Come on, you knew it was bound to happen. You knew that it was only a matter of time – that a former Dodger from the “steroid era” would be out to try make a quick buck by writing a so-called tell-all book. You also knew, or at least should have, that it would be someone who had either admitted to using performance enhancing drugs (which no one admitted to at the time) or someone who had been implicated in the 409-page Mitchell Report released on December 13, 2007. It most certainly would not be someone not implicated of PED use. I mean, who in their right mind would ever do something that stupid, right? That would be like writing a book bragging that you smoked crack cocaine every day before you pitched in the major leagues and who would be dumb enough do that? So I guess it should come as no surprise that admitted PED user Eric Gagne would come out with a book about his PED use in an attempt to make a quick buck.
I will be the first to admit that I was as big of an Eric Gagne fan as anybody, anybody except my (then) 8-year-old son who absolutely idolized Eric Gagne. Eighty-four consecutive saves? Are you kidding me? Who does that? That’s one of the greatest accomplishments in baseball history, something that we will most likely never see again, not ever.
I also have to admit that I was absolutely devastated by the Mitchell Report and actually wept when I learned that members of the Dodgers… my Dodgers had been involved in this grand cheating scheme. What? Paul LoDuca? Guillermo Mota? Eric Gagne? These were three of my favorite Dodgers at the time and they cheated?
Yes, I wept. And then I was sad, and then I was angry, and then I was furious… absolutely furious. In a heartbeat my affection for these three guys had turned to pure anger, disgust and yes, even hatred with each page of the Mitchell Report I read – and I read every one of them. How dare you Paul LoDuca, Guillermo Mota and Eric Gagne! How dare you desecrate the graves of Dodger greats such as Don Drysdale, Roy Campanella, Gil Hodges and the hundreds of other great former Dodgers – Dodgers who played the game the right way and without cheating.
To be painfully honest, there was never any doubt in my mind that there were Dodgers involved in the steroid era, how could there not be? And as much as I despise former major leaguer and admitted PED user Jose Canseco and former clubhouse attendant and physical trainer Kirk Radomski, the guy responsible for introducing hundreds of major leaguers to PEDs, I read both of their books – not to help them make money off of the darkest black eye that baseball has ever seen, but to find even the slightest piece of information… anything that might suggest that the Mitchell Report was wrong – anything. But instead I learned that not only were things as bad as reported in the Mitchell Report, they were much worse. In fact, Canseco suggested in his book that as many as 80% of the MLB players of his time used performance enhancing drugs – 80%! Is this where Gagne came up with his 80% number?
Now I’m certainly not suggesting that Canseco’s 80% number is anywhere near accurate, but I’m also not so naive as to believe that Gagne, LoDuca and Mota were the only Dodgers who used PEDs during Gagne’s eight seasons with the Dodgers (1999-2006). But at the same time, I have a serious problem believing that the Mitchell investigation would have missed other PED-using Dodgers had 80% of the team actually been using them. Something else to keep in mind is that a number of today’s banned substances were not banned by the MLB until after 2005. Perhaps Gagne overlooked this little tidbit when writing his book.
And while Gagne may think that he is being noble and honorable by not naming names, exactly the opposite is happening. By not naming names, it sounds as though he is trying to minimize or justify his own PED usage by saying that almost everybody else on the Dodgers used them too. Sounds like a grade school prank gone bad. Pretty sleazy, if you ask me. Simply put, no names – no credibility.
What do some of Gagne’s former teammates think about his new book and his 80% claim?
“He should have mentioned names,” said former Gagne teammate Adrian Beltre. “I know for sure I’m not one of them. I haven’t read the book. I’m not interested in it. He should have come up with names instead of a percentage,” Beltre added.
“Apparently, I’m the 20 percent,” said former Dodger and current White Sox manager Robin Ventura, who finished his 16-year MLB career with the Dodgers in 2003-04. “…I was never around it, so it’s just one of those (things) that maybe he knows something I don’t.”
Regardless, I certainly won’t be giving Gagne a single penny of my money for his new book and wouldn’t even if I could read French – Aucun monsieur, pas me.
Because Eric Gagne cheated, and he cheated as a Dodger. And I will never ever forget the anguish on my son’s face when I had to tell him that his favorite Dodger was a cheater. And this doesn’t even include the fact that when Gagne tried to make a comeback with the Dodgers at spring training 2010, he rudely snubbed not only my dear friend Gary Smith and I when we asked him for an autograph, but he also rudely snubbed my other dear friends Mike and Curtis LeClair (the latter being 12-years-old at the time) even after telling him that they had traveled all the way from their home in British Columbia, Canada to get an autograph from their countryman. As Gagne walked away arrogantly with his nose to the sky, Mike said to him “Hey Eric, you can kiss my rosy red ass.”
I couldn’t agree more.