"What-If" The "What-If"

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Steroids steroids steroids, you crazy son of a bitch. What have you gone and done now? You've made Gene Wojciechowski write this little bit of insanity.

First you ruin baseball, and now you're ruining sportswriting. Is there nothing you won't fuck up, steroids?



Awesome! I hope this is real, and not a "what-if" gambit!

Well, what would you do if ESPN interrupted your regularly scheduled programming for that one?


Damn. It was a "what-if" gambit.

To answer your "what-if" gambit: I would be mildly surprised for eleven seconds, then I would nod slightly at the non-news that another huge star had taken steroids, then I would chuckle to myself while thinking about what Mike Francesca would say about it. ("Not today. Not in The Bronx. Not with all the ghosts looking down from heaven. Not Derek Jeter. Not like this...not like this..."). Then I would turn the channel to see if anything good was playing on Starz HD West. Maybe "You Can Count On Me" or something. I can watch that movie over and over again without getting bored. Unlike the movie called "Baseball Players Did Steroids."

Would it be enough to make you shred your season tickets, douse your baseball cards with charcoal fluid and delete America's pastime from your Facebook friends list?

I have several questions.

1. After A-Rod, Bonds, McGwire, Palmeiro, Sosa, Clemens, Giambi, Manny, Ortiz, and like 8200 others, why would one more star player make me shred my season tickets?

2. Charcoal fluid? Do you mean "lighter fluid?" "Charcoal fluid" sounds like something that you spray on something else to make it smell like charcoal. (Which I call: Axe Body Spray.) (Boom! Take that, Axe Body Spray!)


3. The phrase "...delete America's pastime from your Facebook friends list" is the textbook definition of an adult writing about something "the kids" do when they don't really understand what that thing is. This isn't a question so much as an exhortation: please, people who don't really understand the internet – stop trying to use internet lingo. If you don't, I will text message your MySpace vlog and lol cats to the bit torrent meme!

If I ever see Jeter's name attached to the hip of performance enhancers, I'm done. I mean it — I'll never watch another big league game again.

Just, hang on a second there, sparky. Really? Really. If Derek Jeter did steroids, you would never watch another baseball game again. Ever. Not this year, not next year, never. Wojo is WoDone with WoBall, if Derek Jeter has done steroids. When everyone else, in every sport, has done steroids.


I call bullshit on this, frankly, because: although I personally hate steroids, and all they have done to tarnish the game I love, a pretty fucking hefty amount of famous and popular players have done steroids, and Wojo, like the rest of us, is still watching baseball. Because it's baseball, and baseball is awesome, even if every single player worth a damn since 1992 has been jamming llama testicle suppositories up his butt to make himself run faster. It's baseball. It's fun. Baseball!!!!!!

Also, grammar quiz: what kind of insane literary device is the phrase "attached to the hip of performance enhancers?" a) Metonymy b) vernacular idiom c) utter nonsense d) Grumbletorp-noun phrase?


The answer is e) bad.

Because if Captain Pinstripes could do the Vitamin S deed, then anybody can.

Bad news, Wojo. Anybody can, and most of them did. And for the record, "Captain Pinstripes" is the name you should use to make fun of Jeter, and his bulletproof reputation in the national news media. It really sounds like you're making fun of him, when you call him Captain Pinstripes. It's like calling him Calm Eyes McGee.


Also, metaphor quiz: what kind of writing is "do the Vitamin S deed?" (a) good (b) cool (c) awesome (d) funny? The answer is: (e) no.

Jeter's name is where I draw the line in the PED sand. He is the absolute last guy I'd ever suspect of juicing.


Me too, for the record, since he has been pretty statistically consistent (yeah, I used "consistent" – deal with it) in his career, he's not a big power guy, and his head hasn't ballooned outward like a giant loaf of baking bread. And, he admittedly seems like a good dude who has his priorities in the correct order. But you probably have another reason for thinking this...

It seems so, well, beneath him.

Oh – right. Derek Jeter exists on a higher spiritual, moral, and dare I even say yes I think I do dare say physical plane than the rest of humanity. Derek Jeter's face is carved into the side of Egyptian sarcophagi that predate him by thousands of years. Derek Jeter floats eleven inches off the ground. Derek Jeter's urine is legal tender currency in Asia.


That is also a good explanation.

He is the one player who I actually think would walk away from the game if he thought he had to cheat to compete.

The one player? Tell that to Randy Velarde!

Bonds, who didn't need to cheat but did anyway, was undone by an ego the size of Alcatraz.

Is that big? I honestly don't know whether Alcatraz is a big or small prison. Which brings me to my next point: why use a defunct prison as the b-side in a hyperbolic metaphor? Just because Bonds played in San Francisco? Jeff Kent had a temper as hot as the roof of the TransAmerica Pyramid. Chase Utley's swing is a cheesesteak of perfection[1]. Feliz Hernandez is Microsoft Office.


[1]"Chase Utley's swing is a cheesesteak of perfection" is a registered Food Metaphor Trademark of FireJoeMorgan.com, Inc., LLC. No reproduction, retransmission, or other use of the Food Metaphor "Chase Utley's swing is a cheesesteak of perfection" is allowed without the express written consent of FireJoeMorgan.com Inc., LLC, and its parent companies: Fremulon Ins., Inc., Raytheon, General Dynamics, Boeing, Halliburton, AIG, and the Peoples' National Bank and Trust of Kaesong. All rights reserved.]

Clemens, the pathological liar who tries to intimidate people into believing his gum-wrapper-thin explanations, cheated because he was "The Rocket" and you're not.

Also, money, maybe, was a factor.

Not Jeter. I can see him marrying Mariah Carey before I see him squirming in front of a Congressional hearing with the lawyered-up Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire. I can see him in a Boston Red Sox uni before I see him smirking his way through PED revelations like Manny Ramirez did in Los Angeles.


Not Jeter. No way. Here are some words I would use to describe Jeter: I would say his most admirable legacy is his respect for the game. I would also say that his career has attained mythic status. And I would definitely say that someday, Jeter will leave the game the way he played it – with class.

Oh – hang on. Sorry. Those are all things that Sports Illustrated said about Mark McGwire when he retired. Because at the time, it seemed like they were true. Then, later, it turned out that they were wrong, because Mark McGwire was eating camel pancreas and drinking tapir prostate extract and rubbing Bald Eagle semen on his gums and basically cheating the whole time.


Nobody in baseball definitely didn't do steroids. It doesn't mean everyone did. It just means nobody definitely didn't. It's their bed – they have to lie in it.

Now, again, I personally don't think Jeter is using, or has ever used, PEDs. But let's just cool it with the hagiography, okay? As the saying goes, "When you write a hagiography of a baseball player, you make a hagio out of graph and y." (That is nonsense.)


Also, I like that Jeter's pedestal is so high, the worst fate Wojo can imagine befalling him is marrying Mariah Carey, who is pretty effing hot and also rich and famous.

I'm not a Yankees honk. In fact, I want to scrape my ears with a steel-haired barbecue grill brush every time I hear play-by-play man John Sterling do that grating, "Thhhhhhhhhhhhe Yankees win!'' thing.

Me too! All is forgiven. I take it all back. This article is awesome.

But how can you not admire the way Jeter treats his craft? He is the template for baseball professionalism.

No he's not. He's about the same amount of "professional" as about 300 other guys. He's just more famous. If Jeter had played for the Brewers his entire career, he'd be Robin Yount. Still great, still in the Hall of Fame, but not slobbered over. (And, I am going to point out for the millionth time, Jeter didn't exactly come to ARod's defense when he was getting booed while in a slump a few years ago – and that was after he had come to Giambi's defense in a very similar situation.)

That's why I'd need a year's worth of Dr. Oz therapy sessions if it turns out Jeter did the steroids deed. And I'm not the only one.

1. Yes you are the only one. Dr. Oz is a cardiac surgeon and anti-aging specialist who goes on Oprah a lot. It is unclear to me how he could help you. Are you saying you would have a heart attack? Or that you would need botox? Or something?


2. Stop saying "did the [steroids] deed."

Yankees fans would go into permanent mourning if Jeter betrayed them. A-Rod's steroids admission they could handle; he was a free-agent import. Jeter, though, was born and raised by the organization. You think Yankees and you think Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Mantle, Maris, Berra, Munson, Reggie and Jeter.

For the record, Babe Ruth was not "born and raised" by the Yankee Organization either, obviously. Roger Maris was signed by Cleveland and also played with KC before joining the Yankees in 1960. Reggie Jackson played for the Yankees for five seasons, and with other teams for sixteen seasons. But whatever. They're all True Yankees.


Here's the thing, you guys. The Yankees are just better than other players. That's the deal. They're better. They're better. Just accept it. There should be two Halls of Fame, I think. One for human players who excel at baseball, and one for Yankees. And maybe a third for True Yankees Who Knew How To Win. Paul O'Neill, Tino, Brosius, Chad Curtis, Ramiro Mendoza, Jeter, Rivera, Girardi, Posada, Pettitte, Bernie, Wells, Cone, and that's fucking it. (And somehow Don Mattingly, even though he won exactly nothing, but fuck you, he was a winner.) They would be housed in a separate building, and admission would be $10,000. They would have gold-plated plaques, and visitors would have to take off their shoes out of respect for the True Yankees and would also have to view the plaques through special like astronomy glasses so as to avoid their retinas being burned out by the sheer beauty of the True Yankees' memorialized visages. And offerings could be made, maybe – that would be nice. Slaughtered goats and sprinkled holy water and incense could be burned in front of fucking Paul O'Neill's fucking plaque because he so totally Knew How To Win and was Such a True Warrior and True Yankee that it seems like the least anyone could do when given the monumental once-in-a-lifetime fucking chance to be in a True Yankee's plaque-i-fied presence for like 30 seconds, and maybe see the remnants of a water cooler he smashed to bits after striking out looking in the third inning of a 5-2 win over the Royals in early June because he is such a True Warrior even though someone else on another team who does that is a Punk and a Hot Head, is avert one's eyes and slaughter a goat or something out of Respect for the Greatest Fucking Humans Who Ever Walked The Fucking Earth.

Whatever. One man's opinion.

It's unclear why I just went off on Paul O'Neill, who has nothing to do with this article at all. Oh well. I really should get my delete key fixed.


Can you imagine if Albert Pujols, the man who eventually replaced McGwire at first base, was a syringe enthusiast?

Yeah, I can. Super easily. You know why? He exhibits the #1 correlative behavior: he plays baseball. Everyone who plays baseball, it turns out, might have done steroids.

City officials would have to set up a baseball suicide prevention clinic at Busch Stadium. Cards fans adore Pujols.

I adore Pujols. But that doesn't mean he definitely never did steroids.

A Jeter steroids admission would be the deal-breaker for me.

Develop premise for article. Repeat premise. Goto 10.

Pujols, too. If those guys went pharmaceutical, I couldn't go to a big league game if Bud Selig paid me.

Yes you would. This is insane. Yes you absolutely would, whether or not the commissioner of the sport paid for your tickets. You would, because you like baseball. Don't be that douche who said "If George Bush is elected I'm moving to Canada!" and then didn't move to Canada.


Who would it be for you?

Ken Griffey, Jr.? If The Kid did it, I'm gone.

No you're not.

Chipper Jones? The same.

No. Dude, no.

Mariano Rivera? I'd think about it.

No you wouldn't.

Joe Mauer? The sound of weeping followed by my baseball resignation letter.


The sound of you going about your normal life followed by you watching baseball.

Jim Thome? Baseball's nicest guy wouldn't do that to us, would he?

Possibly. And he wouldn't have been doing it "to you." He would have been doing it to be better at baseball and make a ton of money.


Tim Lincecum? Sadness if The Freak was a fake.

Sadness, sure. As well as continued baseball watching.

Trevor Hoffman? Hells bells, please not Hoffman.

Trevor Hoffman doing steroids wouldn't even be the main article on ESPN.com.


Yuniesky Betancourt? I'd Yunies-keep going and never look back!!!!

I'm just kidding. He didn't write that. The last one was David Wright.

So far the game has survived the depressing revelations. It sort of coagulates, scabs up and then heals as best as it can.


But there could come a time when the PED damage reaches a tipping point. For me, the magic number is 2.

The number of minutes it took you to write this article? The number of people who agree with you? The number on a scale of 1-10 of how surprising it would be if any baseball star were revealed to be a steroids user?


Jeter's jersey number.

Wojo out.