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.
"... when Mark McGwire finally admitted to having used steroids to pump himself up during his baseball career."
He didn't even admit that. He says he only took steroids for his health.
"Now" we know? Come on! I'm from St. Louis. I went to about 40 games in 1998. I had a great time.
And I was on the record then that he was juiced to the eyeballs.
I understand why the Chronicle would be so upset: after all, everyone hates your hometown surly hero. Everybody USED to love ours.
I take steroids for my health, and I don't recall being abnormally muscular. Slightly immunosuppressed perhaps, but not overly muscular. (Of course, I'm taking corticosteroids.)
I actually don't understand why anybody gives a damn about professional athletes using performance-enhancing drugs. People go to professional sporting events to see the performance, right? Therefore, anything that makes for a better show is probably to be expected. You also have to kind of hand it to a guy who's willing to wreck his body in the name of fan service...
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