I've refrained from talking about steroids in baseball up until this point because, frankly, I really don't know where or how I come down on it. In my opinion, there is no right answer about what to do about steroids and the people that used them, though, admittedly, I find that I am far more lenient with guys that are implicated in connection with PED's than most baseball fans are. It is such a complicated issue to tackle, not nearly so cut-and-dried as many would like to believe, that I can't seem to come up with a definitive answer in my own mind as to what should be done about ballplayers that are accused of, or convicted of, using steroids, HGH, greenies, and whatever other so-called performance enhancing substances may be available. I do know one thing though.
I absolutely refuse to give the time of day to anyone that seeks to make a buck off of exposing a PED user. I just won't do it. In fact, concerning Alex Rodriguez, I know the name of Selena Roberts, the lady that wrote the "tell-all" book about Rodriguez, but I have no idea what the name of the book is. There are many that disagree with me, but to me, if I believe that using PED's is wrong, it pales in comparison to somebody exposing the story of a player that used them. That, to me, is a crime worse than any in professional sports today (and for the record, I'm talking about sports-related crimes, not Michael Vick or Dante Stallworth-type crimes).
By now, there have been many articles, blogs, and even books written about PED's in baseball. To my knowledge, there have been none written about them in any other sport, aside from an Associated Press article here and there about a player being suspended, which is far different than seeking out a story and trying to make a buck off of it. I refuse to read any of them. Game of Shadows, Juiced, Vindicated, or any other book about players using steroids are books that will never, ever be on my shelf. It's not because I don't want to know about it; truth be told, I think that Game of Shadows would probably be a very interesting book. In 20 or 30 years, when somebody writes a book about the "Steroid Era" in baseball, then I may consider picking it up for a historical baseball reference, but not now, and not a book that is written with the intent of trying to make a buck off of exposing a player.
There is a stark difference between a player using PED's and a person writing a book about that player using PED's in my mind. At the end of the day, both the ballplayer and the author are making money off of PED's in their own respective ways. However, the author of the book, whichever book you should choose to insert here, is far, far worse. It is simply hypocritical of the author to write the book. The fact is, authors of all of these books, aside from Jose Canseco whose position is unclear, condemn the use of PED's as "cheating the game" and "cheating the fans". However, they go on to describe a player's use of PED's and try and make money and gain notoriety off of it, meaning that the authors' careers are tainted by PED's just as much as the players' careers. In my mind that is wrong, and it does not deserve my entertainment dollar.
It would be different if a player were to write a book about himself. On one hand, the player stands to make money off of the book. On the other hand, he stands to shame himself and come clean, which no amount of money can overcome with someone that is truly remorseful. I simply cannot, and will not, respect a person that shames somebody else by "exposing" that person. If someone is found guilty of and/or admits to using PED's, then it would be acceptable to write a book on that person, writing strictly from the standpoint of retrospect. That is an entirely different situation. It then becomes a case study, one that is far more credible. It would then be more comparable to a historical look at the 1919 World Series, similar to Eliot Asinof's tremendous book Eight Men Out.
This, of course, leads to the seemingly central figure in the steroid talk: Jose Canseco. Anytime another player is accused of using PED's, the first thing that happens is ESPN runs to Jose Canseco for an interview. The man that was initially laughed at now is said to be "the most credible source when it comes to steroids". Wrong. He may know an awful lot, but what is he doing with his books that he's written and every interview that he gets? He's taking money from everyone that gives him any attention for condemning players of doing something that he has been shown to be almost chiefly responsible for introducing to the game. I don't care one bit that Canseco could explain better than anyone how to go about a steroid regimen. I could not possibly care less that he probably knows just about every player that used PED's in the 1990's. The guy's motivations are all wrong, and he has no business talking about anybody else unless he is subpeonaed to give a grand jury testimony about it. He can talk about himself, but his credibility as a human being drops even further below the zero threshold every time he gives that smug grin and talks about another player using PED's.
Much of the talk about whether or not the list of 104 (or 96, or 83, depending upon whom you believe) ballplayers that tested positive for PED's in 2003 should be released makes no sense. Even if it weren't under a court-ordered seal (which apparently means nothing), there is absolutely no way that it would all be released at once. Large media conglomerates such as the Associated Press, ESPN, FOX Sports, and FanNation's parent company Sports Illustrated, understand that they could make a lot of money by slowly leaking names one by one every little bit. If you really want to know, and if you really want to put this era in the past, don't fuel the fire that drives the individuals that decide to leak these names and make a buck off of them. It's completely counter-productive. These people are not stupid. They know how to make money, which is what they will do, if the fans allow it.
Ladies and gentleman, don't feed the wildlife.