I bet I’m in the very, very small minority in thinking this: but Jose Canseco, who earlier today came out and said he regretted writing his bestselling book Juiced, has absolutely nothing to apologize for.
Is he a rat for betraying the fraternity of professional athletes and throwing many of his fellow teammates under the bus by revealing they used performance enhancing drugs?
But when it comes to apologies he thinks he owes, whether it be to the players he turned his back on or the game that turned its back on him, I’d say no way, Jose.
Let’s face facts for a second:
Before Canseco’s book, the steroid culture was nothing more than a big elephant in the room. Everybody did their best to turn their heads at.
Everybody from fans like you and me, to club’s management and ownership, to the commissioner himself... post-strike baseball was a billion dollar business that wasn’t about to let some speculation turn away the very fans the sport was so happy to finally have back.
The steroid story has been told so many times and has become so well known by us fans to be considered baseball’s ‘New Testament’ of sorts.
Abraham, Issac and Jacob have been replaced by men far less worthy of any admiration, as names like Bonds, McGuire and Clemens have been the sport’s sacrificial lambs on it’s way to cleansing and redemption.
The game was stained, many believe permanently, and Canseco is at the top of the list of those responsible for bringing this toxic culture into the spotlight.
And while today Canseco apologized, and was quoted as saying
"If I could meet with Mark McGwire and these players, I definitely would apologize to them," Canseco said, according to the New York Daily News. "They were my friends. I admired them. I respected them."
First of all, it’s a good thing he referred to them as friends he used to have, as I doubt any of them would be welcoming him to their dinner table anytime soon.
That being said, while Canseco brought the skeletons out of their closets, the guilty parties have nobody to blame but themselves for being in the position they find themselves in.
Canseco was by no means a saint, as he admitted himself he was a heavy steroid user, and by breaking protocol and giving up the names of his former teammates, he lost any respect he may have had leftover from his one-time promising career.
But respect aside, Canseco should be seen as the sacrificial lamb here, as it is thanks in large part to him, his own admissions of steroid use, and his revelations of former teammates that baseball is currently cleaner (at least we are to believe) than it has been in decades.
Performance enhancing drugs are being tested for in ways they never have before, and those athletes who were misguided enough and desperate enough to turn to them are paying a very deserving price.
Canseco can apologize all he wants, and if it's pity or sympathy he’s seeking, he shouldn’t expect to find much of it. However as far as I’m concerned, he doesn’t owe apologies.
I refuse to refer to any of those players as victims, because they are anything but.
The only thing they are a victim of is their own poor judgment. For whatever the reason, they felt it necessary to compromise the integrity of a game we love (not to mention a game we pay good money to enjoy) to give themselves an unfair competitive edge.
And if you want to make the Andy Pettitte argument, that he used HGH a handful of times to recover faster from an injury, I don’t want to buy it.
Guys like Pettitte are even more pathetic in my eyes, as instead of just admitting their mistake and taking full responsibility, they come out well after their names are revealed only to give us excuses in place of admissions.
I have more respect for a guy like Canseco, who saw the state of baseball and felt compelled to do something about, regardless of how we went about doing it.
And I’m fully aware most people if not all people will disagree with me, and tell me that Canseco is nothing more than a rat who doesn’t deserve the time of day. Yes, I know that he himself is an admitted steroid user and so on and so forth.
I’ll agree that the list of Canseco’s faults and mistakes is near endless compared to any good he has either done or tried to do since all of this steroid nonsense began.
But the fact of the matter is, nearly everything he said in his book proved true, and regardless of who he is or how he went about doing what he did, in some sick and twisted way, he deserves to be revered as a hero. Like him or not, the state of the game was stained, and at the present time it is far better off than it was.
I don’t happen to like Jose Canseco, nor do I have any sympathy for him and, to a point, I don’t completely agree with how he destroyed the careers and even lives of some of his former teammates. But I feel pretty damn good knowing that the game I’ve loved since I was six is finally getting itself out from the dark cloud it had been hidden under for most of the last decade.
When it comes to steroids and performance enhancing drugs, there is no gray zone, no in-between and no if's or maybes. They were the source of baseball’s darkest period which occurred only a handful of years following the devastating 1994 work stoppage.
As baseball continued to be plagued by a coalition of liars and cheaters, it would be perhaps the biggest liar and cheater of them all who gave the sport something it needed more desperately than anything: honesty.
And for that, Jose owes nobody an apology.