This article, like so many of the articles I've written, begins as a story of one of my personal experiences. Today I would like to share about the day I met Jose. I will also share my thoughts about what I've read so far in his books, Juiced and Vindicated, and why I think both books are crucially important to the future of Major League Baseball.
The day I met Jose Canseco, I was at the Palms in Las Vegas. The sports talk radio show that I was working to promote used to broadcast out of the Cantor Gaming studio at the Palms and Jose was scheduled to appear for an interview with the host of that show. So I was asked to come down to the studio before the show, and take photos of Jose and the host of the show. I got my camera aka my Iphone and went down to the studio a few minutes before Jose was scheduled to arrive. He showed up on time, and I remember he was with a female and a dog. The dog was big and gray, and made a spot for itself underneath the table in the studio. The host of the show introduced me to Jose, and I took a few photos. Then I left. Normally I would have done live tweets during the show, but I had plans that night so I was not able to listen to the interview. Usually when I missed a live show, I would have caught the archive of the show, but for some reason I didn't. I now, wish I had listened and perhaps one day I will visit www.sportsxradio.com and find the archive of the interview, because I have no doubt it was compelling.
When I met Jose, I was not aware of his involvement in the steroid scandal. If anything Arod was the name that I would have thought came to mind if someone mentioned PEDS. All I knew about Jose, was that he was a former Major League Baseball player. All I had remembered about him was that he was handsome and played for Oakland. I also remember hearing that he was totally in love with himself. That's all I knew of him. Funny the things you recall. Why did I think he was a pompous a** and a conceited jerk? Where had I learned that? Of course, the answer would likely be in the social learning one gets from listening to the media, or perhaps I saw him play on a day he was flexing his muscles to the crowd. Even as a little kid, I wouldn't have been impressed with that. It would have been a major turn off to me.
Yet, the man I met that night was incredibly subdued and polite. He was gracious and seamed incredibly soft spoken. He was not arrogant at all. He treated me with such respect and not in a manner that I felt was coming on to me. He was genuinely respectful, and seemed appreciative that I was taking the photos. He didn't act cocky, and he treated the host of the show with manners. I have seen professional athletes treat people like they are nothing, so I guess I was impressed with his behavior. He treated me like I mattered even though I was just the 'lady taking pictures' . . .
Fast forward to now, and I'm actively involved in working to promote sports talk radio, and have my own show that deals with social issues in sports. I have had the pleasure of having the brother of Taylor Hooton on my show to talk about the dangers of misusing anabolic steroids, and I'm heading to a charity benefit next week at Yankee Stadium to help support The Taylor Hooton Foundation share about the dangers of these drugs . . . and I am only now beginning to understand who Jose Canseco was and is, and why he matters so much to the game of baseball.
I have not finished reading the books that Jose wrote about his experience with anabolic steroids when he was in the MLB, I bought them after I saw him tweet a public apology to Mark McGwire. Tomorrow during my morning show, I will be speaking with Tony Iliakostas, the founder of www.lawandbattingorder.com and will share what I know about the dangers of anabolic steroids, what I have learned so far from what I've read in Jose's books. I will also share some of the tweets I got from my followers who, when asked if they could ask Jose Canseco one question, they were gracious enough to share what that question would be. There's so much more I'd like to share, as I continue to learn.
Why did Jose Canseco write these books? Surely he didn't mean to rat out on some other players who were involved in misusing anabolic steroids, or did he? He will say he was angry at Major League Baseball and I think it was his attempt to equalize in a sense, the pain he was experiencing. He may not have been thinking about how his actions would affect so many others at the time he chose to share names. He was likely on a mission and empathy might have been the furthest thing from his mind. For example, and I'm not sure I've gotten this far yet, but did he ask Mark McGwire before he revealed about Mark's abuse of steroids, if he would mind his actions being revealed to the world? Did he think about Mark's fans and family? Should have have been concerned with others, or should he have been concerned about his own life, his own story and to 'hell' with those he decided to bring through the mud.
So many people get treated like nothing, and then they don't know what to do with that anger so they do something to retaliate. So many times, the totality of circumstances both past, present day, and future consequences are unknown when acting out in what could be similar to a blind rage. Would Jose write the book [ Juiced ] all over again? It's easy to look back after consequences happen as a result of doing something and say you would change something, but nobody really knows if his writing this book was perhaps a part of a larger plan. I would like to think that the greater good that will come from what this man has shared will serve the greater good. I don't think I would have done what he did, in that I might not have named names. However, who is to say? None of us were in Jose's cleats. I do know though, that some of the things I learned about people who have done things that might be so very wrong, I kept close to the vest. That being said, perhaps Jose's way of dealing with things, will ultimately serve the greater good.
When you are going to serve, you do what you believe is right within your own conscience and as long as you can look in the mirror and know that you made choices that were pure of heart, you usually sleep soundly at night. Nobody really has to concern themselves with the judgment of another man, of course that's always easier said than done. Truly though, it is the man in the mirror who matters most. When it comes to the man Jose sees when he looks in the mirror, only he knows who it is staring back and him. Some of what Jose wrote I applaud him for. He calls it like he sees it, and like he experienced it. He explains how the media distorts, and how very often they are reporting on lies, and assumptions. I will share more tomorrow during the @MorningMichelle about what I would do if I were him, and about my thoughts on his attempt to reach Mark McGwire via social media.
One thing I would like to note, in the book Vindicated, Jose writes that he thinks anybody who takes the Fifth Amendment is guilty. I disagree totally. I think this is a myth and as Jose points out words can be twisted, so why would anyone risk opening their mouth when facing an adversarial system. I'll go as far as to to say, anyone who takes the Fifth Amendment might be among the smartest and most intelligent. Sometimes remaining silent is the most powerful strength of all.