Thursday, July 20, 2006

Time for Jose Canseco to Disappear

by Scott Silversten

To paraphrase Ray Liotta’s character Henry Hill at the end of Goodfellas, "Jose Canseco should get to live the rest of his life like a schnook."

At the initial publication of his book Juiced two winters ago, Canseco was criticized by many around baseball for his claims about steroids and the national pastime. In the days and months that have followed, we have all learned that the truth can sometimes come from the most despicable of sources. Feel free to call Canseco every name in the book with the exception of "liar."

However, let’s get one thing straight...Canseco is no hero. Whatever his reasons for telling the truth, his admissions and claims today do not erase his crimes of the past. Remember, he claimed in the book that 1) he was one of the big reasons steroids became prevalent in baseball, and 2) steroids were good and the wave of the future in all aspects of life.

Famed boxing promoter Bob Arum once proclaimed, "Yesterday I was lying to you, but today I’m telling you the truth."

Essentially, that sums up Canseco. For years he claimed all his skills were natural, but now he is asking everyone to forget his past lies as he attempts to reveal the truth about the sport that made him rich and famous. Sorry, it doesn’t work that way.

Most recently, Canseco has expressed a desire to join the investigation into steroids being run by former Senator George Mitchell. It’s an investigation that seems to be targeting Barry Bonds specifically, but that’s a discussion for another day.

Mitchell owes it to his own credibility to take any information Canseco is willing to offer, give him whatever immunity he wants, and then telling him to "get lost and lose my phone number."

Speaking last week, Canseco’s attorney, Rob Saunooke, said the following: "Until someone like Jose is part of the investigation as an investigator, they aren’t going to get much cooperation. Jose could meet face to face with some of the individuals, use his own friendship with them and knowledge of them and talk with them comfortably. If Jose sits down face to face with you and reminds you of all the good times, then he says, 'It’s time for us to come clean with these things.'"

One must often wonder if lawyers actually believe the drivel they spout. While no one has ever accused ballplayers of being geniuses, I’d like to find the one former teammate or friend that is going to welcome Canseco into their home to reminisce about the "good times."

After turning state’s evidence and testifying against his fellow criminals, Hill was forced to disappear. One can only hope the same fate befalls Canseco.

Scott Silversten's column, "Age of Reason", appears every Thursday

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