August 3, the Kansas City T-Bones sponsored a home run derby featuring Jose Canseco, formerly one of the two bash brothers of the Oakland A’s, author of Juiced (a tell all book about steroids in baseball and his personal use). The T-Bones are Kansas City’s independent minor league baseball team playing out of Kansas City, Kansas, with a slogan – “Fun … Well Done,” apt for the land of beef. Jose appeared just after a celebrity softball game and just before the T-Bones game began.
He strolled onto the field, bigger than life and almost as buff as when he played big league ball
He talked to the media,
warmed up a bit,
and then got serious – hitting a softball some 450 feet over the left field wall and into the nearby parking lot. Are you serious – a 450 foot softball blast?
He mingled with some dignitaries:
Former major league pitcher Diego Segui, who, like Jose, is of Cuban descent, and Frank White, former Kansas City Royal and currently the first base coach for the T-Bones:
Then, after the T-Bones game ended, Jose came back for his home run derby for charity – Harvesters. He took his swings as well as a group of guys who volunteered to take their shots as it got dark.
Afterward, he checked the scoreboard.
For me, a great chance to sit 7 feet from Jose with my D4 and a 70-200mm lens and capture some of the man. After all, he was a 40 home run, 40 stolen bases champ, a slugger for the A’s, who loved and still loves baseball and still sounds like a kid playing stick ball in the street when he talks about the game; a guy who can still hit the ball, hard or soft, a mile, a guy who is still a physical specimen and as a result, fields legitimate questions about continued juicing; a grown up big kid who is funny, warm, engaging, and who also did things and promoted a lifestyle that came to dominate baseball for more than a decade in ways that still challenge the veracity and propriety of our national past time.
And then, he strolled off into the night, and off to the next barnstorming stop on the minor league circuit. The dichotomy that is Jose.
Thanks for stopping by my blog. Mark