Thursday, May 7, 2009

Continued Vindication for Jose Canseco

New York Times best selling author Jose Canseco's second effort, Vindicated, didn't have the same impact as his first, but id did offer some additional insight into the world of PED's in baseball.

Today's big story that Manny Ramirez tested positive for a banned substance and will serve a 50 game suspension starting today further leads credence to Canseco's claims. I'm waiting on additional information before commenting on the Manny situation. Other teams are already looking to take advantage of this development. Per Barry Zito's twitter page: "Manny's gone for 50 games. time for the Giants to capitalize."

In Vindicated, Canseco explains why players turned to PED's during a speech he gave at the University of Florida.
"Why then do athletes choose to expose themselves to the risks and
uncertainties? I wish the answer was simple. In most cases the
answer is surprisingly not for the fame and the money. While some may
take them hoping to get an advantage, the plain answer is that most do it
just to survive their sport."
That explanation is summed up later when Canseco describes the options that some players felt: roid up and have a job or you can be clean and toil around in the minors. What would you do in that position?

In describing his own personal use with PED's, Canseco writes, "I had been taught to strive for greatness, and I certainly did, but maybe wanting to be the best, at any cost, wasn't the smartest approach. That phrase is what kills you: at any cost. You have to ask yourself if the price is going to be too high."

Canseco eventually comes to some type of grips with his past decisions admitting that roiding up was a shortcut, but he states that he had to work just as hard to develop his body and still make contact with the ball. He also mentions that roids led to a "me focus" rather than team focus. Some players were more concerned about getting on Sportscenter then on advancing the runner or helping the team win the game.

I don't really buy the argument that Canseco took a shortcut, but wasn't "cheating" since others were doing it. Also, the notion that a player still needs to hit the ball is true, but if you're roided out of your mind, you have an unfair advantage over a clean player. Canseco should be applauded for coming forward and shedding light to baseball's dark secret and not be treated as the pariah he is often portrayed as.

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