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Customer Review

169 of 189 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Deluded? Truthful? Sad? Fascinating? Yes..., February 14, 2005
This review is from: Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits, and How Baseball Got Big (Hardcover)
This, unlike, say, Pete Rose's book last year, is one book I had to read as soon as it came out. Simply written (no co-author is noted, but he must not have been very good), the book flies by. Of course, the media has leaked much of the good stuff already. As with any memoir (again, a stretch to use that word), truth is often muddled. Here it is worse. Did baseball really blackball Jose? Did Roger Clemens use steroids? Dave Martinez (that was funny--he was so mediocore)? Jose is clearly bitter for the way he was treated over the years. I can't possibly understand what it was like for a Latino ballplayer in the mid-80s. When he describes the racism involved in the game, much of it rings true. His bittnerness toward Cal Ripken (I'm assuming details were left out to avoid libel suits--common throughout the book) seems more mysterious. He is right that media (and the umps) play favorites sometimes. There is no question he is right about certain players and their steriod use. His digs at Mark McGwire are not cheap shots (pun intended). Mac was never the nice guy that we often heard about. He was surly, angry, and quite possibly a fraud. Same with Sammy "The Diva" Sosa. Each of these guys did a ton of stuff for charity. So did Canseco (which, immodestly, he points out)...but who knew that about Canseco? Not me.

Where he runs into trouble, at least for this reader, is his insistence on how good steroids are. The only steroids I ever took were for an infection and hope I never have to take them again. They can be great (look at how they saved Jerry Lewis--and how puffy he got) as medicine perhaps. But, his insistence on their goodness is a bit scary. Still, the man is a true believer. I just hope kids don't read this as the gospel. And the fact is, Canseco, Mac, etc, all cheated. He doesn't seem to care. Then again, I think the service he is doing to baseball is far more important. His book won't let the Barry Bonds' of the world keep fooling us.

Canseco also brushes over his marriages and the vast majority of his playing career (this is not a book that talks about the game between the lines). He claims to be unfairly persecuted by the Florida DA...the truth? Who knows? He claims to have had a nervous breakdown, but doesn't back it up. Who knows?

Finally, I think what might stay with me (besides the steroid stories) are the geniune moments. His hilariously overblown "affair" with Madonna. His near-suicide is poignant. I have no doubt he loves his daughter deeply. His pain over his break up with his second wife (everyone feels this kind of pain, even stars). The saddest part is the that deep inside his massive body, he is still a little hurting boy. He is very cautious about how he describes his father, but reading between the lines, we see a sad little boy and sad man. His father was incredibly tough on him. His mother died when he was barely out of his teens and she was his protector. Much of his career and incidents can be seen as a man looking for his fathers protection (his constant mentions of his insecurity) and the love of his mother (which he so sadly lost when she passed away). He has made some bad choices, but, in the end, he needs so much attention, because he never got it from the most important man in his life. All very sad. I think this book will serve an important purpose for our nation's past time and maybe help Canseco grow...maybe.
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Showing 1-8 of 8 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 13, 2008 10:28:33 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 13, 2008 10:29:06 PM PST
Jeremy P says:
His suicide attempt was "poignant."? A bit selfish if you ask me considering he has a small child he endlessly rants and raves as being his everything throughout the book.......aside from that particular moment in the book I must say I was impressed with the book as well as your review.....

In reply to an earlier post on May 3, 2008 12:16:17 AM PDT
S. Joiner says:
actually roids are safe if used right.

In reply to an earlier post on May 7, 2008 7:20:46 PM PDT
Thank you S.Joiner.

Posted on Apr 4, 2013 7:10:48 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 4, 2013 11:54:15 PM PDT
Mackovich says:
You said:

"Where he runs into trouble, at least for this reader, is his insistence on how good steroids are. The only steroids I ever took were for an infection and hope I never have to take them again. They can be great (look at how they saved Jerry Lewis--and how puffy he got) as medicine perhaps. But, his insistence on their goodness is a bit scary."

=============================================

I say:

Canseco's "insistence" on the super potent, magical quality of the anabolic steroid that a drug using athlete uses does not get him in "trouble." Those of us who have taken steroids, or those of us who were once close to to those who once used performance enhancing drugs, have experienced and are eyewitness to the tremendous advantage steroids provide the user with. Based on that up close experience a steroidal drug is a miracle drug.

Like breakfast cereal, there are many different types of anabolic steroids available. Comparing the steroids that you took for an infection and the steroids that Jerry Lewis took for his ailment to those that Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Lance Armstrong, Arnold Schwarzenegger or Marion Jones depended on (and made big money with) is like comparing a donkey to a Porsche. Note that the same thing can be said when anyone makes the mistake of comparing anabolic steroids to amphetamines a.k.a. "bennies." Again, this is based on the experience of an eye witness.

Also, in another case of comparing apples and oranges: You can't compare the small dose of steroids that your doctor prescribed (and the relatively small, prescribed amount that a responsible patient like you used to treat your infection with) to the large, no holds-barred amount of PED's that a hungry, opportuni$tic, drug dependent athlete purchased from on the black market.

And thus it can be said that Canseco's opinion as to the efficacy of steroids is not a case of him misleading the reader, engaging in hype, or indulging in histrionics, no, he is 100% accurate. It's no secret: Steroids will aid the average person (with black market connections) in adding an extraordinary amount of muscle, hyper-accelerating the process in a very short window of time, at virtual warp speed. For many people, those are two highly desirable traits that are difficult to ignore.

They are two magical, chemically born traits that are literally impossible to achieve without the use of steroids. There is an alternative a muscle seeker has at their disposal. It's a lawful drug free alternative that is woefully slow in building muscle. In the end, and compared to steroids, it's an alternative that almost always falls short in generating the same amount of muscle that steroids easily and quickly produce during the building process.

This alternative is a method that typically combines a legal, over the counter supplement that a person can acquire from a health food store along with a large supply of natural food sources (milk, eggs, oats, chicken, potatoes, etc.) that are available at your local supermarket. Despite wild claims from the manufacturer, the supplements a person acquires from a health food store usually provide minimal, if any, benefits. Steroids on the other hand, are like magic pills from God, Satan or science, depending on your viewpoint.

In parting, I'll add that as good a drug that a steroidal agent appears to be, there's one huge drawback: When you stop using the muscle slowly and eventually disappears. You will lose weight. You will regress. You will backslide. In many cases the weight you lose is known as "water weight." Think of a water-balloon that has a leak in it. And when that happens, for many users depression soon sets in due to a fragile, weak level of self esteem that plunges when strength, power, body weight and muscle is lost due to a natural state of catabolism.

Some people try and fight the catabolic process with the latest version of Post Cycle Therapy. PCT is not a sure thing and is in fact a dubious application, it's equivalent to looking for a needle in a haystack. About the only way to forever retain muscle mass (muscle mass built with steroids) is to plan on using steroids right on up until the day you die of old age. Which of course is a stupid thing to consider. Your best bet is to train naturally. Or learn to like yourself the way you are, which is never a bad idea to try and wrap your head around.

Posted on May 25, 2013 4:48:31 PM PDT
james says:
If you took 'steroids' for an infection then you were taking cortico-steroids. Those are for anti-inflamation and have no muscle building qualities at all. Anabolic steroids are synthetic testosterone and, depending upon the formula, will add size, strength or both.

In reply to an earlier post on May 12, 2014 5:56:22 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 12, 2014 5:56:43 AM PDT
Aquaria says:
But these guys weren't using them correctly.

That's the problem.

In reply to an earlier post on May 12, 2014 6:37:17 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 12, 2014 6:37:52 AM PDT
Aquaria says:
Meanwhile, abuse of anabolic steroids are known to cause liver disease and liver cancer, kidney disease and heart disease/heart attacks, among other things. They can also cause numerous tendon and ligament tears in athletes, because the sudden build up of muscle mass doesn't give the connective tissue time to adapt. It's NOT a coincidence that most of the steroid abusers started having tendonitis, tendon tears, ligament tears/strains, and other nagging musculoskeletal problems that constantly put them on the DL. For all the power that it gave them, it came at a high price, more often than not.

HGH is the really dangerous PED, though. Taking it for NORMAL reasons has been known to stimulate pre-cancer cells to start metastasizing. It's also been linked to edema (excess of water in tissues), elevated levels of the bad cholesterol, onset of diabetes, musculoskeletal pain, and even carpal tunnel. Throw in these guys getting HGH from dubious sources, and it was a recipe for disaster.

We may not see the full effects of the steroid era's abuses for a few years more, but we will start seeing it take a toll, eventually. It's not a matter of if. It's a matter of when.

It will surprise a lot of people, but I say the one to watch for the devastating effects of long-term PED abuse isn't Bonds, but McGwire. McGwire juiced a whole lot longer than Bonds, and it's already taking a toll on him. He's got that puffy look that long-time roids abusers get when they hit middle age.

Bonds is also middle-aged now, close to the same age as McLiar, but he looked pretty damned good for his age when I saw him in Arizona at spring training. He's not as bulky, more of the trim but solidly built frame that he traditionally had, and it suits him much better than the melon head cartoon mass of flesh he was sporting during his PED use.

Seeing him and then McGwire up close, it's pretty obvious that Bonds was a much smarter roider than McGwire. To use the roids and keep the negative side effects to a minimum, you have to cycle through using them for a while, then laying off them for a while. Bonds seems to have understood that.

But it also probably helped that Bonds didn't juice as long as McLiar. Rumors abound that McLiar juiced in college, too, and maybe started before that, even. Remember: Roids were known to be in high school athletics during the 80s. It had gotten so bad that there were even those idiotic made for TV movies about it.

Anyway, I will go to my grave thinking that McGwire should be banned from baseball for life. He did more to accelerate the PED abuse than anyone, and he did it longer, too. He is a stain on baseball, and I want to puke every time I see him in a dugout.

The guy's whole career has been a sham. That's not true of Bonds. Bonds' only mistake was being dumb enough to talk to Congress, and not shutting the hell up and taking the 5th, like McLiar did. Bonds wouldn't be in the mess he is now if he'd just SHUT UP. I would have thought that would have come easily to the guy, given how paranoid he is.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 24, 2014 11:36:17 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 24, 2014 11:36:33 AM PDT
Aquaria says:
What a thoroughly despicable person you are not to understand that people who attempt suicide are so depressed that they can't think straight.

I've been where he is. When I attempted suicide, I honestly thought at the time that my child would be better off without me. Which isn't true, I know that now, but that's how messed up severe depression had made me.

If you haven't been there, you're the last person who can judge people who have been there.

Learn some compassion. It will make you less of a judgmental dirtbag.
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