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BASEBALL



Published: Tue, February 15, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



BASEBALL

Canseco'sbook a hit on first dayin stores

Current and former players are critical of the ex-outfielder's tome.

NEW YORK (AP) -- Jose Canseco's autobiography accusing several top players of steroid use and charging that baseball long ignored peformance-enhancing drugs appeared to be a hit on its first day in bookstores.

Amazon.com listed "Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits, and How Baseball Got Big" as third on its best seller list Monday.

The book had an initial printing of 150,000 copies and Regan Books does not disclose sales figures, spokeswoman Jennifer Suitor said.

"I don't think it's a good thing, obviously, because it's bringing a bad light to the game," New York Yankees captain Derek Jeter said Monday. "This is a time, obviously, baseball is in a negative light and Jose is not helping out. In terms of his accusations, the only people that know are him and whoever he is accusing. The unfortunate thing is, if it's not true, you're looking at guys having to defend themselves over something they haven't done."

Mark McGwire, one of the former teammates Canseco accused of using steroids, issued a written denial.

"The relationship that these allegations portray couldn't be further from the truth," McGwire's statement said. "I also worry how these false allegations will taint the accomplishments of the Oakland Athletics' coaches, players and executives who worked so hard to achieve success during the era in question, along with the other players and organizations affected by this book.

"Most concerning to me is the negative effect that sensationalizing steroids will have on impressionable youngsters who dream of one day becoming professional athletes. Once and for all I did not use steroids or any other illegal substance."

McGwire was not available for interviews.

Advocates using steroids

In the book, Canseco is an unabashed advocate of performance-enhancing drugs.

"By the time my 8-year-old daughter, Josie, has graduated from high school, a majority of all professional athletes -- in all sports -- will be taking steroids. And believe it or not, that's good news," he writes. "I have no doubt whatsoever that intelligent, informed use of steroids, combined with Human Growth Hormone, will one day be so accepted that everybody will be doing it. Steroid use will be more common than Botox is now. Every baseball player and pro athlete will be using at least low levels of steroids. As a result, baseball and other sports will be more exciting and more entertaining."

Canseco calls himself the "godfather of steroids in baseball," saying "I single-handedly changed the game of baseball by introducing them into the game."

He says both baseball management and the union tried to ignore steroid use.

"Are players the only ones to blame when Donald Fehr and the other bosses of the Major League Baseball Players Association fought for years to make sure players wouldn't be tested for steroids?" he wrote, adding: "Fehr had to know the truth."

Baseball commissioner Bud Selig said last week that the sport's leadership was unaware of possible steroid use until 1998. Fehr declined comment Monday.




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