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printer friendly versionby Dwight Ozard

Yesterday, while I was trying to work here at the computer, I had my little portable TV set to the Congressional hearings on steroids.

Like almost everyone in the world, it seems, I was amazed and appauled by much of the grandstanding on both sides of the table.

Like nearly everyone else, I was moved by the testimony of the parents of Taylor Hooton and Rob Garibaldi, the promising young ball players who killed themselves after abusing steroids.

Like nearly everyone else I was amazed at the ineptitude of MLB chief Bud Selig, giving off a vibe that was something like a used car salesman crossed with Cliff Clavin--and he's the guy in charge!

Likewise, I was, like everyone else, flabbergasted at what seemed like a complete lack of preparation and focus on the part of MLBPA's Donald Fehr. A good labor lawyer, perhaps, but what a dope. Is he on the 'roids too?

Like everyone else I wanted to ignore Jose Canseco, who seemed more interested in making his own actions seem less egregious by painting others as dopers as well. His composure on the stand seemed less unbelievable, however, and I found myself actually believing the guy, especially in the face of the unison-like chorus of "see no evil/hear no evil/do no evil in our clubhouses" from Schilling et al. Schilling especially was bothersome, given his flip flopping on whether doping was a wide-spread problem in the "Bigs", and his even more annoying (& transparent) political posturing for the committee. This guy's a bigtime Bushie--that's fine, he's rich enough to be that wrong and not care. But save your campaign for Congress and Democrat-bashing for sometime other than a Congressional hearing.

Like everyone else in the world I was amazed at how good looking and utterly poised Raphael Palmero was. What hair! And that suit? I covet them both. But this guy needs that little blue pill? I feel so much better about my life.

And like nearly everyone else, by the end of the afternoon I found myself unable, despite all my best efforts, to sustain even a thread of respect for Mark McGwire.

Sure, he was right when he said in his opening statement that any real admission or denial regarding his alleged steroid use would put him between a rock and a hard place with the media, the public and with Congress/the law, but his continued stonewalling--or more, the manner of his stonewalling--by repeating his mantra-like, candy-assed, marble-mouthed insistence that he was there to defeat the "negativity" and "turn it into a positive" was both maddening and tragic. Worse still was that this nonsense came in the context of offering to be a spokesman for the would-be anti-doping PR campaign Congress wants to spearhead.

A spokesman? OK, fine, let's practice. What do you have to say to the kids, Mark?

Steroids is bad. It's a bad message.

Wha? Muhammad Ali is more articulate.

There's little doubt that back in 1998 he was juiced, but now in 2005 that juice is just rotten.


Unlike very few others, however, I've taken steroids, not to get big and strong but to stay alive or supplement other drugs that help me stay alive. They have their use, but they're evil, bad, nasty things. You can tell within a few days of using. Your mouth gets all wrong, nothing tastes right, your face gets puffy and you feel sluggish just as often as you feel wired. (During the wired times I did manage to do things like clean the top of the fridge and sort the CDs and LPs I have in storage. At 3 O'Clock. In the morning.)

And yet it's clear that thousands are doing something recreationally that clearly makes you both sick and do really, really dumb things. Like housework.

Stop the madness, whatever the pros do or don't say.

Even I agree that it's a bad message. End of article bullet


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