"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Friday, August 05, 2005

Palm A Hero Off On Us?

By all external indications, my body appears to have returned to Miami, driving 1550 miles in three days. My mind, if it still exists, is clearly elsewhere.

But for what it's worth, some ruminations on Rafael Palmeiro, a Miami product, suspended for using steroids to enhance his performance at the great national pastime of baseball. Earlier, Palmeiro had angrily asserted to a Congressional committee that he had never done such a thing nor would he condone it in others.

Rush Limbaugh says that it seems like a Clinton-type situation, where the sins are not so great, but they are compounded by the finger-wagging moralizing against what he was secretly doing. (There are folks who try to put the same thing on Rush himself, but I never remember him as a big anti-drug crusdaer. Nor Bill Bennett as vocally anti-gambling either.)

President Bush says that Palmeiro is a friend and "I believe him" that he did not intentionally introduce steroids into his body. I would like to believe that, too. The recent update - to the effect that this particular steroid is not found in any over-the-counter supplements - makes such credulousness less tenable.

The irony is that until this year steroids were not illegal in baseball. Palmeiro could have said that he indulged in the past but would honor the new restrictions. And even if that was too embarrassing to say and do, wisdom would have dictated that he not try to beat the system now.

Or do you go with the other logic, the one used by Clinton's defenders? Since it's crazy and irresponsible to do this, it must be that he did not do it. Well, yes, wouldn't it be a lovely world if intelligent people never behaved crazily or irresponsibly?

This being a family magazine, we'll forgo the obvious humorous possibilities afforded by Palmeiro's role as pitch-man for Viagra. It would take an Act of Congress to change my position on this moratorium.

One last thought, apropos of nothing: 'Rafael' means Healer-for-God in Hebrew and is the name of the Angel of Healing. If nothing else, Raffy will have to... er, take his medicine.

8 comments:

Tom Van Dyke said...

If you've ever seen Eight Men Out, about the "Black Sox" fixing the World Series in 1919, you start to get the drift.

Sport is no life or death matter, it's about feeding your family. It's a business, no less and usually more for the athlete. To drag the real world into the "toy store" is a waste of gov-ment money.

(Next they'll be telling me rasslin' is fake.)

But after achieving his financial goals for his family, the humble Mr. Palmiero got greedy. Maybe he took the money to shtup Viagra on the American male populace to help erase the curse and shame of erectile dysfunction.

And maybe he juiced up only this year to stay in the majors, get his 3000th hit, and make the baseball Hall of Fame.

But he soiled his honor, in front of the US Congress, and under oath, stating he never juiced. Even if he was telling the truth at the time (doubtful), to juice afterward was greed for an undeserved honor, the Hall of Fame.

I pretty much believe Jose Canseco---yeah, everybody does it. To make a living, sure. Laughing all the way to the bank and call me pischer.

But to cheat for an unearned honor? Uh-uh. I think most of us have had our chance.

Kathy Hutchins said...

Far more offensive to me than Palmiero lying to Congress was the spectacle of Peter Angelos threatening to use his asbestos/tobacco settlement-bloated law firm to rip Jose Canseco a new one for "libelling" Palmiero. It would cheer me greatly if Canseco's new book actually fingers Angelos as one of the owners who knew what was going on, and appropriate legal action follows. Bottom feeding pond scum. And since he doesn't wear the Annapolis Statehouse on his watch chain anymore (thank you, Kathleen KENNEDY Townsend for being such an appalling candidate that even Baltimore wouldn't vote for you!), maybe his multimillion dollar contributions to the Maryland Democrats won't buy him out of trouble this time.

Hunter Baker said...

I know I'm radical, but I think Bonds should submit to a test and if he comes up juiced, which we know he was and probably is, then he gets the asterisk or worse, his records are simply not eligible.

I was an avid baseball fan as a child and recall the amazement when George Foster hit a whopping 52 homers in a season. For a time, that became non-spectacular, and we should have known something was wrong. It is simply not possible that the four or five greatest home run hitters of all time all happen to have been playing in the 1990's.

Jay D. Homnick said...

As we Scrabble players say, "If you think Bonds did without a steroid, you must be from an asteroid."

That being said, steroids were not verboten in baseball before this year. (And verboten is not a verb but an adjective, so I guess the world is just a crazy place.)

Kathy Hutchins said...

Steroids were not verboten in baseball before this year.

Maybe not, but androgenic anabolic steroids have been Schedule III since 1990. I realize MLB has an antitrust exemption, but I was unaware they were actually a sovereign nation with their own laws.

I'd also like to know how the heck Palmiero claims he took stanozolol without knowing it -- not only is it not a component of any dietary supplement, it is not capable of being administered orally. You have to inject it.

Kathy Hutchins said...

Correction -- I seem to be wrong about stanozolol. It's not sold as tablets in the American market because the only FDA approved uses are veterinary, but it is available as pills from overseas makers, the primary source being Spain.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Ms. H---Your correction is far more damning. You continue to inspire with your principled thoroughness.

HB---I spent a summer once preparing an all-time All-Star disk for video game sale. It was delightful, hitting the baseball encyclopediae, comparing eras, uncovering and singling out the true greats.

The steroid age has ensured that no one will ever so delight in such a project again. Everything is suspect.

I had my fun, so I'm OK. I'm sad for future generations, who are cheated of the joy I experienced, that in this perfidious world, baseball's record book was one of the few things you could count on.

Hunter Baker said...

Tom, I am so right there with you. As a kid, I read books that ranked the 100 greatest players and loved memorizing and comparing their stats. I used to read the backs of baseball cards like novels. At one time, I could name the great home run hitting seasons until they all became footnotes in the matter of a few years. Like I said before, who cares about George Foster's 52 or Jimmy Foxx's 58? Maybe we will again after we see how long it takes someone to do it with strict drug testing.