Archive for the ‘ “Juicers” ’ Category

Mark McGwire, my childhood, and why he should be in the HOF despite the “Boomers” that keep him out.

1985-mark-mcgwire-rookie-card

Whoa…this card stirs up a lot of emotions.

It’s strange; when most baseball fans talk about iconic cards of their youths they will usually cite a  1952 Mickey Mantle, 1968 Nolan Ryan or even a 1984 Don Mattingly rookie. That is all well and good; I enjoy baseball’s past and have spent countless hours and even days researching it. The most iconic card in my youth, however, was the 1987 Topps Mark McGwire.

You see, he was my favorite player on my favorite team; that’s not much of a stretch for a kid growing up in Northern California. When I look at this funky piece of cardboard with a blurry photo of a young, lanky, hunchbacked McGwire with the tacky, 1970’s Dad’s den border, I feel that it represents a couple of things that my generation encompassed so well–mass production and the willingness to do anything at all costs to achieve economic success in an era of unemployment and despair. (In this case “success” can be translated into “baseball success” through PED’s which equals economic success, my generation didn’t have the leisure of  the metaphorical PED in the workforce due to the “Boomers” taking all the corporate sectors that they inherited overseas in order to pay the rabble pennies on the dollar. In effect, fucking over China, Indonesia and El Salvador’s working poor and their own people as well. We are forever destined to bat .260 and never have a set position…so much for the “hippy generation.”)

“Popularity of era” is a part of becoming a HOFer…that is why Mark McGwire should be in there. PED’s or not, he was a HUGE part of those 90’s Athletics teams that people love and will talk about forever. Not to mention the class he showed to Roger Maris’ family when he broke the home run record.. (who was vilified as well by the fascist MLB brass…the asterisk instilled by then commissioner Ford Frick still has not been removed due to Maris breaking the record in the then-newly instilled 162 games. The feeling and overall jealousy of the new generation (now old as dirt or perhaps dead…do you see a running theme here?) was further recognized when HOFer Rogers Hornby said, “It would be a disappointment if Ruth’s home run record were bested by a .270 hitter”. Isn’t it strange how the players in an era with the least talent in an era where they didn’t even have to face black players are the biggest shit talkers!?)

goof

One of the greatest power hitters of all time.

There is a lot of talk about Tim Raines for the HOF..let’s get real…his stats are solid and then as the 90’s become a reality he becomes sort of hanger-on and a non entity. No one cared outside of Montreal. (and then again...they didn’t even care) It’s akin to giving the handicapped kid a pat on the back.

It’s all about IMPACT, era and the impact of that specific era. Just ask Derek Jeter, who was never even close to being the best player on his team, (or Pee Wee Reese for that matter.) yet Jeter will be a first ballot HOFer based on “good looks,” a great interview and a legion of mooks from Brooklyn who think they can be an MLB player because he did it. (Miguel Tejada was infinitely better in his prime.)

Here’s what I remember:
Multi-ethnic “sources” saying over half the players on every team used, and that MLB even tacitly encouraged it. I remember a reporter mentioning McGwire having androstenedione displayed openly in his locker, then said reporter getting raked over the coals by players, other reporters, and even the commissioner of baseball–Bud Selig.

Players linked to steroid use have been resoundingly rejected by Hall of Fame voters in recent years, shunned as synthetically enhanced frauds. But drawing an integrity line in the sand is a tenuous stance at a Hall of Fame with a membership that already includes multiple cheaters. Baseball has always had some form of hypocrisy when it comes to its exalted heroes. In theory, when it comes to these kinds of votes, it’s true that character should matter, but once you’ve already let in those who cheated, how can you exclude anyone else?

Here are a few:

Gaylord Perry (class of 1991) had a disregard for the rules that was far more patent and unashamed than any steroid user. Perry doctored baseballs with spit, Vaseline and other substances to confound hitters. All of baseball knew what Perry was doing even if he never admitted it — until writing a tell-all book after his retirement.

Don Sutton (class of 1998) Late in his career, Sutton was often accused of scuffing. In 1978 he was ejected and suspended 10 days for defacing the ball, but when he threatened to sue the National League, he was let off. Was teammates with Gaylord Perry for a while. “He gave me a tube of Vaseline,” joked Sutton. “I thanked him and gave him a piece of sandpaper.” Umpires took the allegations seriously, and sometimes gave him a good going over. Once, he left a note inside his glove for the men in black. It said, “You’re getting warm, but it’s not here.”

Whitey Ford (Class of 1974)… Ford used his wedding ring to cut the ball, or had catcher Elston Howard put a nice slice in it with a buckle on his shin guard. Ford also planted mud pies around the mound and used them to load the ball. He confessed that when pitching against the Dodgers in the 1963 World Series, “I used enough mud to build a dam.” He also threw a “gunk ball,” which combined a mixture of baby oil, turpentine, and resin. He kept the “gunk” in a roll-on dispenser, which, the story goes, Yogi Berra once mistook for deodorant, gluing his arms to his sides in the process.

Things are becoming a bit strange in the baseball world due to the advent of the internet and the basic human emotion of being a follower in a world of followers. (or they may do it to seem intelligent; I know this blog has been attacked by many lard-ass “experts,” with mustard stains running down their shirts, living in their mom’s basement and if they’re lucky MAY have a book published with a small run that no one will read.)  I’m starting to see a lot of followers who have no ideas of their own embrace idiotic “statistics”, nostalgia where there never was any, forced moral platitudes and just overall madness. I would die of shock if anyone had an original idea that was absolutely and irreducibly their own. Let’s hope the future generation/s gets it right when the novelty of being angry about a specific (and fun!) era finally dissolves after the Boomer HOF voter generation is finally dead. I have a feeling that the children of the future, because of their gradual and inevitable loss of civil rights, may find fault in the faceless men in the ivory tower who cashed in their billions and instead find compassion for the men simply trying to please them.

Haters gonna Hate.

bmoW3ZjThis post is just a reminder of all the “fun” that some readers of this blog are missing on the Facebook page. These are just a few of the nasty comments I receive daily from mostly *cough* Giants fans.  (After bringing up the fact that Giants owners are treating territorial rights over San Jose like they were bestowed to them at birth. The truth is, former A’s owner Walter Haas gave the Giants ownership rights of Santa Clara County when it appeared that the team might move to Florida. He felt it was in the best interests of baseball (not his wallet) to have two teams in the Bay Area.) All the misspellings were left as-is so you could enjoy the comments in their most pristine form of expression.

split_hat

blasphemy.

***Wow really relevant going back 25 years to make a point. It must suck always being #2 behind the giants if you have to go that far back. Try to win a world championship sometime this decade then run your bitch ass mouth. By the way the team that last one a title for you was all roided up. They were called the bash brothers cause they bashed each other in the ass with needles. Kiss our more recent rings you little bitch
your the reason why the a’s and their so called fans are a joke in the bay. Get a life you queer. So what if I’m on a a’s page I like to laugh at all the stupid shit you don’t know. Plus I’m standing up for my homie who made you look stupid and you went and became a little bitch and banned him. This has nothing to do with my name or profession so that shit ain’t fading me. This is about you Brian a bitch ass a’s fan that don’t know shit and runs and hides when he can’t take a beating from real fans that have rings from the 2000’s. Keep hating you punk ass bitch. No skin off my balls that by the way were in your moms mouth last night

***You are an embarrassment to As fans. Your crude comments just show how unintelligent you are. They have no substance rooted in actual knowledge of baseball. This is Facebook and your picture and comments are circulated on more than just As fans news feeds. I did not seek this page out. Dont flatter yourself. Btw Coco cut his afro….bye Felicia

***Does anyone remember the Giants fans of Candlestick Park? You almost had to sign a waiver if you bought bleacher tickets because there undoubtedly would be a fight at least twice a game. The Park sucked and the fans were a bunch of hippies and deadbeats.funny a's fan! Look at the Giants and their fan base now and you wouldn’t even know it was the same team. But that’s not what bothers me. What I find offensive is that If you asked the current crop of fans, they’d act as if those fans never existed; that the Giants of today and PacBell Park, with is aristocratic food menu and fascist ushers, have always been the image of the Giants organization. This is typical SF limousine liberalism that disavows its past if that past is ugly.

*** They are having an amazing season for a team of relative nobody’s. still plenty of baseball left for them to sputter out and choke. One last quick thing…. How many A’s players are all stars this year and last year? What’s that, close to none? Ooooops. Great fans over there in the war zone called Oakland.

***oh please…are you finished…since when does anybodys fan base get up on theyre collective feet and start chanting after losing…don’t you forget coco the giants are still the world champions stick that in your big mouthed chant and smoke it..since when did the a’s turn into a bunch of fucking babies..no wonder you choke at the end of the year..good luck losing

***Although Donald Sterling and Michael Sam make for good human interest stories, it’s important to remember that basketball and football are games designed for children, and all sports are irrelevant.

 

Bitch Be Gone!!!

bonds begoneunder” Bonds is completely, undeniably 100 percent full of shit. He truly is. I no longer buy his love of baseball history any more than I buy the sanctity of his marriages or the purity of his blood stream. I was at Shea when the Giants came to New York a few weeks ago, and I had to laugh when hundreds of my media peers swarmed around him for comments. I understand why they were there, but it’s a waste of time. Nothing he says holds any meaning. He’ll say the sky is blue one second and red the next. He loves Dusty Baker, then he hates him. So on and so on. Bonds cares no more about baseball history than does my goldfish. He knows what Hank Aaron went through to hit 755 home runs, and he was more than happy to cheat, load up on steroids and HGH and surpass him. I’ve maintained some contacts, and I know of no one who’s actually happy that he’s breaking the record. It’s like I wrote in the book—Bonds has never treated people especially well, so there’s very little loyalty for the man. Do you root for someone who refused to sign a ball for your kid? Who ignored you when you asked for advice? Who told you you couldn’t carry his jock? I still often think of Dan Peltier, the former Giant backup who brought his young son to the team’s Family Day. When Bonds asked the kid to name his favorite ballplayer, he said, “My dad!” To which Bonds replied, “Why? He never plays.”

(Jeff Pearlman, Bonds’ biographer)

Streams of consciousness…oh, and Mark McGwire.

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“Big Mac” on the left.

“What passes for hip cynical transcendence of sentiment is really some kind of fear of being really human, since to be really human […] is probably to be unavoidably sentimental and naïve and goo-prone and generally pathetic.”

David Foster Wallace

I’m listening to the birds outside and enjoying the Southern California sun, (it’s 81 degrees at I type this) and doing my typical routine of laughing at people who are freezing their collective asses off in cities where it’s snowing — and life is just generally miserable. (Hello New Jersey!) The vodka tonics have been swallowed, and in heroic fashion, I’m scheming and contemplating how I could possibly live in a disposable culture without having to be a miserable wage slave, when it hits me: whats up with that Mark McGwire guy? I mean, I knew what was UP, but it just seemed to me that the larger than life baseball player was kind of a futz when it came to his interests or personal life.  (C’mon, don’t judge. I mean, entertainment is just the opiate of the masses…or something like that.) After a quick bathroom break and zoning out session, I found out that this guy went to high school in La Verne, Ca. called Damien high.  (I am a child of the 80’s, so the first thing that charges through my cerebrum is the television show Laverne and Shirley, and the brilliant 1976 flick, “The Omen,” where the catalyst is a child of the anti-christ. This McGwire fellow is looking ALOT more interesting now…and wasn’t the culture of those times a bit more tactile than today?)

Movies and sports are ardently disposable, yet they create the most passionate disciples. Science has trumped GOD over and over again, but you don’t see people wearing t-shirts with some random fucking scientist on it, you see people thinking and talking about McGwire because he could do something arbitrary, yet entertaining. I don’t give a shit about the guy doing steroids: my main concern is what music he was listening to in 1981 while a senior in high school. Since he was a suburban jock living in a cultural void, he was probably listening to this:

All in all I was just trying to pull the veneer aside. (while tossing back a few) I was having an imaginary conversation with myself: you want a cigarette? (quaff)  Yes, I prefer menthol these days. (quaff)  Jesus fucking Christ, I hate bad tippers. (quaff) Ever notice how people don’t pay attention to a goddamn thing? (quaff) Acceptance is usually more a matter of fatigue than anything else.(quaff) People who tip bad do this because it isn’t to their immediate and unequivocal satisfaction. (quaff) ZZZZZZZZZZ

Heshers and McGwire

markMcwire-donruss1986 Now that we know the baseball card craze of the 80’s/90’s was a facade with no chance of anyone (besides the industry itself) making profit, we can laugh at the 100’s of dollars and sleepless nights and tell our stories of woe. There are many people out there who still think their collections are worth something, yet these bumbling dolts don’t understand supply and demand, and no doubt don’t understand much of anything else either. I recently bought a Mark McGwire 1987 Donruss “rated rookie” for 3 dollars. This is almost unheard of for a guy who once held the single season home run record, and is 10th all time. I felt no nostalgia, and with a “meh” I threw it in a box.

……and then I remembered

In 1987 i was 12 years old (still a few years away from my first “kegger,” which was with a guy named Kevin Ballard who wore a Metallica shirt everyday. He only broke up the monotony on occasion with a Cinderella shirt, who I personally thought sucked the bag, although they did have two ballad hits.) This was one of THE hottest card for a young boy in Northern California, and people wouldn’t trade it for ANYTHING. Eventually, through hours of wheeling and dealing, I had acquired a few of these by the time Jr. high came rolling around. One day in wood shop, a very large, greasy, hispanic rocker type named Billy (who turned out to be a great hitter, but I wouldn’t know that until high school freshman try-outs) offered to trade me a cassette for ONE single, thin cardboard McGwire. I jumped at the chance! I had a shitload of them and welcomed the opportunity to talk to someone “cool” who would take the time and effort out of their probably getting laid life to make a tape for dorky- ass me. ( I was a freckle faced, Opie looking kid who wouldn’t grow into my 6’2 frame until my sophomore year in high school.) Billy brings me the tape the next day and with a nod says,

“You needed to listen to Slayer.”

I waited with anticipation for school to let out and then popped that fucker into my Kmart cassette player, and THIS was the first song. Best trade I ever made, and changed my life forever. Thanks, dude.

Bill Bathe talks about his time with Canseco in the minor leagues.

bill_bathe_autograph

Bill Bathe played catcher in the Major Leagues for 3 years, including time with the Oakland A’s in 1986. I found this story on his website (http://pro-baseball-drills-and-equipment.com/stories/jose-canseco/) and found it to be interesting.  He now lives in Tucson, Arizona and is captain of the Tucson Fire Deapartment. Enjoy.

Playing along side Jose Canseco, this is my account of my playing days in the Oakland A’s minor leagues.

I had an opportunity to play in Tacoma and Oakland with Jose along with Mark McGwire.

When Jose was first playing in the minors, he was a young kid. Not weighing very much and skinny in stature. In the low minors he hit few home runs and struck out a lot. He was signed by the A’s after a recommendation by a scout. He was not a high pick.

It was noticed that after his average year in single A, he came to spring training the following year looking like Charles Atlas. Jose Canseco had gone from being skinny to the hulk.

After talking to Jose, I proposed the question to him about what he was doing to increase his size and strength so dramatically. He replied that he was lifting weights 8 hours a day. I balked at this and asked him again how he was doing it and he replied that he was taking steroids.

The next season, Canseco went on a rampage hitting wise. He started tearing up the league in double A and was soon promoted to triple A where he joined me on the Tacoma Tigers. He proceeded to tear up the triple A league also and when we played in Vancouver, an interesting thing happened and was amusing. While playing a game and after the opposing team could not get him out, when he appeared for his next at bat, on the score board appeared, “Now batting, Roy Hobbs”.

So Roy Hobbs was born in the Pacific coast league and he was hispanic with unbelievable bat speed. He remained with us for the short remainder of the season.

When we played at home, we played in Cheney stadium in Tacoma Washington. The center field fence is a long ways away, some 400 and something feet away with a towering green monster that rises at least 50 feet. In my 4 four years at Cheney stadium, I never once saw anybody hit one over that fence. Not only was it a long way away with a towering wall, the temperature was always damp and the ball did not carry very well. When Jose Canseco joined us at Cheney stadium, it was the first time I saw an opposing team stop what they were doing to watch Jose hit. You could have heard a pin drop. Jose was launching balls consistently over the center field wall and also putting them over the light tower in left center field which was also a herculean feat. I had never in my life witnessed such power. It was truly amazing to watch. Senor Roy Hobbs!

I had asked Jose if he thought steroids had helped his performance on the field. His reply was that it had. He felt that steroids allowed him to play at the level he was at. Now the real question is, how is this going to effect him long term.

 I can say this, Jose has changed in a lot of ways. I have known him for quite awhile and he used to be easy going. Seeing him now on interviews and other occasions, I can honestly say that he is a changed man. Time will tell what effects will have on Jose. I can only hope that it doesn’t cause him any morbidity or mortality. That would be a shame for a short time of glory.My advice is to stay away from steroids. The effects are long lasting and not worth the risk.

Jason Giambi…lunkhead

giambi meme

Likes to party with the Backstreet Boys. What a poser.

I was floored last night when a family friend told me that Jason Giambi had signed with the goddamn Cleveland Indians. Just months earlier I had a cheap laugh at his expense when I found out he was trying to manage the Colorado Rockies. Giambi in my eyes was a “party animal,” whose reign started long before he shed his mullet, beard and laid -back attitude for the lilly white sanctity of a Yankees uniform.

Giambi’s three-year tour of NYC’s taverns, according to eyewitnesses, actually began two months before he signed with the Yankees in December 2001, with him table- dancing until 4 a.m. in an Upper West Side bar the night he flew to New York with the A’s up 2-zip in the Division Series. (that series turned out to be the most chair throwing disaster in the history of my fandom thanks to his idiot brother)
Giambi’s excessive partying that night (complete with faux rockstar poser duds) apparently spooked several Yankees players. But maybe word never got up to George Steinbrenner before he signed off on the worst contract in Yankees history.(still laughing about that one) Giambi “lived the life of a rock star,” according to a former member of the Yankees’ traveling party, and several witnesses say he was partying late with Ricky Williams in Miami during the 2003 World Series, right before begging out of Game 5. The same person said Giambi would sneak beer onto the bench and call his in-game shots personal “protein drinks.” He also picked up smoking and could be seen during the 2004 ALCS chewing tobacco while supposedly in sick bay. His production withered to almost nothing as he transitioned from the physique of a He-man to Pee-wee Herman. (not from cutting fat out of his diet, it turns out) The fans started getting on his ass because he couldn’t get the job done without the ‘roids, and was being paid 120 million. A former Yankees official predicted the bad publicity would overwhelm him because he’s a “mental midget.”

I’m certainly not going to judge Mr. Giambi for partying and (alleged) drug use, I’ve done loads of that in my time and still drink or take a toke in a social gathering or if I’m trying to listen to some mellow jams. As any reader of this blog may or may not know, I also didn’t disapprove (then) of steroid use. The game needed a jolt, was at an all-time low in popularity and home runs made the game sexy again for a short time. Sure, I suppose there is a bit of jealousy because I’ll never make the kind of money this guy does; but it’s more than that. (or the Yankee signing) It’s about the privilege these guys feel they have. Giambi can disrespect the game, rape fans for their hard-earned cash, and still expect the game to give him a shot at a distinguished managerial role. I don’t hate the guy, he’s just the physical representation of everything that is wrong with this country; a culture of exposure, where we desire to let it all hang out in an orgy of exhibitionism, self-involvement and confession. An abuse of power and a big “fuck you” to the fans….. as I cry into my 15 dollar beer.

Jose Canseco and his New Years’ resolutions

canseco 86 fleerThis blog never seems to tire of news regarding Jose Canseco as I find him intriguing, appalling and entertaining all at once. I found number 4 to be the most impossible, whereas number 8 regarding the “Juiced” movie is too awesome for words! (all mis-spellings are his own)

1. spend more time with my daughter

2. get stronger and fitter

3. help people who are getting screwed wherever i can

4. return to pro baseball as player or manager and have dinners with McGwire, La
Russa, Bonds, and Selig.

5. Fight Shaq in MMA cage match

6. Get elected to a important political office in the U.S. or canada to help all
people and governments with there problems

7. Become a world class entreprenur and found at least two great companies that
make peoples lives better and funner

8. Write a third book and do a move deal for Juiced!

9. Do at least 100 promotional deals for good companies and products like Animal
Rights, Human health, Environmental, and Beer companies

10. Use position as A List entertainer doing reality, TV, movies, blogs,
columns, appearances to be able to do more charity

if anyone wants to make my new years resolutions true or can help me with any of
these deals contact my manager joemelendez@msn.com.

Ozzie Canseco…. jeeeezuz.

ozzie_canseco    Looking over this blog the past couple of days, I’ve decided the posts were waxing a bit too nostalgic and “literary” about the old boys game. I enjoy Bob Costas as much as the next guy, but Jesus Christ he makes me want to puke sometimes. In the end it IS just a game played by big babies, Bob!  So without further ado, here is some good old fashioned American sensationalist/ muckracking/ schedenfreude about two of the easiest targets ever to walk the earth.

To those of us in the know, Ozzie Canseco was Jose’s scrubby identical twin brother that never quite panned out in the bigs. Ozzy played with Oakland and St. Louis, amassing 65 AB’s, 0 hr’s (462 behind big bro… err…. his twin) and overall was seen as sort of an afterthought, perhaps even a sideshow draw because of his name. Noone really gave a shit about Ozzie until about 10 years after he retired and gave the world his own brand of slapstick comedy:

– posed as his brother on the show VH1’s “The Real Life,” in which case the other participants didn’t know he was really Ozzie until the show’s end.

– posed as his brother for a boxing match, yet was found out when he took off his shirt and didn’t have the same tattoos.

– In 2002, Canseco pleaded guilty to charges stemming from a nightclub fight on October 31, 2001. He and his brother got into a fight with two California tourists at a Miami Beach nightclub that left one man with a broken nose and another needing 20 stitches in his lip; Canseco was charged with two counts of aggravated battery. The brothers received probation and community service – Ozzie was sentenced to 18 months probation, 200 hours of community service and anger management classes

– reportedly posed as his brother in order to sleep with Jose’s wife.

– In 2003, Canseco was sentenced to four months in jail for possessing an illegal anabolic steroid and driving with a suspended license.

An Ozzie interview, courtesy of buzzfeed.com…

What are you up to these days?

I’ve been working with baseball players for almost 30 years now, and I offer baseball lessons for every aspect of the game. I work with kids.

How was the stint in Yuma?

It was an independent league, and I was there for approximately 4 months coaching alongside my brother.

Have you had any more substantial coaching jobs since Yuma ended?

Not really. I tried to play one or two games for Yuma, but old injuries from the past kept coming back.

What do you think of your brother’s Twitter?

My opinion is that many years ago, the media took it upon themselves to paint my brother in a very negative light. He was very outspoken, and the fact that he talked about racism and the unfairness of the game, which has always been there — because of this, there was allowed to be an open season because he was outspoken. Some players are protected from the media, and some aren’t, and he was not. As correct as he was, and as truthful as he was, when he wrote the book on steroids and told the absolute truth — we live in a time where the truth is taboo. So it was definitely open season on Jose. And that led to everything that’s happening now. He’s just trying to survive like the rest of us. He’s trying to play the cards that he’s been dealt to the best of his abilities.

A lot of people think he’s crazy. Is he crazy, or is this all part of a plan?

Yes, it’s part of a plan. 100%. If you’re in the game, the game of life, and you’re dealt certain cards, you work with those cards and bluff with those cards to do the best that you can. It’s that simple. He knows that he was dealt the wrong hand. He was colluded against by major league baseball, thrown out of the game. The MLB owes him 25 million dollars. So now you try and do the best that you can with what you got.

Why does Major League Baseball owe him 25 million dollars?

The fact that many organizations colluded against him and wouldn’t give him a job when he was healthy and could’ve played. He could’ve easily produced 30-40 home runs a year and 100 RBIs. He even offered to play for free or put together a contract based solely on incentives, minimum salary to no salary, and no one would even touch it. To me it would’ve been a no-brainer for any organization. That was pretty obvious. In my opinion, it was very obvious that there was collusion. This was probably around the mid-90s, toward the end of his career.

Why have you been keeping such a low profile?

I have nothing to gain. Jose has things to gain because he has a name, and he’s not famous, he’s infamous. He’s trying to use his infamousness — I don’t know if I just made up a word there; the fact that he’s infamous — to the best of his advantage. I prefer to stay out of it as best as possible. I try, anyway. And by speaking with you now I’m kind of breaking that rule, but sometimes you have to say what’s on your mind. I don’t think you should be quiet forever.

What happened with that boxing match where you switched places with Jose? Was that planned? Did you know you were going to do that?

I never spoke about that for a reason, because there’s a lot of misunderstanding about that. I’d rather not talk about that.

Are you and your brother close?

I’d rather not talk about that.

What did you learn from playing overseas? Did you like it?

Baseball’s very similar, they’re very detail-oriented when it comes to the game of baseball, very technically sound. What I enjoyed the most is their society is based on respect and honor and hard work. Unfortunately here in the states it’s the opposite, my personal opinion.

Do you ever feel like you didn’t get a fair a shake in the Major Leagues?

Absolutely. A lot of people had that view of my situation, always thought that I never got a legit opportunity to get rooted in the big leagues. I was never told for sure why. To this day I’d like to know why. I can remember vividly as if it was yesterday when I was in big league camp with the Cardinals in 1993. Joe Torre was the manager there, I was leading the club in RBIs and homers as a pinch hitter, as a part-time player. The last week of spring training I was benched, and I remember as if it was yesterday, I stepped into Joe Torre’s office and said, “Mr. Torre, I’m not playing and I feel as though I’ve been producing more than anybody on the squad, leading the team in home runs and RBIs, and I’ve been on the bench for 3 or four days now. What did I do wrong, did I disrespect anybody, did I step on anybody’s toes?” He didn’t have an answer for me. After that I was sent back down to Triple A. so I definitely felt that I should’ve been given a little more of an opportunity.

 

Gods never answer letters

game “saved” by a clown?

” Hope in reality is the worst of all evils because it prolongs the torments of man.”       Nietzsche

I recently read John Updike’s short story entitled “1960: hub fans bid kid adieu;” a glorified monument to Ted Williams’ final game at Fenway park.  The long and wordy piece was impressive  in its literary and authoritarian tone, reminding me of my own inadequacies when it comes to the English language, but also reminding me that the reader shouldn’t be bored out of their minds while the writer achieves some sort of mental jerk-off.  Story finally completed and compartmentalized, one line stuck out like a huge pair of bosoms in the crowded bleachers; “Gods never answer letters.”

Jose Canseco was a god to me as a freckle faced, no girlfriend -having  Jr. high schooler;  he was the young, handsome baseball phenom, an Oakland A’s outfielder with unlimited potential, a muscular slugger with mythical power. After retiring, he wrote a book, “Juiced,” that rocked the baseball world, outing several superstar big leaguers as steroid users, or “juicers.” (The best part of the book being Canseco telling A-Rod that he ” hated him” after Mr. Yankee tried numerous times to fuck his wife)  After a long and tiresome “sting operation” by the powers that be in the MLB kingdom (pathetically, i may add, as they knew this behavior was happening but thought home runs would bring the pissed off  fans back after the strike of ’94.) they installed a new, more thorough way of testing players, all but eliminating steroid use in baseball and lowering home run totals dramatically. MLB needed a scapegoat, and they got it.  Canseco was universally seen as a pariah for writing the book which all but astounded me for 2 reasons. 1) he was “cleaning up the game” single-handedly, (or at least bringing media attention to it) and 2) making some bread while he was doing it which seems to follow the age-old baseball adage of making money unethically and in a clownish manner at all costs no matter what the cost. Here we had a someone ready to speak out and debunk the myth of a “tighter wound ball” and baseball fans (mostly working class may i add) were siding with the  money hungry, uber-capitalists that disrespected the hallowed home run totals for a quick buck at MLB. (reminding me of the controversy and backlash Jim Bouton received after his 1970 book, “Ball Four” was released. I had a chance to meet him, he is a wonderful man and I absolutely adore that book.)

Canseco continued his “career” playing for virtually peanuts for the Yuma Scorpions of the North American League in 2011, was banned in 2012  from playing with a Mexican team, the Quintana Roo Tigers for using testosterone; and finally  in April, was signed by the Worchester Tornadoes of the Canadian/ American Association of Professional Baseball.  Reading the latter story made me feel as if  Canseco was a sad specimen, holding on to his youth and past glory; but also a bit of admiration because of his love for the game that keeps us all clicking the turnstiles no matter how uninterested the players are with our historical musings and passionate regional rivalries. I suppose then, I owe Mr. Updike a posthumous apology, as his admired, single statement above jolted these feelings lose and vehemently  spread upon the page before you. It also reminded me of a fan letter I had written to Canseco in 2011, hoping that he would answer because of his bush league status. Hoping that perhaps he was humbled and ready to give something back to the fans that had enjoyed him as a player, author, cheater and jackass. Alas…. Gods never answer letters.