Wednesday, February 16, 2005

More Noise! More Noise!

Jose Canseco got his 60 Minutes of fame on Sunday. Now his tell-all book, which hit shelves the following morning, is already a bestseller. Mike Wallace = cash fucking money bitches, what.

And everyone is weighing in on the Canseco Credibility issue; have been for the past two weeks. The mainstream media, beat writers, talk radio, players, managers and general managers, ex-players and ex-managers, bloggers, everyone!, everyone has their own take on Canseco's motives, everyone's questioning the validity of his claims, everyone's talking about the guy that was scoffed at a year ago when he said he'd write this book. But to my dismay, the noise has been covering grander themes of right and wrong, guilt and innocence, reporters hunting all witch-ily (Ahh, Witch-ay Woman...) for juicing players.

We're all missing the point here, folks: This guy had a ball miss his glove, bounce of off his head -- his head! -- and drop over the fence for a homerun once. Is it fucking possible, is it possible, that with all of this nonstop Canseco buzz I haven't seen one clip of the Carlos Martinez longball that ricocheted off Jose's cabeza into the stands 12 years ago? Not one clip? No mentions of it in anywhere in the written press? Why even cover the story then? C'mon, media, yer better'n that.

Everyone's searching for the scoop on Big Mac and Dead-To-Me Giambi (it's official, that nickname's sticking unless he hits .450 with 70 jacks by August), but did anyone even bother to fact-check this book? Holy jeeez, Jeff Merron over at The ESPN Machine decided to check some of the anecdotes that don't require old ass needles and first-person corroboration, and let's just say some things were a tad bit inaccurate. It's pretty good stuff, I'd check it out. Here's my favorite:

"On breaking through to the majors--
    I was very aware that baseball was closed to a young Latino like me...Many talented young athletes were playing street baseball in Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Domincan Republic, and many other Latin American countries, but the barriers to breaking into the major leagues were almost impossible for most to get around.
    -- p. 39

Here's how 'closed' baseball was in 1982, the year which he is writing about: 29 Puerto Ricans and 33 Dominicans played in the majors that season. That's 62 players -- I stopped counting after that -- breaking the 'impossible' barriers."

There are some other gems in there too, including the one about the towering shot he hit his rookie year in Detroit, which apparently never even happened. As a random aside, if you didn't notice on that last link, ESPN started breaking up their Page 2 articles into multiple pages, making you click-thru to more pages to read the full story. I hate it. It's ev-il. It's the fru-its, of the de-vil. Where's Shame on You's Arnold Diaz and that sexy moustache when you fucking need him?

But possibly the best story to come out of this fiasco just broke today. The runner up to Jose in the 1988 AL MVP race wants the trophy now. But before you laugh too loudly at what seems like sour grapes, Mike Greenwell's quotes actually make you feel for him a little bit:

"I do have a problem with losing the MVP to an admitted steroids user," Greenwell told the News-Press, adding that not winning the award likely cost him millions of dollars. "Every time you renegotiate a contract, if you're an MVP, you have a different level of bargaining power," Greenwell was quoted as saying. "But in honesty, I don't care about the money."

Well, I weap today for the guy that answers one of my favorite baseball trivia questions: In 1996, Greenwell drove in all nine runs for Boston in a 10-inning game, the record for most runs batted in where one player accounted for all of his team's RBIs [Here's the boxscore]. I feel for ya, Mr. Greenwell, but as Danny Noonan says to that asshole caddy, "You ain't gettin' no Coke."

Meanwhile, it's kinda weird to think that if Canseco had just hit 38 more homeruns, he'd be at the mythical 500-homerun plateau, and he'd probably think he at least had a shot of getting into the Hall of Fame. And if there was a shot, even if he didn't get in, which he wouldn't, as long as there was a shot, he would never have done this. He'd never jeopardize his chance at the Hall for this, and the whole wacky episode never happens. Nev-ah happens.


At 11:08 AM, Blogger John Howard said...

Canseco is Latino????

At 11:29 AM, Blogger Ace Cowboy said...

In name only, sure. Although I've never heard him say anything like "Ariba La Raza" from his low-rider while wearing a hairnet.

Racism is fun!

At 12:31 PM, Blogger ethan said...

doesn't that +6 "rbi's to hits by guys ahead of you in the lineup" differential have to be somesort of record too?

also, greenwell is the fucker who brought high top spikes to the forefront. asshole. thankfully that ugly and impractical trend is just about over.

At 1:21 PM, Blogger Ace Cowboy said...

Good catch, Ethan, I didn't even really notice that. I did notice that a young A-Rod bashed his 35th homer of the season in that game.

Long live the Kingdome.

At 2:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was hoping that someone would pick up on the greenwell quote. Looking at Greenies stats from that year 22 homers and 16 steals, it's interesting looking at how much times have changed. Looking at that boxscore made me long for the days of Scott Cooper a 2 time all star that exemplifies why not every team should have a representative in the all-star game.


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