Jose Canseco is smarter than we think
If you follow Jose Canseco on Twitter, you are well aware that he loves attention.
The former Red Sox DH and current hot mess has a knack for drumming up media hype for himself and his family members using his Twitter account and enjoys tweeting helpful advice and updates on where he is and what he’s up to.
Recently, Canseco was in the news when his attempt to clean four of his guns at once backfired, so to speak, and he shot off his finger. As he is known to do, he was able to turn the situation into publicity for himself, tweeting updates about his condition and landing an interview with “Inside Edition.” The saga continued when Canseco’s reattached finger fell off during a poker game and the first thing he thought to do, naturally, was put it up for sale on eBay before admitting that it was just a prank and his finger never actually fell off.
While this situation gets weirder by the day, it is not the most bizarre, or creative, way he has attempted to keep himself relevant. There is an interesting past Canseco endeavor that is worth revisiting and it proves that he is not the dolt he seems to be on the surface.
It all began in December 2012 when author Dan Ryckert engaged Canseco in this Twitter exchange:
Ryckert, the author of Air Force Gator, must have forgotten he was dealing with a Vice magazine columnist and author of Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant ‘Roids, Smash Hits, and How Baseball Got Big, and Vindicated: Big Names, Big Liars, and the Battle to Save Baseball, because then this happened:
While the Juiced iPhone video game unfortunately never came to fruition, Air Force Gator 2: Scales of Justice did become a real book with a fantastic foreword. Canseco’s stunningly insightful introduction is essentially an analytical review of what he believes is his own biography:
"Note from Dan Ryckert: As discussed with Mr. Canseco the following foreword is copied and pasted directly from the text he sent me. He’s a really dumb guy, and I didn’t want to take any time editing his writing to make him look any better.Air Force Gator is a thinly disguised metaphorical depiction of my life. As you remember from the first book, AFG was world famous and legendary amongst his peers due to his prowess achieved by taking the chemical GatorAid, then fell into being shunned and discarded by the world only to return in triumphant vindication and once again take his rightful place as a saviour of humanity. Sound familiar? Gatoraid — Steroids. Famous and legendary — that was me. Shunned and blackballed – that’s what MLB did to me. An evil nemesis Gustav — that’s Bud Selig. Vindicated and Triumphant – again me as I turned out to be the only one telling the truth about the Steroid Era and ended up saving baseball. It was unauthorized and weakly veiled but we all know what Dan was doing here.Air Force Gator II, or whatever the hell Dan is calling this sequel, continues the chronicling of my resurrection in society and the good that I am able to do for all. There are more assumptions made in this book as it is not as anthropomorphically historical as AFG I but is a highly probable prediction of things I will be able to accomplish. Kind of a tome of reptilian based Nostradamus Canseco prophesies. The writing is mediocre and the plot development is a bit pedestrian for my taste, but read with the knowledge that this is really about Jose Canseco will keep you turning its pages late into the night. It’s like Sid Meier’s Civilization or eating popcorn in that you know it’s really not that good for you but you just can’t stop.Dan’s future as a writer is uncertain, so enjoy this literary effort as there may not be a lot of Ryckert publications to fill up your kindle in the future. I will tell you this though, that without Dan Ryckert the story of Air Force Gator never would have been told.hug for u,Jose Canseco #33"
Overlooking how amazingly random this is, there are some really intelligently complex ideas here to sort through. First of all, Canseco’s ability to so deeply consider and explain the perceived metaphors in this book indicates that his analytical mind is sound and rivals that of any literature professor I had in college. The second paragraph is the most impressive, particularly when he admits that his life is like a bad habit that is just too enjoyable to quit—exactly like the experience of following him on Twitter. Canseco knows that we know this and that is why he is able to keep coming up with innovative ways to get his name in the news, like finding a way to convince people that a book called Air Force Gator 2: Scales of Justice is really the story of Major League Baseball and steroids.
I haven’t read this particular literary work because I’m not one to waste my time with pedestrian plots, especially if they aren’t very anthropomorphically historical, though I do wonder if Ryckert included a situation in which the main character metaphorically needs Tommy John surgery after throwing only 33 pitches at Fenway Park in the only pitching appearance of his baseball career. But you get the gist of the important parts of the story from Canseco’s foreword, in which he is able to both make you want to read and not want to read this book.
Jose Canseco is not an idiot, as the very author of this book in which he proves this believes he is. While the gun incident doesn’t exactly paint a picture of a high watt mind, it could have been staged for attention like in that Sopranos episode. His attempts to gain attention may be unconventional and make him look like a joke, but they work. And they work because we pay attention, just like he knows we will because he’s actually smart.
Or at the very least, not oblivious.