Frommer on Sports
Juiced and Other Sporting
The old expression "where there is smoke there is fire" may be the
applicable wisdom as regards: "Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash
Hits, and How Baseball Got Big" by Jose Canseco (ReganBooks /
HarperCollins, $25.95, 304 pages).
If nothing else, the book's title is one of the
more eye catching ones of recent years.
Claims and charges and carping commentary characterize Canseco's tome:
Dubbing himself the "Godfather of steroids in baseball," the former
baseball's tar says: "I single-handedly changed the game of
baseball by introducing them (steroids) into the game.
"By the time my 8-year-old daughter, Josie, has graduated from high
school, a majority of all professional athletes -- in all sports -- will
be taking steroids. And believe it or not, that's good news.
"I have no doubt whatsoever that intelligent, informed use of steroids,
combined with Human Growth Hormone, will one day be so accepted that
everybody will be doing it. Steroid use will be more common than Botox
is now. Every baseball player and pro athlete will be using at least low
levels of steroids. As a result, baseball and other sports will be more
exciting and more entertaining.
"Are players the only ones to blame when Donald Fehr and the other
bosses of the Major League Baseball Players Association fought for years
to make sure players wouldn't be tested for steroids?" he wrote, adding:
"Fehr had to know the truth."
"There was a huge double standard in baseball, and white athletes like
Mark McGwire, Cal Ripken Jr. and Brady Anderson were protected and
coddled in a way that an outspoken Latino like me never would be," he
wrote. "Canseco the Cuban was left out in the cold, where racism and
double standards rule."
Canseco aims a lot of his venom at his former Oakland teammate Jason
Giambi who got bigger and bigger. "Giambi had the most obvious steroid
physique I've ever seen in my life. He was so bloated, it was
unbelievable. There was no definition to his body at all. You could see
the retention of liquids, especially in his neck and face."
You pays your money and you takes your choice. There are wild charges in
"Juiced." But the book has much food for thought and some of the things
it has to say cannot be dismissed or ignored.
On a more inspirational and uplifting note there is "The Boys of Winter"
by Wayne Coffey (Crown, $23.95, 272 pages), a celebration, a flash back
a quarter century to the "Miracle on Ice" - the triumph of the USA
hockey team over the favored Soviets. Terrific reading!
HIGHLY NOTABLE: "Grand Old Game of Baseball" by Joseph Wallace (Abrams,
744 pages, $29.95) - -the kind of book to occupy a place of prominence
on your coffee table - facts and fascinating illustrations culled from
the archives of the BB Hall of Fame.
From the same publisher "101 Reasons to Love the Yankees" and "101
Reasons to Love the Red Sox". Both priced at a hefty $22.50 and a skimpy
122 pages. The former written by Ron Green, Jr., and the latter by his
brother David. Gimmicky tomes but worthwhile browsing, both books are
heavy on illustration and strangely familiar content.
"Clubhouse Lawyer" by Frederick J. Day (iuniverse, $29.95, 484 pages) is
a highly insightful book into Law and the world of sports. The author is
a lawyer and a highly knowledgeable sports fan - he knows his stuff in
both areas and serves up telling commentary on many a legal battle.
"The American Indian Integration of Baseball" by Joseph Oxendine
(University of Nebraska Press, $34.95, 328 pages) is a bit over-priced
but a highly readable and well researched account of the presence of
American Indians on pro baseball fields from the time of Louis
Sockalexis in 1897.
If you want to know how your favorite team got its nickname - and other
interesting things about sports franchises - pick up a copy of "Yankees
to Fighting Irish" by Michael Leo Donovan (Taylor, $14.95, 192 pages,
paper). As the author notes: "This book exists because no nickname is an
accident. And every nickname has a story." Donovan tells the stories
BOOKENDS: "Surf Like a Girl" by Rebecca Heller (Three Rivers Press) is a
slim paperback but has the info needed for surfing so you don't look
like a schlep in the water or on the beach." Go for it if this sport
is your thing.
# # #
You can reach
Harvey Frommer at:
About the Author:
Harvey Frommer is in his 38th year of writing books.
A noted oral historian and sports journalist, the author of 42 sports
books including the classics: "New York City Baseball,1947-1957" and
"Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball," his acclaimed REMEMBERING YANKEE
STADIUM was published in 2008 and his REMEMBERING FENWAY PARK: AN ORAL
AND NARRATIVE HISTORY OF THE HOME OF RED SOX NATION was published to
acclaim in 2011. The prolific Frommer is at work on When It Was
Just a Game, An Oral History on Super Bowel One.
His work has appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times,
Washington Post, New York Daily News, Newsday, USA Today, Men's Heath,
The Sporting News, among other publications.
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Frommer along with his wife, Myrna Katz Frommer are the authors of
five critically acclaimed oral/cultural histories, professors at Dartmouth
College, and travel writers who specialize in cultural history, food, wine, and Jewish history and heritage
in the United States, Europe, and the Caribbean.
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