The Fish
for 20 October 1998. Updated every WEEKDAY.
Suck Staff

Joey Anuff
Joey Anuff
Editor in Chief


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Art Director


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Production Manager
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Senior Editor


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Ana Marie Cox
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T. Jay Fowler

Production Manager

& Ass Kicker


[yes, it's a plunger. i'll l
eave the rest up to your imagination ... ]
Erin Coull
Production Manager


Matt Beer
Matt Beer
Development Manager

Enhanced Performance

Mr./Ms. Skinner,

Oh, I get it, you simply hate
baseball. You could have
saved us a whole lot of time
and effort by saying that in
the column's first line. You
could have also saved
yourself a lot of typing.

I've been reading Suck for a
few months here and have been
entertained by it. If I miss
a few days, I usually catch
up. I realize it's not meant
to be a comprehensive
information source, but I
assumed you had at least done
a reasonable amount of
research on the day's topic.

However, I'm a huge baseball
fan, so I went into Monday's
column knowing a lot more
than you about your subject
matter. Now, I don't expect
everyone to be a baseball
fan. If you hate the game, or
think it's too slow, or think
that the game was perfect in
the 1950s but it's been
ruined in the modern day,
that's fine. Everyone is
entitled to their opinion.
But if that's the case - if
you hate the game, or simply
have no interest in it, which
was obvious - then why write
about it? It would be like me
writing about country
line-dancing (which I hate!),
and passing it off as though
I had some special insight on
the subject.

I can only assume that this
is the same level of insight
that you have on the other
subjects you touch on. Again,
I never expected Suck to be a
comprehensive information
source, but I had assumed
that it wasn't deliberately
sloppy or spiteful for the
sake of being spiteful. I was
obviously wrong.

I'll be removing my Suck
bookmark and making a small
change to my morning routine.
It's a shame, because I
enjoyed reading it. But I
don't want to continue to
monitor your bitterness.

Don Busch

I have to tell you, though,
that I'm a huge baseball fan.
But there are limits to my
love. I'm not especially
interested in the posturing
of the game's
traditionalists, nor in the
alchemy of its obsessive
statisticians. (A home run is
a beautiful thing, but only
when it serves a higher
purpose - like adding to
Dennis Eckersley's blown

Anyway, that's all beside the
point. I wasn't really
ranting about baseball
itself, so much as the
conflicted media coverage of
the peculiar myth-in-
the-making of Mark McGwire
and the conundrum of
performance-enhancing drugs.

I think you've given me a
glimpse of why baseball
writers are such patsies. The
passion of fans is an
intimidating thing, and the
moment you say something
critical about it or them,
you're stepping knee-deep in
it. (That, by the way,
explains why the guy who
broke the story about McGwire
and andro was summarily
chased out of the clubhouse
- accused of hating the

E. L. Skinner

Fish With Letter Icon

The Great Alan Kornholio

Dear Skinnerperson:

I don't know; just because
your genetic code enabled you
to secrete more of some
hormone than my code did
should that give you a pass?
Pretty clearly, some people
are bigger and faster and
quicker and able to drink
more without throwing up
because their DNAs allow it.
Seems to me that letting
people take drugs so their
hormone levels swell to the
levels of the lucky few who
don't need to take drugs is
only fair. If we equalize the
blood chemicals, the
differential becomes how hard
you train and how smart you
train ... which is, when you
think about it, "fairer" than
just relying on the luck of
the genetic draw.

Alan Kornheiser

I think the real problem is
this: Given certain
biological gifts, and insane
training, most world-class
athletes deal with tiny
tolerances that separate the
champs from the hacks ...
hence the temptation is great
to use whatever technology is
available for that extra

Really no different from the
unwashed masses, when you
think about it. My pot of
French roast every morning
allows me to kick my wussie
co-workers butts and makes me
see my Folgers-chugging
father for what he is: a

Best wishes for satisfactory
secretions -

E. L. Skinner

Fish With Letter Icon

Dearest E. L.,

Far be it from me to
criticize, but you seem to be
comparing apples and oranges
in your rant against Mark
McGwire. I am no authority,
but I was once a runner, and
I can tell you the edge that
Vitamin S provides in that
field is overwhelming and
should be carefully
monitored. But baseball, now
that's a horse of a different

I know its the Suck way to
find an issue that seems like
mainstream fun and beat the
hell out of it, but your
acerbic aim is not true on
this one. McGwire has always
been a home-run hitter.
(Reference his rookie season,
when he was pencil thin, and
hit 49 ding-dongs.) The edge
that andro provides is that
it allows the athlete to
accomplish more during a
weight-training session, much
like the over-the-counter
supplement creatine. For
McGwire, such sessions during
the off-season helped prepare
him for an injury-free full

In fact he was injury-free in
1997 and hit a measly 58
taters. Could andro have
provided that edge that got
him to 70? Unlikely. You make
no mention of Sammy Sosa or
the other two players who hit
50-plus jackaroos this season (a
major-league record). Is
everyone on andro? Is there
commission at work here
pumping pharms into ball
players from all corners of
the globe? The answer is no.
The answer is expansion
pitching (we added two teams
to the majors this season),
thin-handled bats (faster
barrel speed), smaller ball
parks (I could hit a dinger
at Camden Yards), baseball in
Colorado (the air up there is
mighty thin), blah, blah,
blah. In short, the answer is

Now you may not believe me,
so here is a proposition.
Starting today, you can start
working out with andro. Hit
the batting cages, lift
weights, pump yourself full
of whatever mystery drug you
think might well help you. Do
this for a year. In that same
span, I will continue on the
self-destructive path of
seven cups of coffee a day
and sleeping on the couch in
front of the blaring TV every
night and killing my brain
with ungodly amounts of
bourbon. In a year, we can
meet wherever you like. I
will take my sorry-ass
fastball and hanging slider,
and you can try to hit one
300 feet. We'll see what
happens. Chances are that
ball's not going three feet,
let alone 300.

Waitin' for a reply,

Seamus McPhatso

P.S.: I want props for the
number of stupid terms I was
able to employ for saying
home run.

I think your "explanation by
way of circumstance" is right
on the money. The real
scandal here is National
League pitching.

Of course, it's silly to say
that McGwire's use of andro
really matters a wit. Which
is why I say let 'em take all
the "supplements" they want;
then we won't have all those
nagging moralists insisting
on a real or perceived
asterisk behind McGwire's
record (nor all the
uncharitable rumor-mongering
about FloJo).

Then again, if McGwire were
an Olympic weight lifter,
he'd be banned for life, no
matter how many four-baggers
he poked.

E. L. Skinner

Fish With Letter Icon

I must say that I am
impressed at your endearing
apathy for athletic
achievements. Lord knows that
superseding an achievement of
another is hardly worth
noting if you were wearing
strange clothes at the time.
Its not like sports are about
competition or anything, and
even if they were, they are
just for the vulgar lower
class. Oh yes, and I'm glad
you discredited Mr. McGwire's
achievement because he was
taking a legal supplement.
Without it, he would have
been as useless as a marathon
runner choking down some
over-the-counter carbs before
a race just to give him that
edge. I move that we abandon
physical competition
altogether and simply compete
by seeing who can include the
most exaggerated facts in a
single dialog.

Eric Savage

You've obviously got a good
handle on Suck-brand
hyperbole. Now, just
remember: Try to use your
powers for good!

Like I say - let 'em take all
the "supplements" they want,
then we won't have all those
nagging moralists insisting
on a real or perceived
asterisk behind McGwire's

On the other hand, if he was
an Olympic weight lifter,
he'd be banned for life. And
that's not interesting?

Well, we'll keep working on

E. L. Skinner

Fish With Letter Icon
Having Trouble Coping?

OK guys ... i just wanted to
write in and tell you that i
think your last Suck Daily
"Having Trouble Coping?
Again?" is in no way cutting
edge. i have been practicing
this shit for years. When the
stress rears its ugly head
in my direction, where do i
turn? Why yes, i walk down to
the corner and buy a huge bag
of weed and toke toke toke
till the cows come home. You
guys are a little behind the
times here. i think you
really need to pick up the
pace. Also, i would like to
submit to you an idea for
using all three of your
"cutting edge" ideas in
unison. I have been smoking
pot AND lowering my
expectations of the world
around me AND thought about
how i could have caused
my dilemmas for as long as i
can remember (which is
sometime around last week).
Furthermore, I'll have you
know that i totally bombed
your quiz at the end, i
answered D to all three of
the questions. You see, i can
practice all three of your
theories AND maintain a
somewhat normal perception of
the world we live in. Too bad
i still haven't mastered the
art of talking on the phone
and having my
wang-dang-doodle sucked at
the same time. Oh well, good
thing i'm not president.

De Crazy Taco

Always refreshing to get
another insightful, inspired
note from one of our faithful
readers. Nothing quite like
the sound of
self-flagellating potheads
with low expectations waxing
philosophic on
wang-dang-doodling. The
rewards of this job are
without measure.

Dedicated to maintaining our
razor-sharp edge,


Fish With Letter Icon

Enhanced Performance

Skinner -

The president got some
service in the Oval Office to
which Sucksters everywhere
reply "so what?" I joined in
the general chorus decrying
our national pastime of Sex
Gossip. But you get your
knickers in a bunch because
Mark McGwire uses legal
drugs. Hmm.

While I admit the hypocrisy
in the national media is
annoying (anyone who thinks
cheating on your wife and
lying about it is a federal
offense probably thinks drugs
are "sinful" as well), your
attempt to soil a decent
record set fair and square
seems a tad tawdry.

It has been a very slow news
summer from an American point
of view. Granted, the BBC has
found lots of things to talk
about - on a daily basis.
Even this morning, while San
Francisco's KQED preempted
Morning Edition to do live
coverage of the Senate
hearings, the BBC realized
that attempted genocide in
Eastern Europe should have
top billing. Still, to the
average Isolationist, I mean
US news anchor, this idea of
an orgasm underneath
Roosevelt's desk seems the
best thing going.

McGwire's homers - assisted
or not - seem a welcome
break from Bill's admittedly
assisted but unsuccessful
hummers. If the American
public needs the heroics of
the Coliseum to distract it
from the the idiotics of the
media, that's fine by me. I,
for one, was damn happy to
see McGwire & Co. spice
up the headlines. Besides,
with his new bulk-and-buff
bod, he looks better in
pajamas than either Lewinsky
in a blue dress or Clinton
and Starr in suits.

Bill Bailey

I suppose you're right: It's
just our natural desire to
soil everything equally,
without prejudice ...
although you guess wrong
about what gets my knickers
in a bunch.

The only thing more
scandalous than the media
throwing softballs at McGwire
and ignoring Sosa is their
tight-lipped refusal to
acknowledge that this could
only happen in the National
League - where the pitcher
has been all but replaced by
the designated belly-itcher.

E. L. Skinner

Fish With Letter Icon

I know that as a word smith
everyone else has the good
stories and you are stuck
pontificating on a Web page
that has limited readership
but with all the things going
on in the world do you really
have to after Ripken and
McGuire? To what end? I mean
all your colleagues are
running down the president
and telling us how big a
scandal things are. You'll
notice that most people like
yourself are not held in too
high esteem anymore. It's not
that anyone wants a
Pollyanna-ish view of the
world, but can't any of you
just follow a lead rather
than always going with the
negative or trying to be
Woodward? I mean, a man in
pajamas hitting a bunch of
stones is news because the
motions of hitting stones
with power and any kind of
regularity is very difficult
to do for most people. Or
were you one of those who
never got picked and now
you're getting even by
running down people who
excel? Whatever the case, if
you want to take a dump on
life, know that this type of
"writing" will not be read by
most and now by one less.,

Please be assured that you
just caught us taking a
little breather from our
coverage of obscure incidents
like the crumbling global
economy, genocide in Eastern
Europe, and the untimely
death of the national sense
of humor.

But enough about us. What's
up with this "president
scandal" thing?

E. L. Skinner

Fish With Letter Icon

I don't want this to sound
like hate mail, I just wanted
some feedback from you. In
your article you had a good
point or two about illegal
use of steroids in
professional sports. But you
hit FloJo damn hard. Her
family is still grieving, and
that just isn't right.


Charlie Gafford

You're right, of course. My
only excuse is this: I wanted
to just say it, without a lot
of equivocation. Seems to me
a big part of the problem
here is how conflicted
everyone is about drugs and
sports, and that shows in
most of the lame reporting
that goes on in the sports
pages. If we can agree that
pharmaceuticals are fine
(just another technology,
after all), then so be it,
and we can stop all the petty
moralizing. Then there'd be
no sting to the rumors about
this honorable athlete.

Best regards -

E. L. Skinner

Fish With Letter Icon

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