Former A's superstar Jose Canseco returns to Bay Area play

PITTSBURGH, Calif. (KTVU) -- Former Oakland A's superstar Jose Canseco is making plays again on the field -- this time it's in the East Bay city of Pittsburg and 15 years since his major league career ended.

Canseco, 52, is now playing for the Pittsburg Diamonds, which is part of the Pacific Association of Pro Baseball Clubs. The team plays in the independent league of Northern California teams.

At Winters Field on Thursday in front of about 100 fans, the prolific -- and controversial -- slugger played his first game with the Diamonds with only one month left in the season. Many people said they are longtime fans of Canseco and came specifically to see him.

He was reflective about his need to be part of the game that he says is still a major part of his life.

"When you talk about being on the field and playing the game in its simple form, it's the best game in the world," he said as the Diamonds played against the Sonoma Stompers. "It's my addiction. It's what I know (and) it's what I love."

He said joining this team is more than playing baseball. It's about playing the game of life.

"I think once you stop being active; once you stop moving; stop being interactive, that's when you start growing old," he said.

In the 1980s, Canseco made his mark on the field, along with Mark McGwire, as one half of the "Bash Brothers." He also won two World Series Championships.

But his tell-all book, "Juiced," revealed the rampant use of steroids by him and other baseball players. He named names -- a move he says cost him dearly.

"Financially, emotionally (and I received) death threats," Canseco said," I regret it because it hurt me and my family greatly. I don't regret it in the sense that it straightened the game out. Now the game of baseball is the greatest game in the world."

Canseco says everyone he knew from his glory days while playing in Major League Baseball wants nothing to do with him.

"No, they can't deal with me at all," he said. "My dream job would have been to manage in the majors but I think that's gone."

He said he believes he has more of a chance of winning the lottery than ever working with the MLB again. And yet, Canseco said he is looking forward not backward. He loves life, baseball and having fun.

"I'm the type of guy who refuses to grow old," he said. "I refuse to give in. I want to hold on to youth as long as I can."

He said his dream now is be part-owner of the league or a team president. 

"I still see myself as an entertainer," Canseco said. "I bring that to the game at any level," 

Neither Canseco nor the owner of the Pittsburg Diamonds would say how much he's being paid for his month of play. But he said he's not playing for the money.  The team has said its highest paid player makes about $3,000 a month.

KTVU reporter Amber Lee contributed to this report.

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