Jose Canseco is not a good guy. That's fair to say, right? He is an opportunistic and petty guy, he oozes sleaze, and throughout the steroids mess the only person that has been less repentant than Canseco is Barry Bonds. Canseco claims he was Patient Zero for Major League Baseball's steroids era. It's even worse that seems rather proud of it.
What's more, Canseco has ratted out a lot of people. He has done so with little regard for their personal or professional well-being. And wouldn't you know it: Baseball players don't really like being ratted out, do they?
“My first thought was: ‘I wonder who’s going to be the first one to shoot him,’” [former Sox player] Ron Kittle told the Tribune’s Fred Mitchell in Tuesday’s editions. “I still think somebody who might have had their life ruined might take vengeance on him. If I were [Canseco], I would think about that. ... it is unfortunate that it has been brought out in the open like this. It is damaging to MLB. And it is damaging to the people who played in MLB.”
Those are the words of former Sox player Ron Kittle, who apparently thinks Jose Canseco's life is in danger. I wouldn't go that far. Most of the people Canseco has touted as steroids users are people that have made millions upon millions of dollars. Personal pride is one thing. Throwing away your life to take revenge on some untrustworthy guy that wrote about you in a barely-English book would be sillier than taking steroids in the first place.
But the core of Kittle's comments seem to be that Jose Canseco has damaged baseball by talking about steroids. No. That's not true. If anything, Canseco deserves credit -- perverse credit, sure, but credit all the same -- for being willing to talk about steroids in an open manner. He helped blow the lid off MLB's steroids era. Without Canseco, there is so much more we would never know. If Canseco damaged MLB, he did it by taking steroids in the first place. Talking about steroids? It's hard to see that as part of the damage.
Eamonn Brennan is a writer, editor and blogger hunkered down in Lincoln Park. You can also read him at Yahoo! Sports, FanHouse, MOUTHPIECE Sports Blog, and Inside The Hall, or at his personal site, eamonnbrennan.com.