Tuesday, August 02, 2005

By Zach

Lance and I talked about this on the Cheap Seats, but here are my thoughts:

1. I really don't know how to feel about the whole Hall of Fame argument. Will sportswriters hold it against Palmeiro that he was caught (not just accused) of using steroids? Probably. Still, I have a feeling that at some point he'll get in, the numbers are pretty overwhelming. I'm actually more curious to see if this hurts guys like McGwire and Sosa, who in my mind are nearly as borderline as Palmeiro. McGwire was a one-trick pony, one of the best home run hitters in history but a guy who didn't hit for average, struck out quite a bit, was a mediocre defender at best, and couldn't stay healthy for much of his career. Sosa was a bit more versatile, but really only had 4-5 great years, from 1998-2002 or so. Of course, the memories of the Home Run Chase of 98 will no doubt propel both guys in, but I'm not sure they're far and away superior to Palmeiro.

2. Honestly, a part of me wants to believe that Palmeiro is telling the truth, that he simply didn't know that the substance he was taking contained steroids, or something like it. But that, at best, makes me believe that Raffy is an idiot, since no pro athlete (hell, no person) should be taking a supplement and not know what's in it. And it's a poor job by the Orioles training staff not to monitor this better. In fact, Major League Baseball (and other pro sports) should have a department dedicated to checking all the supplements available over the counter in the U.S. (and, probably a fair number of the illegal ones that come from Mexico) and make it clear to teams and players which ones contain substances that would violate the policy. It's in everyone's best interest that players not violate the policy accidentally.

3. Still, Palmeiro's durability makes it hard for me to believe this was an accident, or the first time he did steroids. Now, I hate to trust Jose Canseco, but he seems a bit more credible then he did a week ago. Palmeiro not making it to the DL ever was seen as a sign of his astounding consistancy, but now it just seems (to me, at least), like he was using steroids to counteract the effects of aging, much like I suspect Barry Bonds was doing.

4. Sure, this may show that baseball is at least somewhat serious about cleaning up the sport, but I think it also shows that steroid use is far more prevelant then either the owners or the players would have you believe. As today's news, that Ryan Franklin got busted, shows, it's pitchers, position players, and minor leaguers. Until baseball really lowers the hammer on someone, it'll keep going on.


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