Juicing the Game : Drugs, Power, and the Fight for the Soul of Major League Baseball
From the respected sports journalist and author of Shut Out comes a groundbreaking history of steroid use in major league baseball
Despite enjoying an era of unprecedented prosperity and on-field accomplishments, Major League Baseball is in crisis as its greatest players find themselves defending their achievements instead of celebrating them. The reason: steroids and other performance- enhancing drugs. Singled out by the president and Congress, threatened with punitive legislation by Senator John McCain, and under siege as part of the growing BALCO investigation, baseball is desperately trying to get its own house in order after years of willful ignorance that have brought into question the sport's very integrity.
In Juicing the Game, award-winning journalist Howard Bryant raises the most important question the league faces today: In its desperation to recover from the crippling 1994 strike, did baseball ignore warning signals that might have prevented the biggest scandal since the Chicago White Sox threw the 1919 World Series?
Combining hard-hitting investigative journalism with a compelling narrative filled with entertaining anecdotes, as well as interviews with baseball heavyweights such as Jason Giambi, Commissioner Bud Selig, union head Donald Fehr, and Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson, among many others, Juicing the Game promises to be the bombshell book of the season.
Starred Review. The title suggests an exposé of baseball's steroid problem, but that's merely the surface layer of Bryant's pervasive critique of how the sport has changed over the past decade. After professional baseball was derailed by a bitter strike in 1994, team owners searched for ways to bring fans back into the stadiums. The incredible boom in home-run hitting over the next few seasons offered such a motivation, and Bryant accuses managers and owners of actively ignoring the open secret of steroid use to keep sluggers like Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco in action. He's especially hard on commissioner Bud Selig, who "had the moral authority" to invoke a stiffer antisteroids policy and "did not use it." But he also considers how the rules were applied differently to favor hitters over pitchers, and details the intense battle between umpires and Major League administrators that ensued over attempts to reform the shrinking strike zone. Bryant's comprehensive reporting, based on a series of Boston Herald articles, takes readers right up to the brink of the current season, when Canseco's tell-all, Juiced, inspired Congress to issue subpoenas to the game's biggest stars. As baseball struggles to restore its integrity, this is the essential explanation of how things got so far out of hand. (July 11)
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February 27, 2006
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