When there is a book coming out about your life and career, you better be the most interesting man in the world or have some hot juicy gossip that sends the public into a frenzy that they have to see what all the fuss is about.
Eric Gagne, the 2003 National League Cy Young winner with the Los Angeles Dodgers, certainly doesn't strike me as the most interesting man in the world, so he opted to go for the gossip.
Specifically, Gagne claims in his autobiography (via MLB.com), Game Over: The Story of Eric Gagne, that "80 percent of the Dodgers players were consuming [human growth hormone]." He does not go into naming names, instead opting to leave a vague generalization that ends up implicating everyone.
Texas Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre, Gagne's former teammate with the Dodgers, told reporters that he should put names and faces to his insinuations rather than leave everything a mystery.
“He should have named names. I don’t know what you want me to tell you … For him to say something like that, he should have come out with names instead of a percentage.”
This whole situation is similar to what Jose Canseco did seven years ago with his book Juiced, when no one really cared about anything he had to say about his life or career, so he decided to talk about some of the biggest names in baseball on steroids.
The difference between the two is that Canseco at least named names, and say what you want about Canseco but some of the names he implicated—Mark McGwire, Alex Rodriguez, Jason Giambi and Rafael Palmeiro—were either found to have used performance-enhancing drugs or admitted to using them.
What Gagne is doing is completely different. My guess would be he doesn't want to name names for fear of alienating some friends he has in the game, but wanted something salacious in the book to get people talking and for them to buy it.
It's not hard to understand why: the more people that buy the book, the more money that goes into Gagne's pocket.
However, what Gagne failed to take into account is timing. Yes, there are people who still get outraged when they hear anything involving baseball players and performance-enhancing drugs, but it is not nearly at the same level it was when Congress was wasting money on hearings.
And for that, I can say I hope Gagne's cheap ploy to sell books blows up in his face. The tired strategy of former players throwing teammates under the bus for one reason or another is so petty, vindictive and childish.
The use of performance-enhancing drugs in baseball doesn't rile me up because I have never seen enough evidence that it actually does anything to, you know, enhance performance, but I understand I am in the minority on that one.
Gagne wanted to create a stir. He was able to do that by implicating some random collection of 80 percent of his former teammates, just hoping to increase the sales of a book that would have flopped.
If there is any justice to the world, the book will be an even bigger bomb now than it would have been before the HGH story came out. He had no reason to say anything, much less provide no real evidence that his teammates did anything other than to throw out a percentage.
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