Q: How did you prepare for the interview and what were your expectations?
A:I started with his book. Reading “Juiced” covers a lot of bases—his divorces, his childhood, how he became the ‘Godfather of Steroids’, his exile from major league baseball, and so on. I had also been following Canseco on Twitter, where he’s beyond entertaining. We chatted on the phone a couple of times and I knew from the first minute I spoke to him that this was going to be one crazy interview.
What surprised me most after I met him is that he actually isn’t crazy, the man he presents to the world— often inappropriate but entertaining —is all a show. Canseco is a private guy who’d prefer a night in as opposed to going out to the clubs. He doesn’t drink more than a beer or two when he goes out, he doesn’t do any recreational drugs.
He likes his privacy. The man behind all those tweets is laughing as he writes them and just waiting for our reactions. At the heart of Canseco is a nice guy who acts a certain way to make money and get attention. For the most part, it works.
Q: In the article, you first meet Canseco on a golf course with a few of his friends. He immediately asks you to fake an orgasm in front of him. When you declines, he does his best impression of what you may sound like and threatens to end the interview if you don’t comply. He’s joking of course, we think. What were you thinking about that encounter?
A:Yes, that moment on the golf course was definitely the most uncomfortable. At the same time though, I was laughing the entire time. Just picture this six foot four, two hundred and forty pounds former Major Leaguer faking a woman’s orgasm on a golf course. It was hilarious. I think I was a little shocked too that he would ask a reporter to do that.
It really showed Canseco doesn’t hold anything back, which was also quite refreshing. He doesn’t just deliver sound bites. He says whatever’s on his mind. In that instance on the golf course, I’ll admit I didn’t really appreciate it, but throughout the two days he was incredibly honest, and I did appreciate that.
Q: Major league players don’t always have the best stories in the post-playing days. One of the names that come to mind is Pete Rose. If you had to compare, which story do you find more tragic?
A: That’s a tough one, especially since I’ve never met Pete Rose. But I think I’d have to go with him, because Canseco in a sense can still live out his dream on a tiny scale in that he’s still playing baseball. We associate Canseco with steroids but Pete Rose’s legacy is even more tarnished. He was the best hitter we have ever seen but more people associate him with gambling and being banned from baseball.
Also, Canseco discussed doing a radio show with Pete Rose which I think that would be pretty awesome.
Q: Since Canseco is such a fascinating character, I figure there were anecdotes that didn’t make it into the final edit of the profile. Feel free to share one.
A: About a week before we met, he sent a text message to my work land line that said: “Call me baby, it’s Jose.” It was about 4 in the morning in Las Vegas. I called him later that day and it turned out he’d mixed up my phone number with a girl he met at the club.
He laughed it off, said his ears were still ringing, and that he doesn’t go out much. Then he asked me if I wanted to play strip poker when I visited the next week. He has his own table at home. I declined that offer. The first time we talked he spent the first ten minutes trying to look me up on Facebook because he wanted to see pictures of me.
He also couldn’t believe I was going to visit him in Las Vegas and said I “might not make it back in one piece.” I won’t lie, I was a little nervous after that.