Juiced: Major issues in the Major League
Americas pass time takes a turn for the worse:
There's supposed to be no crying in baseball. But there was Mark McGwire in Washington last week, fighting back tears, his voice choked with emotion, telling a congressional committee investigating steroid use in baseball how he, well, couldn't really tell them much.
Mark McGwire, "I'm not here to talk about the past." The only other player to indicate he might not answer some questions was baseball's No. 1 pariah, Jose Canseco. McGwire's stance became even more conspicuous when three other sluggers, Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro and Frank Thomas, all deniedÃ¢â‚¬â€unequivocally and under oathÃ¢â‚¬â€having used steroids. "I have never used steroids, period!" said Palmeiro.
If it was a bad day for the playersÃ¢â‚¬â€McGwire's performance could disrupt what should have been a cakewalk into the Hall of FameÃ¢â‚¬â€it was no less ugly for baseball's brass. During the course of the 11-hour hearing, Major League Baseball was derided like some street gang for its "code of silence" and had its testimony critiqued as "theater of the absurd." Connecticut Republican Christopher Shays said baseball's "arrogance" in resisting the inquiry had produced more bipartisanship than he had experienced in 18 years in Congress.
Though baseball's leaders were unfailingly polite and attentive, none of the outrage and distrust evidenced by committee members seemed to make much of a visible impression on them. MLB Commissioner Bud Selig and the rest remained steadfast in a trifecta of views that would seem both improbable and impossible to reconcile: that they weren't aware of a steroid problem in the '90s; that the problem was never as big as some, like Canseco, have made it out to be, and that baseball's testing program has made huge progress in combating its steroid problem.
While baseball and Congress seemed to view most everything differently, there was genuine consensus on one matter. Everyone conveyed heartfelt sympathy for the several parents who testified about how their sons had committed suicide after steroid use.
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What do you all think about the problem in baseball? What should be done? What about sports in general?