What I like about Jose Canseco

So last week I had the chance to meet Jose Canseco.

Glenn Francis photo, via Wikimedia Commons

Jose Canseco was in Ottawa last week.

Canseco was at a local mall signing items for charity. It was $10 per item, and $10 for a photo. The next day, he participated in a home run contest, also for charity. From what I’ve heard and read, all money raised from the home run contest and the autograph signing went straight to the charities.

That was great. The same day as the home run contest, William Shatner was also in town. He was charging $75 per signed item, and $75 per photo taken. I’m pretty sure all proceeds from that didn’t go to charity.

So Canseco deserves to be praised for doing something that may seem like such a small gesture, but it can be pretty rare in today’s society for a celebrity to do.

That got me thinking about Canseco. He’s done a lot of great things over the years. Too often, people focus on the negative. I thought I would give him some credit for what he’s done.

Like most baseball followers, I enjoyed watching Canseco play. The power in which he hit home runs was awesome. Didn’t he once hit a ball into the fifth deck at the Toronto Skydome?

During the late 1980s and early 1990s, there was hardly a baseball player better than Canseco.

He could hit for power. He was fast on the bases (he was the first player to ever hit 40 home runs and steal 40 bases in the same season). He won two World Series, and four Silver Slugger Awards.

And yes, he did steroids. So did many other people at the time. Canseco was one of the few (and maybe the only) that openly admitted it. Yes, what he did was wrong, but he deserves some credit for at least coming out and saying he was doing steroids, as opposed to others who claimed they never did it and got caught, or would dodge around the question when asked.

But I’m not here to talk about the steroid use. I’m here to talk about what I like about Jose Canseco.

For me, I really admire the way he’s not scared to tackle new things.

And whether he’s successful or not, it doesn’t stop him from trying fresh experiences.

For example, he wrote a book. Most people know this. But it became a New York Times bestseller. It shook up the baseball world. The people he said did steroids denied it, but no one ever sued. Most of them have since been found out that yes, they did indeed do steroids.

Canseco has done mixed martial arts. He tried celebrity boxing. He became a contestant of the Celebrity Apprentice and The Surreal Life.

And he’s done charity work.

Instead of staying out of the spotlight, he’s willing to take on new challenges.

So yeah, some people don’t like him. I’m on the other side of the fence. I think it’s great he’s willing to keep doing things that entertain himself and others. Or that he’s willing to help raise money and awareness for charity. He deserves some applause for that.

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