Canseco takes swing at Ripken

Ex-player: Orioles great one of `the total phonies,' got preferential treatment

February 15, 2005|By Jeff Barker | Jeff Barker,SUN STAFF

Jose Canseco's new book focuses largely on steroids, but the retired slugger couldn't resist hurling a few non-steroid-related insults at former Oriole Cal Ripken.

"I can just throw up watching the total phonies go to work, guys like Cal Ripken or Alex Rodriguez; everything out of their mouths sounds like it was tested by some kind of focus group beforehand," Canseco writes of the two shortstops.

The Cuban-born Canseco suggests in the book that he often was singled out for media criticism because he was a minority. Ripken, he says, was "untouchable."

"Throughout his career, Cal Ripken Jr. was completely protected by the media. With his family history in baseball, he was one of those untouchable players, the guy who could do no wrong," Canseco writes in Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits, and How Baseball Got Big.

"He even got a pass on the way he dealt with the other players. He used to stay at a separate hotel from the rest of the team, and take a separate car from the team bus. The official explanation was that it was for security reasons, but we minority players couldn't help feeling otherwise."

Longtime Ripken agent Ron Shapiro said yesterday: "It's hard to respond to a stream of consciousness absurdity but Cal Ripken's career and life speaks for itself. He is a man who had friends in the game from all walks of life, and all backgrounds."

Shapiro said Ripken was often hounded - even long after the game was over - by memorabilia and collectible professionals and others.

"When he did have separate hotel arrangements, it came in the context of a genuine concern for his security as the [consecutive-games] streak became more and more important," Shapiro said. "There were always some people out there who respected neither his privacy nor his need to be ready for each day's game, and the separate accommodations helped deal with that."

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