocain, cortisone, and xylocaine. Baseball players will take anything. If you had a pill that would guarantee a pitcher 20 wins but might take five years off his life, he'd take it."

The issue with steroids, of course, is that they really work. They're not magic: you still have to work out, hard. But you do get stronger, and according to Canseco, even more important is the increased stamina, the ability to hit as well at the end of a 6-month season as you do at the beginning. Canseco also points out that baseball players used to be known for drinking and recreational drug use. But a steroid-user can't afford to tax their liver with alcohol and drugs, and they don't need to mess around with greenies, so Canseco feels that the arrival of steroids also ushered in a time of "clean living" among baseball players.

Canseco presents himself as "The Chemist," the one who did the experiments with steroids, learned how to use them properly, and then passed his knowledge on to others. He maintains that he taught McGwire in Oakland, then Palmeiro, Gonzalez and Rodriguez in Texas (and that McGwire taught Giambi), and when Canseco returned to Oakland, he taught Miguel Tejada. Canseco views the $72-million, 6-year contract that Tejada signed with Baltimore in December 2003 as proof that Tejada made a wise decision to increase his physical ability (although Canseco adds a disclaimer in this case: although he claims to have taught Tejada about steroids and saw him grow bigger and stronger, he did not actually witness Tejada using steroids).

Fans, of course, do love home runs. I saw a baseball game in St. Louis in 1999, and I have never seen an audience so clearly devoted to a single player. The only jersey you saw in the stands was Mark McGwire's number 25. The fans loved him, and the place came alive when he was batting. And when, mirabile dictu, he cranked a four-bagger over the left-field fence, the place went nuts, and I bet every fan felt they got their money's worth. What about those kids, the ones in the stands, when McGwire is revealed to have feet of clay?

Canseco has an answer: we shouldn't worry about those kids having fallen heroes, because in his eyes, they aren't fallen. Furthermore, he accuses baseball's owners and management of being complicit in trying to hush up steroid use, in order to give the fans what they wanted.

Juiced, as mentioned earlier, has problems. Canseco states that young athletes should not use steroids, but beyond a blanket disclaimer at the beginning of the book, does little to discourage teenagers from attempting to emulate the professionals. He gives an unsurprisingly sympathetic and glossy account of his various run-ins with the law: gun possession charge, a couple of domestic violence cases, a bar fight, three months in jail in 2003. He tosses around the names of various steroids, but for someone who claims to know so much about the subject, he gives little background on them: how they were discovered, the legal uses for which they are manufactured, how suppliers obtain them.

But as background reading for today's steroids controversy, and as a potential harbinger of the future of our species, it's worth a look.

You can purchase Juiced from Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews -- to see your own review here, read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page.

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SlashJock (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11977696)

News for jocks. Stuff that doesn't matter.

Re:SlashJock (1, Troll)

electric_penguin (166747) | more than 9 years ago | (#11977828)

WTF Get this jock bullshit out of here.

Gimme new for nerds!

Re:SlashJock (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11977899)


Re:SlashJock (-1, Troll)

Usquebaugh (230216) | more than 9 years ago | (#11977912)

I've said it before and I'll say it again. Timothy is a useless cretin, I could write a bot that does a better job than him. Fire his useless ass.

Re:SlashJock (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11978034)

Thanks for your opinion, but what I think people REALLY want to know is: What would Roland Piquepaille think about this?

Nonsense! (3, Funny)

Average_Joe_Sixpack (534373) | more than 9 years ago | (#11978002)

Steroids have helped me become a better programmer.

Question Off Topic (-1, Offtopic)

radiumglow (868910) | more than 9 years ago | (#11978058)

Is there a way to get a phone number that when dialed will ring my cell phone. In other words I dont want to give me girl on the sly my true number Many Thanks, Snake

Drugs = Biotech? (3, Insightful)

null etc. (524767) | more than 9 years ago | (#11977699)

Specifically, the book provides an insider's account of one aspect of biotech that has achieved widespread use, if not acceptance.

Uhm, yeah. Steroids are "biotech". Nice justification for submitting a baseball story review to /.

Re:Drugs = Biotech? (5, Funny)

AtariAmarok (451306) | more than 9 years ago | (#11977760)

"Uhm, yeah. Steroids are "biotech". Nice justification for submitting a baseball story review to /."

What would it take to satisfy you? Sordid accounts of Jose Canstrikeout injecting nanoprobes into the ass of McGwire ("Mack McGwaa" as Ted Kennedy calls him).... followed by rhe recruitment of "Inning 7 of 9" to the Toronto Blueborg team?

K-Mart sucks! (1)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 9 years ago | (#11977906)

Geeks like baseball because it generates lots of statistics!

Re:Drugs = Biotech? (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 9 years ago | (#11977772)

Uhm, yeah. Steroids are "biotech". Nice justification for submitting a baseball story review to /.

null etc. (524767), you ignorant slut. Have you heard of Balco and Victor Conte? They specifically designed doping products to be undetectable by current tests (as of a couple years back) The web of users was around the world, because anyone who wanted and edge and had few scruples would be attracted to engineered dope like flies to honey.

Deal. (5, Insightful)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 9 years ago | (#11977861)

Uhm, yeah. Steroids are "biotech". Nice justification for submitting a baseball story review to /.

And we sports fans put up with similar lame justifications for submitting a story about the latest inane Star Trek/Wars spinoff/episode/whatever. So deal with it.

Regardless of the merits of the Congressional focus on baseball, it's a whole lot more newsworthy than the usual popular media related drivel on slashdot.

Steroids? (1)

Reignking (832642) | more than 9 years ago | (#11977704)

And here I thought that slashdot had crossed over into sports, and had an article on yesterday's congressional inquiry into baseball players "juicing " with steroids. I know this place gets political once in a while...

Simpson Joke (5, Funny)

lecithin (745575) | more than 9 years ago | (#11977705)


Wasn't that Nicole Brown Simpson's Biography title.


Re:Simpson Joke (1)

MAdMaxOr (834679) | more than 9 years ago | (#11977902)

I've been watching since season 1 and I don't recall anyone in Homer's family named Nico.. oh, never mind.

Sorry (1)

AtariAmarok (451306) | more than 9 years ago | (#11977707)

Sorry, at this time I only read baseball books written by W. P. Kinsella. I've read two so far, and have two or so more to go.

Maybe he'll get around to a steroid book someday. I'll have to wait until his "Roidless Joe" novel.

Huh? (0, Redundant)

Paul 03244 (220512) | more than 9 years ago | (#11977709)

Why is this review on /.?

Re:Huh? (1)

TeleoMan (529859) | more than 9 years ago | (#11977745)

Agreed. And I hope you get +5 very, very soon.

/.'s becoming a wastered-down focus-less fark-like head-line dump.


Re:Huh? (1)

SenatorOrrinHatch (741838) | more than 9 years ago | (#11978004)

Next we're gonna see boobies (and weeners, for you San Fran tech types) links on here.

Hopefully they'll be to usenet or something.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11977785)

One word (or maybe it's two, you can debate!): "Bio-tech"

That's why.


Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11977792)

Seconded. Anyways, if anybody wants a real baseball book thats actually by somebody who would fit in here (were he still alive), go read The Best Of Plimpton by George Plimpton. Participatory journalism at its finest.

Re:Huh? (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 9 years ago | (#11977802)

No kidding. If I cared, I'd be reading ESPN. /The sound of slashdot mainstreaming.

Re:Huh? (2, Funny)

Chairboy (88841) | more than 9 years ago | (#11977803)

Because it pertains to baseball. Many slashdotters track the progress of the Major League baseball seasons to know when the baseball fans (jocks) are safely sequestered in 'Sports bars' leaving the streets safe for us to roam.

Re:Huh? (2, Interesting)

nucal (561664) | more than 9 years ago | (#11977813)

Isn't baseball the premier game for nerds? Look at all of the obsessive statistical analysis done (e.g. SABR [] ) ...

The whole issue of who is juicing and who is not now puts into question all of the records and stats assocaited with Baseball. Does McGuire's HR record still count or not? I'm sure that there are plenty of Sabermaticians who will debate that for quite some time ...

Re:Huh? (2, Interesting)

Seumas (6865) | more than 9 years ago | (#11977927)

No, sorry. I'm not a patron of commercialized sports where a bunch of two-digit-intelligence lame-asses swing a stick at a ball and run around a diamond for $10,000,000 per year. Further, I'm offended that my tax money is being used to investigate whether or not a bunch of spoiled rich ball players are "juicing".

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11977937)

So? Who TF gives?

Not to mention Canseco is an idiot. (1)

hot_Karls_bad_cavern (759797) | more than 9 years ago | (#11977860)

Listen to the guy, read the tripe, it's simple, he's an idiot (rich one though) and i'm not sure why this is on /. either. Hell, it shouldn't have been in Congress either - they should be doing more important shit.

Re:Huh? (1)

hnile_jablko (862946) | more than 9 years ago | (#11977879)

Because.. occassionally we need fodder on /. whereby i can only search out those posts modded +5 Funny.

Re:Huh? (1)

Shant3030 (414048) | more than 9 years ago | (#11977881)

Good question....

When I was growing up, Canseco was my idol. I had all his baseball cards, jerseys, posters, etc.

It's kind of sad to hear he was juiced, but oh well...

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11978005)

There is a very simple explanation. Take this as a warning that 'Roid Rage is going to increase rapidly in the near future. Every jock that can read will be reading this book in Jr. High or High School. They will then tell the rest of the jocks how some famous baseball player used drugs and that they all should too. Then the real fun starts with the overly agressive behavior, followed by suicides.

Of course Baseball needs to regulate itself and congress needs to stay out of this.

Re:Huh? (1)

totipotentsoul (828085) | more than 9 years ago | (#11978050)

Because better living through chemistry is most definitely news for nerds. The review is what makes it slashdot material. If Canseco had admitted to having cybernetic arms replace his actual arms, would that have been news for nerds? Well this is Captain America instead of Cable.

Canseco (1)

WaldoXX (803727) | more than 9 years ago | (#11977712)

Canseco's nick name is "Can Strike Out"

Unless You're Still Under a Rock (4, Interesting)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 9 years ago | (#11977725)

These guys have been summoned to speak before an increasingly irritated congress. Selig and the Players Union are likely to achieve what they least want with their watered-down slap-on-the-wrist penalties. In Europe it's called "Sporting Fraud" in many countries and can lead to prison time for a first offense.

I think that's fair for here, too.

There's a reason why I no longer follow baseball, do you think they can figure it out without first going through a lot of ass-covering and denial?

Re:Unless You're Still Under a Rock (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11977897)

These guys have been summoned to speak before an increasingly irritated congress.

Yeah, good thing congress finally cleared all that minor crap like terrorism, homeland security, global warming, energy policy, social security reform, etc., out of their inbox and got to the really important issues of the day.

Maybe once this is wrapped up, they can hold congressional hearings to determine whether pro wrestling is fake.

showboating bitches, EAT MY COCK! (2, Insightful)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 9 years ago | (#11978046)

Yeah, like Congress should be wasting its time investigating the mismanagement of a game by a monopolistic system they rubber-stamped in the first place.

It's not like there's more important issues to delve into currently.

I'm sure Eliott Spitzer has time to add investigations on the abuses carried out in the name of "Teh war on tERROR" along with Tycho, Worldcom, Enron and George II's plan to destroy social security and medicare (actually, that's his brother -- so far).

The needle and the damage done (1)

AtariAmarok (451306) | more than 9 years ago | (#11978051)

"do you think they can figure it out without first going through a lot of ass-covering and denial?"

Check Canseco's account. There's ass-UNcovering and denial.

Do you get Karma for submissions? (1)

mhesseltine (541806) | more than 9 years ago | (#11977746)

If so, this is the best thing ever. I could submit a review of an Alton Brown cookbook, because it at least has some geek appeal.

Er, um, excuse me. I have something to do.

(Rushes off to submit another worthless book review to /.)

WOOHOO!!! BASEBALL!!!! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11977747)

Like every other Slashdot reader, I LOVE sports!

Please post more sports stories.

okay (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11977752)

this gets posted under the guise of 'biotech'?

this book was written by JOSE CANSECO!. The man is a moron. His knowledge of anything 'biotech' is right up there with my knowledge of the female psyche.

Just to make sure we're all clear... (1)

SilentChris (452960) | more than 9 years ago | (#11977758)

Baseball's that game with the ball and the stick, right? Or am I thinking of something else? Cricket?

(Yes, I'm being sarcastic.)

Re:Just to make sure we're all clear... (1)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 9 years ago | (#11977811)

Well lets see, they are both involve a stick and a bat, are mind numbingly boring and only played by a handful of countries so they are actually pretty much the same thing.

Re:Just to make sure we're all clear... (2, Funny)

aftk2 (556992) | more than 9 years ago | (#11977822)

Yeah. I think it's made by Electronic Arts.

So how should a libertarian... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11977765)

If you don't like drugs in baseball, stop watching it on TV, and paying for tickets until they come up with a policy that the fans demand. I hate the sport and only participate in its business to the extent the state demands (ridiculous taxpayer funding, etc). The government should have NO ROLE in this. They will but they shouldn't. That doesn't stop them from the myriad areas where they get involved with no business. Much like Terri Schiavo. There will always be some lobby somewhere for some government involvement everywhere. And government from the left and the right will honor this desire in different areas. This is precisely why our constitutionally-limited government is turning into mob rule democracy.

womanlike? (2, Funny)

heidi (82179) | more than 9 years ago | (#11977771)

what the hell does womanlike writing mean ?
do you wonder why you don't have a girlfriend ?

Re:womanlike? (1)

heidi (82179) | more than 9 years ago | (#11977804)

ahh, i see i can no longer read, "workmanlike"!
i must be itching for any excuse today ....

Re:womanlike? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11977869)

Geez, Heidi, and you wonder why you don't have a boyfriend?!?

Re:womanlike? (2, Funny)

Seumas (6865) | more than 9 years ago | (#11977946)

Typical womanlike reading.

Re:womanlike? (1)

finse (63518) | more than 9 years ago | (#11977826)

"workmanlike". Better luck next time.

Re:womanlike? (1)

panaceaa (205396) | more than 9 years ago | (#11977940)

Duh... It means all the I's are dotted with hearts.

Re:womanlike? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11977975)

> do you wonder why you don't have a girlfriend ?

No, because I'd prefer to date someone who can read. And doesn't make wildly incorrect accusations.

Hmmmm... (1)

tattoi.nobori (687297) | more than 9 years ago | (#11977773)

What is this... "baseball" you speak of?

Re:Hmmmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11978008)

And what are these "sports" you speak of?

Let's All Have Some Misogyny, Yay! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11977777)

The writing is workmanlike but not particularly entertaining, none of the stories are more than slightly amusing, and its protagonist projects an unappealing mixture of vanity and whining.

Because still connecting vanity and whininess with women is so productive to our society. What is this, 1952? And of course no men are vain and whiny, of course not.

Re:Let's All Have Some Misogyny, Yay! (1)

The Other White Boy (626206) | more than 9 years ago | (#11978014)

wow, best reply to a misread sentence ever.

Am I missing something (2, Interesting)

dfn5 (524972) | more than 9 years ago | (#11977778)

not particularly entertaining, none of the stories are more than slightly amusing, and its protagonist projects an unappealing mixture of vanity and whining

So the book sucks and has nothing to do with Sci-Fi, Fantasy or Technology. I'm confused, why is it being reviewed here?

Relevance: EA (1)

AtariAmarok (451306) | more than 9 years ago | (#11977864)

"So the book sucks and has nothing to do with Sci-Fi, Fantasy or Technology. I'm confused, why is it being reviewed here?"

This has everything to do with tech, as in videogames. What is MLB any more than something that provides material to EA for one of its sports games? After reading this, you will not be surprised when they add the hypo needle icon to the setup for the players in the game.

Re:Am I missing something (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11977898)

> > not particularly entertaining, none of the stories are more than slightly amusing, and its protagonist projects an unappealing mixture of vanity and whining
>So the book sucks and has nothing to do with Sci-Fi, Fantasy or Technology. I'm confused, why is it being reviewed here?

Because somebody had some juice.

Re:Am I missing something (4, Insightful)

genomancer (588755) | more than 9 years ago | (#11978019)

Yeah, you're missing something. You're missing the fact that "Technology" no longer means "Silicon" or "Ray guns". Technology is becoming less about metals and electrons and more about proteins and chemistry every day. Hell, even your aforementioned Sci-Fi writers have known this for decades; from Niven to Gibson and back to Heinlein, the masters have long known that once we've reached the boundaries of hard tech, soft tech will dominate. If you haven't realised that it's already happening, either catch up or get out of the way.

As such, the social issues of "new technology" ARE what "Nerds and Geeks and Libertarians" should be thinking about... and while Canseco is no genius philospher, he appears to have guts and some degree of vision. His stance is important, if not correct or wise. This article is more about "tommorow's technology today" than any other I've seen on Slashdot in recent memory.


DMSO widely available, and stinky! (5, Informative)

RobertB-DC (622190) | more than 9 years ago | (#11977779)

We have horses, so it's interesting to see two well-known horse meds mentioned (though not in Canseco's book):

I've tried a lot of other things through the years -- like butazolidin, which is what they give to horses. And D.M.S.O. -- dimethyl suloxide. Whitey Ford used that for a while. You rub it on with a plastic glove and as soon as it gets in your arm you can taste it in your mouth. It's not available anymore, though. Word is it can blind you.

Butazolidin is commonly known as Bute (byoot), and it's available in tablets (those work best if you grind them up and mix with molasses in the horse's feed) or as a paste you squirt into your horse's mouth (whether they like it or not).

DMSO is hardly "not available anymore." One informative article [] notes that "there is hardly a trainer's trunk that is without DMSO. It is used because it works."

But I wouldn't use it on my own horses -- it has a distinctive and somewhat nauseating odor. A fellow boarder at one stable used it on his mare, and it was hard to even walk past her stall. It's hard to see how something that smells that bad could be doing any good. If a ballplayer were using DMSO (either on its own or as a carrier for some other drug), the fans behind home plate would know as soon as he came up to bat.

i'm sick of this already (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11977787)

There's a basic logical blunder that the media is leaping over so they can short stroke this thing and make the Next Big Scandal. That is that roids only increase an athlete's ability to recover from hard workouts. They don't make you magically hit a 95 MPH fastball. If they did there would have been dozens of players hitting 75+ home runs. But everyone wants a scandal and the facts don't matter. Make them legal to us and leave it alone, or illegal to use and punish offenders. Case closed. Move on.

strange timing (1)

autosentry (595252) | more than 9 years ago | (#11977796)

. . . or am I the only one who feels this way? Seriously, if there wasn't a baseball/steroid scandal, would this book even have come out? Who the hell would care?

Extra Special Olympics (4, Funny)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 9 years ago | (#11977801)

I want to see the "Extra Special Olympics". Only people barred from competing in their sport for "performance enhancement": steroids, cocaine, adrenochrome, implants, unsportsmanlike conduct, battery, card counting. There's even an "exhibition event" for cheaters, where everyone wins a tin medal. I want to see footballs thrown 85 yards, followed by a ripped-off arm in a final gesture. I want to watch ESO scores and action make all these official leagues look like schoolyard charades. If we're going to pay these freaks millions to perform on TV, I want a legion of mutants and cyborgs making the greatest spectacle possible. All this "fair play" and "model citizen" crap is holding back sports. The Extra Special Olympics is long overdue on my Pay-Per-View

Re:Extra Special Olympics (4, Funny)

floateyedumpi (187299) | more than 9 years ago | (#11977923)

Perhaps you would also enjoy The All Drug Olympics []
Dennis Miller: In response to what its sponsors claim is an idea whose time has come, the first All-Drug Olympics opened today in Bogota, Columbia. Athletes are allowed to take any substance whatsoever before, after, and even during the competition. So far, 115 world records have been shattered! We go now to correspondent Kevin Nealon, live in Bogota for the Weightlifting Finals. Kevin?

Kevin Nealon: Dennis, getting ready to lift now is Sergei Akmudov of the Soviet Union. His trainer has told me that he's taken antibolic steroids, Novacaine, Nyquil, Darvon, and some sort of fish paralyzer. Also, I believe he's had a few cocktails within the last hour or so. All of this is, of course, perfectly legal at the All-Drug Olympics, in fact it's encouraged. Akmudov is getting set now, he's going for a cleaning jerk of over 1500 pounds, which would triple the existing world record. That's an awful lot of weight, Dennis, and here he goes.

[ Kevin steps aside to reveal the steroid-bulked athlete bent over to lift the 1500 lbs. weight. Sergei tightens his grip on the barbells and pulls up, but instead of lifting the weights, his arms are pulled off and blood squirts ferociously out of his pulpy stubs.

Kevin Nealon: Oh! He pulled his arms off! He's pulled his arms off, that's gotta be disappointing to the big Russian! [ Sergei's trainer wraps a towel around him ] You know, you hate to see something like this happen, Dennis! He probably doesn't have that much pain right now, but I think tomorrow he's really gonna feel that, Dennis! Back to you!

Dennis Miller: Thank you, Kevin. Very nice form on the Russian. Canada, of course, is leading that competition.

....I have mod points and can't use them (0, Offtopic)

mr_z_beeblebrox (591077) | more than 9 years ago | (#11977827)

....well, I can't use them to mod this submission as -1 offtopic. Thanks for the story.

Disclaimer, slashdot is part of osdn network

Curt Schilling was right (1)

slungsolow (722380) | more than 9 years ago | (#11977833)

Señor Canseco is just trying to make money. His baseball career turned to utter shit because of injuries (injuries he says he tried to avoid by taking steroids???) and he really has no other source of income.

But is he really lying? And is everything about this book bad (talking about how steroids helped him, how it helps other professionals = bad influence)? This book is the only reason a congressional hearing was called so they could force a clean up of america's (former) favorite pastime. Without this book we wouldn't have known that MLB was lying about (or at least hiding) the dirty secret of its steroid testing program (pay a fine instead of serving the time).

I applaude Jose for coming forward, I just think his method was a bit self-centered. Perhaps he should donate portions of the books profits to an anti-drug program for youth athletes to make up for it. It will certainly help clean up his image.

Re:Curt Schilling was right (1)

the_weasel (323320) | more than 9 years ago | (#11977979)

You missed the point. He supports steriods use. He won't be donating money to an anti drug program any time soon.

Our Fearless Leaders at Work (5, Insightful)

Brandybuck (704397) | more than 9 years ago | (#11977847)

Am I the only one who thinks Congress's priorities are completely out of whack? Aren't there more important things they could be focusing on? Sheesh.

Re:Our Fearless Leaders at Work (1)

pughumper (868881) | more than 9 years ago | (#11977884)

You're right on track -- see my post below. They want to judge anyone? They're the worst of the worst (politicians in general). When will we ever start imposing term limits? Career politicians/scoundrels are not what our forefathers envisioned.

Re:Our Fearless Leaders at Work (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11977995)

When will we ever start imposing term limits?

1951 [] ?

Re:Our Fearless Leaders at Work (1)

pughumper (868881) | more than 9 years ago | (#11978054)

I should say: When will we impose term limits on all political offices -- from town mayor on up (and I know the Pres already has it)? Thanks for catching that, though.

Aren't there more important things... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11977955)

Like micro managing Terri Schiavo's Life? Sounds like they've already moved on to bigger priorities.

as long as we're offsubject... (1, Insightful)

pughumper (868881) | more than 9 years ago | (#11977851)

What in the world are the asses in congress doing judging anyone? They feel baseball players have a moral obligation to their fans? Maybe those pompus, egocentric numbnuts should take a look at themselves -- both Democrats and Republicans. People in glass houses....

Dang, it doesn't even have (1)

Savatte (111615) | more than 9 years ago | (#11977867)

a recipe for making your own V8 or other disgusting drinks. What a rip!

This book is nothing but lies (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11977874)

Its hard to believe a word of this book considering a lot of it can be proved is a lie.

Let's have a look ...

On his rookie season (1986):

We went to Detroit ... Walt Terrell gave me a good pitch to hit. I took a big swing and hit a home run to center field that ended up in the Tiger Stadium upper deck. They told me afterward that I had already hit a home run in every AL ballpark as a rookie.
-- p. 65

Jose Canseco

Jose Canseco back in his heyday with the A's.

Canseco didn't hit a home run in Detroit in 1986. Or in Kansas City, for that matter. So what "they" told him about hitting a homer in every ballpark as a rookie was wrong, even if you take into account his 1985 September callup.

According to Retrosheet, Jose went 4-for-8 (three singles and a triple) in three games against Terrell in 1986. That monster shot? Canseco is probably remembering Mark McGwire's first major league homer, a colossal 450-foot blast off Terrell in Detroit on August 25.

On Bret Boone:

I remember one day during 2001 spring training, when I was with the Anaheim Angels in a game against the Seattle Mariners, Bret Boone's new team. I hit a double, and when I got out there to second base I got a good look at Boone. I couldn't believe my eyes. He was enormous. "Oh my God," I said to him. "What have you been doing?"

"Shhh," he said. "Don't tell anybody." Whispers like that were a sign that you were part of the club ...
-- p. 264

This conversation almost certainly didn't take place.

The Mariners and Angels played five spring training games in 2001.

On Friday, March 2, the Angels beat the Mariners, 5-2. Jose went 0-for-2 as a DH, and did not reach base.

On Friday, March 9, the Mariners beat the Angels, 8-3. Canseco struck out twice in two at-bats. Boone did not play.

On Sunday, March 11, the Angels beat the Mariners, 5-4. Neither Canseco or Boone played.

On Monday, March 12, a Mariners split-squad beat an Angels split squad, 4-2. Canseco did not play.

On Tuesday, March 27, the Mariners beat the Angels, 15-2. Canseco did not play.

In spring training 2001, Canseco hit only one double in 39 at bats. He did not steal a base.

On the 2000 Subway Series against the Mets:

In Game 6, though, I was sitting there on the Yankee bench on a cold night at Shea Stadium ... But all of a sudden, Torre called down to me. "Canseco, you're hitting." ...

I went up to the plate to pinch-hit for David Cone, and it was bad. Three strikes and you're out.
-- pp. 232-233

There was no Game 6 of the 2000 World Series!

Re:This book is nothing but lies (2, Insightful)

Otter (3800) | more than 9 years ago | (#11978039)

C'mon -- a handful of chronological errors hardly qualify as "lies". It's not as if I have complete faith in the guy's credility but the stuff you're citing is pretty petty.

For example, did he not pitch-hit against David Cone in 2000? Or was it just in Game 4, not 6?

Maybe you're poking some tiny holes in his accuracy, but even if he's confused about some at-bat against Walt Terrell 20 years ago, I can still believe he remembers whether he did or did not inject steroids into Mark McGwire's ass.

This matters why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11977875)


So many lies (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11977877)

Anyone who knows about what steroids do to
the body can take one look at Sosa and tell
he has used and it probably using right now.

But yet, even in the context of congressional
review...still he lies....

So sad that many athletes and bodybuilders
never learn that they cannot follow
the workout regimens of a typical
steroid user and expect to make progress.

Thanks god for the sanity of books
like Brawn...

Bush, Steroids and smokescreens (5, Insightful)

dameron (307970) | more than 9 years ago | (#11977882)

Bush mentioned baseball and steroids in his State of the Union a couple of years ago. At the time I thought "Huh, thats seems incongruous." but now I'm starting to see why he did it.

This baseball steroid issue is a great smokescreen to distract the media from several much more important stories:

1) Jeff Gannon - gay prostitute/republican media plant gains access to Whitehouse without security clearance, the second gay hooker security controversy in as many Bush administrations

2) Propaganda - Whitehouse pre-packaging new stories for anonymous airing, secretly hiring pundits like Armstrong Williams to advocate policy, coordinating political coverage with Roger Ailes at Fox news

3) Iraqi Corruption - Who walked off with $9,000,000,000 in cash?

4) Political Appointments - Karen Hughes (no experience) at State, Bolton to the U.N., Wolfowitz to the Wold Bank

The whole world is talking about steroids in baseball and it's hardly an important issue. That W. staked out this political cover years ago is a testament to Karl Rove's genius.

evil bastard,


Not only that... (1)

AtariAmarok (451306) | more than 9 years ago | (#11977910)

Not only that, George W. Bush put a boot sector error in my hard disk lask week. Is there nothing that diabolical genius Rove won't stop at in order to distract me from the "Ignored Important Issues" (TM) ?

Re:Bush, Steroids and smokescreens (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11977931)

In order of importance to society:

1) The war, the budget deficit, international trade, Social Security

2) Steroid use in baseball

3) Whether a weird gay conservative asked Bush a question once at a press conference

4) Hallucinatory yammering about Karl Rove

Admittedly, I may have swapped #3 and 4...

consider the source? (2, Insightful)

bad_outlook (868902) | more than 9 years ago | (#11977885)

with all the talk of this, you have to consider the source. Now while Jose does want to sell books (and this controversey has done that) would he really lie about SO MUCH that he claims has happened? I mean really, one or two it'd be hard to believe, but with all the allegations, I find it hard that no one is buying it. Heck, even 'big mac' didn't deny anything. The cat is outta the bag IMO. bo

Since when was /. run by meatheads? (0, Troll)

GatesGhost (850912) | more than 9 years ago | (#11977895)

noone cares if these clowns suck horse steroids from each others asses. we just want them to entertain us, like clowns. really really overpaid clowns with huge artificial muscles that can hit balls 500 ft. only morons really give a rats ass about pro sports. next time publish a book review about something important.

yeah ! (1)

AtariAmarok (451306) | more than 9 years ago | (#11977943)

"only morons really give a rats ass about pro sports. next time publish a book review about something important."

yeah. something REAL like.... Star Trek! Yeah, you tell em!

Oh I am intrigued. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11977932)

SO. It's a crap book with bad writing about something we have all heard about before. But.... I should read it because some fuckin nerd dick on slashdot says there is a mystical meaning just waiting to be interpreted like and individual beautiful snowflake.

Uh... NEXT!!!!

quote (5, Insightful)

Dante (3418) | more than 9 years ago | (#11977942)

"Baseball players will take anything. If you had a pill that would guarantee a pitcher 20 wins but might take five years off his life, he'd take it."

I had to ask myself, if I could take a pill that increased my IQ by 60 points, but might take five years off my life would I take it?


Re:quote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11978060)

It would suck if you were supposed to die in five years, though.

NOT news for nerds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11977952)

this place is really faggoting out, i'm heading over to k5

Sports = Entertainment (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11977959)

Mark Maguire shooting steroids shouldn't cause any more or less of a stir than Jack Nicholson snorting a big ol' bag of coke.

Are they both entertaining to the people who like sports/Nicholson movies? Yes. Okay, then there's no negative impact on the industry.

Sure, there's the "role model" factor. But in that case, players taking steroids is EXACTLY as bad as actresses who starve themselves. Young people attempting to emulate both will end up hurting themselves.

Also, the "role model" factor goes out beyond the entertainment industry, to any public figure. We've had two Presidents in a row who have used drugs. We've had two Presidents in a row who dodged the draft. I really doubt the feds would really want to get deeply involved enough in this issue to have to consider what that might be telling kids.

People think athletes are something different than entertainers. They're not. They might sweat more, but they deliver the same value to society.

Neither did. (1)

AtariAmarok (451306) | more than 9 years ago | (#11977996)

"We've had two Presidents in a row who dodged the draft"

Neither did, when you look into it. Clinton was not actually dodge, and Bush served (albeit what many would call poorly) in a section of the United States military during the time. Partisan enemies of both have trumped up false accusations.

mod 3own (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11977960)

Why this stuff matters for Nerds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11977966)

Human Growth Hormone has implications not just for athletic performance but cognitive performance-as does for that matter testosterone. I'm personally hesitant about the athletic use of steroids because you wind up with men with far higher levels of testosterone than ever occur in nature. Plus steroids are an artificial substance with little real track record-I don't think it is worth the risk except to handle a risky medical condition. One prominent doctor using Human Growth, testosterone, DHEA and Melotonin in his practice is Dr Elmer Cranton [] as are a hefty portion of docs in the American Academy for the Advancement of Medicine [] .

Oh, come on (1)

bonch (38532) | more than 9 years ago | (#11977968)

It's not like Fridays are slow news days or anything. Steroids is now biotech?

Slashdot needs open voting on the submission queue.

Russian Roulette (1)

Detritus (11846) | more than 9 years ago | (#11977985)

Steroids, even if taken under the supervision of a physician, can have severe side effects if taken for long periods of time. Little things, like blindness from cataracts, have happened to people that I know.

It's one thing to use them to treat real medical problems, after having weighed the risks and benefits. Using them to outperform the non-juiced competition is dishonest, unethical and stupid. I don't care if J. Random Ballplayer smokes dope or snorts cocaine. I do care if he uses drugs that artificially enhance his performance and make it difficult or impossible for the "all natural" player to play at a competitive level.

If it was up to me, I'd expel any player that was a chronic user of these drugs for performance enhancement.

It's pretty bad... (1)

MattyDK23 (819057) | more than 9 years ago | (#11977993)

...when I could post a rant about Microsoft's evil monopoly, or a comment on the latest mouse technology, or even uncover a kick-ass algorithm, and it would be completely off-topic.

That being said, sports and l33tness aren't exclusive groups. However, hockey is more my taste :P

Hockey is pretty cool (1)

AtariAmarok (451306) | more than 9 years ago | (#11978020)

"That being said, sports and l33tness aren't exclusive groups. However, hockey is more my taste :P"

Yeah, hockey is cool. The college playoffs have been exciting. You know, someone out to try making big national professional leagues to play ice hockey. It might go somewhere.

Coming out from under my rock for a second there.. (1)

dos_dude (521098) | more than 9 years ago | (#11977998)

Baseball? Is that the game where there are all these guys with beer guts standing around scratching their balls all the time?

If I was on steroids, I'd be careful with that scratching.

Juiced (1)

lateralus_1024 (583730) | more than 9 years ago | (#11977999)

I had heard that OJ was in talks of creating a knock-off of "Punked" and the title was gonna be "Juiced".
Can you imagine the unsuspecting celeb's face when OJ jumps out from behind the bushes(in black gear)?
I seriously hope this show is gets picked up.

Whoa wait a minute... (1)

Stalyn (662) | more than 9 years ago | (#11978022)

Dr. Who was on steroids?

Steroids (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11978028)

I agree with one thing about this book - Steroids are effective and have been unfairly deamonized by the media.

I consider them to be similar to elective surgery (i.e. cosmetic surgery or elective joint surgery) - both have non-trivial risks that must be understood and managed. Both also have substantial benefits, including better body image, more energy, and improved athletic performance.

In addition, the risks of steriod use have been massively overblown by the media - for example, liver damage does not occur with injectable steroids, only (7-alpha alkylated) orals, which are specially forumlated to avoid being broken down by the digestive process - this in turn makes them hard on the liver. Yes, you can get gynecomastia (enlarged breasts in men), but this can be prevented entirely. Some "journalists" even cite HIV from dirty needles as a steriod risk!

If you research the subject, you will find out (as I did) that the US government made anabolic/androgenic steriods controlled substances not because of their health risks, but because of fear of cheating in sports.

I don't necessarily agree that steriods should be allowed in athletic competition - because it would lead many players to take them even if they didn't want to, just to "keep up". But I don't think that this is valid reason to keep their benefits from the rest of the public.

Is anyone surprised? (1)

93,000 (150453) | more than 9 years ago | (#11978030)

I've always just assumed that any given professional athlete is on roids. I imagine there are a handful of 'natural' athletes out there (especially in baseball), but come on. Look at the freakshow that is the NFL. What percent of NFL players DON'T use roids? 300+ pound men do not run a sub 5 second 40 yard dash naturally.

BTW - what the hell is this doing on /.? Does this mean I can submit a product review of the new garden hoe I just bought?
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