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Jose Canseco Still Waiting for that Call from Billy Beane
Former Oakland Athletics outfielder Jose Canseco recently indicated over a Twitter post that he was quite serious about making a return to baseball, and watching the film "Moneyball" reignited his spark and passion to play for the A's.
After writing about his desire, I was curious to find out what Canseco really had on his mind, and how he thought he might be able to help his former team. I was able to reach him on the phone Friday afternoon to discuss his future in baseball and what he hoped to accomplish.
Canseco is 47 years old and hasn't played in the major leagues for over a decade, but he has kept himself in excellent shape and states that his bat speed and hands are still the same as they were at his peak.
I asked him how he could help the team specifically, and he replied, “I believe I can bring at least 34 home runs and also the strong leadership to the team that they’re lacking.”
One question that’s been on the minds of some baseball fans is whether he is really more concerned about reaching 500 home runs. He’s currently at 462 over his career.
“It’s not a concern at all,” Canseco said.
He just wants to play. He says he doesn’t care about his baseball stats or reaching 500 home runs
The former outfielder was the 1988 American League MVP and helped the A's get to the World Series that year, and there is no denying that he was a great player. Just last year he served as a player/manager for the Yuma Scorpions of the North American independent league, and he's been working out at On Deck Baseball Academy in Las Vegas, where he currently lives.
There is no doubt that Canseco was an outstanding player back in the day and that he could still be a great slugger and hit the ball out of the park—probably often. But I don't think the problem is in his age or his abilities. It's the tell-all book he wrote about his teammates, "Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits & How Baseball Got Big." In his book, he not only admitted his own steroid use but blew the whistle on his former bash brother, Mark McGwire, among many others.
Canseco said several times he just wants a tryout. “All I want is a tryout and the chance to talk to A’s general manager Billy Beane,” he said.
Is that too much to ask? Considering the controversy surrounding him, it might be.
The A's FanFest 2012 will be held on Sunday, Jan. 29, and Canseco has not received an invite, despite the fact that he's made it known that he would like to be present.
I contacted Bob Rose, the head of public relations for the Athletics, and Rose kindly stated that the team would have to decline to comment. I believe this says it all.
I asked Canseco if he was considering attending FanFest without an invite. “No, I think it would make things worse, but if I had an invite I would go and it would bring them good publicity,” he said.
Canseco still holds hope that he will get a call or an email from Beane. I’m afraid for the aging ballplayer that silence may be his only answer.
K.C. Dermody grew up in the Bay Area of California, following the Oakland Athletics since the ’70s and attending hundreds of games over more than three decades. Follow her at www.facebook.com/KCDermodyWriter, Twitter @kcdermody, or www.kcdermodywriter.com.
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