Thank God for steroids. It brought the
game back from extinction.
— Steve Philips, former NY Mets general manager, ex-ESPN baseball
analyst and full grown adult.
Part of me thinks you'll read this column about Bonds, baseball and
steroids and marvel, "Wow. He's really given this subject a lot of
thought. He's passionate about this."
Then reality sets in and I realize you'll think, "Holy shit, this
motherfucker is really old. He still watches baseball."
Of course, all my international readers will say, "Bloody hell, where's
the story about the Bombay Bicycle Club?" Not that all my international
readers are English, but I just can't seem to write in any other
accents. (Part two of the BBC article will appear next week.)
Back to baseball and steroids.
Yesterday, a jury convicted ex-San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds
of obstruction of justice, one of four counts brought against him in
federal court. The other three counts of lying to the Feds were
dismissed for the time being because the jury couldn't agree on a
I know. That's not the question people really care about. They want to
know, did Barry Bonds use steroids? I'll answer that: Yes, starting in
1999 after he watched Mark McGwire's cracker ass hit 70 dingers and
garner the single-season home run record the year before.
Stay with me. Jokes are on the way.
Other baseball players have used (or still use) steroids, but they
aren’t hauled off to court for it. Barry went to trial for two reasons.
First, the Feds think he lied to them, and they just hate that.
Second, it's because he's Barry Bonds. He's big, black and people think
he's mean and militant.
He is big, and he is black, but otherwise he's just a spoiled-ass rich
kid from northern California. His dad Bobby was a major-league baseball
player and his godfather is Willie Mays. He's had a silver bat in his
hands all his life.
Bonds has also been a great baseball player all his life, and would
have made it to the Hall of Fame if he had retired in 1998 before he
used the juice. By August of that year, he became the first (and as of
this writing, the only) to hit 400 home runs and steal 400 bases—as
well as the first to join the 500-500 club.
I'm a huge fan, and old enough to remember his entire career.
But in 1998, Bonds' tremendous 400-400 feat was upstaged by McGwire's
70 home runs. Hell, who blames him for taking the 'roids. I used to
play recreational baseball, and I wanted them.
Even Mr. Nice Guy, Rafael Palmeiro, got busted for steroids. I know.
Hard to believe the guy who starred in Viagra ads would ever consider
taking performance-enhancing drugs, but he did.
What kills me are the idiots—sports announcer Bob Costas chief among
them—who are still shocked, appalled and continue to whine about
steroid use. They always point to the next star player as the shining
example of those who don't do the dew, until that guy's busted as well.
"Yeah, Bonds is on steroids. My guy isn't. Pitchers just don't use
steroids, so I know Roger Clemens is clean," a buddy of mine told me
about six years ago. But he's a Houston Astros fan, so what could he
After Roger gets busted, you then hear, "Well, at least we can still
believe in Andy Petite. I know he's clean—what?"
After that, people pointed out A-Rod. "There's a guy who's done it the
Yeah, he has. A-Rod shot up the juice, too. As did David Ortiz, Manny
Ramirez, Albert Pujols—what? Pujols hasn't been caught yet? Sorry. I'll
save his name for later then.
Who's next, Derek Jeter? Okay, that name would even surprise skeptical
me, but it's not beyond reason. Except this year. If he's taking them
this year, he needs to get his money back.
And please, don't give me that sad line that steroids taint the record
books. Not only will I disagree, I'll tell you exactly what a taint is
and that will make you cry.
Besides, maybe earlier generations gained different advantages. What
was in those hot dogs Babe Ruth ate anyway? And did Ruth ever face the
split finger or the slider? I think not. He didn't play any night
Jesus, I really am old. Tell you what, I'll limit myself to what I
actually saw over the years.
Roger Maris hit 61 home runs in 1961 (I know, still old), which gave
him the record for most home runs in a single season and some style
points for symmetry.
What was he on? He was losing his hair in clumps, and his doctor said
it was due to stress, but I doubt it. It was the '60s, and vitamin B
shots (wink, wink) were all the rage. I'm gonna say meth. Yes, Roger
Maris was on meth. Please email Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig and let
him know right away.
(Sidebar: Little known factoid: Both Roger Maris and Bob Dylan hail
from Hibbing, Minnesota. Bob Dylan? Also on meth during the '60s. But
that's not such a little-known fact.)
I think it's absurd to make these generational comparisons anyway.
Different times, different equipment, different circumstances, yada,
yada, yada. What if we did that with other professions?
Irving Berlin—probably the best songwriter during the first half of the
20th Century—didn't have the performance-enhancing drugs Dylan had.
Then again, who knows? Perhaps old Irving did take a snort every now
and again—he did write White Christmas, after all.
The more I write this column, the older I get.
Look, I get it. Steroid use can be dangerous, particularly for kids
under the age of 21. I'm not for steroid use at the high school or
college level, only the adult, major-league level. In other words, only
for the baseball I'm inclined to watch.
As long-time readers know, I believe all drugs can be both dangerous
and performance-enhancing, if used correctly. For example, I think
cocaine enhances the performance of paranoia.
Still, most drugs are illegal. Laws will be broken. People will go to
So who's really at fault? Who should the Feds really be after? Baseball
Commissioner Bud Selig and the rest of the owners, I think. They turned
a blind eye before they turned a baleful one. Lying, scumbag
hypocrites, all of them.
Yesterday, Bud Selig—who looks like Bill Gates on steroids—commented on
Bonds conviction with a statement that ended with the line,
"Performance-enhancing drugs have no place in Baseball."
Sure they do, Bud, sure they do. For about the past 20 years and
At least Bud and the owners didn't lie to the Feds, so they'll be fine.
They only lied to us. It doesn't matter if you're Enron, GM, AIG, Bank
of America, the US Congress, or Major League Baseball—you can always
lie to the public and get away with it.
This column aims to be funny. If you can read anything else into it,
you're on your own.
is a writer and musician living in Austin, Texas.
from the San Francisco Bay Area, he claims strong ties to Seattle, St.
Petersburg, Florida and North Platte, Nebraska.