Jose Canseco is an utter train wreck, and either despite that or because of it, I can't look away. Stiffs an independent league on his contractual obligations? I'm on it. Pretends to have a reality show even though he doesn't? Gimme more. Demonstrates over the course of a long, in-depth article just how messed up a human being he is? Cancel my meetings, Bev, I've gotta read this thing.
So it's no surprise that when he shows up at USC to give a speech to an empty auditorium and starts saying who he thinks is and isn't on steroids, I'm going to pay attention. Especially when he says stuff like this:
What about Manny Ramirez? someone asks.
Canseco laughs and offers his theory. A-Rod was exposed only when his name was leaked from a list of 104 major leaguers who in a 2003 test showed up positive for steroids. Because the test was anonymous, those names were not supposed to be made public. But in Canseco's mind, baseball's power brokers know who is on it: players he is sure will be seen as toxic if the truth comes out . . . Why didn't Ramirez get a long-term deal? Canseco asks. Why were owners gun-shy about signing arguably the game's best hitter?
Never mind that Ramirez was asking for a mega-deal at age 36. Or that he was negotiating in a sickly economy, while weighed down by the heavy baggage of a surly reputation. Canseco will have none of it. To Canseco, the drawn-out negotiation, the lack of a long-term deal, the lack of interest all raise red flags, and so he tells the Bovard crowd that Ramirez's "name is most likely, 90%," on the list.
And that's the thing about Canseco. He acts outrageously, even pathetically, almost 100% of the time, and just cries out to be mocked.
But then you sit back and remember that almost everyone has either been wrong or has been overly-conservative when it comes to naming names in the great steroid drama. Everyone except Jose Canseco, who has almost always been right.