It’s not just a coincidence that the biggest star on the cover of the book is the one next to the title. *Juiced just about sums up all the home run records in the past decade. Think about the biggest names associated with the long ball in the current game – Bonds*, McGwire*, and Sosa*. According to Jose “The Chemist” Canseco, they’re all *roided up. And everyone in the Majors knew about it.

The first page of the book is a disclaimer: This book does not intend to condone or encourage the use of any particular drugs, medicine, or illegal substances. I didn’t think much about the legalese until I finished the introduction. Then I realized, holy crap!, Canseco is actually encouraging people to use steroids. Despite all scientific evidence, he is claiming that if you administer the types and dosages correctly, steroids will actually help you live a longer more fulfilling life. He’s not talking about just beefing up for a couple of years, he’s talking about being fit and healthy as you get older — “sixty, seventy, eighty years old”. Lyle Alzado just rolled over.

I’ll give Canseco credit, he’s never been shy about pimping himself out for a couple of bucks. Remember, this is the man who auctioned off the chance to spend a day with him while he was under house arrest, and recently sold his Yankees World Series ring. Basically, he says, ‘if you’re buying this book for the tabloid aspects of it, fine. I know I’ll make money from that. But I also want to tell the truth about steroids because it needs to be done.’ Something tells me though that the need for “the truth” to be told has more to do with his personal grudge against a league he feels blackballed him and his pocketbook than any sense of duty to blow the whistle on cheating in baseball. bits

You want tabloid? You got tabloid! You’ll get anecdotes about Madonna sitting on Jose’s lap and “just” making out with him. You’ll get stories about the times when the Oakland A’s used to take turns injecting each other in the ass. And you’ll even get stories about the A’s taking steroids. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.) You’ll learn how George W. Bush, then owner of the Texas Rangers, turned a blind eye as Canseco taught Palmeiro, Pudge and Gonzo about the ins and outs of steroids. You’ll get a whole chapter about why Jason “I’m Sorry – but won’t say what for” Giambi is the most obvious juicer in the game.

Sorry folks, that’s all the names you’re going to get out of me. If you want to know the other dozen or so ballplayers that Canseco mentions, you’ll have to get the book. I mean, if Latrell Sprewell can’t feed his family on $15M a year, how is Jose going to do it on his book advance?

The other bits

I was pleasantly surprised by the parts of the book that detail how malicious, lazy, and stupid reporters can be.

Canseco recounts his many run ins with the law and explains how they were blown out of proportion by the media. I’m sure he’s no boy scout but I’ve always felt that the media tends to paint a portrait of an athlete and then twist whatever events they want in order to solidify that reputation in the minds of the public. You know Terrell Owens is somewhere reading the book (on tape?) and agrees.

On the flip side, the media also will create “Golden Boys” who they protect no matter what. One of Canseco’s allegations, and Fox Mulder would be proud, is that McGwire created the whole andro controversy to take the focus away from his steroid use. And the media ate it up because Mark was the good ole boy. By telling the world that his massive muscle gain was related to an over the counter bodybuilding supplement, he put a huge smokescreen on the fact that his sudden change in strength and mass was due to banned steroids. Not sure if it’s true but it’s certainly a plausible theory and I, for one, am convinced.

Canseco also relates the story about how Bonds remarked on Canseco’s ripped physique at a home run hitting contest and showed up to spring training the next year with forty more pounds of more muscle. And, coincidentally, hit 73 home runs to break the record. This seems rather odd as Bonds continues to profess his innocence and states he only rubbed flax seed oil on his injured knee. (Really folks, I mean, who hasn’t used flax seed oil, gained an obscene amount of muscle, and broken the home run record? I can barely type this sentence my biceps are so big. I’m also kind of sleepy as my enormous head keeps being dragged down by gravity. But I swear, I don’t use steroids.)

Spot the Ghostwriter

On the strike of 1994: “In the end, it came down to the nerds against the athletes, just like it was back in high school – and just like in high school, everyone lost.” I’m 99% certain this was written by the nerdy sports writer assigned to Canseco by his publishing company. Good stuff though.

So, in the end, is this book by Canseco and his ghostwriter worth the $20, or should you just wait for the bargain bin? It depends on how long your flight is.

About the Author

Vin is a Philly boy who shouldn't be invited into your house because he'll judge you on your book and music collection. He owns Dawkins, Utley, Iverson, and Lindros jerseys, which is all you really need to know about him. He can be reached at