In a story dated Feb. 22 and today, the excellent baseball writer Tim Kurkjian did an ESPN video and print piece on Mark McGwire and Albert Pujols. Remarkably, Kurkjian did not ask McGwire or Pujols about steroids or PEDs in print or on video.
Today ESPN.com posted a video and print piece by Mike Fish for Outside the Lines about McGwire’s brother Jay. Jay McGwire, who will release a book on Monday about his brother’s steroid use, states in the print story that Mark misled the public. Jay claimed to ESPN that his brother used the juice to not only heal injuries, but to aid on-field performance.
“[Mark] knows that he [was] getting stronger and bigger, come on,” Jay McGwire said during a series of interviews with ESPN. “He is coming across that it is only for health reasons [that he used the drugs], but he put on 30 pounds of lean muscle mass. That is why a lot of people don’t understand why he is not really coming out clean like that. Why not just admit it all? It is OK, everyone knows how powerful these drugs are.”
Mark has previously claimed he only used steroids to treat injuries as it pertained to getting back on the field.
So in pieces two days apart, ESPN produced a serious allegation from Mark McGwire’s brother about the former Cardinals slugger and an extensive piece on the same former player that included zero inquiries about that allegation or anything involving steroids.
Like a lot of people, we got pretty excited when we saw quotes from former bodybuilder Jay McGwire, and heard whispers about the possibility of a tell-all book. After all, who wouldn’t be excited about a tome from a man who looks like a dead-ringer for the Gold’s Gym logo? It never hurt that there were quotes about his brother Mark’s steroid use in there, which sure seemed to make the book a ready-packaged winner at Barnes & Nobles. Well, evidently we were in the minority, because all the publishers who have seen Jay McGwire’s 58-page proposal have passed on it … rapidly.
(What we didn’t know: Big Mac was drinking the clear in this ad.)
In a story printed in today’s NEW YORK TIMES, executive editors, publishers and presidents of HarperCollins, Gotham Books and Penguin Group USA (via Gotham), all said they had serious doubts about the younger McGwire’s claims … and that even if they didn’t, they wondered if the concept would sell anyway:
Mark McGwire used a ton of performance-enhancing drugs during his baseball career. Everybody knows it without really knowing it; between the unprecedented power, the rapid muscle growth, and the fiffin in front of Congress, there was no rational explanation for his behavior other than “roid roid roid.” But at the same time, nobody except for half-man, half-cartoon Jose Canseco has ever claimed to be there when the usage went down, so there’s that shred of ambiguity. Where’s the stone-solid proof that puts McGwire in direct contact with steroids?
(Here it is!)
Unfortunately for McGwire, that aforementioned shred of ambiguity can be sold for an unholy amount of money, and that’s something that his brother Jay understands very well. According to DEADSPIN (also the source of the picture above), Jay plans to write and sell a book called The McGwire Family Secret (we’re really hoping that’s a working title) that describe’s Jay’s personal involvement with Mark’s entrance and journey into the world of PED’s. And you’re probably wondering, “but are there embarrassing anecdotes and family-rending accusations?” Boy howdy, are there ever. Excerpts are after the jump.