- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
Eventually, his mother's death taught him a different lesson. "I put everything into perspective," he says. "I thought, Why am I taking baseball so seriously? And I decided to just give it my best shot. No more fooling around. And if I didn't make it, I'd get on with my life. I don't take anything too seriously now." Says his best friend on the A's, shortstop Walt Weiss: "Jose is the same guy, totally carefree, after every game. You can't tell if he's got four K's or four home runs."
Still, Canseco misses his mother. "I think of her every day," he says. "I wish she was here all the time. Just to come watch the games."
Every week during the off-season, without fail, Esther and Jose go to the cemetery in Miami and place his mother's favorite flowers on her grave: red roses.
Jose Canseco wears a mantle of irresponsibility. Before the fifth game of the '88 World Series with the Dodgers, in the middle of an awful slump, he told reporters he didn't want to be expected to carry the team. When the A's lost that Series, Canseco went home to Miami to find himself nose to nose with sour-faced friends. "Hey, Jose, I lost a lot of money on you," they said. Or, "Hey, Jose, I lost my house on you."
This wounded Canseco deeply. If there is one thing he cannot stand, it's expectations. "What am I, some kind of machine?" he says. "I'm not a machine who will hit four home runs and steal two bases a game. I'm a person."
Must the whole world be just like his father?
Jose Canseco, on the whole, goes on with his life more happily than you would ever believe. He has friends, money, love, strength and a very long home run swing. He is young, handsome, funny and cares almost nothing about what you or I think about him. He does not want to be your robot, hero, villain, role model, autograph, criminal, bank account, scientific experiment or savior.
"I'm just human," he says. "If you cut me, I'll bleed."
Who says the monster never wins?