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Why I did not take John Dodge up on his ALCS wager

Yesterday I got an email from the editor of Design News. It said:

Hi Leland,

I'm wondering if you want to publicly bet on the ALCS given you're in Cleveland and we're in Boston! All in good fun….

Best regards,

John Dodge

Design News Editor-in-Chief

I responded to John, but it turns out our email system was messed up and outgoing messages are not getting delivered. Of course, I didn't find this out until I got a second email:


I am hoping you take me up on this. Series starts tomorrow night. You've got to fire back-J!

Best regards,

John Dodge

Design News Editor-in-Chief

Well, phooey. Anyway, here is the response I sent which, hopefully, someday may find its way into John's email inbox.

John, thank you for your kind offer, but my disillusionment with steroid use awhile back made me swear off any personal actions that would promote major league sports, including a public wager like the one you are suggesting.

The turning point with me came when someone who worked out at my gym died of a heart attack resulting from complications most likely caused by steroids. Only his buddies knew he used juice, of course, but he had the characteristic steroid-user resemblence to the Pillsbury Dough Boy. He was also a locally well-known power lifter and I believe there are still newspaper clippings on the gym wall describing some of his accomplishments. What you won't find posted on the wall is his obituary. If I had to write it, I might say something like

Used steroids.

Set a few records.

Dead at 34.

Let me be clear: I have no knowledge that anybody in MLB is a steroid user. But it is interesting to compare photos of MLB power hitters today with photos taken before they entered the league.

So now I tend to follow poker more closely than baseball or football. As far as I can tell, a syringe full of juice won't help you when your two-pair is heads up against a full house.

Leland Teschler

Machine Design Magazine


Here is my other story about performance-enhancing drugs:

Back when Mark McGwire was setting his home run record, it came out that he used androstenedione. The day the news broke, I was out with a buddy in California. On a whim, we walked into a health food store in Burlingame and asked the clerk if they carried ando. It wasn't that we wanted to buy any, we just couldn't believe you could walk into a store and buy the stuff. I'll never forget that clerk's response:

"Andro? Sure, we carry it. It's right over there on that shelf. But if you take that stuff, you're crazy. It took them 20 years to figure out that steroids are no good for you. Andro is brand new."

This from the guy behind the counter!

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