Breaking sports news gently to 1990s self

Thanks to Jose Canseco, we can be prepared for the truth about our heroes, like Roger Clemens. Getty Images

Did you hear the amazing news? Jose Canseco recently solved time travel.

So I decided to use this great new form of time/space transportation to head back to the 1990s to break some bad news to my much younger self about Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Lance Armstrong and the rest of the sports heroes of his generation.

Hey, buddy. How are you? Yes, you do recognize me. I am an older you. No, really. Time travel is possible in the future. Yeah. Jose Canseco figured it out. Yep. Jose Canseco the baseball player. Amazing, right?

Oh, that reminds me. Your old baseball cards over there? They’re worthless. No, I’m not joking. And, no, I’m definitely not wealthy thanks to selling them. I know that was your plan, our plan, but it’s not going to work out. Your collection isn’t going to allow you to retire at 25, it’s not even going to put you through college. In fact, it won’t even be worth enough to pay for a single college course. I know. Bummer.

Who knows, though, maybe that Canseco rookie you have, we have, will be worth something once the card market finally acknowledges his contributions to science. But we’re not there yet. Actually, I don’t even know if I still have that card. I keep them in boxes on the floor in the garage and there’s a decent chance some mice crapped all over them.

Why are they worth nothing? Well, the card industry over-expanded and all of the players of the generation you grew up watching ... I’ll get to that. It’s the reason I came here to see you.

But, quickly, one more thing about investments: Tell Dad to sell all of his stock by late 1999. Just trust me on this. Tell him you know a guy. He’s probably not going to listen to you at your age about this. But it’s worth a shot.

Now, back to what I came here to tell you. The athletes of your generation ... they, well, they’re all ... wait. Back to investments again. I would hate myself if I left without telling you this story. It’s hilarious.

You know Lenny Dykstra? Yeah. Well, for a time, some people are going to think he is an investment genius. No, seriously. Really! I’m not making this up. They’ll write articles about him, he’ll be on TV, the whole deal. But he’ll end up in jail and broke, revealed to be a complete fraud and just as dumb as we thought he was. But not as dumb as the people who thought he was an investment genius. Anyway ... crazy, right?

Now, finally, the reason I jumped in my Cansecomobile 5000 and came to see you. I thought I’d tell you all of this now so you’re not disappointed by the future. I thought we could rip off your sports innocence like a Band-Aid. Painful, but quick. Are you ready? OK.

All of the current great athletes, especially the baseball players, are cheating. It’s true. They’re all on steroids. Yeah, that stuff the East German athletes used to use. Seriously. All of them. I can tell you don’t believe me. As though I’d pay the exorbitant Canseco Wormhole tolls to come here to lie to you.

OK, try me. Name a current good baseball player and I’ll tell you if he’s on steroids.

Yep. Steroids.

Him, too. Steroids.





Never failed a test, but everyone knows he took a ton of steroids.



Steroids, although he got off on federal charges. And he pitches for the Sugar Land Skeeters now. Not joking.


Yeah. Wow. Everyone. But not just the good players, either. Throw out a random name of some scrub.

Yes, Jason Grimsley is on steroids, too.

What about football? Oh, they’re almost all on steroids, as well. It’s just, unlike baseball, no one seems to care. Who knows.

Oh, you know that young, up-and-coming cyclist, Lance Armstrong? Well, he’s going to get cancer, beat the cancer and then, amazingly enough, go on to win seven consecutive Tour de France titles and become an American hero. Yeah, but then he faces almost countless allegations of blood doping. It turns out the sport was rife with cheating for, oh ... as far as I can remember. So don’t even waste your time watching cycling. I know you can’t imagine ever doing that now, but the Armstrong thing will pull you in for a few years. I just freed up some weekends for you in June and July in the early 2000s. Go to the beach or something. But wear sunscreen. It’s hot as hell in the future. You should start recycling, by the way.

Oh, another guy: Tiger Woods. Yeah, the golf phenom. He’s going to be as good, probably even better, than advertised. Just plan to watch him win pretty much every golf tournament for most of your adulthood. It will be fun to watch. Enjoy every minute of it because it will eventually come to an end around the time some personal ... let’s say “indiscretions” are revealed. Yes, I mean sex. Really? You’re giggling?

Knock it off.

Now look at the walls of your bedroom. Every athlete you have a poster of is going to be completely disgraced. Barry Bonds over there. Jaromir Jagr. He doesn’t do steroids, but he ends up bouncing all over the NHL and, worst of all, cuts off that mullet.

Oh, man. Your entire wall of Michael Jordan posters. I forgot about that. There’s a story to tell. Whooo, boy. In a few years ... you should sit down on the bed for this ... in a few years he’s going to retire again. Then, and sometimes I try to make myself forget this, he decides to come back to the NBA with ... with ... the Washington Wizards. Oh, they’re currently the Bullets. But they don’t get any better with the new name. He plays for them and it’s depressing to watch. Even worse, he’s their general manager and is completely terrible at it.

Anyway, that mercifully ends after a few years, but then he winds up running the Charlotte Bobcats. Oh, yeah. The Charlotte Hornets don’t exist anymore. I know that seems impossible to believe here in the 1990s when everyone at school has a wardrobe that is about 60 percent Charlotte Hornets-based. But they don’t. The Hornets are now in New Orleans and no one cares about them. Charlotte’s team is called the Bobcats now. And they’re terrible. Which brings me back to Jordan. They’re terrible because of him.

It turns out that Michael Jordan, the greatest basketball player ever, is the worst sports executive ever. I know. I know it sounds crazy. You’d think he’d be great at everything. But, remember, he wasn’t good at baseball. Believe it or not, he’s even worse at GMing.

He also makes some dubious choices on attire, earrings and mustache style. I know he’s one of your heroes now, but believe it or not, when you get to my age, you’re just going to want to look away whenever you hear his name. It’s too depressing otherwise.

Well, look, I bummed you out. I’m sorry. But I think it’s better this way to get all the information at once. You’ll eventually get over this. Sooner than you probably imagine. I mean, think about it: If everyone is cheating, is anyone really cheating? And who cares about athletes’ personal lives? You don’t watch them for their personal lives, you watch them because they’re great at sports.

Nothing should really change going forward. There’s no reason not to still love sports. Except, yeah, maybe don’t waste your time watching cycling. And maybe just completely ignore anything having to do with Michael Jordan after 1998. Oh, and the stock thing. Don’t forget to tell Dad about 1999.

Well, I should get going. Back to the future! Sorry, I always wanted to say that.

One last thing: Roads? Where I’m going, there are roads. The whole flying car thing never really happened. Our phones kick ass, though.

Anyway, I need to get back. I don’t want to get stuck here in the '90s. I’d look pretty stupid wearing these skinny jeans and lens-less glasses.