Many people have asked me what an Advanced Irritant is. Many people have asked if athletes can be Advanced. Well, Jose Cancesco is both. He is an Advanced Sports Irritant. Here are parts of a review of Canseco's book, from Slate:
Juiced is a mesmerizing book, and not just because Canseco throws off stories like that without a trace of self-regard. Canseco has pulled off the impossible: He has written a giddy testimonial to steroids. Perhaps the fact that he named his alleged co-juicers gulled sportswriters into thinking that Juiced was meant as a confessional. It reads more like a huckster selling long-life elixir at a rural county fair. "Steroids, used correctly, will not only make you stronger and sexier, they will also make you healthier," Canseco crows. "Certain steroids, used in proper combinations, can cure certain diseases. Steroids will give you a better quality of life and also drastically slow down the aging process." Then he helpfully adds, "I'm forty years old, but I look much younger."
Upon reaching the majors, Canseco proclaimed himself the "godfather" of steroids and set about evangelizing their glory to his teammates. "I probably know more about steroids and what steroids can do for the human body than any layman in the world," he boasts. For Canseco, steroids weren't just about padding his home run and RBI totals. Injecting was a near-religious experience. Steroids eased his degenerative disc disease and extended his life: "I needed steroids and growth hormone just to live," he writes. With the zeal of the converted, Canseco credits steroids with helping him avoid temptations, like hard liquor and amphetamines, and notes that the majors are a cleaner, more sober place since the drinking and pill-popping old-timers were replaced by the younger generation of 'roiders.
...In the hundreds of pages devoted to the wonders of steroids, Canseco chronicles a single moment of heartbreak. When his daughter Josie was still an infant, Canseco's estranged second wife Jessica, the Hooters girl, disappeared. He called a friend at "one of the airlines," who managed to track Jessica to Kansas City. When Canseco finally reached her, Jessica said she had left him for another jock: Tony Gonzalez, tight end for the Kansas City Chiefs. Canseco was grief-stricken. He walked to his bedroom closet and pulled out a Street Sweeper machine gun. Canseco says he used the gun to shoot sharks when he went deep-sea fishing—an image so comic that we'll put it aside for now. Anyway, Canseco had the Street Sweeper and was ready to do himself in when a tiny noise called him forth from despair. "Something had decided that it wasn't my time yet," he writes. Maybe it was his infant daughter. Maybe God. Or maybe—and this is just a hunch—it was the steroids, calling to save their champion.
The reason he is an irritant is that he is willing to say that not only are steroids used by professional athletes but that this is a good thing. The reason he is Advanced is because he shoots sharks when he goes deep-sea fishing and he was an amazing baseball player who attempted to catch a flyball and missed, the ball bonking him on the head and bouncing over the wall for a homerun.