But they were OUR Mercenary Juicers!
It’s mostly just Richard Griffin twisting his words into something bigger than they are, but the talk about how the Steroid Era hurt him and the Blue Jays is all rather rich coming from Pat Hentgen:
“When I look back on it, no question about it, I definitely gave up more runs, I definitely feel like it cost me more earned runs and it cost our team more runs because of it.”
In 1998, Pat Hentgen had the worst full season of his career (5.17 ERA), but still won 12 games — helped in no small part by one of the greatest achievements in juicing of all time: a 33-year-old Jose Canseco hitting 46 home runs as a member of the Blue Jays. It’s hard to imagine how any other team could have been helped more by Steroids that season, especially considering the Jays’ ace was Roger Clemens in his juicing prime.
Without ‘roiders, the Jays’ would not have been in the race, would not have won the most games of any Jays’ team since winning the World Series, and Hentgen would not have had a winning record. Other than the pure satisfaction of winning, it’s not a stretch to say that being on a team that was juiced to the gills prolonged Hentgen’s career and got him more money at contract time despite his best days being behind him.
I like Pat Hentgen, and I certainly am not suggesting that he should have taken on the era single-handedly. But when you play alongside and reap the rewards of two of the most obviously guilty and highly successful juicers of all time, and in your own words “just blend in and go with the flow”, you’ve lost all right to complain or take the moral high ground years later. The Jays’ history is just as dirty as any team’s, if not more, and any attempt to rewrite our dirty history is nauseating — even a little laughable after so enthusiastically embracing Melky Cabrera.