Meet the Pinocchio of baseball

I would have done it.
I would have slipped down my pants to reveal my buttocks, stuck a needle in my right cheek, and then injected a couple of c.c.s of stanozolol.
And then I would have grabbed hold of a Louisville Slugger and shouted—a la Jerry Maguire—“Show me the money!”
That’s right. If I was a major league baseball player, I would be the biggest cheater other than Vladimir Putin on election day in Russia.
But what of the side effects to my health you ask? What about my character you bellow? How about the paying customer that I’m discounting?
I’ll answer all your questions with four words—“SHOW ME THE MONEY!”
At least, that’s what I would have said last season if I was a major leaguer. But after the introduction of a new drug testing policy (which is still weak but at least baseball is getting better), I would have to reconsider my thinking.
Just look at someone like, say, Rafael Palmeiro.
He’s the dope who waved his finger in front of a few bigwigs of the U.S. Congress back in March (not to mention an audience of millions watching on TV) and declared: “I have never used steroids. Period.”
Oh, yes you did.
It was only a matter of time before some future Hall-of-Famer tested positive, right? It was “leaked” last Monday that Palmeiro had tested positive for steroids (though it’s unknown when he actually tested positive), so we’d like to thank him for being the winner of that race.
Palmeiro, with that finger-pointing performance before Congress, managed to turn himself into one of the good guys in baseball. Oops.
It made for great drama since that statement came in light of the release of Jose Canseco’s best-selling book, “Juiced,” which threw out accusations that a few big-leaguers like Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, and Palmeiro were—at one time or another—juiced to the gills.
That book initially was considered toilet reading, but after Palmeiro tested positive for stanozolol last week, it now should be given a place in the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.
Imagine how nervous all the folks are who spat on Canseco’s book must be, knowing he’s at least one athlete closer to being right. The book has been that important to helping clean up baseball.
Without it, there wouldn’t have been a congressional hearing on steroids. Without it, McGwire wouldn’t have jeopardized his Hall of Fame future by saying, “I’m not here to talk about the past.”
Without it, Sosa wouldn’t have raised doubts about his Hall worthiness by pretending he barely speaks or understands English.
But back to mustache man, who just last month notched his 3,000th hit to become only the fourth player in big-league history to reach the 3,000-hit/500-home run mark.
The countdown to Cooperstown had begun.
That hopeful journey for him will resume tomorrow, which is when Palmeiro’s 10-day suspension is up (during which he lost $163,934 of his $3-million salary).
But he will be spending the next 10, 20 years trying to restore an image that is looking worse than when Saddam Hussein got captured in that dirty cave.
And really, that’s where Palmeiro belongs—in a cave.
Palmeiro, 40, became the seventh meathead to fail a test under baseball’s tougher drug policy that took effect in March (after the Congressional hearings, no less). But the Cuban-born player insists he’s innocent—claiming he didn’t know he was taking steroids.
What did he think he was taking—Flintstones vitamins?
“Why would I do this in a year when I went in front of Congress and I testified and I told the truth?” Palmeiro told the Associated Press. “Why would I do this during the season I was going to get 3,000 hits? It just makes no sense.”
It actually makes perfect sense.
Remember, Canseco and Palmeiro were born in Cuba and played youth baseball together in Miami. They reunited when Canseco was traded to the Texas Rangers midway through the 1992 season—a team owned by U.S. President George W. Bush at the time.
That season, Palmeiro hit 22 homers. But from 1993 through 2003, his homer totals jumped to 37, 23 (in just 111 games), 39, 39, 38, 43, 47, 39, 47, 39, 47, 43, and 38.
Coincidence? I think not.
Canseco specifically mentions in his book that he “introduced” Palmeiro to Winstrol, the brand name of stanozolol, which is one of the more potent steroids around (Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson was stripped of his 100m gold medal at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul after testing positive for stanozolol).
So which steroid did Palmeiro get nailed for? Well, it was Winstrol, according to some excellent reporting by Lee Jenkins of the New York Times.
Coincidence? Once again, I think not.
“I made a mistake and I’m facing it,” Palmeiro added to the Associated Press in a prepared nine-paragraph statement, which, by the way, had the polished feel of a very expensive lawyer, agent, and/or public relations firm.
He goes on: “If my situation results in the education of current and future players about the dangers of taking anything without a prescription from a licensed physician—this is a positive.”
Huh? Instead of this bit of verbal silliness, why not say what you imply: “I took a supplement that had steroids in it. I should have checked it out, but I had a massive brain cramp. I’m an idiot, but I’m not a cheat.”
If I’m Palmeiro, I offer to take a lie detector test to prove that my mistake was one of ignorance, not arrogance. Palmeiro chose another approach.
I’d love to know a whole lot more about what Palmeiro did that caused him to test positive, actually. Not to mention when he did it, how much he did it, and how long he did it for.
But we’ll never get those answers, will we? He’ll never tell us everything because he doesn’t have to. And even if he wanted to, even he doesn’t know the answer to that last question. And never will.
Tell your whole story, Raff. Tell us how, when, why, what, everything. Until then, I’m not buying a word of what you say.

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