If This Barge Is a-Rockin’

The Renegades must be at Caesars Palace

Jose Canseco

Emcee-comedian Martin Montana soft-tossing the mic to Jose Canseco, only to have it ricochet off the former baseball player’s noggin and over the side of Cleopatra’s Barge, into the water. Jim McMahon donning his trademark sunglasses indoors, two cans of beer at each side. Terrell Owens, kerchief in each mit, teary-eyed about a Pro Football Hall of Fame snub for the third consecutive year.

Those are just some snippets that visitors to Cleo’s boat, an intimate venue with 180 seats at Caesars Palace, might witness when its sports-themed Renegades show begins January 25.

Owens, however, is not scheduled to join the festivities until February 8. By then, perhaps it will be a stage where the flamboyant 44-year-old former receiver may rejoice. On the eve of Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis, the Saturday before his slated Caesars debut, he will learn of his Hall fate.

Renegades will open with Canseco, former quarter-brat McMahon and ex-hoopster Jimmy King. Soliloquies of 20 or so minutes will be followed by questions from the audience. No query will be off-limits, the property advertises, and it plans a roster rotation of notorious figures every three months.

Expect Canseco, who, as a Texas Rangers outfielder in 1993, had a baseball carom off his cranium and over the wall in Cleveland for one of the game’s more bizarre home runs, to be the most colorful and candid renegade.

Known as the “Godfather of Steroids,” even on the Caesars website, the Las Vegas resident’s 2005 book, Juiced, foretold an imminent steroid crisis and named names. The game’s integrity would be soiled in the revelations of the performance-enhancing habits of Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and Roger Clemens, among others.

The words of Canseco, 53, rang true. He wrote about experimenting heavily with steroids, bringing them into baseball in 1985 and becoming a guru by teaching other players how to use them. Caesars might need a bigger barge.

King, 44, was one of the University of Michigan’s Fab Five, a famed hoops recruiting class whose fashion statements—black sneakers, black athletic socks, long shorts—have outlasted anything it achieved while wearing those accoutrements.

The Wolverines lost consecutive NCAA title games in 1992 and 1993, not unfortunate outcomes considering that both Final Four runs would be vacated in the wake of an illicit-payment booster scheme. King was not implicated, so his street cred might be viewed as tame compared to his Cleo cohorts.

McMahon, 58, somehow went to BYU, like Marlon Brando’s Johnny Strabler whipping through Carbonville on a Triumph Thunderbird. He taunted—wearing ROZELLE on a headband­—an NFL commissioner, shuffled Chicago to victory in Super Bowl XX and paid a price, suffering many injuries. On a 48-year-old dry-docked ship in the desert, it will be nice, he told the Chicago Tribune, to earn a steady paycheck.

Cleopatra’s Barge inside Caesars Palace, Thursday–Sunday (excluding Sunday, February 4) through April 29, $60.55–$256.42, ticketmaster.com

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