“Sometimes it takes a jerk to change the world,” and for baseball, Jose Canseco is that jerk, writes Jonathan Eig in the Washington Post. Canseco’s confessions and finger-pointing have helped expose widespread steroid use in the big leagues, and thus have “saved baseball.” His 2005 book highlighted a problem baseball officials “seemed determined to ignore”; today, steroid use looks to be fading.
Of course, Canseco “didn't set out to reform the game. He set out to make a buck and to punish the baseball establishment for perceived slights,” Eig notes. The “godfather” of steroids has struggled professionally since leaving baseball “washed up” in 2001. But “whether he did it for self-serving purposes or not," says an anti-steroid advocate, "he did athletes a big favor by beginning to break the cycle."