If I hear the word “steroids” again, I think I will go crazy. I used to be a huge baseball fan back in the day but with the ‘94 lockout and the steroids talk that has gone on for the last ten years I have simply walked away from the game. I have come to the conclusion that Jose Canseco has been the only voice of truth throughout this whole ordeal. However I do not agree with how he threw other people under the bus. Jose should have done it another way but at the same time this has opened the eyes of the nation and revealed MLB’s front office is to blame for this messy situation.
Jose Canseco joined ESPN 101 in St. Louisto talk about his reaction to Mark McGwire getting hired as Cardinals hitting coach, MLB needing to own up to the mess that steroid use caused, and whether he has any intention of getting back into baseball and coaching.
On his reaction to Mark McGwire getting hired as Cardinals hitting coach:
“Well I think it is about time. I thought it was about time that Major League Baseball stopped blaming players. It was something that we were allowed to do. We were kind of forced to do it in some shape or form to become bigger, faster, stronger, bring fans in and it was part of our culture. I think finally Major League Baseball and the baseball community are starting to realize these things; that the victims were the players and it was something that was emphasized. If you were going to become a great athlete or a great player for your city that it was something that you had to do. So I am very glad that Mark McGwire got a coaching job. It is almost the next step to an evolution where you are a great player so the next step would be a great coach. I see him becoming a manager sooner or later.”
On MLB needing to own up to the mess that steroid use caused:
“Absolutely you have to move forward and if you really look at the numbers baseball hasn’t suffered one bit finding out these players using steroids when the book ‘Juiced’ came out. As a matter of fact, I think fans became more and more curious. I think the percentage of fans coming to the ballpark are greater nowadays and the game is back to where it should be. It should be a clean game where everybody starts from the same foundation and you work on an even playing field. Now fans realize there is no doubt about it that players are clean and we are seeing baseball the way it is played.”
Whether it was kind of strange for the players for steroids to be acceptable and all of a sudden people were against it:
“Well I think the right statement would be that everyone knew, not that they cared it was acceptable. I think people cared but you talk about such a dominating, devastating force when everyone accepts it. I think nowadays perception is the reality. And the reality is what ever people perceive to be the truth, whatever the majority of the people believe is the truth is fact. That is what we really need to look at. That is what happened to Major League Baseball.”
Whether he has any intention of getting back into baseball and coaching:
“Well let’s look at it this way. I would love to be a coach, I would love to be a manager but I committed the cardinal sin and I will pay for it the rest of my life, but I don’t believe all of the other players will pay for it. It was a huge, huge mistake for writing the book ‘Juiced’ and I just don’t want all of the other players to pay for what I have been paying for the last ten years. What I am going to pay for the rest of my life detached from Major League Baseball in any way, shape or form because of course you have Mark McGwire; to me, was the best right-hand hitter the game has ever seen…he has got a lot to teach these kids. He has got a lot to show them in the mentality of the game and techniques and the attitude. You can’t keep these guys out of the game because they can show the past and what not to do. And of course they can teach the future in which they are an endless supply of information.”
Whether writing “Juiced” was a mistake for him because of what happened to him:
“Well in one sense I think MLB and myself could have gone around it and could have done this differently. It didn’t work out that way. I think behind closed doors we could have come to the same result we are coming to now and maybe a meeting with Major League Baseball. I did try to speak with them. I did try to tell them: Don’t do what you are doing. Don’t blackball us from the game. They wouldn’t listen. In hindsight, I destroyed my life. I destroyed people’s lives around me. I embarrassed a lot of players and if I could turn back the hands in time, I would do it a different way, I would definitely do it.”
Advice for Mark McGwire and how he should talk to the media so that McGwire and the Cardinals can get off to a great start:
“Listen there is nothing else to tell. I think we all know exactly what happened. We don’t need to probably go into depth or detail any longer. I think we need to move forward. I think we all learned a lesson. I think the players have to stop playing for those honest mistakes. They were just players who were trying to become the best entity for their city, to help their city win, to help their teammates. I think that era has to end. I think the era of moving forward will have to begin. The era of healing right now has to begin and you just can’t stop bringing up the past for asking Mark McGwire about: Why did you do this? Why didn’t you admit to this? That era is done. Let’s move forward. Let’s educate the future athletes or the present use and show them of what not to do. I mean we made so many mistakes that you could write a book on, especially me. I made so many mistakes in baseball that it is incredible.”