Lofunzo wrote:I never read anything about greenies when I was 12 so I grew up thinking that the records had a sense of purity. Now that I know the basis for your thinking, I understand why you might not feel the same way.
You may have not known about PEDs at that time, but surely you had heard of pitchers doctoring balls (Joe Neikro and Gaylord Perry throughout the 70s), corked bats (Norm Cash in the 60s), and several of the other people who would break rules to get an advantage. For the most part people always used to just laugh those things off as "part of baseball".
I had a fairly major eye opening experience about MLB players even before I read Ball Four. I was about 7 or 8 and remember the Willie Wilson/Aikens cocaine bust that sent several Royals to jail. Willie swore by the use of cocaine, that it made him faster/stronger and when he returned from serving his time the Royals gave him a nice big contract. Reading Ball Four several years later just made me realize how widespread it was and how ingrained it was into baseball.
Even with all that I didn't think much about steroids being widespread, I guess much in the same sense I didn't think about steroids being widespread in the WWF when I watched Hogan battle Rowdy Piper. But then along came the Ultimate Warrior and you took a step back and thought, suuuuurrrre that's all natural. Even if seeing Canseco when the Bash Brothers were at their height wasn't enough to make you have second thoughts, when Caminiti came out in 2002 about the widespread use something should have clicked. But for the most part Ken was dismissed as a liar.
From the 2002 ESPN story that basically flared up and then went away:
'I've made a ton of mistakes,'' said Caminiti, a recovering alcoholic and former drug user whose 15-year career ended last season. Caminiti played for both the Houston Astros and the Texas Rangers. ''I don't think using steroids is one of them.
''It's no secret what's going on in baseball. At least half the guys are using steroids. They talk about it. They joke about it with each other.''
Arizona pitcher Curt Schilling said steroid use was rampant within the game.
Eighteen months ago, ESPN.com conducted an in-depth investigation into the growth of a black market for anabolic steroids, an investigation that led to Tijuana, Mexico -- not far from where Ken Caminiti played during his MVP season in '96. The following is an excerpt from that Dec. 2000 report:
Among the new groups of steroid users are players in Major League Baseball, which a decade ago was thought to be devoid of such drug use. Now, players seeking steroids commonly cross the border into Tijuana, 30 miles south of San Diego.
"I know some guys that go down there, or they'll send one guy down there with a list (of steroids) to pick up" for teammates, said Brian McRae, a former ESPN analyst who retired in 1999 after 10 years in the majors. "Sometimes people go in the winter and they load up for the whole season."
Anaheim Angels infielder Benji Gil, who is from Tijuana, told ESPN.com that some players acquire steroids during the winter when they are playing in the Mexican League.
"In the town where I play in Mexico (Culiacán), I know somebody that goes around to every team and says he sells" steroids, said Gil, who described the man as a local bodybuilder. "He mostly targets Americans."
Brad Andress, Colorado Rockies strength coach, said steroids are particularly a problem with West Coast teams because of the proximity to Mexico.
"I've been at the major league level for 11 years now, and those stories were here from day one," he said. "It's just getting to the point where the more these stories permeate the industry, the more guys explore the simplicity of going down and attaining it."
''I'm not sure how (it) snuck in so quickly, but it's become a prominent thing very quickly. It's widely known in the game,'' he told Sports Illustrated. ''When you add in steroids and strength training, you're seeing records not just being broken but completely shattered.''
Bury me a Royal.