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Credibility problem 

Steroids bring more questions about Palmeiro's game

Posted: Thursday August 4, 2005 1:08PM; Updated: Thursday August 4, 2005 1:08PM
Rafael Palmeiro
Rafael Palmeiro has gone from celebrating his 3,000th hit to getting ripped for testing positive for steroids.
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

The most amazing thing about the Rafael Palmeiro case is that he hasn't been vilified even more. Over the course of his 20-year career, Palmeiro has never been the best player at his position, let alone in the game. Rather, he's been steady, putting up solid numbers every year. Even as he was approaching his 3,000th hit -- which put him the elite, four-member 3,000 hits/500 home runs club -- there were rumblings that maybe he wasn't a first-ballot Hall of Famer.

Now Palmeiro has been busted for steroids, which should cast even more doubt about his Cooperstown credentials. But it seems like, in the minds of several voters (Jayson Stark and Tim Kurkjian, to name a couple), the O's slugger is a sure thing. Here's my problem with Palmeiro making it into the Hall: There's no way of knowing to what extent his accomplishments can be attributed to the juice. Before this season, baseball's steroid-testing policy had been a joke, so there's no way of knowing if he's been dirty or if he happened to suffer the incredible misfortune of getting caught the first time he used. In my mind, the burden of proof lies with Palmeiro; he has convince us that he hasn't been using. How's he going to do that? Got me. But it's his problem. He got himself in this mess, he has to right it. Giving this guy the benefit of the doubt makes no sense to me.

One of my the more delicious ironies of this affair is that the one guy who took a stand in front of Congress, the one guy who put his reputation on the line, the one guy who denied anything in a compelling manner, has lost his credibility. At the same time, the guy who admitted being a cheater and the guy who was reviled for it has become more and more credible every day. Jose Canseco says he did steroids when he was a teammate of Palmeiro's in Texas. Palmeiro says it's not true. Who are you going to believe? A guy who tells the truth about what is, admittedly, unsavory behavior, or a guy who might have lied to a Congressional committee? Canseco's looking more and more like the most believable guy on that panel. It's like Peter Falk's line to Alan Arkin after they land in the fictional country of Tijada in The In-Laws: "They're all crooks down here. At least this one don't make any bones about it."

And I guess we shouldn't hold our breath waiting for this lawsuit to be filed.

Interesting piece on USA Today's Web site ranking NL  and AL radio teams. Not surprisingly, Vin Scully is at the top of the list. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: The fact Scully can carry a TV broadcast by himself says wonders about his ability. As nice as it is to have a color guy chiming in with analysis, when it's one man doing the game by himself -- and when that one man is Scully -- you can't help but feel like he's speaking to you and you alone.

Here's a good story about Pete Rose from the Washington Post. It doesn't exactly make you want to visit Cooperstown on an induction weekend.

This is old news, but hats off to Kim Jong Il, the greatest golfing dictator ever.

Idiot of the Week

It was a tough night on Sunday for this guy. He did some streaking -- at a demolition derby, natch -- then got tasered and lost control of his bodily functions, which seemed to win him some sympathy from the crowd, despite the fact that he had tried to spray them with a fire extinguisher. (How does a naked guy steal a fire extinguisher and not get noticed?) Then, to add insult to the tasering, the smart aleck PA announcer mocked his manhood. It's a tough call, but I've got to say this guy's an idiot; maybe the cops overreacted, but the streaker brought it on himself when he jumped onto the field of play, and violated what must be an unwritten rule of streaking: leave the fire extinguishers out of it.