But when it comes to the tawdry dirty laundry of public figures and so-called whistle blowers, yes, count us in. Better yet, the rat is a glorious slice of Americana. Our history is littered with 'em from Benedict Arnold, to Deep Throat, to Jose Canseco, Scooter Libby, to Jack Nicholson and Matt Damon in The Departed. Those shifty little buggers mystify and intrigue us.
Actually, let's clarify that, too.
You see, while the reporting of the filthiness from the so-called rat is a guilty pleasure, it's not something that we are willing to admit we give much thought. We're above such lowest-common denominator fodder that it's actually an insult to our intelligence.
At least that's what I was thinking while I read excerpts from Jay McGwire's "book" proposal on Deadspin. And yes I appreciate the irony of reading the notes of a tawdry tell-all on Deadspin.
Nevertheless, Jay McGwire is the estranged younger brother of disgraced slugger Mark McGwire, the guy who was the star of the baseball love-in during the summer of 1998 when he broke Roger Maris' single-season home run record. That was the year when, as little bro Jay wrote, Big Mark decided to go off deca-durabolin (allegedly the drug of choice for Roger Clemens and old-school weightlifters) and switch to androstenedione so he could get that needed testosterone boost without the pesky drawback of back zits and shrinkage.
Jay McGwire, in the leaked proposal, also downplayed Canseco's role in introducing McGwire to steroid, recommended low dosages in order to curb injuries, and mulled his place in baseball history.
"Who knows what might have happened if I didn't get Mark involved with all the training, supplements, the right foods, steroids, and HGH? He would not have broken any records, and the congressional hearings would have gone on without him. Maybe Barry Bonds wouldn't have ever gotten involved with the stuff, either."
Wait, Barry Bonds did illegal steroids, too? Man, this book proposal is just full of bombshells...
Oh yeah, Jay McGwire wrote that he felt bad watching his big brother's infamous testimony before Congress in 2005. That's nice.
Now here's the news flash... Jay McGwire doesn't have too many bites for his "book" proposal. It's a proposal that seemingly was leaked to a sports web site best known for its unrepentant stance of not having access to the teams or players and its willingness to dive into the stories the so-called reputable bastions of journalism would never touch. Plus, it isn't exactly a huge secret that big brother Mark might have had a few syringes plunged into his ass.
With the exception of Tony LaRussa, most of us get that by now. Certainly that 2005 Congressional testimony didn't help to sway people either.
So maybe the reason why Jay McGwire hasn't found too much interest in publishing his "book," is because we've already seen this car crash, did our rubbernecking, and drove past. We got it when McGwire quietly retired from baseball in 2001 and never came back. And we got it when he testified that he wasn't going to "talk about the past."
Maybe Jay McGwire should have studied his brother's moves and copied them, especially the part about not being a rat. Not that we don't enjoy a good rat every once in a while.
Besides, the younger McGwire already gave away the best parts.
What's that I smell...
Regardless, it seems as if the so-called "Rat Era" started with Jim Bouton's wonderful book, Ball Four. Not only was Bouton's book the first real sports tell-all, it created the template for nearly all the jock lit that followed.
In that regard we owe the cheers and the criticism to Bouton.
Other great all-timers include Sparky Lyle for The Bronx Zoo, which was tell-all about the late '70s New York Yankees filled with tales about Reggie Jackson, Billy Martin and the art of nude cake sitting.
Who can forget the great rat of the Phillies, Billy Wagner? Actually, Wagner never really was a rat, he just got that name from Pat Burrell because he dared to talk to members of the local baseball press after games.
Yeah, Wagner actually talked to those people.
The greatest clubhouse rat ever? Who could ever top Chico Esquela, the famous New York Met?
In his book Chico reported in Bad Things 'Bout The Mets that Tom Seaver took up two spaces in the team parking lot, and Ed Kranepool swiped his soap and never gave it back.
But in the end Chico had a message that everyone could agree with...
"Baseball been berry, berry good to me."
 Yes, it's a guilty pleasure because otherwise I would be in the lab solving all of the world's problems.