GQ Writer Seeks Help

Yeah that was a conversation between Pen and I. If you all would like I can post what I said to him but I’m sure can roughly imagine what it was, I’m lazy and tired right now though. LMK if it me posting it makes a difference in any of you deciding to help him. I most likely will.

I’d hoped to provide you guys with a url for the story I mentioned in my original post–the one about the minor leaguer who juiced. If anyone here is interested in checking it out, I’ve uploaded it and I’d be curious to know what you think of it. I believe you’ll find that it doesn’t demonize gear or its users in the least:

[quote]bushidobadboy wrote:
npenn wrote:
I’d hoped to provide you guys with a url for the story I mentioned in my original post–the one about the minor leaguer who juiced. If anyone here is interested in checking it out, I’ve uploaded it and I’d be curious to know what you think of it. I believe you’ll find that it doesn’t demonize gear or its users in the least:

I tried having a look, and call me impatient, but after 5minutes fu*king about trying to download it (I’m a computer idiot), I gave up. Any chance you can post it here please?[/quote]

Tell me how and I’ll be happy to.

Could you explain what to do to open the pdf file with that link Pen? I’m obviously a bit we-tod-did and can’t get it either.

[quote]WideGuy wrote:
Could you explain what to do to open the pdf file with that link Pen? I’m obviously a bit we-tod-did and can’t get it either. [/quote]

Step 1: Scroll down the page and click the “Free” button.

Step 2: Scroll down again til lyou see the text “No premium-user. Please enter” followed by an image w/ some combination of letters and numbers. Enter the letters and numbers in the box next to the image and click the button to the right of that.

Step 3: Save or open the document.

oh yeah, I liked the article too by the way, hope your next one comes out just as good.


If I’ve got this right you are asking people with experience in any way with college/pro football to provide information about why athletes in this sport would want to use PEDs. Maybe you’re just looking for quotes and content to throw into your article, but you sure as hell know why athletes in any sport use PEDs.

The reason is right in front of you: PERFORMANCE ENHANCING drugs. To win you need to perform better than your competition. Thus you are simply asking why athletes want to win? The answer to this question is why they would use PEDs. The real question is why an athlete wouldn’t use PEDs. You said yourself…

You mentioned, [quote]…in particular, the way in which his competitiveness can override all other considerations.[/quote] You understand that athletes know PEDs are illegal and you want to know at what point do they cross the line. What drives them to add legal and possibly social risks for the enhanced performance.

There are two types of athletes who are willing to use PEDs. First, athletes who are lazy and want to do well with less effort. These athletes tend to perform better than the typical athlete who plays the game and practices, but doesn’t put in enough effort or apply themselves to achieve their full potential. While this lazy athlete who dopes will perform better becuase of the PEDs, their performance is not maximized in other areas.

This leads to the second type of athlete who uses PEDs, those who are willing to sacrifice and put out any effort necessary to win. These athletes are the ones you see making the plays. They are willing to maximize their performance through practice, nutrition, recovery, etc. This means the PEDs add to their already maximized performance, leading to their being excellent athletes, almost superhuman. These are the athletes who win, these are the star players.

If you have played sports yourself, even in high school, you will know what it is like to want to win an event or game at any cost. You put out 110% effort in practice. You go home and practice more. You get in extra conditioning. You make sure to stretch a little extra, eat a little more, put in that extra that you know takes more effort than the next guy is willing to put out. I have competed in track and field for seven years: 7th grade through my freshman year of college.

I took performance enhancing drugs myself in high school and college to perform better. I took pro-hormones (only because I didn’t know how to get steroids, and I was too worried to ask anyone at my gym for them) and amphetamines. I knew it wasn’t healthy at times. Some of the pro-hormones, especially M1T, would turn my urine a very dark color and make me feel like crap. At times the doses of amphetamines made me worry about having a heart attack. While I toned it down a bit after finding what worked for me I did want to win. I won. I was the best on the team doing what I did.

I quit in college to get into coaching, which is what I do now. I help consult with athletes about how to perform, how to use PEDs if they wish, how to deal with drug tests, and also how to maximize non-PED variables. I know that it is just one part of the equation. PEDs can help you win, but only if you have everything dialed in. Once you get to the elite level they are necessary for any performance-based sport to do well.

I’ve spent way too much time ranting on this post, and I’m sure my original intent got away from me here. But I hope some of this information is helpful. Again, ask direct questions and get direct answers. Everything I’ve said here should be common sense. If it isn’t, well you need to do a lot of work to write a decent article.

The only reason I am willing to offer information is because your article is about why athletes choose to use drugs to excel. While you can twist information about the safety and usage of drugs, it’s hard to put why athletes use in a bad light. In fact I’ve seen the dark-side of what athletes will do to enhance perforance. Steroids and GH are just the tip. That being said, you can’t do much to make the dark-side any darker. I just hope that you yourself can truly see why a person would think it could be worth it so that you can convey the truth accurately. Simply saying “because the athlete wants to win at all costs” does little justice to the truth.


Nate, I just read your “Why I Juiced” article. I really like it. At the same time you touched a lot on what it seems like you want to cover in your next article. It’s basically the same stuff, just football. Another thing, the biggest reason athletes use PEDs at the professional level is money and career security.


I definitely give Nate full credit on his articles, I am liking his style.

In my opinion, any sport, where the competition is using PED’s, an athlete has to use them to remain competitive. Imagine all the linebackers using PED’s and the offensive line being natural, they would get ran over. Same with sprinters, weightlifters, bodybuilders, anything at all.

If everyone were at an equal level, then one side adds PED’s, the other side has to or they will lose. Losing = humiliation, less money, no contract extensions, no super stardom, everything these guys have worked for would be gone. In my eyes the choice is pretty simple.

[quote]James Cain wrote:
Nate, I just read your “Why I Juiced” article. I really like it. At the same time you touched a lot on what it seems like you want to cover in your next article. It’s basically the same stuff, just football. Another thing, the biggest reason athletes use PEDs at the professional level is money and career security.


Thanks. I’m glad you liked the piece. Thanks also for sharing your thoughts about your own personal history. I found them pretty fascinating. It’s one thing for me, as a reporter, to declare that athletes use PEDs because they want to win at all costs. It’s another entirely to hear someone like you or the minor-league ballplayer tell your own stories, because nothing’s richer or more dramatic than first-hand experience.

So even though I do, as you note, already know the answers to some of the questions I’m asking, those questions in many cases are just a way of getting to the details, the events, the episodes that illuminate this issue.

Obviously I lucked out when I found that minor-leaguer. (I’m going to give myself a little bit of credit here: I busted my ass to get to him.) He’s a remarkably thoughtful person, and he worked hard pondering and answering a lot of questions over the course of hours of phone conversations. On occasion we’d finish speaking and then, an hour later, he’d call back to amplify something he’d said.

He was extremely happy with the finished story, and that’s the one thing I’m proudest of in my GQ career. To put together a piece as potentially explosive as that, and then to have your subject feel it does justice to his experiences–that’s pretty cool.

So I’m hoping to work closely with a few guys like him–guys who want to tell the real story (their stories) of PEDs in college and pro football.

Trainer in DC and Ren, thanks for your kind words also. And Ren, thanks for explaining how to download the file. Appreciate it.

Nice articles.

Haven’t forgotten about this Nate, sorry I’ve been slow. I have to admit though that thus far it seems you want thought about football players and other sports. I’ve never used them for that purpose. Strictly for my own personal entertainment so to speek.

SOme guys like to dump tons of time and $ into their bikes or cars and drive as fast as they can or have a really tricked out looking ride. I prefer to put the time into perfecting something that can not be taken away from me my body and mind.

BTW, alot of people might screw their face up at me mentioning the mind but unless you’ve walked the path and pushed yourself beyond walls to reach that next level all by yourself you have no idea. Yes a natural trainer can do this. However, until you’ve made that step you dont’ realize what it’s like.

Here’s the story for those of you who couldn’t read it. THIS IS NOT MY WORK. This took a long while to format but I liked it, so here it is:

Last season, I just couldn’t throw hard anymore. All summer, I was like, “What the hell is wrong?” I tried long-tossing, then I tried not throwing as much. I spent every day in the bullpen. It was just a disaster. Halfway through the summer, I told myself, If I make it to the off-season without getting released, I’m gonna friggin’ do steroids, 'cause I got nothing to lose now.

Until then, I’d never thought really seriously about juicing. But I did think about it, and every winter that I didn’t do steroids, I was wondering if I was doing the best thing for myself. But I knew that the next spring training was do-or-die for me. I had to come in and really show something. I did not want to know-I never wanted to know-what it was like to not play baseball.

My dad coached me all through Little League. The last game I ever played for him was on his birthday. The night before, I told him I was going to throw him a no-hitter and win the championship game, and that’s what happened. When I was 12, I was probably the most dominant player in the league. When I was 14, I was probably throwing in the mid-eighties.

In the summer of 1999, I was drafted by an American League team in the tenth round, and I was assigned to their Single A club in Florida. Right away it was obvious to me who used steroids. Some guys were just completely shredded.

Guys in the bullpen, we’re closer than any other group on the team. Over a 140-game season, three hours a night, we talk about everything. Most of what we’d do was just make fun of each other, but at certain points we’d talk about steroids. Guys would tell you how they did it or what they paid for it. Not everybody in the bullpen was using steroids, but it was always at least a couple of guys. On some of my teams, it may have been half.

I don’t think any minor leaguers can get their hands on designer steroids like the stuff from BALCO. Most pitchers use Winstrol.
You don’t gain that much weight with it, but you still get stronger. It’s less damaging to your ligaments, because you’re not building so much muscle mass.

In my second year of pro ball, I had a few buddies who were doing steroids-in particular, a pitcher I’ll call Scott. He was pretty open about it. I’d be surprised if anybody on the team didn’t know he was juicing. Scott talked like he owed everything to steroids. He said he was average until he juiced. He’d started using it the summer after his freshman year in college, and he said his velocity had taken a huge jump.

He explained to me that the first cycle he did, he gave himself a shot every third day. I think he might have pyramided it. Pyramiding means you start with a small dose, then you work up to a regular dose, and then at the end you taper it back down to a small dose, so your body gets used to having it in its system, and then it gets used to getting less of it until you don’t have it anymore. After that first cycle, he told me, he would inject it every other day. He suggested that I do the same thing, and he told me to research it and figure out what I wanted to do. He was like, “Dude, just look it up on the Internet.”

Scott was getting his Winstrol from a weight-lifting buddy in Nevada, where he lived during the off-season. I don’t know how that guy got it, but Scott was paying $250 for it. He said it was Australian. I think he felt it was better because it came from Australia as opposed to Mexico. Somebody once told me that Japan makes the best steroids.

Scott juiced in the off-season, and then a few years ago he actually started doing it during the season. But then he got moved up, and he was scared to take it on the plane with him, so he ended up having to throw it away. He was the only guy I knew for sure was doing it during the season.

In spring training of '04, I topped out at 93 mph in my last outing, which is pretty normal for me. Then we had some rainy games and cold weather at the beginning of the season. In conditions like that, it’s not odd for me to be throwing like eighty-six, eighty-seven. But my arm never bounced back. I was throwing eighty-six, eighty-seven all summer, and I knew that I was at the end of the line.

In July, I was sitting in the bullpen when another pitcher came over. He was pretty nonchalant. He said, “I got a buddy, he’s going to Mexico. Anybody want anything?” He asked everybody in the bullpen. “Yeah,” I said, “I do.”

It cost $200 for a cycle-a twenty-milliliter bottle. I don’t know what I was expecting, but when I got the bottle, it just looked really insignificant. It was made of brown glass, about two inches tall and maybe three-quarters of an inch wide. It was so tiny. I couldn’t believe that it was really gonna do anything. The label was in Spanish. There was a metal cap that you popped off with your fingernail, and underneath that, a rubber top that you stick the needle through to pull the juice into the syringe. The way the rubber is, once you pull the needle out, it closes up again. You can put the needle through, but no liquid will get out if you turn the bottle upside down.

I started juicing in early November. I had been online a bunch, and the few days before I started doing it, I was going over the whole procedure to make sure I did everything correctly. I didn’t worry that it was gonna hurt. I just worried that I was gonna make a mistake-hit a vein or a blood vessel, or that I was gonna have an air bubble stuck in the syringe.

I got my own syringes. The guy who brought me that bottle of Winstrol from Mexico also brought back needles for a lot of guys. But I knew from Scott that I could easily get needles here. He’d said you could just walk into the pharmacy and they’ll give you a box of needles and syringes, that it’s illegal for them to ask you what you need them for.

The day I took my first injection was a Sunday. I was nervous, and I asked my roommates if one of them would do it. Two of them were totally grossed out. But my other roommate said, “I’ll do it.” He and I went into my bedroom. I pulled down my shorts and rubbed a cotton swab over a spot on my right cheek. It’s an inch-and-a-half needle, and you want to make sure it’s in the muscle tissue. You gotta make your muscle totally relaxed, so I made my right leg as limp as I could. Then he poked me.

I had one friend in my second year of pro ball who totally dramatized steroids-“Oh, you feel so pumped all the time!” and all this crap. He said he was constantly horny. I know now he was overdoing it, but just remembering what he had to say, I was a little bit hesitant to put that first needle in. I showed my roommates where I was keeping the bottle and told them, “If I start freaking out, or 'roid raging, just take it away from me.”

But as the day went on, I just forgot about it. I went and played catch and then went to the gym. I was excited to get to the weight room, and I think I might have thrown an extra set in because I had started doing steroids and I wanted to get the most out of it. But it wasn’t like I had all this new energy-there was no feeling like, “Wow, I’m on steroids.”

After that first shot, I figured I could easily do it myself, and I started putting 'em in my thigh. Once you stick it in, you pull back slightly on the syringe, and if blood comes into the tube, then you know you’ve hit a blood vessel, and you pull out and start the whole process again.

I wanted to start out slow, and so my first couple of shots I took just half a milliliter. Eventually, I was taking one milliliter every other day. After my second or third shot, I just wanted to be in the weight room. I was lifting better than usual all the time. I couldn’t believe it. When I felt like I was almost done, like I couldn’t lift anymore, I’d get two or three more reps out. And weights started going up. Say it’s my last set of dumbbell bench press-I’m thinking I’ll get four out, maybe five, and all of a sudden, I’d pump out eight. But I was the same person. People would never have known I was on it. My girlfriend didn’t notice anything different. My balls didn’t shrink.

To go with my cycle, Scott told me to take milk thistle and a supplement with glucosamine sulfate and MSM in it. I got everything at GNC. I would take two milk-thistle pills every day; they’re supposed to help your kidneys or your liver filter the steroids. The supplement was for your joints and tendons and cartilage, to helpcounteract the extra pull that your muscles are doing so they don’t tear or rupture.

When I took my first shot, I think I was 197 pounds. After four weeks, I was at 204. When I got to spring training, I wanted to show that I had been working hard. Every spring training, that was how it was. You take your shirt off in the locker room, and you want somebody to walk by and notice that you worked your butt off that winter. If you look like a slob, guys are like, “Dude, did you do anything this winter?” A guy I had never played with before came into my room one day and was like, “Were you always a pitcher?” And I was like, “Yeah, why?” He was like, “When I saw you, I thought you were a third baseman.” I guess it was a testimony that I had gotten that much stronger.

I think players are surprised by how much attention steroids are getting. Why does it bother people so much? Do they think that’s how these players got to the big leagues, that anybody could’ve done it if they’d had designer steroids? Every time you turn on Sports Center, it’s mentioned. Now the government’s involved. I didn’t think it was that big a deal.

What surprises me is that people are surprised that athletes are using steroids. I didn’t pay a whole lot of attention to the Giambi stuff, but I don’t think it would have been a shock to me to find out anybody was doing it. When I was 15, I just assumed that there were big leaguers doing steroids. But I don’t think that a 15-year-old kid is gonna start doing steroids because he hears that his favorite major league baseball player is doing them. And a kid wouldn’t even know that his favorite
player is doing steroids if people weren’t making such a big deal out of it.

There are a ton of people crucifying players for taking steroids who would do the same thing if they felt their own careers were in jeopardy, or if they thought it would help them be the best at what they do. Donald Trump is an extremely competitive person, I’m sure. But if you put him in a situation
where he was fighting for his career, and something like steroids could help him out, I think he absolutely would take them.

Baseball guys are the most competitive people I’ve ever come across. We take any kind of competition seriously, from playing darts to video games. Players take steroids because
they’re trying to get an edge at any cost. Pro ball is a different life, it’s a completely different world. Every meal I ate, I was counting how much protein I took in. Every day, I had to work out. Everything I did had to coincide with my career. All year round, every single day, baseball was on my mind.

I never thought of using steroids as cheating. They were just around, you know? I don’t feel like I’m revealing any huge secrets. The way the system works, guys did it because it was easy to get away with. You knew it was against the rules, but so many people were doing it that it didn’t feel like cheating. If anything, it felt like leveling the field. The percentage of guys in the minors using steroids could be as high as 50 or 60 percent. I knew so many people who were doing it. It felt normal-normal to not do it and normal to do it.

Some guys don’t need to juice, because they’re good enough to make it without. But players don’t concern themselves with how other players get it done. I juiced because I love playing more than anything else in the world, and I pretty much would have done anything to keep my career going. I tried everything I could. I think that’s how you look at other guys. I never had a conversation with anybody who was like, “I can’t believe he’s doing steroids, and it’s bullshit.” I never talked to anybody in pro ball who said they wished they hadn’t done steroids. They were never worse off afterward.

When i decided to juice, I was hoping that the right muscles would get strong and I’d start throwing hard again. I was hoping to throw consistently in the nineties? to start throwing the ball by people.

It didn’t happen.

I knew I wasn’t throwing in the nineties before I even got a gun on me. I wasn’t shocked?I hadn’t been sure the Winstrol was going to work, but I was just really hoping it would. And it did do what it was supposed to do: It made me stronger. But the ultimate goal of it was to boost my fastball, and it didn’t do that. This past off-season, my arm just felt slow. It felt like no matter what I did, I couldn’t get my arm to speed up. I was throwing eighty-three, eighty-four. That’s high school stuff, you know? Honestly, I think my arm tired out. I just don’t have much left.

One morning during spring training, we came to the yard and four or five drug-test people were there. They set up their desk in our shower. I was one of the first guys in the clubhouse and one of the first in line. We were still in our street clothes. Everybody expected to get tested at some point in spring training, so it wasn’t a surprise. During the season, you know it’s coming, too, but you don’t know when. I got tested at least once in every season I played. In the past, guys who juiced felt as long as they stopped their cycle in time, they were okay. Now that the testing is year-round, it’s a much bigger risk.

That day everybody was acting like usual, just being guys, joking around, waiting their turn. There were a couple of boxes of cups, and we just grabbed them, wrote our names on them, peed in them, and handed them to the guy. There was another guy standing behind the urinals, watching people pee.
I wasn’t scared or worried at all. I thought for sure I had given myself enough time to get it out of my system. I’d stopped taking my cycle before Christmas. From everyone I’d talked to and everything I’d read, it seemed like it was gonna be out of my system by the middle of March, when we would get tested. A lot of the guys I know who took 'em this past winter planned their cycles to end the same time I did. Why it was still in my system and not some of theirs, I don’t know.

I got released in spring training. It had nothing to do with steroids. As far as I can tell, the organization didn’t even know that I had failed my test when they released me. And actually, nobody has ever called me and said, “Hey, you failed.” I found out only because I had a couple of buddies who were online the night before the story came out in the newspapers. One of them called me from the East Coast, and he was like, “Dude! You’re on the Internet! It says you failed a drug test. Your steroid test.” And I was like, “What?” I was half-surprised. I was just like, “Well, I did take steroids.”

I called my dad that morning, before the papers came out, and told him that I had taken a banned substance and it had showed up on my test.

He asked me, “Why the heck did you take this if you knew it was against the rules? If you knew you might get caught?”

And I said, “Because I knew there was a bigger chance I was gonna get released.”

And then he said, “Let’s not tell your mother about this.”

My parents are very Christian, real strict. I never even admitted to my dad that I actually did steroids. I told him that I took an over-the-counter supplement, and just hearing that was a shock for him. My parents don’t know how common steroids are. I was around steroids all the time. It’s probably hard for somebody who’s not in baseball to understand how badly I wanted to keep playing. It’s hard to explain all that to my parents. Everything on TV about steroids is negative. Even I didn’t really know what to expect until I did it. What people think steroids are is not what I think they are.

I think people have this image of somebody who uses steroids as being the Incredible Hulk. People think of 'roid rage and somebody who’s just out of control.

What I’d like people to understand is that these aren’t bad guys. It’s not like in an After School Special, where some guy has 'roid rage and beats up his girlfriend and punches holes in walls. We’re just giving our bodies a boost, trying to get ourselves in shape, and we’re not ruining our lives. Even though, when my name came out, it sucked.

My buddies and my friends know I’m a regular dude, a good guy. I was a good baseball player, but I wasn’t a very good professional baseball player. The guys that are doing steroids are all-American kids, but for whatever reason-for the reason I had or wanting to just be the best player they can be-they chose to do steroids. I think a lot of people were really surprised to see my name on the list. I’m sure it’s the same for a lot of other guys. We’re normal guys with a different sort of life, but we’re not drug abusers and we’re not bad seeds.

I miss the guys a lot. I miss hanging out in the bullpen. I miss the locker room, playing cards before the game, after the game in the hotel, going out. But I miss the game more than anything-the competition. I miss being on the mound. I miss the cheers, and striking somebody out, and watching them throw a ball around, and listening to everybody clap. I miss shaking hands after the game. I miss all of it, and I knew I was going to, and I didn’t want to be without any of it, and it really sucks now that I am. I friggin’ loved every second of it.

I don’t feel guilty. A few days before my name came out, I talked to my high school coach, and he asked me if I had any regrets. The initial thing that went through my mind was, I have this little regret that I didn’t start doing steroids before my arm died. I wish I would’ve done it my first off-season and done a cycle every year, every off-season. But I didn’t tell him that.

[quote]FightinIrish26 wrote:
I like to call myself a writer, and we all know what sells.

When you sober up, read post above. That article was written by a “writer”. You are a snotty nosed kid who thinks 34 beers = Hemingway in a bottle. You got a long way to go.

But, nice job jumping to conclusions, and acting like an first class asshole as usual. Hopefully, the article will touch upon the initial “reception” in this thread, and you’ll make your first appearance in a magazine. Then you can brag on your blog how you told that guy off and how cool you are. 170 pounds soaking wet and kicking ass on the internet - atta boy Fightin’ Irish.

Anywho, great article. I look forward to reading the next. Good luck!

Decent article Pen. THat was the one you where trying to send me right?

Anyway, just a few things to point out. While that kid was probably closer to your “average” aas user he didn’t sound like he knew jack shit about AAS. In other words when you spoke to him did he mention anything about the mechanisms of action that winstrol worked through and other things you would want to know before you took the plunge. I’m guessing/hoping that he had more of a clue then was mentioned in the article and you had to condense it to just the basics to tell a story vs going into that whole detailed process of what the aas that he chose does or doesn’t do.

What I’m saying is I like the article and it didn’t have that usual negative bs spin on it, but it didn’t have any resposibility either. Or should I say the user didn’t seem to have much responsibility for what he was doing. Or it wasn’t mentioned. That’s where the problem comes in. Everyone lumps AAS into the same category like

“Hey he’s on’ steroids”

WICH FUCKING ONES!! WHat dose? How long?

Until somebody comes out with a real article that expresses what exactly doing a sane steroid cycle will and won’t do I’m not sure how much you’re or anyone else is helping. I know why people take them. They make you stronger, faster, and recover more quickly so you can train at a higher frequency putting you closer to your training goals and allowing more more training time with less down time. What we need is people everywhere to start realizing that just like almost anything there is the right amount and the wrong amount.

[quote]WideGuy wrote:
What we need is people everywhere to start realizing that just like almost anything there is the right amount and the wrong amount.[/quote]

You are absolutely right.

But, there’s one problem - it’s illegal. And that creates a ton of problems in terms of finding someone to talk, etc…

Your story is really powered by your interview in this instance. If you check the archives, I attempted the same type of thing last year, and I ended up interviewing a well known writer for the bbing mags. BUT, he wouldn’t talk about HIS past use of steroids. I wish he would have, because he used them responsibily and it helped him in working towards his goals. He had a great perspective because he’s seen what can happen when they are used right and wrong.

There’s a big trust factor obviously too. I would imagine that because of the nature of this topic, this GQ writer may want to allow the subject to read the final draft before it went to print.

Also, I would suggest maybe PMing TC - he helped me out and the story came out pretty well.

Again, good luck.