Canseco Claims “90% Chance” Manny Did Steroids

Who would have ever thought Jose Canseco would be considered a voice of reason? Yet after writing two books about himself & other players using steroids in baseball, the Mitchell Report coming out, Miguel Tejada & Andy Pettitte publicly apologizing for past steroid use, A-Rod’s name leaked from a 2003 list of players who tested positive, and the whole Roger Clemens- Brian McNamee ordeal - Jose seems to be right on the ball.

Jose Canseco Manny Ramirez

And as someone who just can’t stay away from the spotlight, Canseco is back cutting down more players. And this time, he’s taking a swing at Manny Ramirez - saying there’s a “90% chance” ManRam did steroids.

Kurt Streeter of the LOS ANGELES TIMES has the word on a speaking engagement Canseco hosted Friday night at USC’s Bovard Auditorium. During the chat, Jose was asked about other MLB stars & their possible connections to steroid use. Being in L.A., it was inevitable that Manny’s name would come up. And Jose was ready to respond:

Why didn’t Ramirez get a long-term deal? Canseco asks. Why were owners gun-shy about signing arguably the game’s best hitter?

Never mind that Ramirez was asking for a mega-deal at age 36. Or that he was negotiating in a sickly economy, while weighed down by the heavy baggage of a surly reputation. Canseco will have none of it. To Canseco, the drawn-out negotiation, the lack of a long-term deal, the lack of interest all raise red flags, and so he tells the Bovard crowd that Ramirez’s “name is most likely, 90%,” on the [2003] list.

And does Jose have any proof?

Canseco admits later that he has no way of knowing. But it makes sense to him, so he threw it out there — kaboom! — swinging for the fences, still.

So if it looks like a steroid-enhanced duck & quacks like a steroid-enhanced duck, then it must be a steroid-enhanced duck. But what does Manny think about Canseco’s pot-shot?

Late Saturday, I tracked down Ramirez to tell him what Canseco had said. The immediate response is pure Ramirez: He laughs. Sitting at his locker, he says, “I got no comment, nothing to say about that. What can I say? I don’t even know the guy.”

Canseco could be opening & dumping a new can of worms on MLB’s already messy steroid situation. Or he’s just trying to drum up publicity for a new book or reality show or some other venture. Well, he’s going to need to do a better job. In an auditortium that holds 1,235, only 40 to 50 showed up.

Maybe traffic on the 110 was worse than usual. Or all the USC students were lectured out. Friday night’s not usually the best time to schedule a speech on campus.