Canseco still centre of attention

DERRICK NEWMAN, Special to QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:44 AM ET

CALGARY - Quickly approaching his 47th birthday, Jose Canseco is taking each day as it comes and trying to enjoy every minute he has left playing baseball.

“I love to play the game, and as long as you can play the game, you want to hold onto it as long as possible,” the 1988 American League MVP said prior to his Yuma Scorpions taking on the Calgary Vipers at Foothills Stadium Tuesday night.

Canseco has become an ambassador for the North American Baseball League, as every ballpark he sets foot in, he has been the centre of attention.

“It’s great because you want to market the league,” Canseco said. “Independent baseball is based on how many fans you can get to the ballpark.

“You have to have the big names, the ex-major leaguers, and the great thing about the ex-major leaguers is that they can still play the game.”

Canseco hasn’t exactly been the symbol of consistency this season as a torn left bicep injury in his first game, ironically against the Vipers, has significantly hindered his production and playing time in the first couple months.

On Tuesday at Foothills, Canseco popped out to deep centre in the second inning, singled in the fourth, struck out swinging in the fifth and flew out to left field in his last at-bat in the eighth.

His Scorpions (10-20) fell 4-1 to the host Vipers (19-14),

who were led by starting pitcher Stephen Whalen (4-2).

Canseco was greeted to a chorus of cheers and audible boos by 2,125 fans every time he stepped up to the plate.

The 6-foot-four, 240-lb. former MLB superstar also rushed out of the dugout in the second inning as his catcher Zach Larson was caught with a corked bat and ruled out.

Controversy apparently has followed Canseco into Canada as well.

When confronted about his past steroid use, Canseco took offence to the way people have painted him as the “big bad boy of baseball.”

“From the media, I’ve got no respect,” the two-time World Series champion said.

“From players in baseball,

I have though.

“I have an identical twin brother,” said Canseco of Ozzie, who didn’t make the trip with the Scorpions because of passport issues.

“We used the same steroids. We did the same workouts. We had the same nutritional diet. Why didn’t he make it to the major leagues and become a major league superstar?

“It’s pretty simple, steroids don’t make you a superstar — you make you a superstar.”

cal-sports@sunmedia.ca


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