washingtonpost.com  > Sports > Columnists > Thomas Boswell
Page 2 of 2  < Back  

Canseco Is Easy to Read, Hard to Believe

In a sense, the arrival of Canseco's long-unawaited book completes a sad circle for baseball. Canseco introduced us to this sordid story in the 1980s with his brazen bulging muscles and arrogant defiance, threatening to sue those who went public with charges of his steroid use. Now, by dragging us to the level of bathroom-stall buttocks injections, we may have bottomed out.

These days, we can never put a sleazy topic to bed until we've utterly exhausted the subject, right down to the final excruciating details. Whether it's as insignificant as a Michael Jackson trial or as consequential as a presidential election, we can't get enough of it until, finally, one last Swift boat veteran or CBS anchor hits our gag point and we beg, "No more."

Former Athletics and Rangers outfielder Jose Canseco, a former MVP, admittedly used steroids. (Jeff Topping -- Reuters)

_____From The Post_____
Omar Minaya reshapes the Mets in a New York minute.
Orioles' Rafael Palmeiro denies allegation of steroid use by Jose Canseco.
Thomas Boswell: Canseco is easy to read, but is hard to believe.
_____MLB Basics_____
Team index
Music Downloads
MLB Section

That's where we have arrived with Canseco, who wants to drag everybody, including the president, into the same tar pit with him. This is the time when all his bizarre and excessive behavior over the years comes back to haunt him. If you finally reach a point where you have something to tell and you desperately want to be believed, that's when your reputation counts. Jose's reputation, unfortunately, is for bar fights with his twin brother, fly balls bouncing off his head over fences and dating Madonna.

This is not how the original "muckrakers" did it. Canseco reportedly even makes the case in "Juiced" that steroids will someday add decades to everybody's lives. What, no Martians in Area 51?

No matter how much Canseco is disparaged in coming days -- as he deserves to be -- his charges will leave their stain on several careers, especially McGwire's. Tony LaRussa, who managed both sluggers in Oakland, then had McGwire in St. Louis, will also take a hit to his reputation. He's already in high dudgeon defending McGwire's honor, which is indirectly tied to his own.

For baseball and its steroid era, the nadir, the washout, the final installment of shame must surely be near. All the game's sins are being found out and, perhaps, even exaggerated. If Bonds hits a 715th homer, he may get booed as he rounds the bases.

Perhaps we had the Curse of the Bambino wrong all along. Maybe it wasn't about the Red Sox. Maybe it was about the price that players would pay -- his health, in honor, in damage to the game -- to be The Next Ruth. Or merely to be Ruthian.

Now, courtesy of Jose, four more famous names join the misery list of the steroid slugger era, whether they deserve it or not.

< Back  1 2

© 2005 The Washington Post Company