Sunday, October 13, 2013

"A Jose Canseco Bat.... Tell me, you didn't pay money for this?"

Not many baseball players had as much fun and caused as much raucous as Jose Canseco did in the 80s and 90s. Before becoming a 'writer,' Jose was the first player ever to hit 40 homers and steal 40 bases in a season(Canseco, Arod, Bonds, Soriano). The feat won him the 1988 MLB MVP Award and made him an instant Baseball Hero. Canseco started popping up at movie premieres and celebrity gatherings. He also popped Madonna but then again she pretty much banged every famous guy in the 80s. Jose Canseco transcended baseball turning himself into more of a Pop Star than a slugger. He sought fame and achieved it with his hulking physique and slick smile. You can hate him for being a tattling ego-maniac, but you have to respect Jose Canseco for his outgoing personality and willingness to stand alone.

Before Game of Shadows blew the whistle on Barry Bonds & BALCO, Jose Canseco outed the greats of the Steroid Era like a child without a conscience.
In his 2005 book JUICED, Canseco barked about his knowledge of players like McGwire, Pudge, Giambi, Gonzales and Palmeiro. At the time people snarked at the book calling it another laughable publicity stunt and pathetic attempt for Jose to gain accord with Major League Baseball(he hoped to make the HOF someday). Well shame on all of us. Jose Canseco was right. Canseco was also the first to point the proverbial finger at Alex Rodriguez in 2007 before A-Rod came clean to Katie Couric. Nobody wanted to believe Canseco, especially about Rodriguez. Right Again Jose.

People tend to laugh at the thought of a physically gifted man foraying into intellectual discourse. In Canseco's case it's appropriate. But there are people out there with massive muscles & high IQs so don't be quick to dismiss them. I digress.

If a caricature were evermore be-fitting of an athlete it couldn't possibly be so. Jose Canseco still deserves some respect though. He never denied his use of PEDs. In fact he wore it like a badge of honor. Yes Canseco was arrogant and stupid, but deep down he was an honest fool(and an opportunist:). He never mistook his baseball greatness as pure skill. He wasn't delusional when it came to understanding exactly what Performance Enhancing Drugs allowed him to achieve, where his peers found comfort in believing their numbers to be real. Canseco is no pied piper, but he's more credible and more honest than most of his PED contemporaries. & Credit Canseco for getting the ball rolling for MLB's institution of steroid testing policies.

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