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Jose Canseco is having another typical night on the road. It's Cleveland, Esther is with him, they've been asleep in their hotel room since 3 a.m. (They like to watch late-night TV and sleep until one or two o'clock in the afternoon.) But now somebody is trying to kick in their door. KA-THUNK, KA-THUNK. The door is aching to come off its hinges. Outside, a voice wails, "Come out here, Canseco! Get out here, you scumbag!"
Canseco is used to it. Almost without breaking out of REM, he turns to his wife and says, "Call security."
Later, he offers a simple explanation for the incident: "Probably a reporter."
Jose Canseco can't stand Will Clark. "Somebody on television the other day called Clark the best player in baseball," Canseco says in Cleveland about the San Francisco Giants first baseman. "I almost threw up. I know at least 10 players who are better than him."
Later he will say: "Tell me how a first baseman can be the best player in baseball. He doesn't have to run, and he doesn't have to throw. How many first basemen steal bases? Name one. I dare you. You can't."
Canseco says pretty much the same thing about Don Mattingly: "Can't run, no arm." Of Angel first baseman Wally Joyner he once said, "Talentwise, he can't carry my jock." But he saves his best stuff for Clark. "Will Clark, you big dummy," he says in Milwaukee. "I'm making a million more than you are. You overrated, slow, three-toed sloth with no arms. You hear me, boy?"
The next day, Canseco is heard explaining to his teammates what a sloth is.
Jose Canseco knows from sloths. He is the Marlin Perkins of major league baseball. He devours National Geographic, any science fiction novel, and anything PBS cares to throw him about animals, especially Jacques Cousteau specials.
His favorite sea creature? "Sharks," he says. "Because they're prehistoric."
Jose Canseco cried the first time he got a B. He and Ozzie were both straight-A students through junior high school. When Jose got the B in high school, it didn't register. "I didn't understand B's," he says.