"I didn't just find this out," Fisk told the Tribune Tuesday from Florida. "I worked hard in the gym to look like I did and feel like I felt. (Catching) took a toll on me, too. A lot of people knew. Nobody wanted to really address the issue.
"But when you have some of these obscene numbers being put up by people who shouldn't even be there. … I mean, you know what's going on. … The people it should have been most obvious to are the people who covered it up by not addressing it."
Some critics have blamed the media for not being more vigilant during the '80s and '90s. Others say the players who were clean should have exposed the cheats. And some say that Major League Baseball dropped the ball because it took so long to adopt stringent testing.
"You don't blame people for not ratting them out; you blame the people who abused the pharmaceutical world," Fisk said. "It's not like you are taking a couple of aspirin and you don't know what's going on. (Non-prescription steroid use has been) a federal offense for a long time, regardless of whether baseball was recognizing it and putting rules into place. The people who did it … they were breaking the law to start with. It doesn't have to be a baseball law. They knew what they were doing and the reason they were doing it. Now they are sorry because they are getting called out."
Fisk blasted McGwire, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds and other alleged or admitted steroid abusers in baseball, calling McGwire's recent claim that steroids did not help him hit more home runs "a crock."
"(McGwire) says, 'Well, it doesn't help eye-and-hand coordination.' Well, of course it does. It allows you more acuity physically and mentally and optically. You are going to be stronger and you are going to be better," said Fisk, who starred for the Red Sox and White Sox.
"Some of these numbers that are out there are really warped. Should they be considered? You saw how McGwire was viewed in the Hall of Fame voting. If you take the length of time that (steroid abusers) use that stuff and subtract 15 or 20 home runs a year for those guys, where are their numbers then?"
McGwire, the new Cardinals hitting coach, apologized last week for his steroid use as a player but claimed steroids had nothing to do with him hitting 70 homers in 1998.
"That's a crock," Fisk said. "There's a reason they call it performance-enhancing drugs. That's what it does — performance enhancement. You can be good, but it's going to make you better. You can be average, but it is going to make you good. If you are below average, it is going to make you average. Some guys who went that route got their five-year, $35 million contracts and now are off into the sunset somewhere. Because once they can't use (steroids) anymore, they can't play anymore.
"And steroids, during that time, probably did as much to escalate players' salaries as did free agency, as did arbitration, and all of that stuff. It did more than just put home runs up on the board or money in the guys' pocket."
McGwire said the steroids merely helped him stay in the lineup because of injuries he had sustained.
"Try having your knees operated on and catching for 30 years," Fisk said. "Do you think you feel good when you go out there? (McGwire) had to stand around and play first base. So excuuuuuse me."
Fisk also took a shot at accused steroid user Roger Clemens.
"The reason he got let go from the Red Sox was because he was starting to break down," Fisk said. "His last couple of years in Boston just weren't very productive, a la 'The Rocket.' Then all of a sudden he goes to Toronto and he wants to show somebody something. Then he gets two consecutive Cy Young Awards (in '97 and '98). Come on, give me a bucket.
"It's obvious to players. You notice that stuff. You know how hard it is to play the game. You know how hard it is to be productive at any age, but especially at an older age. You see guys who are as productive later on as they were early (in their careers). It offends guys that stayed clean. But (the abusers) set their great, great, great grandchildren up for the rest of their lives.
"Guys are bigger, guys are stronger, granted. Strength and conditioning and all of the knowledge that goes into being a bigger, better and stronger athlete is at everybody's disposal right now. Guys are bigger and stronger. Better? I don't know about that. But there is more stuff available to guys today.
"I think back to when baseball was scuffling to recapture the passion of the American fan after the '94 season. I think baseball and everybody involved in the decision-making at every level just turned their head and said: 'This is good for baseball, look at the prosperity of the game. It's growing and growing and growing.'
"And now it's (in bad shape) because it wasn't addressed back when the rest of us knew. How did that guy (using steroids) outgrow his uniform?"
(original story can be found here)
It's not a suprise to any of you who know me that my favorite player for the Sox right now is AJ Pierzynski. I like my ballplayers scrappy. I like to see a guy who gets foul tipped and picks up dirt and throws it at Johnny Damon durring his at-bat. I like a guy who covers the plate durring a game as if his life depended on it and gets into a brawl with Michael Barret. I love a guy who is smart enough as a catcher to reach on a dropped strike three durring the ALCS.
I love a guy who proudly proclaims "Schilling and Bonds are both retired now so I'm number one!" (most hated player in baseball)
I absolutley cant stop telling people about the "legend" of AJ kneeing Giant's trainer Stan Conte in the groin when he asked AJ how it felt getting beamed there. "Like this." he supposedly replied.
I've been told my a pretty repitable source that the last story is just that- a story. It's about as true as Babe Ruth calling his own home run, but I love it. It sounds like something AJ would do, and I've never even personally met him.
I like AJ for another reason too. He reminds me of Pudge.
I grew up watching guys like Ozzie Guillen, Carlton Fisk, Robin Ventura, Frank Thomas, and the like. One of my favorite stories is when Fisk was playing against Deion Right-now-im-a-baseball-player Sanders who hit a routine pop fly and refused to run it out to first, assuming it would be easily caught. His next time at-bat Fisk let him know what he thought about how offensive it was for him to act so lazy when it came to the game he loved so much.
"If you dont respect this game I'm going
to kick your ass right now."
Carlton Fisk is a lover of baseball. I think we all can take a lesson from him and his opinions. Part of me hopes AJ speaks out like this when he's retired as a ballplayer but I'm not ignorant enought to think that he can put up the numbers or games caught that Fisk did before beind inducted into the hall, nor would be probably make a stance on such issues. Carlton continues to be a staple of Southside tradition and I'm proud to have watched him play as a young girl.
Enjoy your weekend & remember,
We Are Chicago Baseball.