Review of Jose Canseco's Juiced

Not really a SEO related book, but I used to watch a ton of baseball and sold baseball cards in high school, so I was interested in reading Jose Canseco's Juiced.
Jose said he had arthritis, scoliosis, and degenerative disc disease, and believes he would have never been able to play at the major league level without steroids.

Juiced presents steroids as the way forward for professional sports - and life for many people in general - saying that used properly they make for better athletes and a better life.

I do not know as much about the subject as he does, but I am not so confident he can predict the side effect of steroid use after many generations. Does it eventually cause higher occurances of cancer, increased violoence, or other diseases?

He also talks about how mentally stable he is and talked about how he had a mental breakdown when he was in jail. Some drugs or health supplements don't really screw with you really bad until you stop taking them, which sometimes is forced to happen due to economic reasons, manufacturer profitability, or personal / social reasons.

Jose also slightly bashes other drug usage, which makes his approval of steroids sound a bit hypocritical.

Inferiority Complex:
He goes into his background about being somewhat shy and reserved and not having a high self image, particularly because no matter what he did his father was hard on him (citing how his dad asked him what happened in his other at bats when he called his dad to tell him he hit 3 home runs in a June 1994 baseball game with the Texas Rangers). He stated that many media members took his shyness as arrogence.

Jose felt he was getting picked on frequently because he was a minority (especially in the minors as a latin baseball player in the 1980's) and he didn't know how to handle the media well. Even mentioning that he got pulled over going 202 miles an hour and got no ticket, it seems he generally forgot many of the breaks he did get.

He also talks about some of the general coruption that surrounds baseball, stating things like:

  • some players cheating on their wives and naming many players who also used steroids

  • "And, given how quiet he was about the subject at the time, I was pretty surprised years later when Bush actually raised the issue of steroids in his January 2004 State of the Union address. By then, it seemed to me that a lot of people, Bush included, were trying to turn this into a witch hunt - even though they themselves had played a role in helping move the steroid revolution forward, by giving a berth to me and other steroid-using players during my heyday, and benefiting from our enhanced performance." (p. 134)
  • "Believe me, if as an athlete, you don't do charity events for umpires, they start opening up the strike zone on you as a hitter." (p 162)
  • "The funny part is, there might have been a few players who didn't even know what was in the shots they were getting. I never pulled any of them aside and asked, "Did you know he's injecting you with steroids?" I just assumed they all knew, but looking back I am not so sure. There may have been a few who were so out of it that they weren't even aware of what was going on." (p. 211)

Good Old Boys Club:
He talked about the good old boys club and how guys like Cal Ripken, Mark McGwire, and Alex Rodriguez got a free pass while guys like Albert Belle and him were left in the cold.

Passing the Buck:
When Jose got into baseball many people used speed (baseball drug usage goes way back), but over time much of that drug usage shifted to steroids.

After the 1994 strike baseball was in the hurt locker, so Jose believed the owners did not care about the spreading use of steroids because they were helping to revive the game. Eventually baseball grew more popular but player salaries started to get out of hand and then the owners flipped their position to market steroids as a huge problem. Jose said he was one of the first people to be blackballed from baseball for steroids.

Stuck in the Past:
He also seems to focus a bit much effort on what might have been, talking about being 37 homers shy of the 500 club, getting traded away from the league leading A's, and about he got robbed by the 1994 strike in what would have been a career year, stating that he would have liked to see what the Rangers could do in the off season. Sure they were leading the AL West, but they were an embarrassing 10 games under 500.

On the last page of the book he says "Do I think about the disappointments I've had in life? Not much." which is something you would not get by reading the rest of it.

Why I felt Mentioning this Book is Relevant to this site:
With the one off controvercy associated with writing the book many people will blow off Jose as writing it as a plublicity stunt or revenge tactic, perhaps even saying that he was just whining.

If he fully believed in what he is saying, imagine how many links it would build if he had a related website and perhaps a regularly updated journal about the topics covered in the book.

Ratting out others does little to build credibility and tell the just makes him look like a whiner.

The more controvercial a story is the easier it is to spread. Sure a book can help tell a story, but if you really want to change public perception you have to give them a reason to keep coming back to you to keep hearing more of your story.

Now I am not saying he should say "I just injected a load of powerdose deca and blah blah blah..." but certainly there is something he can mention other than what seemed to be a bit self centered and self serving of a book.

Rafael Palmerio, who Canseco cited as a juicer, recently failed a steroid test. Lots of ditto head sports writers are writing contentless rehash opinion articles. Imagine how much traffic Canseco's site would be getting if he gave his take on the story.

The regular news media is a goldmine for SEO, especially when they are driving such targeted traffic.

Also, as far as the good old boys club goes, that happens in any job or social network. In the Navy I was absolutely not part of the good old boys club. At my second job, as a middle level manager, I quicly was, but that was perhaps out of dire need and the fact that my boss was not willing to show people respect I usually was. When I first got on the web I absolutely was not in any sort of a club. Now though some of the people who in the past took time out of their day to send me hate mail link into my sites. Whenever you start off in a new network it takes a while to earn your trust level, and you have to put up with a ton of crap off the start.

Not too long ago I asked Dan Thies "What were the biggest surprises that came out of writing books about SEO?" and he replied:

The biggest surprise was how much hostility came out of the SEO people. They didn't like my sales letter, and figured me for just another marketer. I had to do some things to make my point, like pushing my sales site up into the rankings for "search engine optimization," which was pretty easy to do, but the "optimized" copy didn't sell as well.

When you jump into a new field you can think everyone is evil or recognize hard times and overwork / underpaid as a passing phase and part of breaking into any field. After a while things change if you work hard and want them to, but if you think everyone is out to get you then you can make life much harder on yourself, as Jose gracefully did.

Published: August 5, 2005 by Aaron Wall in book reviews


October 27, 2006 - 9:48pm

Could have been better IMO. Worth reading if you like baseball

Add new comment

(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.
(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.
(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.