Posted: Tuesday March 22, 2005 11:55AM; Updated: Tuesday March 22, 2005 1:43PM
Bud Selig The word negligent comes to mind, and that is being kind. I find it offensive that this late in the steroids game he can still sit there under oath and say baseball never had a major steroids problem and that he wasn't aware of steroids in baseball until 1998. That's not the kind of leadership I want at the top of the game.
Rob Manfred His lasting image is being told, "You got your hat handed to you." His lasting catch phrase is "drafting error," which ranks up there with "wardrobe malfunction." I don't care what was said publicly. (As Sen. John McCain said, baseball has taught us well it can't be trusted.) To include language in the testing policy that allows Selig the opportunity to sweep a positive test under the rug without anyone knowing it is either an egregious error or a diabolical ploy. These guys have been working on a steroid policy for three years and still can't get it close to right.
Dr. Elliott Pellman My, my, aren't we testy? One word of advice: decaf. And one more: It would help if you actually knew what was in the testing agreement. How do you not know a player can disappear for an hour after he's been notified to provide a sample?
Donald Fehr Once and for all, he was exposed as the great protector of cheaters. His deep faith in "progressive punishment," he said, is to ensure the "livelihood" of players. The Olympics and NFL also have progressive punishment, just not as ridiculously lenient as Mr. Four-Times-And-Then-We-May-Think-About-Expulsion.
Sammy Sosa He charmed the pants off us for six years with his English, then suddenly can't read his own statement or understand a question. And how over-lawyered was that statement? Go back and parse it. By "illegal" drugs does he mean those that were "illegal" in baseball until 2003 -- which is to say, nothing?
Rafael Palmeiro Nice suit. Nice index finger. Hitting cleanup after McGwire, who said he could not win if he denied using or not, Palmeiro knocked one clear out of the park and shamed McGwire.
Curt Schilling Only in Washington is being called a politician a compliment. The rest of us saw the Congressmen's playful observations of Schilling's tap-dancing routine for what it was: an amazing and disheartening turnaround for a guy who had been among the loudest anti-steroids protestors. Not the kind of guy I'd want leading the Task Force.
Jose Canseco Like some Elmore Leonard character, he looked so uncomfortable in a tie that the darn thing might as well have been a noose. The body language -- shoulder curled away from McGwire -- was priceless. His thin credibility took a further hit when he denounced his book, which should have been subtitled, The Steroid Way for Healthier Living, as sending the absolutely wrong message.
Congress Oh, boy. I'm glad they held the hearings because baseball is so smug it doesn't think it should answer to anybody, which is how we go from no policy to a sham policy to a loophole policy as they congratulate one another for getting tough on steroids. But one problem with grandstanding is you expose yourself. The fawning over the players and failure to ask them precise, prepared questions was shameful and sloppy. The way they kept hammering on the "drafting error" language, even after Manfred explained it several times, was ignorant. And can you at least pronounce Selig's name properly? And please stop using the possible repeal of the anti-trust exemption as an empty threat, as you've been doing for years. (Baseball long ago stopped taking you seriously.) Either you believe it should not be applied to a multibillion dollar interstate commerce venture or you do.
Tony La Russa That's not just egg on your face. That's a four-egg Western omelette with home fries on the side. You protected Canseco's steroid lie as long as he played for you and then buried him when he didn't. And then you made yourself de facto McGwire spokesman when McGwire couldn't look into a camera himself these past four years. And your response now is to say the man was "overcoached," as if he is without culpability for his own actions.
Barry Bonds Now it is even more obvious why you were not invited. Your former mistress, accompanied by counsel and boxes of tape recordings, was testifying with immunity to the BALCO grand jury about what she said was your admitted steroid use and gifts of $80,000 in cash with specific instructions on how to most discreetly deposit the loot. The feds didn't want a little old baseball hearing in D.C. to spoil an IRS investigation and possible perjury charges.