With baseball’s steroid controversy raging, the timing couldn’t be better for the release of Canseco’s book, Juiced, which is due out in mid- to late-January ($24.95 or $50 autographed on www.josecanseco.com), and will be preceded by an interview with Mike Wallace on CBS’ 60 Minutes. A secret preliminary copy, which agent Doug Ames said is not the final version, accuses several big-name baseball players of using steroids.
Canseco, 40, said he’s not surprised Barry Bonds used steroids and estimates 75 percent of players take them. “Are they testing the guys they know are using steroids? No,” Canseco relayed to me through Ames.
Canseco’s life after baseball remains bizarre. Having sold his 1988 AL MVP plaque for $30,000 and his Rookie of the Year ring for $5,100 on eBay, the Coral Park High grad is parting with everything that meant anything in his career.
“Baseball is over,” Canseco said through Ames. “I don’t care. I’m doing my new life, which is acting.” Ames insists Canseco “doesn’t need the money” but is devoid of sentiment. “We sold the MVP plaque because it was sitting around and the dogs were eating it,” Ames said.
He has sold at least 50 pieces, including All-Star Game rings and a jersey that Roger Clemens gave him. Soon, Canseco will sell his possessions from his 40/40 season in 1988: the 40th home run ball, the 40th stolen base, a bat, his shoes and a jersey. Asking price: $150,000.
And there’s no shortage of suitors. A fan in California, perhaps in need of medication, paid him $90 for a 15-year-old Canseco blowup doll. Canseco sold his Mercedes for $65,000 because “he has five cars and only a three-car garage,” Ames said.
Now living in Encino, Calif., Canseco remains on probation for a bar brawl for another three months. But his visit with his probation officer earlier this month was the last time he will be required to return to South Florida. “He can’t stand Miami,” Ames added. “He’ll never go back.”
Canseco, who has a street near Coral Park High named in his honor, takes acting lessons daily and will star in an action film to be shot next month in Charleston, S.C. The public can bid $2,500 to spend a day with him on the set.
While I’m sure Jose’s book is bound to be a classic (think “Ball Four” meets “Bad As I Wanna Be” meets “Perfect, I’m Not” meets the Penthouse Readers’ letters) it’s impending publication would have a bit more sizzle had Canseco’s ghostwriter finished the fucker before Barry Bonds, Jason Giambi and Gary Sheffield been named and shamed. Other than the inevitable rolling over on Bash Brother McGwire, what could Canseco possibly be sitting on?
(Jose commiserates with Tommy Lasorda ; Madonna doesn’t return Canseco’s calls, either)
Though $2500 to hang with Jose sounds like a crap deal (and/or a Jim Rome routine brought to life), it would have to be considered a bargain compared to a $29.95 phone call from Tom Candiotti.