Picks and Pans Review: Buzz Book
Can the new ban on steroids help baseball shake the "juicing" scandal? Howard Bryant's new book—subtitled Drugs, Power, and the Fight for the Soul of Major League Baseball—assesses the damage.
WHY DID THE PROBLEM GO ON FOR SO LONG??
For years, leaders ran from the whole steroid issue; nobody seemed to care about protecting their own integrity. Not the players, not the owners. I also think a lot of reporters looked the other way. If you really went after this story, you'd be writing about a sport without heroes.
HOW MANY PLAYERS WERE JUICED?
During the 1994-2004 heyday, I would guess that between 25 and 40 percent of players had experimented at some point.
HOW HAVE STERIODS TAINTED THE GAME?
Uncertainty. When you look at the home run numbers slugger Sammy Sosa has produced—he's currently sixth among all-time leaders with 584—his place in history should be clear. But because of the uncertainty about this decade, people will always ask questions.
WHAT'S MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL DOING RIGHT?
After years of denial, baseball is taking baby steps with PSAs telling kids not to take drugs. And they've instituted deterrents: The new policy allows random testing and sanctions, including suspension.
WHY SHOULD FANS CARE IF PLAYERS ARE JUICED?
To quote Jim Bouton, baseball is the last unscripted entertainment in America. If it doesn't matter if the contest is on the level, then it loses all of its vitality.