The San Francisco Chronicle went berserk when Mark McGwire finally admitted to having used steroids to pump himself up during his baseball career. The weirdly wonderful Bay Area newspaper splashed a transcript of McGwire's remarks as its headline story, and accompanied it with an opinion piece by a sports columnist. On the front page!
Like I said, the Chronicle went berserk.
Normally this is the sort of story that would not hold my attention. My inclination is to snort in disgust and turn the page. If especially exercised, I might mutter, “Don't these idiots remember that they have a sports section?” (That's the part of the paper where game reports and box scores are conveniently sequestered so that I can conveniently dispense with them all by discarding that section of the newspaper.)
I put mendacious McGwire out of my mind and would probably have forgotten all about it except for a paragraph I encountered in John Ortved's The Simpsons: An Uncensored, Unauthorized History. Here it is, from page 253, where Ortved is discussing the celebrities who flocked to lend their voices to episodes of The Simpsons:
Of course, boys being boys, the real draw was always the sports figures.And I guess we now know why that was, don't we?
Larry Doyle: The biggest hullabaloo was when Mark McGwire came in. That was when loads of people who didn't have any reason to be in the recording booth ended up there. All the girls and all the guys were there. He seems like a nice guy, but he looks like a monster. His arms are as big as your legs—that's not an exaggeration.