At first, I was pretty excited: I’ve had lots of fun at Paul Lo Duca’s expense in the course of this blog and he just got named in the Mitchell Report. Paulie never hit for much power anyway, and I had a lot of quips planned about him asking for his money back.
The Mitchell report is part of a very strange genre of documents that collect stories and evidence of human foibles and fallibility in the form of official reports. In general, the goal of these documents is to eliminate any poignant or poetic relationship to their material, and deal only with firmly establishing facts, and use these facts to lead to pragmatic, defensible prescriptions. Occasionally, as a result of this essential hostility to a personal reality, documents of this sort offer moments that capture the human condition as poignantly as anything in literature. One such moment happens in the Mitchell report, when they quote notes from a discussion by Dodger’s officials regarding Lo Duca:
“Steroids aren't being used anymore on him. Big part of this. Might have some value to trade . . . Florida might have interest.. . . Got off the steroids . . . Took away a lot of hard line drives.. . . Can get comparable value back would consider trading. . . . If you do trade him, will get back on the stuff and try to show you he can have a good year. That's his makeup. Comes to play. Last year of contract, playing for 05.” [italics mine]
I found myself reading that over and over again. There are maybe two or three writers who could do something that good on purpose; create a situation in which two opposing principles were so thoroughly interwoven. It conveys, with beautiful efficiency, Lo Duca’s feistiness and pride, but in a voice that is almost psychopathically clinical. The clinical voice is aware of Lo Duca’s personality and is trying, in its clinical way, to fit him into their clinical plans; Lo Duca’s personality is a factor to be taken into account, either a positive or negative factor in their plans. You realize that, in the eyes of those who control him, Lo Duca is just like the horses that he famously bets on; you get the sense that Lo Duca sees this as well. If I ever saw a passage that strong in a Michael Chabon book, I would assume that he had gotten help from his mommy.
And, in case you missed this, the source here is notes from a meeting of Dodger’s team officials. Anyone who wants to place the blame for steroids on “bad players,” and not the entire managerial and administrative culture of MLB, is completely misinformed.
Except for Clemmens and Pettitte. Fuckers. Cheaters. Hypocrites. Sanctimonious shits. Child-molesters. All-American John Wayne scumbags who were so fucking clean, and so fucking choir boy, and so godamn white and such true Yankees and good guys AND ALL THE TIME THOSE MOTHERFUCKERS WERE CHEATING AS MUCH AS BARRY FUCKING BONDS. Clemmens, who will through a fastball at your head if you look at him funny, was too much of a wimp to inject himself with the ‘roids and had to get someone to do it for him. Yankees. (Clemmens mother died of cancer and it is a big deal for him that he is very sad about…before dieing of cancer she used to turn tricks at a leper colony.)