On his website, josecanseco.com, he is auctioning off all his baseball souvenirs, most of which were scattered across his dining-room table last week: his MVP plaque, two World Series rings, a photograph with Queen Elizabeth. Said his agent, Doug Ames, "He told me, 'If it's from baseball, get it outta here.' "
And yet, in the next room, on a TV screen just smaller than a queen-sized mattress, a 25-year-old Canseco was circling the bases at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore. Watching the highlight video were Joe Santer, 22, and his 21-year-old girlfriend, Genie Ficks. Santer, responding to a solicitation on Canseco's website, had paid $2,500 to Spend a Day with Jose. "My friends," Santer said, "think I'm crazy."
Santer works the third shift at a window factory in Selins Grove, Pa. A "33" medallion (Canseco's old number) dangled from his neck. How long had he labored to spend a single afternoon with his hero? "Every night," he said, "for the past month and a half."
Before Friday's arrest Canseco had sold 30 future visits to his home, some of them on the installment plan. "We have an Oakland cop who made two payments," said Ames.
When I left, Santer and Ficks were in the pool with Canseco, chatting about baseball. Not all of his memories are bad. "I remember once up in Boston, during the playoffs, the fans were chanting "STAIR-oids! STAIR-oids!" said Canseco. "So I flexed my arm at them like that." He flexed like the guy on the Arm & Hammer box.
"And they went crazy," he continued. "It was funny because I won the crowd over by acknowledging them. A lot of times the fans just want to be acknowledged. So if you say, 'Hi,' or just have fun with them, they say, 'Hey, he's just like us. He's a nice guy.' "