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Sports

‘Shy Guy’ Jose Canseco Wants to Fight Bud Selig

Jose Canseco answered some questions for us while playing poker.

by Anthony Pappalardo
Mar 16 2012, 9:30pm

In 1986, a Cuban named Jose Canseco made everyone forget who their favorite baseball player was. His combination of power and speed helped change baseball and his rookie card was coveted by every American boy with a passing interest in the sport. Years later, the cards are worth pennies and a man with 462 home runs is shunned by the sport he helped breathe life into. Sportswriters and baseball commissioner Bud Selig might want to erase the excitement Jose, Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, and other alleged and admitted steroid users created, but there was no ban on either HGH or anabolic steroids until after Canseco retired. Selig was only too happy to look the other way as the seats filled and the game morphed from athletic small ball to gladiators swatting mammoth home runs. Would Van Halen fans be mad at Diamond Dave for doing a pile of pre-show blow to give them the most exciting concert possible? Why shame the equally flamboyant Canseco for pursuing records, success, and fame and seeking an edge? Canseco, 47, is younger than Rockies pitcher Jamie Moyer, and still believes he can play baseball, and that he "will come out with a new product soon that stops the aging process by 40% and it's totally legal" and most recently led a campaign to fight Shaq in an MMA bout. I sent him some questions about all of this, and he emailed me back some answers, saying “Leila typed it for me while I was playing poker.” (The subject line, by the way, was “Vuce Magazine.”) All answers are unedited.

VICE: Now that Shaq has officially said he's in for the MMA fight, I'd like to know why you chose him as your opponent.
Jose Canseco: Actually, Shaq challenged me first. I am not afraid of anyone. I fought a 7-foot-2 giant in Japan and I didn’t back down. If someone challenges me, they better be prepared to suffer the consequences. Lots of people don’t like me for whatever reason, but I am actually a very shy guy, but trouble always comes looking for me. I look forward to the challenge of Shaq.

If you could fight three people living or dead, who would they be?
I would love to get in the ring with Mike Tyson. The baddest man in the planet. Shaq was another one and maybe Bud Selig but he is too old. But Tyson is my holy grail. I would love to make that fight happen.

Why do you think no team is willing to give you a tryout? There's no harm in a small market club seeing how you swing the bat, and you're obviously in good shape. If Manny Ramirez can fail a test and get signed with the A’s, what is blackballing you, in your opinion?
I don’t understand how people get several chances and I never got a second chance. Lots of team are afraid of my age, reputation or they just want to blackball me. I can still play at a high level and in great shape. I hit a ball over 500 feet at a real Triple-A Mexican League game the other day. I love playing the game and would do anything to have one more at bat in the big leagues. I know I can still play.

In your opinion what's worse: Shaq's acting skills or his rapping? 
I think the only thing Shaq was good at was hiding behind Kobe Bryant.

Should there be an alternate baseball league with a shorter schedule where performance enhancers are allowed? Right now we're seeing several high-caliber players without jobs, and a bunch of retired players we'd all be nostalgic to see.
I would love to start a nostalgic league. However, most people my age are not in shape to play. A year or two after they retire they get bloated and unrecognizable. I am 47 and can still play full seasons. I wish someone would make the senior league baseball like they did in the early 90s in Florida. Imagine having myself, Terry Steinbach and several other players playing.

Who do you think is winning the World Series?
This is tough. A lot of teams got good this offseason. If I can ever hit behind Jose Bautista from the Blue Jays, I bet the Blue Jays will win World Series.

What's your exercise regimen like?
I work out four hours a day. I do weight training for three hours and cardio for an hour. I watch what I eat and I train religiously. I always prided myself in being in shape. I’m 47 but I look 30 and feel 25.

Any regrets on exposing steroids in baseball?
The biggest regret I ever did in my life is write the book Juiced. I wished I had a time machine and go back and never do it. It ruined my life and friendships. It is very hard to live with myself for what I did. I have been apologizing for the last three years. I hate myself for doing it.

Most dysfunctional clubhouse you've been a part of?
After exposing lots of secrets in Juiced it is not wise to talk about clubhouse. Lol

What was Billy Beane like as a player?
Billy Beane was a great person and a very good looking guy. he had lots of charisma and really brighten up the room. Superstar looks, but he was not a very good player. He tried very hard, but things never went his way. He was a good teammate.

There's no lack of sluggers playing baseball today, who's your favorite player to watch?
I like watching a lot of these power hitters in Ryan Howard and Prince Fielder. Takes me back to when I used to hit those long shots. Not a better feeling than that.

@LiveSuburbia