Wednesday, 24th July 2019

Canseco’s Vindication Marks End of Era

Posted on 27. Feb, 2010 by FSM Staff in Highlight, MLB

Canseco’s Vindication Marks End of Era

It would be nice to be able to say that the Steroid Era of baseball officially ended on 12/31/09 at 11:59 p.m. We could then bundle up the last ten years of major league play and send it away with all the other political and social misfortune the masses had to deal with in what many are calling “The Lost Decade”. Though the last few years have been significant for baseball and the MLB because of Jose Canseco, most baseball fans would rather forget about the decade that tested their faith in the game and left them feeling hurt and betrayed. Steroids will trickle in to this new decade but the days are numbered for users who are dense enough to still prick themselves in the arse.

Steroids and performance enhancing drugs were not exclusive to the last ten years. A more accurate timeline for the Steroid Era would be from 1980 to 2010. The use of steroids and other substances became widespread in the 80s, took over the game in the 90s, and was finally exposed and addressed in the new millennium. Every fan hopes that the Steroid Era is finally over. After reading Jose Canseco’s follow up effort Vindicated: Big Names, Big Liars, and the Battle to Save Baseball, most fans will be left feeling optimistic about the future state of affairs in the MLB.

Readers of FreeSportsMag might find it odd that Canseco’s book is being reviewed a few years after its initial release. Admittedly, it was an impulsive decision, made hastily at the Borders Bookstore for three simple reasons:

 1)      The book was in the $3.99 bargain bin

2)      The cover was very creative and appealing

3)      We never got around to reading Canseco’s first book and this one looks like it was half as long

The bulk of Vindicated is composed of Jose Canseco telling the populace “I told you so”. And why not? He was one of the few people who had the courage to come forward and expose the truth. He suffered many slings and arrows for his efforts and alienated himself from many people. Whatever his motives were for blowing the whistle in his first book Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant ‘Roids, Smash Hits, and How Baseball Got Big, it could not have been an easy ride for him once it was published, no matter how much he was getting paid. He is the one who lit the match that eventually caused the powder keg to explode.

All the “I told you so’s” aside, Vindicated is not a terrible read. Some of the stories and theories presented may get repetitive, but the book is short and sweet and leaves little opportunity for boring lulls. Big, confusing words definitely do not litter the 231 pages of text found in this book so there is no need to keep a dictionary handy. In fact, the only unrecognizable words will be the names of the steroids and other PEDs that are frequently mentioned. Other than that, Vindicated is simple and straightforward and gives off the vibe that Canseco is having an informal conversation with the reader, like two old pals talking steroids and sharing a few laughs.

The book also has some interesting features that are worthy of at least a moment’s glance. There are “before” and “after” pictures of MLB players who have been involved with steroids. It is quite amusing to see Barry Bonds the Pirate standing next to Barry Bonds the Giant (head). Statistics are also included for these players which show a very suspicious spike in numbers in many different categories. To satisfy any curiosity out there, these players include Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Juan Gonzalez, Miguel Tejada, Roger Clemens, Magglio Ordonez, and Alex Rodriguez.

Vindicated is not strictly about baseball. Canseco talks about things like his participation in the Surreal Life television show and the responsibility of being a father. And every once and a while he surprises the reader with amazingly insightful comments and ponderings such as the following:

“It made me think of why I got into steroids in the first place, way back when I was no more than a kid, really, and how I had been determined to win at all costs…but maybe wanting to be the best, at any cost, wasn’t the smartest approach. That phrase is what kills you: at any cost. You have to ask yourself if the price is going to be too high. And how the hell are you supposed to know that before you take the plunge? If you don’t know the price, how can figure out if it’s too high? And maybe it isn’t too high. Maybe it is exactly the price you should pay.”

Jose Canseco’s vindication marks the end of an era. His desire to “save baseball” should be applauded but he should not take it personally if fans want to forget he ever existed. But before fans can forget about him and about the entire Steroids Era, they will need closure. Vindicated provides that closure to a certain extent but it also raises a sense of guilt in baseball fans because of their own inaction. Yankee fans in the 2000s were not shouting on the rooftops, “We do not want our players taking steroids!” There was no one in St. Louis between 1997 and 1999 saying, “It looks like Mark McGwire ate Mark McGwire.”

Baseball fans must ask themselves the question, “Why did I ignore it?” or “How could I have missed it?” Then all parties will be able to move on.

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