Spare me the talk about Rafael Palmerio ‘betraying’ the American public because he tested positive for steroids.
Betrayal is finding out your spouse of fifty years has another wife in Denver. Betrayal is Benedict Arnold selling out his country, the White Sox throwing the World Series for cash, Lando handing Han Solo to the Empire, and that horrible moment when you realize pro wrestling isn’t on the up and up.
What Palmerio did, besides make himself a laughingstock to millions, was grab himself a slab of beef from the same cash cow we all had for dinner.
Sure, the Average Joe didn’t earn millions of dollars courtesy of BALCO, but we knew something was wrong with the American Pastime.
‘Twas a time when fifty homeruns a season and 500 for a career were benchmarks of greatness; by the end of the millennium it was routine enough to be ho-hum.
What was to blame? Smaller parks, expansion, a juiced ball?
Oh, the naivety of our youth.
Replace ‘naivety‘ with ‘hypocrisy’, and you’ll be closer to the truth.
The evidence was in front of us all along: oversized players, whispered accusations, sudden growth spurts. We just didn’t want to admit it. It was too much fun to watch the records fall and too damn inconvenient to question it all.
Frankly, the average fan has as much moral high ground with baseball as a guy during Prohibition who groused about bootleggers while slamming back a cold one.
After all, we all benefited from keeping our mouths shut, didn’t we?
That’s not to excuse Raffy and his pals.
You don’t use steroids to improve your game. You certainly don’t use steroids after swearing to Congress that you don’t, and if you’re caught you don’t go around saying you have no idea how it wound up in your system.
Memo to Rafael: it was Stanozolol, a powerful steroid that can be injected or injested but is unavailable in dietary supplements. In other words, near impossible to take accidentally.
Give up the ghost. They caught you.
3018 hits, 569 home runs, 1834 RBI’s, a sure ticket to Cooperstown - and it’s meaningless.
Sure, we don’t know how long he was on the juice. Maybe it was a one-time shot, or a career long habit. But once you lie - oops, allegedly lie - to Congress, who’s going to believe anything shy of the worst case scenario?
Spare me the apologists who write that Palmerio always had a ‘sweet swing’ and that steroids do nothing to boost hand-eye coordination. If steroids were just about building brute strength, then why was Olympic runner Ben Johnson busted for using the same drug?
Steroids make you faster, stronger, allow you to recover quicker from injury, and boost the confidence of the user.
Last time I checked, those were all useful traits on the diamond - things that might have pushed a good player like Palmerio into the realm of (contrived) greatness.
What makes me bitter is that the biggest villain in this scandal has avoided testing by pleading injury. Is it any wonder Barry Bonds chose the day of Palmerio’s suspension to announce he doesn’t plan on returning this year?
Is he sitting out just to avoid the spotlight, or has baseball issued an under-the-table suspension to save their ‘greatest’ star?
Either way, life goes on. Palmerio will rejoin the Orioles in a week, take his ribbing and the millions of dollars that come with it, and eventually retire to a life of comfort.
Let’s hope the plague of steroid abuse is ready to retire too.