• Rafael Palmeiro

    Posted by on November 30th, 2016 · Comments (7)

    This sounds crazy. Sincerely, even to myself as I pen these thoughts, it seems a tad bizarre. But, I think it’s time to give Rafael Palmeiro a buddy pass.

    Why?

    Timing and the times.

    Palmeiro’s career ran from 1986 through 2005. To me, that’s pretty much aligned perfectly with the steroid loosey-goosey period, as A-Rod liked to call it.

    While it’s hard to say when the PED thing blossomed, it’s not unreasonable to think it started around 1983 (give or take). And, we know that Major League Baseball did not roll out a PED policy with teeth until after the 2004 season. So, to me, 1983 (or so) through 2004 was the wild, wild west of PED use in baseball. People did what they wanted and had no marshal in town since the baseball establishment – owners, players and media – pretty much completely looked the other way. There were no baseball laws to break on PED use – and anyone using at that time was not breaking any baseball laws.

    Ah, yes, the law. There’s always “that.” Clearly, those using PEDs when Palmeiro played were breaking the law in that they most likely obtained the drugs illegally and were administering them without a medical doctor’s supervision. A crime? Sure…yes…no question. Then again, was it that much different from the 1950′s, 60′s and 70′s when players, with the clubs’ somewhat blessing, were taking greenies (like candy) which were being used without a doctor’s script and coming from shady sources? Further, last time I checked, no one has been ever kept out of the Hall of Fame because they drank coffee everyday laced with amphetamines (supplied in the clubhouse before games in the “old days.”)

    No, I haven’t forgotten about the time when Palmeiro emphatically wagged his finger back in March of 2005, claiming that he never used PEDs.

    However, think about it:  What was he supposed to say at that point? If he tried to plead the Fifth like McGwire or pretend that he didn’t speak English like Sosa, he would have been branded as being a user. And, if no one else was going to confess at that time, why should he?

    “He cheated!,” many probably still want to say here. Well…you can say that…but, he “cheated” to do better on the field. This is not like the 1919 White Sox where people were throwing baseball games. There is an old saying in baseball: “If you’re not cheating, you’re not trying.” Guys doctor baseballs, steal signs, withhold medical information, fake dates of birth, add inches to their height and shave pounds off their weight, and do other things like that in baseball – all the time. If “cheating” is bending or dancing around the rules, then there’s all sorts of cheating going on in baseball whether folks are called on it or not.

    In the end, I am somewhat confident that Rafael Palmeiro will be the modern-day Shoeless Joe Jackson. One hundred years will pass and he’ll still be on the outside, looking in.

    Maybe, if someone like Jim Thome, Frank Thomas or Jeff Bagwell gets outed for PED use after they were elected to the Hall of Fame, it will open a door for someone like Palmeiro to have their career re-examined?

    In the meantime, it will be McGwire, Sosa and Palmeiro. They’re the PED poster boys. Nothing really to do at this point but to wear it.

    Comments on Rafael Palmeiro

    1. KPOcala
      December 1st, 2016 | 12:11 am

      Steve, I wouldn’t compare today’s “PEDS” even remotely with amphetamine use. “Speed” give give an illusion of alertness, and a temporary enhanced mental ability to work. True “increase” in overall performance? No way, plus the body/mind quickly builds a tolerance up, making the user to go into very dangerous waters physically and mentally. And “speed” was widely prescribed in the post-War Era, until sometime (probably “late”) in the sixties. PEDs, with very few exceptions are Federally limited in how they can be prescribed by physicians. “Very few exceptions” being the keyword here. And there is zero doubt as to their efficacy relating to athletic performance. And Palmeiro definitely had a questionable aging curve. I have little doubt, from memory, and re-examining player’s careers that some/many players started taking steroids in the later part of the seventies, increasing in prevalence and dosages as the eighties progressed. And at this point, all players are “suspect” after 1990. As to those who will say “look at player “X””, I’ll retort that steroids all after slightly different “looks”, and the increase in muscle mass is NOT an “all or nothing” matter. And I suppose that I could use my own argument and say, “ahh, the hell with it, they were all doing it”. IMO, the player’s who were the most outrageous in their usage have to be kept out, as an “example”. Many, many players will get into the HOF who dabbled in them, or used them more to keep their bodies strong through the season. But the guys who used them for the extra money and glory? No. If allowed to creep back in, then every player, starting in HS will have to use them to have a shot, which would be, has, and still is, a crying shame.

      I don’t think that it’s in the realm of hyperbole to use the following as an example of how it would be if an “IQ-mood enhancer” would be if and when it’s introduced by the Big Pharma: Let’s say that “Happy IQ” made you smarter, more creative, and mentally sharp for more hours in a day. The only “small side-effect” being that there was a “small, but statistically significant chance” of developing severe Parkinson’s Disease after more than three years of usage. Your company forbids its’ use (naturally for insurance reasons). YOU don’t want to dance with Parkinson’s. But your ‘teammate’ seems to suddenly have everything rolling his way. He “just has that gleam in his eye”, instead of his old “Black holes in the sky” look. Well, my point is made. No possibility of of a certitude of fairness, but then, where is That to be found?

    2. Evan3457
      December 1st, 2016 | 3:30 am

      Steve wrote:

      Maybe, if someone like Jim Thome, Frank Thomas or Jeff Bagwell gets outed for PED use after they were elected to the Hall of Fame, it will open a door for someone like Palmeiro to have their career re-examined?

      This is how it will happen. Or possibly, someone in the Hall will step forward and reveal PED use for one of three reasons:

      1) Conscience (unlikely).
      2) Because another player like Bagwell with solid credentials but suspected of PED use fails to get voted in, and the player already voted in will not tolerate the hypocrisy (possible).
      3) Because he feels that PED use was so popular during his career that making a distinction is meaningless (possible).

    3. December 1st, 2016 | 9:41 am

      KPOcala – don’t forget that the testing policy today is a joke and most who get busted are due to paper trail, unless they are really stupid and failed a piss test. There’s no doubt in my mind that MANY stars today are still using PEDs…and the risk/reward thing swings in their favor. Melky got busted and still got his money. Ditto Peralta. And, then there’s guys like Edwin Encarnación. Tell me he’s clean…really?

    4. KPOcala
      December 1st, 2016 | 11:36 am

      @ Steve L.:Steve, I totally agree. The owners really should have mandated a “one strike, one year, two strikes and you’re out of baseball” policy. The fact that they didn’t go for it in the CBA shows that they really aren’t interested in cleaning the sport up, unless it’s so “outrageous” that the fan’s get pissed, or possibly the Player’s Association would have stood against it. What I cannot understand is how a contract can’t get voided in court if a test shows that ‘roids were used at some point in the contract like ARod. I mean, using an illegal substance to make your employer have to ante-up for your services is legal?! Well, obviously something really smells with those rulings, I’m just not sure where it comes from…..

    5. December 1st, 2016 | 6:36 pm

      Baseball is two faced. They’re more than happy to pay a Giambi or A-Rod crazy money when they are producing like gods. But, once the production drops, then they want them cast out.

    6. KPOcala
      December 1st, 2016 | 9:16 pm

      @ Steve L.:Yep. They talk about the “game” and “player”, but really think, “income producing assets”. As low as the “integrity factor” is for “Bonds & Associates”, they are way higher, ethically, than the best owner….

    7. KPOcala
      December 2nd, 2016 | 3:29 pm

      I’ve had this “bookmarked” for years. It really tells the non-believers how much the Game has been almost “ruined”:

      http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/01/21/seeing-is-disbelieving/?_r=0

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