Thursday, June 18, 2009

It's News Story Dissection Time!

This news story, to be precise, from the Associated Press.

NEW YORK (AP) -- Jose Canseco plans to file a class-action lawsuit against Major League Baseball and the players' association, saying he's been ostracized for going public with tales of steroids use in the sport.

Wow... Jose must be really broke. Only a man desperate for income would launch a lawsuit against a group of people he'd insulted on the grounds that they stopped talking to him after he insulted them.

Canseco said Wednesday that he has discussed the suit with lawyers and intends to enlist Sammy Sosa and Rafael Palmeiro to join in the suit.

Oh good, a veritable trifecta of dependable and trustworthy plaintiffs.

Canseco said the basis of the suit would be "lost wages -- in some cases, defamation of character."

What wages?? And WHAT CHARACTER??

"Because I used steroids and I came out with a book, I was kicked out of the game, but I have not been inducted into the Hall of Fame," Canseco said in a telephone interview.

YES! That's exactly right. I fail to see the problem here.

"A lot of these players have not been inducted into the Hall of Fame: Mark McGwire and so forth. They're losing salaries, because obviously when you're inducted into the Hall of Fame, you get asked to do certain, you know, appearances and shows and so forth, which incorporates income. So there is a major income loss.

"Not even that, baseball blackballs you from their family, meaning you can't have a future proper reference from them, a job, no managerial jobs, no coaching jobs, nothing. They completely sever you."

BECAUSE YOU CHEATED, YOU BIG CHEATER McCHEATERSON. That's like complaining that the company that fired you on the grounds that you were stealing from them won't give you a reference or hire you back or throw you a retirement party.

The 1986 AL Rookie of the Year and 1988 AL MVP, Canseco hit 462 home runs from 1985-2001 and currently is 32nd on the career list. (Yes! A good career according to the stats!) In books published in 2005 and last year, he detailed steroids use by himself and others. (Yes! A good career in which he cheated!)

Whether a judge would think Canseco has a case -- and would even allow it to go to a jury -- remains to be seen.

He appeared on the Hall of Fame ballot in 2007 and received just six votes, 21 below the amount necessary to remain in the Baseball Writers' Association of America ballot in future years. Because he cheated.

McGwire, eighth on the career list with 583 homers, received 118 Hall of Fame votes this year, which came to 21.9 percent. That's well below the 75 percent threshold needed for election and down from 128 votes in each of his first two appearances on the ballot. Because he cheated.

"Always, one individual has to make that stand, which is me," Canseco said. "And then I'll obviously speak to other players and other individuals, see how far they want to go."

I'm sure that lots and lots of other players will want to be associated with a credible guy such as yourself. That'll do nothing but good things for their reputations.

Rob Manfred, MLB's executive vice president for labor relations, declined comment. Michael Weiner, the union's general counsel, did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

Unhuh, because Manfred and Weiner have better things to do with their time.

Canseco said players shouldn't be stigmatized for using steroids before players and owners agreed to ban them in 2002.

"I don't see why people just don't get it. I don't understand the ignorance," he said. "Listen: It was allowed by Major League Baseball. It was endorsed by Major League Baseball. Why should the players be now reprimanded?"

Ok, I kind of get this point. It wasn't against the rules. But that doesn't change the fact that now it is! And MLB is trying hard, I think, to make amends for the steroid scandal. And they didn't need Jose Canseco's book, which he wrote for MONEY, to help them do that.

And, MLB has not reprimanded anybody for taking steroids before the rules were in place banning them. That would be stupid.

He wasn't surprised by a report Tuesday by The New York Times that Sammy Sosa was among 104 players who tested positive in baseball's anonymous 2003 survey. The paper cited lawyers with knowledge of the 2003 drug-testing results who spoke on condition of anonymity because they did not want to publicly discuss material under court seal.

"Like I've said all along, in my era 80 percent of the players were using steroids and why would Sammy Sosa be excluded from that?" Canseco said. "I think people are going to be amazed how, you know, extensive that list is that Major League Baseball is holding back right now and who are on it."

Jose, that is terrible, terrible grammar.

Canseco said the list should remain private because players were promised anonymity, but he predicted the remaining names eventually will trickle out and become public.

OR, Canseco said the list should remain private because nobody had offered him any money to reveal the names that are on it. But he predicted that someone might offer him that money sometime, in which case he would write another book and reveal all. Because that's just the kind of classy guy he is.

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