Now here's the coolest trick of all: Jose Canseco can write a book and two weeks before its publication have White House spokesmen issuing rapid-fire denials about what the President knew and when he knew it.
You've got to give it up to the man for that.
Canseco has gone from potential participant in some fallen-celebrity reality show to the A-list -- or maybe High B -- over the course of one edition of the New York Daily News. It's enough to make you think Terrell Owens had the second-best comeback of the weekend.
It's good to see Jose bring baseball back to the headlines, especially when football was threatening to get most of the sporting world's attention over the weekend.
HarperCollins, the parent company of Regan Books, which is publishing Canseco's tome, says in promotional material that Canseco was known as "The Chemist" in baseball circles during his career. And to think, everybody says baseball doesn't have any good nicknames anymore.
It just so happens that old "Death to Flying Things" is now "Two Needles, One Stall."
We aren't allowed access to the world where Canseco could walk through the clubhouse and guys would look up from their lockers, nod and nonchalantly say "Chemist" as a salutation.
It makes you wonder how many other good nicknames we're missing out on. There could be a whole underground of good nicknames. Of course, if it had become public knowledge that Canseco was dubbed "The Chemist," baseball people and the media probably would have managed to contort its meaning to suggest Jose was known for using his all-inclusive personality to enhance clubhouse chemistry. That's about as honest as we've all been about the steroid epidemic.
This is a recurring theme, but it's not easy to pick sides in any of this. Is Canseco a liar, a ratfink, or is he the bravest literary provocateur since Rachel Carson?
It's hard to be both a liar and a ratfink, but Tony La Russa apparently thinks Canseco has managed both. And I believe La Russa when he says he has no evidence suggesting McGwire used steroids. You think those guys included him in the two-men-to-a-stall inject-a-thons Canseco claims took place?
"Hey, Skip, check out this needle" -- nah, probably didn't happen. Why do you think they did their business in a stall in the first place?
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Tim Keown is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine.