My wife job puts her in contact with book publishers, giving her access to free books. She is not a sports fan, so when the buzz began for Jose Canseco’s book, Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits, and How Baseball Got Big, she asked me some questions about Canseco’s career. In return, I got a free copy. It was laying around the house for a couple of weeks until I read it on a flight this weekend.
I’m glad I got it free.
Unlike most books written by sports figures, there is no co-writer. From the level of writing, I doubt there is a ghost writer involved either (my wife insists there was a ghost writer; if there was he or she should be banned from writing anything longer than a laundry list). The publisher, Regan Books, should be ashamed that they didn’t assign one to this project. Between Canseco’s interesting career and his willingness to tell tales out of school about fellow baseball players, there is a lot of raw material in the book that would make a good book if there was a writer with some talent involved in putting it together. The book is being sold on the steroids angle, but he has some interesting stories about life on the road and umpires that, if they weren’t ghettoed in their own respective chapters and fleshed out further, would have added to the enjoyment of the book.
I can sum up the main themes of the book and save you the $18:
- Steroids are a good thing, when used properly. And Jose knows how to use them properly.
- Jose isn’t as bad of a person that he is made out to be.
- Latino players get less slack than comparative white players by the media.
The last subject runs through the book almost as much as his love for steroids and human growth hormone. It is one of the reasons I think he wrote the book, to have his career shaped on his terms and not through what he considers a biased media. He is very bitter about his treatment by the media in comparison to other players like Mark McGwire and Cal Ripken Jr.; players he referred to as ‘untouchables’.
The book’s release is being used by the media to turn up the heat on Major League Baseball and its player regarding steroid use, so it is good that it is out. This does remind of Dennis Miller’s comments when 2 Live Crew albums were being banned in Florida in the later ‘80s. He said censorship should always be fought against, but he is disappointed artists are forced to go to the wall for songs like ‘Me So Horny’.
I feel the same way about this book.