OTTAWA - Jose Canseco eats A&W, just like the rest of us.
The baseball legend, in town for a charity home run derby Saturday, took a few minutes to chow down on dinner in between greeting fans at Hazeldean Mall Friday afternoon.
Canseco had just landed in Ottawa after missing an earlier flight, running about 30 minutes late to greet fans, sign autographs and take a few pictures.
Young and old lined up to meet their hero, an athlete whose career spans decades and a few scandals — notoriety that follows him into the Twittersphere.
Canseco made his way to the capital following a Twitter challenge. Bold Ottawan Evan Malamud invited Canseco via Twitter to attend a home run derby in support of CHEO’s autism program.
On April 26, Canseco Tweeted a confirmation of his plans.
“Ottawa here I come May 12. Charity for autism. Homer challenge. Who says I don’t have a heart. Love Canada fans. Anything for kids,” he wrote.
In the lead-up to Saturday’s derby, Canseco set aside some time for his faithful followers on Friday afternoon.
Jeff Brown waited more than three hours to meet Canseco and was the first to grace his presence. A fan since 1986, Brown was at a loss for words after Canseco signed his jersey as well as his young son’s.
Brown said his best memory of Canseco is when he founded the 40-40 club.
Other fans happened upon the opportunity to meet the legend.
Jordan Johnston was driving into Ottawa for an appointment when he heard on the radio that Canseco would be making an appearance at Hazeldean Mall.
The mega-fan took a detour for his chance to meet one of the greats.
“It was a very lucky coincidence,” he said. “One of the best days of my life, honestly.”
Johnston got three pictures taken, and was still shaking with excitement after his brief encounter with Canseco.
As for Canseco, Friday’s appearance was just a warm-up for Saturday.
The audacious athlete with years of experience had no doubts about his ability to perform at Saturday’s derby.
“I’m going to win. Period,” he said with a smile.
The derby starts at 2 p.m. at Ottawa Stadium.