Jose Canseco was Right
When Jose Canseco first came out with his book Juiced on February 14, 2005 ”, we had no idea of the extent and the lengths that steroids and illegal drugs were being used in the MLB. We all knew of certain players that were suspected of use or under investigations, but nothing concrete was brought up to support any of Canseco’s claims at the time. With the recent revelation of Alex Rodriguez using PED’s during his 2001-2003 Texas Ranger days, it is finally showing just cause that Canseco might have been right the entire time> And maybe it was the American baseball fans that were the ones naive to the entire extent of the steroid scene.
If Jose Canseco was seeking revenge, or even a ” I told you so.” moment, he finally got the last laugh or justified response. In both of his books, Canseco was exploring the culture and trying to educate us as to the extent and the flagrant usage problems in baseball’s past. All this from a guy who was in the drivers seat of using himself, and has never denied the fact, to gain an edge in the competitive arena of professional baseball. How enlightening it is to me right now that for years people in the media and in the high ranks in baseball have tried to prove him wrong, to say he was trying to extract revenge over the so-called “blackballing” of him out of the major leagues because of his outward voice towards the problem. And to this day, no one had proven him wrong yet.
I am not trying to paste Canseco up here as a saint in a room of devils, but he was right, and he has gained a huge amount of respect recently on the incidents he has written about, and the players he has been quoted about in both of his books. I know that Amazon.com reviewed his book back in 2005, and called it the ” Ball Four” for the new millennium, Canseco’s Juiced was intentionally written to show the rampant use of performance-enhancing substances in baseball (with steroids replacing the amphetamines of Bouton’s day). Canseco is a self admitted steroid devotee since his 20′s, and he goes beyond admitting his own usage to claim that he acted as baseball’s ambassador of steroids and is therefore indirectly responsible for “saving” the game.
Canseco says he was nice enough to educate Alex Rodriguez about steroids and even introduced him to a friendly steroids dealer in the late 1990s, but A-Rod returned the favor by trying to bed his wife, the former Bash Brother alleges in his new book, Vindicated: Big Names, Big Liars and the Battle to Save Baseball. Whatever his motivation, Canseco writes that he is “confident” the Yankees star and three-time MVP used steroids and stated it in his book published in March 2008. “I did everything but inject the guy myself,” Canseco says in the book. Canseco said he introduced the future Yankee to a trainer named “Max.”
But despite the headline-grabbing claims in his first book, whether Canseco really knows anything about the problem beyond his own use was viewed as opinion and total speculation at the time. He was viewed as a “ teller of tales”, and with no one coming forth to back him up, or even claim “off the record” of steroid usage in the majors, he was discounted as a bitter former player looking for his last series of hurrah’s. Most shocking at the time of both of the books release dates that Canseco remains an unabashed booster of steroids, claiming they’ll one day be used safely under medical supervision to propel humans to better health and great feats. Doctors disagree, and it should be noted that doctors did not administer Canseco’s steroid use. “Is it cheating,” Canseco asks in a revealing moment of moral relativism, “to do what everyone wants you to do?” If that very question were asked by a Little Leaguer, its answer could not be more obvious.
So here we are a few days removed from the A-Rod fiasco, in which he might have truly come clean and began the healing process for himself and his team. But what about the holy integrity of baseball? Is the fact that since nothing in either of his books have been disproved, should we again read them both and look for other answers. Could there be other hidden facts and players within its pages that are still to be bought out into the light of day and discounted, or even shunned like Canseco has endured for so long. Or is the fact that the biggest star in the game today was caught be a indicator to others to come forward before they are also brought to light. That is the question before baseballs’ higher powers right now. Should the rest of the world know their business, that happened 6 years ago, or should we just let time and league handle the situation.
Here are a few passages taken from Canseco’s book Vindicated that talked directly about current Yankee Alex Rodriguez and former Yankee pitcher Roger Clemens with Canseco’s personal observations on their careers and steriods :
“I’m confident it was the ‘roids ( that made A-Rod buff ). I believed it then, and I believe it now. I’ve been down this road too many times with too many guys. I know my ( stuff ), and I know the way it works. I may not have seen ( A-Rod ) do the deed, but I set the whole thing up for him, just like he wanted. I saw the changes in his body in a short time. Hell, if you ask me, I did everything but inject the guy myself.”
“I admitted to Mike ( Wallace, in 2005 ) that I had never seen Clemens shoot up, but that I had my suspicions. All those Cy Young Awards. The way he was throwing, hard and fast and steady, without seeming to break a sweat. The way he seemed to be getting stronger as he got older. What else could it be? Good genes? Hell, while most of Clemens’s peers were sitting on porches, in rocking chairs, with old dogs at their feet, he was still pitching rockets.”
Both the above quoted players by Canseco have been linked, or subjectively linked to steroids in the last few years. Clemens is currently fighting for his Hall of Fame career life among allegations and evidence that he has either used, or lied under oath about his past usage. The only difference in these two gentlemen is that one knows that by admitting it now, he can still regain some of his credibility in the next 9 years under his current New York Yankees contract. The other has been basically left in a lepers colony by baseball’s fraternity to fester and rot within his own misguided statements and falsehoods. I give Alex Rodriguez a lot of credit for coming clean and admitting and showing his true nature by not dodging the issue, but taking it head on, even if it garners him a suspension or even public ridicule for years.
Canseco talked about both of these players in his books, and the last few months have shown that more and more he is correct on all counts concerning them. But will the baseball community ever acknowledge that he was right?, or will it just conclude that the truth came out and Canseco got lucky in his estimations and accusations. Will he ever get the due credit for trying to soften the blow that was the extent of the steroid scandal and its short-lived era. Isn’t it about time that we all wised up to the fact that we were lied to, and manipulated to see the evil in what Canseco was writing at the time, but now he is coming out smelling like a rose after years of badgering and misinformation by baseball and the media.
But the current fact that the 103 other players might be listed on a document obtained by Sports Illustrated. Should their names also be leaked to the media, or would that collapse the entire foundation of integrity of the game to its core. And will it’s leadership be able to rebuild it quickly to keeps its fans and sponsors happy and coming back to the ballparks. Canseco will never be known as a prophet, but he did try and educate us to the darker side of the game that we did not want to see, or even realize until a top tier player’s name got put out there for everyone to see firsthand. So will this recent reveal make people again take notice of his two novels. I know I am personally going to re-read both novels and see if I can gain more understanding, or even investigate for myself that the game at that time was not clean, but it had a dirty underbelly that now must be cleaned to save what is left of its purity.
Canseco is not a trying to be a poster boy for baseball. To the contrary, he is the one player who had admitted and showed no remorse in his choices to use performance enhancing drugs to better himself and his abilities in baseball. Not unlike a pitcher who relied on spitballs and scuffed balls in the past to produce movement on the ball coming into batters, Canseco found and edge and used it to its fullest. But it was his knowledge and his frank honesty about the rampant usage throughout the major leagues that condemned him for years. I am not saying that he should be given a chance for the Hall of Fame. We all know the actions he took to get that edge will condemn him to baseball purgatory, but could his upfront honestly and revelations at least gain him some respect now with baseball fans?
I believe in Jose Canseco. I saw him as a memeber of the Rays highly touted ” Hit Show” in the late 90′s. He did garner some great moments in a Rays jersey, but the fact that he also tainted those multi-colored jerseys by using PED’s in that clubhouse takes him off my Rays favorite player list. I admire him more today knowing that he tried to warn us of a storm that was brewing off our bows. He also got us ready for the facts to finally come clean and the truth be known in baseball……………….that there will always be evil within all that is good with the game.