loves a good monster movie, with only one complaint. "Every time, the good
guy wins, the good guy wins," he says. "Why can't the monster ever
Jose Canseco sits
on the Oakland A's bus, looking out at 500 people who can't decide whether they
want to bronze him, buy him a beer or bust him right in his handsome mouth.
Canseco has come
out of the players' entrance at Cleveland Stadium and hopped on the bus without
signing an autograph, and now the crowd is thinking Attica. Canseco doesn't
sign because the fans mark up his shirts with their pens, paw at his clothes
and smother him so tightly that "all they end up getting is something that
looks like an X," he says. Besides, in Arlington, Texas, once, a little boy
was pinned against a railing by a rush of Canseco autograph seekers. A group of
reporters had to come in and free the youngster.
On the bus,
Canseco yells to a reporter, "You go out there. You'd come back with no
clothes and one arm."
The 500 get
desperate. Some try the sweetness approach. "Can-SAY-co! Can-SAY-co!"
They can see him vaguely through the tinted glass of the bus. They know it's
Jose, and they're pining for just a dollop from his pen on their posters and
hats and baseball cards. Some try threats. A man in an orange hat is screaming
into the open door of the bus, "Too much money! Too much goddam money!"
Some try insults. "Hey, Jose, give us the five-million-dollar wave!"
"You bum, come out here!" "Let's see your steroid muscles!"
As the bus pulls
away, the desperate ones do something curious: They try to take pictures of him
through the dark glass—with flashes, no less.
"Why do they
do that?" a player on the bus asks. "They know it won't come
Canseco, you take what he gives you.
world is big. His home runs are big. His houses—in Miami and Oakland—are big.
His Cigarette boat is big, 42 feet from stem to stern, with room for 20 people.
He was the major leagues' biggest vote-getter for this year's All-Star Game in
Chicago, yet he drew by far the biggest boos in Wrigley Field. His wife,
Esther, is little, but her hair is big. His pile of money is very big; he makes
$4.7 million a year, or $536 an hour, even as he sleeps. His laugh is big. When
he screws up, he screws up extra big. His talent is enormously big, almost as
big as his potential. He's big physically—6'4", 240 pounds—though his waist
is small, size 33. His bat is about the biggest anybody swings—35 inches and 35
ounces. His public image is big: arrogant and immature, armed and dangerous,
egocentric and selfish. But the misconceptions are even bigger. You think you
know this guy? Big mistake.
Jose Canseco is
the subject, and San Francisco Examiner columnist Bill Mandel, a man who has
never met him, offers this: "I'm from New York and in New York there is a
word for guys like Canseco, and that word is schmuck."