Why steroid users are dogsh*t

I’ve been reading a lot of late how steroids and HGH in baseball are no big deal; how we’re making a big stink of nothing; how this is merely entertainment, and how performance enhancers can’t help a person hit a baseball. What’s the line? “I could get steroids for three years, and it wouldn’t help me hit a baseball 500 feet …” Blah, blah, blah.

On all of this, I cry bulls***.

My closest athlete friend is a former major league catcher named Brian Johnson. A former quarterback at Stanford in the early 1990s, Brian enjoyed a solid eight-year, six-team career that ended in 2001 when he was released by the Los Angeles Dodgers. Brian was 33-years old, and his knees were shot. In other words, his baseball life ended when it was supposed to end. You’re nearing your mid-30s, your body is breaking down, younger guys are coming along. It happens.

Had he chosen to use performance enhancers, however, there’s little doubt Brian could have continued. With steroids, his bat speed could have remained at a high level. With HGH, he’d recover easier from injury. Every team likes a solid defensive backstop, and Brian was more than solid.

Yet instead of using, Brian decided to hang up his mask. Others, though, chose a different route. Just read the Mitchell Report—10 catchers listed, from Todd Hundley to Todd Pratt to Benito Santiago. Those are jobs others deserved; jobs that were illegally taken away. See, steroids don’t merely cheat the fans by giving them a bullsh-t product, or cheat pitchers who have to face muscled-up batters (or vice versa). They cheat hundreds upon hundreds upon hundreds of clean players who work and work to make it, only to have their paths blocked by guys who have no natural business hanging on.

Who knows? Perhaps Alex Rodriguez would be this good sans steroids. But maybe, sans juice, he would have been a broken-down, over-the-hill 17-home run backup infielder. We’ll never know.

But we should.

PS: I’m often asked to name people who definitely didn’t use. I even felt comfortable offering up names. But no longer. Ever since David Bell (pictured above) made the list, I’ve been at a loss.

8 thoughts on “Why steroid users are dogsh*t”

  1. Jeff–

    You can bank. BANK. on the fact that Frank Thomas never used steroids.

    Here’s a guy who’s been big as a brick shithouse since his college days, who’s spoken out on steroids time and again–lobbying for testing and penalties, going out of his way to be tested, and cooperating fully with the Mitchell investigation.

    Plus he’s just been injured so much (often with muscle injuries) it’s pretty clear he’s not using steroids to aid his healing process.

    I think at a time like this it’s more important than ever to acknowledge a guy like Frank Thomas–a guy who must have seen that steroids was a way he could have cemented his place in history as one of the 10 greatest hitters ever to play the game (by winning 3 MVP’s…not losing the 2000 MVP to roider Jason Giambi, and by staying healthy from 1998-2009 instead of losing BA points and playing time to nagging muscle injuries) and chose instead to stay clean and raise awareness of steroids as a problem plaguing baseball.

  2. You gotta wonder with a Griffey Jr…someone who could have been one of the greatest ever if he had not been riddled with injuries so early on…if he had taken the easy route as well where his career would be…instead of taking the route he did. The sport tossing him aside and celebrating the likes of Arod, Sosa, Clemens. It’s all so depressing.

  3. I’m with Bob Ryan at this point. The only guy who will shock me if it’s announced he used is Greg Maddux. Because, as Ryan said, “He should have had better stuff”.

  4. Unfortunately, guys like Brian Johnson are the real victims of the steroid era. I can’t imagine how tough it must have been for these guys to see steroid users succeed if they chose to stay clean and failed. At the same time, I can’t hold too much contempt for the guys who juiced. Sure, they cheated, but if the choices are staying clean and finding a real job or juicing and staying in baseball (or juicing and getting a bigger contract), seems like a pretty easy choice.

    It’s funny that only one or two media members are calling for the heads of Selig, Fehr and Orza. Seems like a no-brainer that they all should have been fired as soon as the Mitchell Report came out.

  5. And how exactly do you know that Brian Johnson didn’t use steroids? Because he told you so? What’s sad is that even as his friend can you really believe him 100%? My point is that I agree with you…I feel sorry for the clean players of this era, there will always be a shadow of a doubt for them. Brian Johnson played with Barry Bonds, so some people may just assume that he was a part of the Balco crew. It’s really unfortunate.

  6. I don’t feel sorry for the players who chose not to use. I don’t feel sorry for the ones that chose to use. In every circumstance in this country their are odds both fair and unfair against you. If you have the resources and are born in the right time and area.. more advantages will be given to you to exploit your athletic ability. I think jeff YOU feel robbed. I’m about the same age as you.. and pretty passionate about baseball.. (any sucker who would avidly follow the 77, 78 white sox and cubbies and still remembers Jerry Morales’ batting stance) but I don’t feel that their some lessened effect to the game I enjoyed. And let’s face it.. the gatekeepers of the game.. (journalist/writers) failed at their obligation just like they did in the gambling period and the time of rampant racism excluding black players. Just own up to it..

  7. Too many people just didn’t want to know, starting with the guys at the top: the league & owners and the union. Heard Marvin Miller’s comments today which typifies the union’s position, being completely dismissive of the fans that made these guys who they are. As for the owners, I love Tom Hick’s response to A-rod, somehow suggesting that he was shocked to learn that Alex used steroids and then going right into blame deflection, saying that he “must have certainly been using before he came to Texas”. Way to go Hicks. You ran arguably the most ‘roided up franchise in all of professional sports and yet somehow you never suspected anything? Lying FAIL.

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