But My Precious Legacy!!
About the Congressional steroid hearings, the fearless Jose Canseco said last week: "It's easy to lie to the public, but lie under oath, and you're going to jail." Trust him, he knows a little bit about what can land you in jail, and not because he wants to be a lawyer.
So, despite all the weak excuses MLB is parading out for not wanting to comply with the issued subpoenas, is it possible Canseco's assessment is the most influencing factor? Could be...
Especially so, now that it's been leaked that Mark McGwire was (spoiler alert!) taking steroids. Now I can see why Big Mac wouldn't want to show up. If they ask him, "Did you take steroids?" and he says no. He would hate to watch them open up a large investigation report and say, "Well, we have 5 witnesses who all testified that you did." In that case, not only will he be open to perjury charges, but the legacy he "worked so hard" to create will all have evaporated. (In fact, he worked so hard at that legacy, he had to retire 2 and a half years after setting the home run record, almost as if his body was failing under the weight of his achievement!)
For a moment let's just set aside the rising use of steroids in high school kids or where they ever got the crazy idea that it's okay to take them, for professional athletes, I can actually see why steroids are appealing. In fact, there's plenty of incentive to take steroids. I honestly feel bad for the guy who has truly maxed out on his ability and he's still not doing that well. For those athletes, they look around them, see other successful players taking steroids, know that if their game improves they get to play more, get more notoriety, larger contracts and more endorsement deals. So for those guys, who also see it as providing for their families, I understand the risks they're prepared to take. But they have to understand, if you get caught, all the negative consequences that come your way were part of the wager.
Which brings us back to McGwire. I know this is commonplace, and I shouldn't be so upset about this happening anymore, but it was just a fucking month ago that he once again denied taking steroids. And I know Giambi denied it on television only days after testifying in court that he did, and that Pete Rose eventually admitted to gambling on baseball after years of denying it, and that Jamal Lewis profusely denied taking part in a drug deal, a charge he plea-bargained his way into jail for, but isn't anyone else getting sick of this? Why do they even have interviews with athletes on ESPN, if no one can believe them? Pretty soon, all fans will assume players have such little integrity (look it up, Artest!) that all sports interview shows will be fluff-pieces like Cold Pizza, where you only tune in to see the failed attempt to turn grumpy old men like Skip Bayless and Woody Paige into likable morning personalities.
So it seems Canseco was right, it is easy to lie to the public.