Would Raffy Consent To Lie Detector Test?Posted on December 30, 2010
By Stan "The Fan" Charles
It's hard to believe it has been more than five years since then Orioles first basemen Rafael Palmeiro sat before the U.S. Congress, wagged his finger and pronounced with total certainty he had "never taken steroids." Baseball fans know the rest of this sad story.
This story will be repeated over and over again during the coming weeks because this is the first season Palmeiro is eligible for a vote into the Hall of Fame. This year, he probably has about as good a chance as Pete Rose does.
Baseball's sordid Steroid Era is about to crash headfirst into the wall protecting the doors of Cooperstown. The baseball writers will serve as the gatekeepers, many of whom have held simple grudges against those players they didn't like. But with the case of those suspected of using performance-enhancing drugs, the writers are justified to protect some semblance of the integrity of the Hall.
Palmeiro isn't exactly the first of this era to come up for a Cooperstown vote. That honor goes to Mark McGwire, who also testified that same day and made a bigger fool of himself than Palmeiro by stating in a zombie-like monotone, "I am not here to talk about the past." Through four years of eligibility, Big Mac's highest percentage to this point is 23.7 percent of the vote, far short of the 75 percent needed for induction.
Within the next couple years, there will be more -- Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa, to name a few. But Palmeiro has always felt different since that day in 2005 when word got out he tested positive for PEDs. He vehemently denied he had knowingly used steroids and blamed the positive test to a B-12 shot given to him by teammate Miguel Tejada.
During his marvelous playing career, Palmiero, who played for the Cubs and had two stints with Texas and two with the Orioles, is one of just four players to reach 3,000 hits and 500 home runs (the others being Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and Eddie Murray, all in the HOF).
So the numerical credentials are there. Yet, the questions remain: Do you believe Palmeiro? Do you believe he never knowingly took performance-enhancing drugs?
Suppose he did take them, but only in his last season as he tried to hang on. Would that tarnish his career to the point that 99.9 percent of his stats would be rendered tainted if for a month or two he used PEDs?
Palmeiro's protestations have never registered as true. In the court of public opinion, if Palmiero wants his candidacy for the Hall to be taken seriously, the burden of proof is on the player to get the needle unstuck in his message. Palmiero should embark on an aggressive PR campaign to try to erase his scarlet letter.
How? By hiring an expert in polygraph tests and doing everything in his power to get his message out there in a way that will resonate … if he is telling the truth. Failing that, one will be left to wonder why he would leave so many stones turned over in his pursuit of justice.
Posted Dec. 30, 2010