Well, we always wondered when the Major League Baseball drug policy would name a major player. That’s finally happened. Up until now it’s been fringe major leaguers, or minor league players that the average fan has never heard of nor ever will again. But this time, we got a biggie, and that was Rafael Palmeiro. Raffy was suspended for 10 days by MLB, starting today (Aug 1).
I have to admit, when I saw Raffy in the congressional hearings I believed his “I never did Steroids” claims. The amount of his denial seemed to me to be enough – he was clean of that. Now, I’m not foolish enough to think I know the honest to god truth, but I bought it from him. Was it because he was a former Ranger, one I liked, and I didn’t want to believe Canseco’s claims? Possibly, I can’t really tell. But the bottom line is that I believed him.
So today we get the suspension of Raffy for a violation of the steroid policy. Shortly after the suspension news came down, Raffy released a statement on the matter. In it, he says this..
I am here to make it very clear that I have never intentionally used steroids. Never. Ever. Period.
That’s pretty much the same thing he said in Congress, except this time it has the word “intentionally”. While I’m no expert on the matter, I’m just a fan, from where I sit, I wonder exactly what constitutes a positive. Is it like getting a DUI – where if you’re over “X” in blood alcohol, you’re considered drunk? Do these tests look for any existance of whatever it is they’re looking for, and you’re guilty? Or do you have to have so much over a certain threshold? I have to imagine that at least part of it could be because of the way other things one might take interact with each other causing a false positive. Now Raffy could be guilty as sin, and lying out his ass – I suppose only he will ever know for sure. But like I said above, my gut feeling is that he didn’t do what Giambi & Canseco (and likely McGuire, it seems) did, which is inject themselves with steroids. But, the suspension is there. It exists, so something has to have happened.
We’ll probably never really know the truth, but I really hope this doesn’t start too much of an uproar over his HOF credentials. There’s been a lot of talk about Raffy and the HOF, with a lot of national folks saying he’s definitely not a HOF player. Feh – he’s most definitely a HOF player. Most of the people who said he wasn’t are doing it on a “He hasn’t won any championships” kind of stance. His numbers are awesome. He should be there on the numbers. But I wonder how this allegation will weigh on writers’ minds when it comes time for Raffy to enter Cooperstown. Granted, if you go just on numbers, than Pete Rose should be there too, but that’s a whole other can of worms.
So now what? The Orioles are coming to town this weekend, so if the Rangers were planning on anything to mark Raffy’s 3000th hit, I have to imagine that’s been scrapped. I would have to imagine he’d get booed – who knows? The bottom line is that it’s really disappointing to have this come out, whether Raffy stood there on the mound injecting himself, or he has a false positive. Yet another thing I’d rather not have to try and explain to my daughter. Good thing she’s only 3.5 months old, and doesn’t grasp this stuff yet.
One other thing. In reading around online about this situation this afternoon, I ran across this quote by a Red Sox fan (email@example.com, actually). He said..
What I can’t wait for is the first player to actually admit to having used steroids when he gets caught. Giambi came the closest, though he was never caught by the league and suspended for it. It’s always “an accident,” or something like that. Though I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that the people who are crummy enough as human beings to cheat at their job are also the ones without the sense of responsibility to actually admit their mistakes.
While I don’t think Raffy is lying, it’s definitely an interesting take on this situation.
Here’s some more reading on the issue:
Jim Evans of Baseball Digest Daily
Baseball Musings (The comments area is where I got the soxfan quote from)
Lone Star Ball