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Volume 68, Issue 151, Wednesday, June 25, 2003


Former 'A' Canseco gets 'F' off the field

Ed De La Garza
The Mendoza Line

When Jose Canseco was a member of the Oakland Ais, he and Mark McGwire were the unbeatable Bash Brothers. Any season where they didnit combine for at least 90 home runs was an anomaly.

McGwire left California for St. Louis and became the modern-day Babe Ruth. Canseco also left Oakland, but he bounced around Texas, Boston, Toronto, Tampa Bay, the New York Yankees and the Chicago White Sox. He became a player more famous for off-the-field problems than for hitting homers.

He threw his wife around (allegedly); used steroids throughout a career that included 462 home runs, 1,407 RBIs and 200 stolen bases; was involved in a Miami nightclub brawl; and was put under house arrest for violating probation.

He offered fans the chance to spend the day with him at a cost of $2,500 per person. He severed his ties with Major League Baseball by blaming all of his problems on racism and alleging he wasnit the only star player using steroids. The latter is probably true, but heis done nothing but appear bitter about his career since retiring last year.

Now heis locked inside a cell until a July 21 hearing to determine whether he violated his probation by testing positive for steroids. It could be called sad, but Canseco hasnit done anything to endear himself to baseball. You get the feeling this isnit the last thing youill be hearing about him. Itis just the latest.

Around the bases

The Texas Rangers and Montreal Expos are awaiting Juan Gonzalezis approval for a trade that would send the outfielder to Canada for an undisclosed player. The Rangers (27-47), still reeling from a 22-game stretch in which theyive gone 2-20, look to be in fire-sale mode. Gonzalez has a no-trade clause and could veto the deal. Heis hitting .286 with 18 home runs and 50 RBIs.

In red-hot All-Star action, Atlanta Braves second baseman Marcus Giles passed Houstonis Jeff Kent in voting. The Braves could end up with three starters (including Gary Sheffield and Rafael Furcal) in the 2003 All-Star Game on July 15. Itis OK. After the Braves beat the Astros in the first round of the playoffs, they can go ahead and flame out in the NLCS.

Kent is still nursing a sore left wrist and is listed as day-to-day. He received a cortisone shot Sunday. Roy Oswalt is on the 15-day disabled list. And the Astros still donit have a No. 3 starter.

Barry Bonds, 38, cemented his place as the greatest player of this era when he stole his 500th career base Monday night against Los Angeles. With 633 home runs, heis the only player in major league history to hit 500 or more homers and steal 500 bases. Heis the only player with 400 and 400.

Alex Rodriguez is touted as his chief competitor for todayis greatest player. At 28 he already has 316 home runs and 167 stolen bases. Heis young and just entering the prime of his career, but he likely wonit pass Bonds in steals. Heid have to maintain his current production for the next 10 years.

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