Slap Hitter: Jose Canseco and the Scarlet A's


The Oakland A's just threw the Feel Bad party of the year.
The 20th anniversary of the sole World Championship squad in the later dynasty came together to relive old memories and celebrate the legacy of brighter days. Only the Athletics (with an assist from Jose Canseco) could turn a bash into a wake. A turd in the punchbowl is the way we roll now.

The plan was to bring together the Bash Brothers (Mssrs. Canseco and McGwire) and the lesser siblings during the Monday-Wednesday series with the San Francisco Giants, whose predecessors handed us the only title we would win in a generation. The Giants, ugliful losers back in 1989, feted their runner-ups with a sunny weekend a fortnight ago. Lotsa laughs, lotsa pudgy guys capping on each other, lotsa hugs, lotsa love. Imagine what kind of wingding the winners would throw?

Jose Canseco poster boy for the slugging A's and then cover boy of the steriods era was a no-show. He claimed his invitation was lost in the mail. And then the paper today talks about how because he's all bankrupt and shit, it's possible his invitation was lost. Then the A's vice president of broadcasting says he personally dropped the invite in the mail. Think maybe we could have made a phone call? I'm a mere fan, and I knew there was a party. What would Ms. Manners say? And then of course, his "teammates" weigh in saying, "We never liked Jose anyway", "I'm glad he's not here". McGwire agreed to let his jersey be reproduced for cheap promotional marketing, but also was a no show. Fun! It's reunion without the Homecoming queen or Most Likely to Succeed. At least Best Smile and Typical Senior showed up. Oh, and the Giants '09 beat the stuffing out of the A's '09.

Everyone says that Canseco is a pariah. That McGwire is a recluse, that the others who RSVPd "No" had better things to do. That manager LaRussa was managing, that reliever Eckersley was broadcasting, that slugger Dave Parker was, I don't know, unable to break a dental appointment. Carney Lansford was wearing Giant colors and had to be dragged to the receiving line. Partly I suppose, is the timing, the A's feted their 40th anniversary last year, and made redundant the return of Rickey Henderson, but still...

The A's have trashed their present, and now tarnished their past. Can't wait to see what we have planned for the future. If it's a party, though, consider yourself forewarned.— Kibby Kleiman