Monday, August 01, 2005

Hey, do you smell something burning?

Back in March, Rafael Palmeiro of the Baltimore Orioles appeared before a House Government Reform Committee hearing on steroid use in baseball, pointed definitively at the congressional representatives, and said emphatically, "I have never used steroids. Period."

At the time, I joked that Palmeiro's declaration could be the 2005 version of "I did not have sexual relations with that woman." I was kidding, but as Al Franken might say, I was kidding on the square. It appears that ol' Raffy was being as truthful as President Clinton was.

Earlier today, Mr. "I've never used steroids" was suspended by Major League Baseball for testing positive for steroid use. Palmeiro will have to sit down for 10 days, which is the penalty for first-time offenders under baseball's "Hey, at least it's a start!" steroid policy.

Say Raffy, I thought you didn't take steroids. Here's what he said in a conference call to the media today:

"I am here to make it very clear that I have never intentionally used steroids. Never. Ever. Period."

Here's the rest of my conversation with Mr. Palmeiro's press release.

Oh. So you shouldn't be suspended for 10 days, right? After all, that penalty is for someone who's used steroids.

"Ultimately, although I never intentionally put a banned substance into my body - the independent arbitrator ruled that I had to be suspended under the terms of the program."

Oh. Well, you probably have some sort of explanation for how a banned substance ended up in your body, right?

"I am sure you will ask how I tested positive for a banned substance."

Yes, I just did. Thank you for noticing. I am just a lowly blogger, after all. I only pretend to have a press credential when I'm at the bar.

"As I look back, I don't have a specific answer to give."

Oh. Well, you realize that sounds like bull$#!+, right?

"Unfortunately, I wasn't able to explain to the arbitrator how the banned substance entered my body."

That's okay. I'm sure you just ate a poppy seed muffin, like Elaine did on that one Seinfeld where she failed a drug test.

"The arbitrator did not find that I used a banned substance intentionally -"

Right. You keep saying that. Okay, I think you can stop now.

"- in fact, he said he found my testimony to be compelling -"

Yes, I'm sure it was. Just like most of my readers are probably finding this compelling, as well.

"- but he ruled that I could not meet the heavy burden imposed on players who test positive under the new drug policy."

Okay, I don't even know what that means. Thank you, Mr. Palmeiro's press release. You may step down. Or step off. Whatever.

Palmeiro is easily the biggest name that's been nailed for using steroids. This isn't measly Alex Sanchez getting caught. This is a guy with 3,018 hits and 569 home runs - numbers good enough to stoke a debate as to whether he belongs in baseball's Hall of Fame after retiring. To me, it's only a debate because Palmeiro has never been considered one of the best players at his position. But his numbers are simply too impressive to ignore. Well, they were too impressive. Now, his chances could be slimmer than Lara Flynn Boyle.

Is there anything you'd like to add before we go, Mr. Palmiero's press release?

"I love baseball and have great respect for all of the players who played before me. I have always done my best to live each day in ways that would make my family proud. Everything I have accomplished is the result of hard work and dedication to being the best possible player I can be."

Okay, he's still going. Whatever you say, pal. And I'm dating Scarlet Johansson. (Yeah, that'll be tomorrow's blog.) Your pants are, like, totally on fire. Go sit your @$$ in a tub of ice water.