Prior to Friday night’s thrilling walkoff win by Josh Donaldson and the Oakland A’s, members of the 1989 World Champion A’s roster took part in a media session, answering questions about the reunion weekend, their careers, reflections about the game and other topics. Among those participating included Jose Canseco, Dave Stewart, Dave Henderson, Carney Lansford, Mike Moore, Dennis Eckersley and others. Rickey Henderson was slated to appear but didn’t make it in time for the media session (though he showed up afterwards for other reunion activities). By far the most noteworthy participant of the event – and the reunion weekend as a whole – was Canseco, who was making his first appearance back at the Coliseum since writing his controversial 2005 book Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant ‘Roids, Smash Hits & How Baseball Got Big. Needless to say, that was one of the topics Canseco spoke the most candidly about.
Canseco, on whether time can heal all wounds as it pertains to his PED use and the book’s ramifications:
“I hope so, I hope we can move forward. I’ll be honest with you, I’m pretty disappointed in myself for writing that book. I don’t think I’ll ever forget about it, for me it’ll always be something that I deeply regret. And believe me I’ve had my share of nightmares because of it and I continue to have nightmares about it.”
“The reason why I did it was not a good reason, I was angry at the time. “
On his relationship with Mark McGwire:
“One of the gentlemen I would have liked to have met and talked to is Mark McGwire, and of course he’s the hitting coach of the Dodgers. You know, Mark, to me, actually when I played with him…I looked up to him, I idolized him for a lot of reasons. You know – the guy who was on the field and the guy who was off the field.
And believe me, it haunts me to today…haunts me that I said those things. I think I could have gotten my point across but I let anger and disappointment in, overwhelm me.”
Thoughts on being included in the reunion weekend:
“They embraced me, which is great. So far it’s been great, I think this occasion right now, getting a bunch of guys that played together in the world series and won, to really relive that is a very positive thing. That said, I’m still really nervous, I don’t know what to think, or how the fans will react, I have no idea so I’m kind of putting myself out there. Most vulnerable state possible and see what happens.”
And finally, Jose explained the origins of the goats he frequently mentions on his Twitter account:
“Oh, my god. My girlfriend saw these things, they’re called fainting goats. Of course, she talked me into getting a couple of them so we drove three hundred miles to somewhere where there’s nothing out there, we stay overnight in this little hotel that’s like makeshift…it was like a shack, an aluminum shack. So the next day they pick us up in this truck, and the lady’s got a monkey wrapped around her neck. They take us to this farm, there’s nothing out there, and when we pull up you can see about fifty of these fainting goats. I’m like ‘oh my God am I really doing this?’ We pull up, my girlfriend sees two of them, and ironically enough the ones I like were pets. So we end up getting these two other fainting goats, and literally when you scoop them up, they faint.
They lock up their muscles and they just faint. So we put them back in my truck, but they put diapers on them. So just imagine: Jose Canseco with an RV, two goats in the back with diapers on. Now I’m speeding, trying to get back home about ten miles over the speed limit. And they pull us over. And I kid you not, the officer pulls us over, goes up to the window, looks back and starts laughing. Because he sees these goats with diapers on, realizes who I am, and he’s like ‘what the hell… is going on here?’ I’m looking at my girlfriend and we all just start laughing. I explained to him what happened, he’s still laughing, finally he gives me a ticket for going like five miles over the speed limit, we took a picture of it and it was put on YouTube, Twitter, something like that.
And it made some strange international news. “
Dennis Eckersley, on winning the ’89 Series after “that play” in the 1988 World Series loss to the Dodgers:
“(laughs) I don’t care about us, but about me, man, thank God we won. That got me off the hook.”
On the fallout from Canseco’s book:
“I don’t know, if he had attacked me it’d be a different story. It’s not for me to say. Talk to Mac. Part of me is glad it happened, because I kind of like having people be exposed.”
When asked if he’s impressed with the work of Sean Doolittle this season:
“Absolutely. To do what he does with just one pitch, right? He doesn’t know, man, he hasn’t been pitching that long. How long he’s been pitching, two years, three years? Come on! Hasn’t gotten burned this year, well he did give up a grand slam. Big deal! If you do this job for a long time there’s going to be a lot more hurts.
But he seems like he’s just unaffected, that’s what I’m impressed with. I’m jealous! I went through hell for like fifteen years before I did that. He’s a special kid, he really is.”
Dave Stewart on the ’89 Series:
“We would have beaten the Giants regardless. If it hadn’t have happened I still think we would have won in four games. How the World Series is remembered is how it should be remembered. It was an earthquake series, there were some unfortunate things that happened here in the Bay Area, but I do believe through it all that it brought two sides of the Bay together.”
The ongoing “A’s in Oakland” debate:
“To me that’s an over-the-top deal indicative of what Sandy Alderson or Walter Haas would have done to try and take the team to where they need to be. It was a great move, obviously the timing was done at a great time. I feel really confident that this team – these kids – that they have the essentials to get to the World Series. “
As Matt Kemp‘s agent, what does Stew think about all the trade rumors surrounding the Dodgers outfielder?
“That part we can’t control. We want to be in a position where we can help somebody win. He’s going to continue to play and do his job. If a trade does happen, we’re okay with that, and if it doesn’t happen we’re okay with that. He prefers to play every day, at some point he’d like to play center field again.”