Vindicated Brings Canseco No Vindication

J JohnContributor IApril 23, 2008

Jose Canseco, in an attempt to help "clean up baseball", decided to write a tell-all book detailing steroid use in baseball.  His book, Juiced (released in 2005),
details his steroid use, the steroid use of other players and his influence over them. 

He claimed to be the "Godfather of Steroids" and said that the spread of steroid use is a result of his influence.  In his book, Canseco said that he injected Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro, Juan Gonzalez, and Ivan Rodriguez with steroids.  He also said that he believed that well-known players, such as Jason Giambi, used steroids.

Canseco was originally thought of as an source that had no credibility by the media. Many people believed that he was upset with Major League Baseball and was doing something to get back at them.

However, as Major League Baseball and Congress began to look into the alleged drug use spreading throughout baseball, they found out that many of the players that Canseco named had in fact used steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs.  The media now praised Canseco and claimed that he was in fact a credible source, who was actually trying to save baseball.

Canseco should have stopped there.  He was beginning to change the public perception of himself.  He was not thought of as a liar who was trying to make a quick buck.  Instead, he was thought of as a genuine person that was trying to clean up baseball.  When he announced that he was going to write a second book, many people were skeptical but, gave him the benefit of the doubt because he had told the truth in the past.  Well, Canseco released Vindicated earlier this year, and it has actually hurt his credibility.

In Vindicated, Canseco basically writes over and over that he is a credible witness and that people need to trust him more.  In the book, Canseco barely mentions names, which he said he would do with the release of the book.  However, he does release a couple of big names.  (Those of you who haven't read the book should probably skip the next couple of paragraphs.)

The first person that Canseco reveals is Roger Clemens.  Canseco claims that Clemens was included in the first book but, the editors mysteriously made all of the Clemens information disappear.  He also claimed that he mentioned Clemens in a 60 Minutes interview but, that section was mysteriously cut out.  Canseco never claims to have seen Clemens use steroids but, he believes that Clemens was a steroid user, based on his appearance, statistics, and mound demeanor.  Canseco sows no hard evidence that shows that he knows Clemens used steroids, which he did in his other book.

The second person that Canseco names is Magglio Ordonez, an outfielder for the Detroit Tigers.  Canseco claims that he personally injected Ordonez with steroids while they were teammates with the Chicago White Sox.  Canseco tells readers that he left Ordonez out of the first book because, he considered them to be friends. 

If that was the case, then why is Ordonez mentioned in the second book?  Rumors have also circulated that Canseco offered to keep Ordonez's name out of the book, if Ordonez paid him to do so.  Ordonez is the only player in this book who Canseco supports with evidence that he gathered as an eyewitness.

The final, and biggest name, in the book, is New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez.  In the book, Canseco claims to have worked out with Rodriguez at his Miami-area home.  He alleges that he introduced Rodriguez to a trainer known as Max, who could help Rodriguez with steroids.  He also claims that Rodriguez was infatuated with Canseco's wife, Jessica. 

Canseco states the reason that Rodriguez is in this book is because he hates Rodriguez. If Canseco hates Rodriguez so much, then why wasn't his name included in the first book?  Canseco has no real evidence on Rodriguez either, he just speculates that Rodriguez could be using steroids.

After reading the book, Canseco comes off as a phony.  The names that are in this book should have been in the first book as well.  However, Canseco saw this as an opportunity to make more money, which he said it was never really about, and decided to throw some more names out there. 

Canseco appears to be a jealous teenager when he talks about Rodriguez.  He seems envious of his talent and the fact that Rodriguez was supposedly interested in Canseco's wife.  I also find it hard to believe that Canseco had no idea why Clemens was not mentioned in the first book.  He states possible libel causes, but if that was the case, Clemens' name shouldn't be in the second book either. 

When talking about Ordonez, he states that Ordonez wasn't in the first book because he liked him.  When he talked about Rodriguez, he said that he wasn't in the first book because he hated him.  Those two reasons are exact opposites for why names were not included in the first book.  The only logical reason for the names not being in the first book is to make more money off of a second book.

I am not calling Canseco a complete phony, however.  I believe that he does in fact have some insight into steroid use in Major League Baseball.  The manner in which he goes about that however, is difficult to fathom.  I believe that he is upset that he was "black-balled" by Major League Baseball and is using his books as a way to get back at them. 

I also believe that Canseco, contrary to his statements, IS trying to make a quick buck off of the steroid issue.  The effect of this book will only be known in the future, when it is proved that the players that Canseco mentioned did or did not use steroids. 

Canseco should retire from writing books, and focus on playing his California League games, with players half his age and half his talent.  After reading both Juiced and Vindicated, do I believe that Canseco is as credible as he says he is? No Way Jose.

And don't even get me started on his conspiracy theories.