Wednesday, August 03, 2005

All Those Who Should Be In The Hall Of Fame Take A Step Forward -- Not So Fast, Raffy

Well, well -- I’d say the voters who decide such matters as which players are eligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame will have quite a little dilemma on their hands in five, six or seven years -- depending on when Rafael Palmeiro retires.

Palmeiro was proven to have used steroids, which not only is a violation of the game’s rules, but a violation of his own words, when he waggled his finger at Congress in March and said, "I don’t use steroids, and never have. Period."

Instead of "period," maybe he should have used some other form of punctuation, like "semi-colon," or "ellipses" or "comma," followed by a qualifier of some sort.

Raffy, with his own brand of denial (love the index finger)

Now Palmeiro says he didn’t "knowingly" ingest these steroids, and frankly, that’s where I stop following that part of the story. I guess anybody can deny anything if you use logic like that.

But the part that I won’t stop following, because it’s far too big to ignore and it makes for great debate, is whether or not Raffy should be allowed into the Hall of Fame. My knee-jerk reaction was yes, because I also believe Pete Rose should be in the Hall.

But then I stopped myself and thought, "Wait a minute -- Petey should go in because I don’t think what he allegedly did had anything to do with what he accomplished as a player on the field." Ahh, there’s the rub -- because if Palmeiro indeed used steroids, and used them for any considerable length of time, then that definitely impacted his performance between the white lines.

Gentlemen, start scratching your heads and rubbing your chins. And, altogether now, "Hmmmm....interesting...."

This is a real problem, because Palmeiro, statistically, should be a shoe-in for the Hall, despite what guys like ESPN’s Skip Bayless argued, prior to this latest news. Bayless said Palmeiro shouldn’t be in the Hall because he wasn’t a "difference maker" or an "impact player" like his fellow 500 homerun, 3,000 hit colleagues. That’s a bunch of hogwash, and I told Bayless so (well, I emailed him and I’m sure he read it.....yeah, right). Anyhow, Raffy’s numbers scream induction, but his actions whisper doubt. And that whisper will grow into a low rumble soon, maybe by the time you’re reading this.

I have to admit, I am still on the fence on this one, because I need to know, if possible to find out, how long Palmeiro has been using such performance enhancers. I’ll bet, however, that this didn’t just start happening last week, last month, or last year. Palmeiro didn’t, after 15+ years in the majors, wake up recently and said, "I think I’ll try this steroid thing and see if it’s for me."

So accepting the fact that he has used these substances for several years, potentially, I must admit I am still on said fence because it is difficult to quantify how much those steroids helped him as a performer. Who knows -- maybe in some crazy, mixed up way, it hindered him. You never know.

My gut tells me he should be in, but I must say, there’s enough bothering me about it that I’m not sure if that’s what I ultimately will think. This situation has no precedent, really, although I’m sure the subject will come up when Mark McGwire becomes eligible in a few years. Raffy has blazed an unfortunate trail here, because he is the first of the Hall-worthy denyers to have been proven false. How proud he must be.

What also bothers me is that the news of Palmeiro’s testing positive, while disappointing, wasn’t all that surprising to me. What does that say? Am I so desensitized to this kind of news that the shock value has worn off, or do I think, deep down, that most of ‘em are guilty as sin? In either instance, it’s not a good thing and it speaks volumes about the state of the game.

How cruelly ironic that this revelation should come just weeks after Palmeiro joined the 3,000 hit, 500 homer club. Instead of celebrating that, we are mentally and verbally placing the scarlett letter on his jersey.

Got any drugs for that, Raffy?

Hey, Lions fans -- check out my colleague at MCS Magazine, Kevin Antcliff, at his blog, He is giving you some behind-the-scenes looks at training camp, including quotes and other good stuff. Visit him and gobble it up!

1 comment:

Brian said...

Skip and I tried to give you a heads up about Raffy's Hall nomination, but did you listen? No.

On a slightly more serious note, right now, I wouldn't vote for Palmeiro. Two reasons. First, our of respect to Aaron, Ruth, Robinson and Mays who played without such "help".

Second, because just like Rose, I can no longer tell where the truth ends and the lies begin.