I was lucky enough to interview the great Jose Canseco. Buckle your seat belt.
The one and only Jose Canseco, who has smashed 462 major league home runs, made his return to baseball Thursday, as he debuted with The Worcester Tornadoes. The Tornadoes were on the road in Newark,NJ to take on the Newark Bears.
Canseco, who used to play for the Bears, is excited to get back on the field but doesn’t have a ton of expectations for this season. He simply wants to stay healthy for the 100 game season.
Jose- “If I’m healthy then the numbers are going to be there, but I’m not gonna put a finger and say this, that, this.”
Jose- “What do you predict I’m gonna do if I stay healthy?”
Eric- “You still got the power.”
Jose- “How do you know that?”
Eric- I don’t know for sure but based on body type, you appear to be in similar shape to your MLB playing days.
Jose- “How do you know that? I’m an old man. I’m old enough to be you’re dad.”
Canseco knows that with his age, his body is different then it used to be.
Jose- “I definitely don’t have the same speed. My legs aren’t what they used to be, then again, I used to be extremely fast. Can I still run? I’m probably about an average runner.”
Eric- Why did you decide to join the Tornadoes?
Jose- “Why do you do what you do?” (jokingly)
Eric- I love what I do
Jose- “There you go. Same answer. I love it too. It ain’t about the money, believe me.”
Canseco is making $1,000 dollars per month, but is receiving free housing and has a free rent-a-car, according to a member of the Tornadoes’ public relations staff who requested anonymity.
There have been rumors that Canseco would like to manage at one point and he didn’t deny those.
Jose- “I don’t want to play and manage at the same time, as it’s very difficult. That may be what it evolves into though. I may manage the team, we’ll see.”
The question regarding his public perception and if that would effect how he manages came up and Jose played coy.
Jose- “What do they think about me”, Canseco asked.
When the reporters said that it varied, but ultimately he is a lightning rod, Canseco asked, “for what?”
The reporters said for your book and the other stuff you have done.
Jose- “Like what?”, he asked again.
Finally the word came out, steroids.
Even once it came up though, Canseco found his way around it without even saying the word once.
Jose- “I tend to know the game more than most,” Canseco said. “If it comes to experience, knowledge of the game and knowing how to teach it, I can do that easily. If it has to do with media or public perception, that’s a whole different story. I’m here not to impress you guys and not to impress the fans. If I’m in a managerial position, I’m going to help out the guys and win.”
When asked if he thought it would be hard to transition in managing, Canseco answered by taking a shot at Ozzie Guillen, manager of the Miami Marlins.
Jose- “Put it this way: If Ozzie Guillen can manage a major league team, then you guys [reporters] can do it to,” Canseco said.
Based on that answer, Jose is back and he hasn’t changed to much!
Canseco wouldn’t comment on anything related to drugs, including the ongoing trial for his former teammate Roger Clemens.
An hour after hitting two bombs during his 25-swing batting practice session, Canseco was introduced to mostly boos from the few hundred fans in attendance.
Coming to bat as the team’s cleanup man and designated hitter in the first inning, Canseco worked a full count, fouling two balls off, before earning a walk.
During his second at-bat he walked again on four pitches. It took until his third at-bat before he finally registered his first official at-bat in the sixth when he took an off-balance swing at a 1-2 curveball for a strikeout, which drew loud cheers.
His night came to a close with a three-pitch strikeout in the eighth inning of the Bears’ 9-2 win.
Tim Raines- “I told my guys that you better get him now because if he gets hot, its over,” said, Tim Raines, former major league all-star and Bears director of player development. “He got two walks but sometimes pitchers pitch to a name rather than the guy at the plate.”
The man in charge of each one of those pitches was Bears catcher, Billy Alvino. He was clearly excited to see what Canseco has left in the tank.
Billy Alvino- “He’s definitly a specimen,” Alvino said. “It was exciting to see what he has left in the tank. We pitched to him like anybody in their lineup. In the first two at-bats we got away from our mechanics, but by the last two we had settled in.”
Canseco will be looking for better results the rest of the season. Whether this experiment works or not though, there will only be one Jose Canseco, and he has already left his mark.
Jose- “It’s going to be a hands-on learning process,” Canseco said. “Just getting back into the rhythm of the game and getting to know the players at the same time.”