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Palmeiro commits worst sin


Published: Sat, September 24, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.


I am reminded of one of the great signs in sports history, from a fan in the old Buffalo Arena who dissed a member of the Boston Celtics with "There's Nobody Worseski Than Steve Kuberski".
(For the record, Kuberski played parts of nine seasons in the NBA and finished with a career scoring average of 5.5 points per game. So there may have been a little bit of truth to the guy's sign.)
Anyway, this isn't about Steve Kuberski, the Boston Celtics or the old Buffalo Arena. But it is about good signs, and here's one to ponder: "There's Nobody Dumber Than Rafael Palmeiro."
(OK, I know it doesn't rhyme, but hopefully you get the point.)
Latest claim madea bad situation worse
For one, how do you get caught by a steroid test when the union that represents you sends you every possible notice, including (I presume) an engraved invitation that reads "Steroid testing in one month. Don't take any more."
As if that wasn't bad enough, coming in the same season Palmeiro recorded his 3,000th career hit, by the way, this week Palmeiro committed as ugly of a sin as one can contemplate inside a major league clubhouse.
He ratted out a teammate.
Now, telling on someone else to lessen our own punishment is a pretty common thing. Some did it elementary school, when the principal offered to let you off the hook if you told him who put you up to sticking chalk in the erasers.
And in just about every episode of "Law & amp; Order" there's some scummy sort who escapes jail time by taking the stand and pointing the finger at the really bad guy.
But not in baseball.
There's a code inside the clubhouse. You don't use a teammate's equipment without asking, you don't jump into line at the postgame buffet, and, if you were an Indians teammate of Albert Belle in the '90s, you never, ever, touched the thermostat.
Especially, you don't rat on anyone.
Steroids are steroids,vitamins are vitamins
But that's what Palmeiro did this week, claiming that his positive steroid test may have come from a vitamin containing B-12 that was provided to him by Orioles shortstop Miguel Tejada.
According to experts, B-12 "helps maintain healthy nerve cells and red blood cells, and is commonly found in foods such as fish, meat, poultry and dairy products."
According to me, steroids help maintain bloated faces and acne and aging and wanna-be major leaguers hit home runs very, very far. They are not found in foods such as fish, meat, poultry and dairy products, but pills, creams and injections.
So Palmeiro not only tried to implicate a teammate, he lied, and, well, his lie was awful.
(Giving Palmeiro the benefit of doubt, perhaps he got some bad advice from one of his agents or advisers, which is the worst advice anyone has received since somebody convinced Maurice Clarett that signing bonuses in the NFL are way overrated.)
How to becomea persona non grata
Which isn't going to do much for Palmeiro's reputation, which was almost non-existent anyway.
Last winter, Palmeiro told a Congressional committee (under oath) that he had never taken steroids, period.
On July 17th, he recorded his 3,000th career hit, and along with his more than 500 career homers, reached a milestone achieved by only three other players. (You may have heard of them -- Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Eddie Murray.)
Palmeiro was considered a first ballot Hall of Famer, which is not a small feat.
Today, Palmeiro is a pariah, not only by baseball's fans and the writers, but his latest attempt to deflect blame will make him an outcast in the last place where anyone accepted him.
There hasn't been this kind of banishment in baseball since Jim Bouton's book, "Ball Four" was published. That was more than 35 years ago and there remains many former players who won't talk to him.
Palmeiro can only hope his punishment is as light.
XRob Todor is sports editor of The Vindicator. Write to him at todor@vindy.com.


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