'Juiced' More Fluff than Substance

Just as the baseball world was finally starting to settle down, former slugger Jose Canseco released his controversial but highly anticipated book, Juiced. Unfortunately for Canseco, his yearn for vengeance towards many overshadowed the potential power of 'Juiced'.

Jose Canseco came out with his book Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits, and How Baseball Got Big, according to him, in an attempt to get the truth out to inquiring minds and, in his opinion, fans that deserve to know the truth.

In the book, Jose Canseco named himself as a steroid abuser (and the Godfather of steroids in baseball), as well as many former teammates and others including Mark McGwire, Ivan Rodriguez, Juan Gonzalez, and Rafael Palmiero. Others that he mentioned (although did not state for a fact used) included Barry Bonds, Bret Boone and Miguel Tejada.

Despite his lack of even an undergraduate degree, Canseco talked as if he were a Ph.D. in the field, and while I'm no expert either, it at least appears as if he knows a good deal about the substances that can cause rapid muscle growth, improved muscle-twitch fibers and the other effects of steroids.

Canseco's claims are strong, but they are lost in the shuffle in a book where Canseco seeks to brag about his accomplishments, vilify those that didn't support him, and claim 'bad luck' for all of his mishaps with the law.

For starters, let's simply look past the 8th-grade level language skills and the numerous grammatical errors.

Canseco makes the first mistake of contradicting himself at every turn, and in some instances even making downright ridiculous statements. He claims that he was shy, didn't like flashy jewelry, and was uninterested in stardom. Then goes on to tell the story of his relationship with Madonna, a 6-carat diamond ring he wore, and his outgoing persona in describing steroids to anyone that would listen.

The contradictions didn't stop there. He claims at one point, he injected McGwire with steroids plenty of times. Then later states at least a few. In an interview aired on '60 Minutes', Canseco claimed at least once or twice.

Canseco bemoaned the star treatment he didn't get, claiming all in the media were out to get him. But then Canseco quotes a Rick Reilly column defending Canseco, and names the San Francisco Chronicle as one who believed the rumors and searched for evidence.

Likewise with the police, every step of the way, Canseco claims the police were out to get him. But he also casually mentions the police pulling him over for speeding at nearly 200 MPH in his Lamborghini, but letting him go after getting a chance to check out his car.

A ridiculous lie? Well, try this one out. Canseco claims that in his mid 30's, no one in baseball was faster than him, and he was even capable of running a 3.9 40-yard dash. For comparison sake, anything below a 4.4 40-yard dash is considered world class (and for every ten football players that claim to be able to run such a time, about one actually can). Part of this can be blamed on a lack of proper timing. But Tim Montgomery, currently the world record holder in 100-meter dash and the world's fastest man, was timed at a 4.34. So, unless Canseco was using a sun-dial to be timed, it's a gross exaggeration.

The book is obviously a way for Canseco to earn money, make excuses for his poor conduct in the past, and try and destroy the game that made him. Canseco name drops President George W. Bush and former Presidential candidate John Kerry for no real reason, and claims owners' ignorance about the growing steroid abuse problem.

All in all, it was a last ditch attempt by an ex-ballplayer to make a buck off a game he believes stole far more from him. Even the premise of the book starts with the notion that Canseco did steroids in the name of his late mother to become the best athlete possible - a stretch to say the least.

Is there any truth contained in 'Juiced'? Probably. It's certainly possible that Canseco injected Mark McGwire among others, and knew of many more users. Unfortunately, Canseco's mindless whining likely will lead to the future of this book being as that of an old book on a dusty shelf in a basement.

Canseco may have knowledge of steroids and of users, but his presentation makes it tough to believe a word the man says. So do I believe every accusation made by Canseco in 'Juiced'? Sorry, but to quote an old saying, "No way, Jose."

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