Major League Greedball – A New Outlook

12 04 2008

Jose Canseco

Last month, I wrote a pretty bad, yet cheesy, poem about Jose Canseco, and what I thought about his ‘name calling’ in his books and interviews. I made up my mind about him from the beginning, and never gave his word a chance. But that changed today, when I finally gave in and bought one of his books. I bought his newest release, ‘Vindicated’, from a Penn Station bookstore that was selling it at 20% off (not that the discount is what led me to buy it). It was time for me to give ‘Jose’ another chance. After all, my former opinion of his ‘allegations’ and ‘name calling’ was mostly fueled by the media bigwigs at ESPN or CNNSI, instead of my own cerebrally-formed opinion. So, here it goes.

[Start of ‘Bizarre Story’ Break]

I was riding the LIRR with my girlfriend, on our way to visit my grandparents, when a whole bunch of Mets fans got on the train at Woodside (I say Mets fans because they all had Johan Santana jerseys on). One of them caught a glimpse of what I was reading, and said down at me, “What does it say about A-Rod?“. I ignored him, and kept on reading, because I wasn’t about to get into a conversation with a guy on his way to a baseball game who already looked drunk (at 11:00am, mind you). He turned to a friend of his and continued by saying, “This kid is reading that Canseco book. Man, @&#% Canseco… and @$&% A-rod too“. Kid? Amazing how an 18 year old “kid” calls a 26 year old a kid (I know he was 18 because a friend of his had said “you’re NOT drinking at the game, you’re only 18”). Okay, how in the world would he know I’m 26 anyway… but that’s besides the point. Back to the post…

[End of ‘Bizarre Story’ Break]

I’m not going to give away the meat of the book, because I believe everyone (who has an interest in this topic) should buy the book and give it a chance. The guy is simply recalling his life, from start to present day. Sure, he names a bunch of players and recalls a lot of conversations, but that’s purely secondary to what he really talks about in the book. The majority of this new book was focused on two things (at least from what I took from the book):

A) Why steroids and performance enhancing drugs were kept so ‘quiet’ during the post ‘Strike of 1994’ years of baseball. (I happened to have the same ‘theories’ that he had)
B)
How steroids created a ‘Level Playing Field’. (That’s where I was a little skeptical)

My opinion on Jose’s claims haven’t change dramatically, but simply looking at what he has to say (lie-detector passed and all) has given me a whole bunch of new theories to rack my brain with. I will agree with him on this, though. “Chicks Dig The Longball”. How many of you remember that commercial with Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and Big Mac? Jose made a reference to that commercial in the book, and how it was a funny reference to the state of baseball back in the (now referred to as the ‘Juiced’) era. Fans (and sports coverage hounds like ESPN and others) love the home run ball. Whether it’s a solo shot, a grand slam, or a game-winner… there’s something about the ball being crushed into the next atmosphere that gives baseball fans an incredible rush. After reading this book, I’m starting to believe in the idea that Steroid use was kept quiet because it kept fans (notice I didn’t say ‘all fans’) in their seats, buying more tickets, buying more food/alcohol, and fueling the baseball economy.

None of this means I’m a believer in everything Jose says. What it means, is that I was knowingly hand-fed media garbage and used their opinions as my own. I accepted it without questioning it, and now I want my own opinion back.

So what have I learned from all this? While I never did know a whole lot about Jose Canseco, his book has given me some neat theories to play around with. Thanks Jose!

Believe what you want. Believe who you want. We’ll all believe who we want and what we want. It’s our god-given right to do so. But me? After all of the ‘Canseco Nay-Saying’ I did? I’m glad he opened his big mouth. Then again, the media-opinion-hungry kid on the inside wants this guy to fade away into the darkness that is the “Steroid Era” and never been heard from or seen again, along with everyone else involved. But then I’d just be a media-puppet… and we all know that’s no fun!

Respect My Authoritah!

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