Juicing the Game (Magill's Literary Annual 2006)
Howard Bryant’s chronicle of Major League Baseball’s “juiced” era was not 2005’s only book with a long title that plays on that word. Several months before Bryant’s Juicing the Game: Drugs, Power, and the Fight for the Soul of Major League Baseball was released, José Canseco published Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant ’Roids, Smash Hits, and How Baseball Got Big. In language that might be taken as Bryant’s contra-theme, Canseco glorifies steroids as baseball’s game-saving enablers after 1994’s devastating 232-day players’ strike. Says Canseco:[Mark] McGwire and [Sammy] Sosa brought baseball back to life [in 1998]. People were as excited about baseball as they had ever been. And why? Because the owners had been smart enough not to chase steroid use out of the game, allowing guys like McGwire to make the most of steroids and growth hormone, turning themselves into larger than life heroes in more ways than one.
What Canseco, who admitted using anabolic steroids to anyone who would listen, views as baseball’s savior looms for Bryant as the game’s destroyer. For him, echoing baseball purists such as perennial batting champ Tony Gwynn, the enhancement of the home run, baseball’s prime crowd-pleaser, by bulked-up sluggers Barry Bonds, McGwire, and Sosa, was “engineered by design.”
McGwire and Sosa’s stirring race in 1998 to eclipse Roger Maris’s long-standing home run record, which transformed them...
(The entire section is 1208 words.)
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 2006)
Booklist 101, no. 21 (July 1, 2005): 1874.
Library Journal 130, no. 12 (July 1, 2005): 89.
The New York Times 154 (July 5, 2005): E1-E8.
The New Yorker, November 21, 2005, p. 56.
Publishers Weekly 252, no. 24 (June 13, 2005): 46-47.
(The entire section is 24 words.)