There were no officials from Major League Baseball at Borders in downtown Boston today waiting for Jose Canseco.
Just nearly 150 people, clutching red hardcover copies of Cansecos latest steroid tome, Vindicated, already at 30 percent off, as the former Red Sox slugger and admitted steroid user sat calmly in the Travel section and autographed books.
That was in marked contrast to yesterday, when MLB investigators approached Canseco for information on the steroid scandal that has plagued baseball since the 1990s, the first time baseball officials have asked Canseco for his assistance in the investigations.
Very strange, very awkward, he said yesterday of his meeting with investigators at a Barnes & Noble Wednesday in Manhattan. Im thinking, Its about time. I mean, what do you have to do? The Mitchell Report came out, all these players being mentioned in this report, not one time did [George] Mitchell call me, or any of his individuals say, Jose, do you have any information on any of these guys were reporting on?
Not even that the nail in the coffin would be they bring up Roger Clemens and mention him in this report. Never did they ask me, Jose, did you have any direct information about Roger Clemens, because you were mentioned with him and Brian McNamee? So, to me, the thing was extremely strange, extremely awkward. All of a sudden Bud Seligs people come to me, say, You know what, Jose, we need you to help us fix this problem. Isnt it a bit too late, guys?
Canseco is still willing to help. Once his book tour, which is scheduled to run through next week, is finished, he and his attorney, Robert Saunooke, will meet with MLB officials. Saunooke accompanied Canseco to the book signing in Boston, along with Cansecos girlfriend/publicist, Heidi Northcott. Canseco again alleged that about 80 percent of baseball players were using steroids when he was in the majors, from 1985-2001, though he thinks the percentage is very small now.
Its gratifying, Canseco said about being approached. Finally, people are just getting it. Theyre finally saying, Maybe what Joses saying is the absolute truth. I mean, youve got polygraphs in the second book, Vindicated, and, obviously, I passed them all. Youve got the players in the first book, youve got the players in the second book, youve got the whole event, the whole scenario. I think people are finally getting it: What he was saying in both books is the absolute truth.
In Cansecos first book, Juiced, many of the allegations were corroborated when the Mitchell Report was released in December.
Ive been totally willing to cooperate with them since Day 1, he said. They, from Day 1, have blackballed me. Theyve ousted me from the game, theyve turned me into a pariah, theyve turned me into a scapegoat. Now, all of a sudden, they want to deal with me? Isnt that strange?
Yesterday Canseco lashed out at two of his favorite whipping boys, Curt Schilling and Alex Rodriguez. Canseco called Schilling the strangest man Ive ever seen in my life, and another one of the liars that I had to deal with. He was bought and paid by Major League Baseball, a reference to Schillings testimony before Congress in 2005. Canseco said Rodriguez got a $500 million free ride.
In between expressing feelings of surprise and vindication, Canseco offered one last quip, something that should be music to the ears of one former member of the Red Sox.
Id be more than happy if I could find it, said Canseco of giving his 1988 MVP Award to runner-up Mike Greenwell. I think I threw it in the garbage somewhere. Hes going to have to look in the dumps of where did I dump it? in LA somewhere.
Amalie Benjamin can be reached at email@example.com.