Juicing the Game: Drugs, Power, and the Fight for the Soul of Major League Baseball

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Overview

From the respected sports journalist and author of Shut Out comes a groundbreaking history of steroid use in major league baseball

Despite enjoying an era of unprecedented prosperity and on-field accomplishments, Major League Baseball is in crisis as its greatest players find themselves defending their achievements instead of celebrating them. The reason: steroids and other performance- enhancing drugs. Singled out by the president and ...
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Overview

From the respected sports journalist and author of Shut Out comes a groundbreaking history of steroid use in major league baseball

Despite enjoying an era of unprecedented prosperity and on-field accomplishments, Major League Baseball is in crisis as its greatest players find themselves defending their achievements instead of celebrating them. The reason: steroids and other performance- enhancing drugs. Singled out by the president and Congress, threatened with punitive legislation by Senator John McCain, and under siege as part of the growing BALCO investigation, baseball is desperately trying to get its own house in order after years of willful ignorance that have brought into question the sport’s very integrity.

In Juicing the Game, award-winning journalist Howard Bryant raises the most important question the league faces today: In its desperation to recover from the crippling 1994 strike, did baseball ignore warning signals that might have prevented the biggest scandal since the Chicago White Sox threw the 1919 World Series?

Combining hard-hitting investigative journalism with a compelling narrative filled with entertaining anecdotes, as well as interviews with baseball heavyweights such as Jason Giambi, Commissioner Bud Selig, union head Donald Fehr, and Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson, among many others, Juicing the Game promises to be the bombshell book of the season.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Jose Canesco's bestselling Juiced was a personal tell-all about baseball drug use. Howard Bryant's Juicing the Game is the first book to chronicle the entire history of the Age of Steroids, from which the major leagues are still attempting to recover. The Boston Herald sports columnist describes how baseball, in its effort to rebound from the devastating 1994 players' strike, ignored the warning signals of this developing crisis. The entire book is informed by Bryant's extensive interviews with players, team owners, and league officials.
Larry Moffi
If ever there was a "must read" sports book of its time, this is it. Because of the undeniable truths it tells, Bryant's book is essential reading. His argument depends less on statistics and figures than on his willingness to uncover what many people suspected and more than a few knew to be true.
—The Washington Post
Michiko Kakutani
Mr. Bryant's book, which draws upon in-depth interviews with players, baseball executives, union leaders, team managers and journalists, is informed by a deep knowledge of baseball history. And it's valuable not only for its lucid, unvarnished account of the steroid scandal and its long-term consequences for the game, but also for putting that scandal in context with other conflicts like the decades-old clash between owners and players, the divisiveness fostered by the growing importance of television (which tends to showcase individual heroics over team efforts, home runs over less spectacular plays) and pitchers' complaints that the game's recent infatuation with offense has devalued their own craft.Indeed, the post-strike years would see what Mr. Bryant calls "a power surge the likes of which the game hadn't seen since the 1930's."
— The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
The title suggests an expos of baseball's steroid problem, but that's merely the surface layer of Bryant's pervasive critique of how the sport has changed over the past decade. After professional baseball was derailed by a bitter strike in 1994, team owners searched for ways to bring fans back into the stadiums. The incredible boom in home-run hitting over the next few seasons offered such a motivation, and Bryant accuses managers and owners of actively ignoring the open secret of steroid use to keep sluggers like Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco in action. He's especially hard on commissioner Bud Selig, who "had the moral authority" to invoke a stiffer antisteroids policy and "did not use it." But he also considers how the rules were applied differently to favor hitters over pitchers, and details the intense battle between umpires and Major League administrators that ensued over attempts to reform the shrinking strike zone. Bryant's comprehensive reporting, based on a series of Boston Herald articles, takes readers right up to the brink of the current season, when Canseco's tell-all, Juiced, inspired Congress to issue subpoenas to the game's biggest stars. As baseball struggles to restore its integrity, this is the essential explanation of how things got so far out of hand. (July 11) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
In this important if sometimes frustrating book, journalist Bryant (the Boston Herald) tackles the drug epidemic that has purportedly beset big league baseball. However, his reach is far wider, covering labor struggles that have afflicted the national pastime since the 1960s. Bryant concentrates largely on the past decade and a half, when followers of major league ball experienced a welter of emotions, associated with a canceled World Series, an outpouring of four-baggers, fan antipathy, and pharmacological assistance. He acknowledges the long running successes of the Players Association, as well as the continual blunders by major league owners and commissioners, particularly those committed by Bud Selig regarding both labor battles and steroids. Bryant notes that the offensive explosion, which began during the strike year of 1994 and led to the Great Home Run Race four years later, pitting McGwire against Sosa, helped to bring fans back to the parks while attracting many new ones. The unprecedented raining of long balls, supposedly the result of steroid use, implied that majestic players like Barry Bonds were choosing to tempt the gods in the manner of Icarus. Bryant delivers analysis and bold statements, seemingly backed by testimonial evidence, but his messages hardly appear incontrovertible. Still, strongly recommended.-R.C. Cottrell, California State Univ., Chico Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781616800697
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 7/7/2005
  • Pages: 432
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

HOWARD BRYANT writes a sports column for the Boston Herald. His first book, Shut Out:A Story of Race and Baseball in Boston,won the Casey Award for the Best Baseball Book of 2002 and was a finalist for the Seymour Medal from the Society for American Baseball Research.

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Customer Reviews

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