March 23, 2009

A&E Biographies - Andre the Giant & Jose Canseco

Saturday I wasn't feeling so well, so I was laying in bed watching the Villanova game and at the half I was channel surfing. I came across the A&E biography of Andre the Giant (I am going out on a limb here that you all know who he is) and was instantly sucked in. I used to love the old school WWF matches, and went to a whole bunch of them as a kid. I once had ringside seats when the Bushwhackers were still wrestling, I did not get licked but let me tell you the fake teeth were a flyin'. At any rate, I never knew Andre's background, and how he got into the WWF so I found all the old footage very cool and informative. Some of that footage I still remember, like Andre choking Bob Uecker.

After this was over it was followed up with Jose Canseco: Last Shot, which cemented me into my bed for yet another hour of tv watching. Again, another athlete that I watched as a kid and him and McGwire were the guys all the kids wanted a rookie card of. Even as a youngster I was keenly aware of baseball cards, and potential value. The story was rather interesting, and was mostly about his life after baseball. Jose is still jacked, and was still taking steriods at the start of the filming of the biography. 24 years of injecting himself with steroids, and still going... We were taken on a small tour of his current life, meeting his girlfriend, touring his house, seeing him play on his softball team, and going on doctor visits. Jose has lived in I believe they said 7 different residences in the past 5 years, and his current address required a year's rent down because he has filed for bankruptcy. During the filming he quit using steroids, and has had problems with his testosterone levels as a result, and was put on medication to try and regulate that.

One part that was rather interesting was him talking about the players named in his book, and telling everyone that he is known as "the Godfather" of steroids because he introduced them to a lot of players, and educated them on what to take based on what he does with what mix. He showed them that if they take this one, they need to do this workout routine, and eat these foods. He showed a number of players mentioned in the book what to do and all were different depending on what they wanted to take, etc. He is not allowed in any MLB stadium, and has not been for some time since being banned from baseball. He had a contract with an independent team that he did not fulfill and was currently being served papers for not finishing out his contract. He is not a welcome face in most places, but the one game he did attend in a minor league park many fans went up to him and asked for autographs, pictures, and talked to him.

Canseco did mention that he regrets writing the book, and regrets even more naming the players that he implicated as steroid users. He said that he wrote the book because he was alone in the matter, used as a scapegoat by being banned, no one would talk to him, and no one was punishing everyone else when he was definitely not the only one using. They used him to make an example out of and told players if you are caught you will end up like that guy. Jose didn't like that, and didn't like that no one wanted to talk to him or believe him that this was very commonplace and he was not the only one. So they didn't listen prompting him to get it all out one way or another and he chose to write a tell all book. After seeing this, I don't know if they book was written to get MLB officials back for not listening or to try and pay his bills.

I'll be the first to admit I thought he was a royal jackass when this book came out. Now.... well, he looks like a genius because so far he has been dead on with what he said. Funny how the blackballed player, and the "biggest liar" turns out to be fairly, if not totally honest.

I did find it a little odd that he was repeatedly saying how he wants to be clean, yet was appearing very proud for what he did for the sport. He didn't seem to regret being "the Godfather of steroids". I'm not sure if his sad, lost puppy type of demeanor in this was really how he feels or is right now, or just a way to pay his bills right now. With a house gone to foreclosure, a 24/25 year steroid habit, and a health problem that will inevitably cost him quite a bit of money who knows what to believe out of what he said. Maybe he will end up clean, maybe he won't- either way I'm not sure how many people in baseball will care.

If you guys get a chance to see either of these they are both worth the hour of time to watch.


  1. Jose Canseco is an enigma. I have seen through his plans, though. The reason he did not write about Alex is because they had been friends for very long. Jose knew that Arod was a cheater (in more than one way) but only named him in his second book for revenge.

    I believe Jose left out hundreds of names because he still has ties with many players. When he was "blackballed" from baseball to keep from hitting 500 home runs... he made calls all over MLB to his friends and when they sold him out, they were the first to make it into the book.

    Sadly, I don't think Jose will make it to his 50th birthday.

  2. I watched this as well. The most shocking moment to me came when he went to watch his first ballgame in years. After several wonderful encounters with fans, he got served with a notice that he was being sued for failuer to meet his end of a contract. I cannot believe how casually that guy walked up to Jose and just shook his hand and gave him the papers. No wonder Jose has become somewhat of a recluse...

  3. It was odd how the fans were nice to him, and there were none saying anything ridiculous. I do agree that it was a little too easy for that guy to just be in the area to walk up, be his friend, and hand him that.

  4. i saw this a couple of weeks ago, and i have to admit it changed my current opinion of the guy. i followed his career, saw him on the surreal life as well, and after the book came out i thought he was a total jackass. now i kind of just feel bad for him.

    the craziest part to me is that even after being on testosterone supplements for months, his body still doesn't produce any on it's own.

    any high school or college athlete considering trying steroids should definitely watch this first.