Skip

Rafael Palmeiro suspended for steroid use by Major League Baseball
August 1, 2005 10:53 AM   Subscribe

Rafael Palmeiro suspended for steroid use by Major League Baseball The first big name MLB player to be suspended for violating the leagues steriod policy testified to Congress about use of the drug in baseball after being named a user in Jose Canseco's book. "Good morning, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee. My name is Rafael Palmeiro and I am a professional baseball player. I'll be brief in my remarks today. Let me start by telling you this: I have never used steroids. Period. I don't know how to say it any more clearly than that. Never. The reference to me in Mr. Canseco's book is absolutely false. I am against the use of steroids. I don't think athletes should use steroids and I don't think our kids should use them. That point of view is one, unfortunately, that is not shared by our former colleague, Jose Canseco. Mr. Canseco is an unashamed advocate for increased steroid use by all athletes."
posted by batou_ (61 comments total)

 
Hey Raffi,
BUSTED!
posted by stevejensen at 10:58 AM on August 1, 2005


He is of course claiming he has no knowledge of how the banned substance ended up in his urine. My question is; if it were shown that he had known that he was taking steriods, would he be guilty of committing perjury (in front of Congress no less)?
posted by batou_ at 11:03 AM on August 1, 2005


Maybe that other bulking up drug he takes makes it hard for him to get accurate steroid test results?
posted by jasper411 at 11:05 AM on August 1, 2005


C'mon guys, I believe him. He probably just fell on a needle!
posted by Phatty Lumpkin at 11:12 AM on August 1, 2005


It is sad to see training replaced with drugs. These guys are supposed to be examples for young people. Instead, parents get to take kids to the ball park, where the drug user gets cheered for. Fine example.

Ten days? Oh, I'll bet his hand will be scalded for days after that. These guys should be benched for a season.

I won't get started on the latest drug hero to return to the arenas, Ricky Williams. Just another headshakingly dismal fiasco.
posted by buzzman at 11:14 AM on August 1, 2005


As Bob Costas said on the Daily Show:
"He's also the MLB spokesman for Viagra, so I guess it's safe to say he's getting good wood on everything these days."
"I have never used steroids. Period," Palmeiro said. "I do not know how to say it any more clearly than that."
posted by kirkaracha at 11:17 AM on August 1, 2005


The $167K in salary he'll lose will look like chump change next to the millions in indorsements he just blew. Ta ta, Viagra.
posted by theknacker at 11:19 AM on August 1, 2005


It is sad to see training replaced with drugs

Not to defend him, but it's not "replacing" training as much as counter-acting the effect of aging in Palmeiro's case. Someone could take all the steroids in the world but they won't become a better baseball player unless they also trained their asses off. That doesn't change his culpability at all, but he was assuredly still training just as hard as anyone else on the team.

I won't get started on the latest drug hero to return to the arenas, Ricky Williams.

There seems to be a huge difference between steroid use to enhance performance, and recreational drug use outside of the context of the sport.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 11:21 AM on August 1, 2005


He's the spokesman for performance enhancing drugs?

Wow.
posted by petebest at 11:21 AM on August 1, 2005


The $167K in salary he'll lose will look like chump change next to the millions in indorsements he just blew. Ta ta, Viagra.

As well as his chance at Cooperstown. No way he's getting in there now.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 11:22 AM on August 1, 2005


I won't get started on the latest drug hero to return to the arenas, Ricky Williams.

Yeah, and don't get me started about all those athletes who use alcohol recreationally! Just the other day I watched a Formula 1 race, and afterwards they showed live video of the winners using alcohol!!!111!!!11
posted by mosch at 11:30 AM on August 1, 2005


I won't get started on the latest drug hero to return to the arenas, Ricky Williams.

Congrats for posting probably the stupidest thing I've read all day. And I just read a bunch of Shouting's posts.
posted by wakko at 11:33 AM on August 1, 2005


What an asshole. Still, he's in the HOF. Maybe this kills his first ballot chances, but there's no way someone with 3,000/500 is kept out of the Hall. For better or for worse.
posted by xmutex at 11:33 AM on August 1, 2005


He's the spokesman for performance enhancing drugs?


Yeah, talk about irony...
posted by voltairemodern at 11:34 AM on August 1, 2005


buzzman writes "I won't get started on the latest drug hero to return to the arenas, Ricky Williams. Just another headshakingly dismal fiasco."

In what way? I thought the criticism of Williams is that he threw his career away to smoke pot. Isn't it good for him to return to the field? Isn't it something we should feel good about, like he's getting his life back together? I don't care if he smokes pot or not, since it's not performance enhancing, but I would have thought that people who did care would want him to be playing rather than smoking.
posted by OmieWise at 11:39 AM on August 1, 2005



Maybe that other bulking up drug he takes makes it hard for him


Well that's another matter...
posted by wakko at 11:40 AM on August 1, 2005


What's amazing to me is looking at his teammate, Slammin' Sammy Sosa, who was apparently put in the dryer too long because he's shrunk by about forty percent since last year. Seriously, he looks like a rookie again after losing all his steroid muscle. Same thing for Bret Boone, Marquis Grissom and a whole bunch of other guys who are struggling mightily this year without their power juice.

I'm bummed about Palmiero though. It will be interesting to see if he does make the Hall now though. With a huge asterisk next to all those home runs, I wouldn't be surprised if he doesn't make it now.
posted by fenriq at 11:41 AM on August 1, 2005


I hope he gets all that's coming for this.

Of course, he will deny it to the end. His new line is that he has never intentionally used steriods.

Whatever, the sport is becoming a joke. I'm personally amazed they even allowed this to go public.

Oh and yeah, the Ricky Williams saga is a joke too. Burn-out retires, says he'd rather smoke, discovers he needs to actually pay for that weed, and comes back to million$. Yeah, that's who I want my money going to when I buy a ticket..
posted by eas98 at 11:41 AM on August 1, 2005


Thinking about it, has anyone seen or done a side by side comparison of suspected 'roided up players from last year to this year? I think that would be incredibly telling in a lot of instances.
posted by fenriq at 11:43 AM on August 1, 2005


Truth really doesn't carry much significance these days, does it? If we're going to blast the guy, let's invoke the Nixon rule: Palmeiro is stupid (or disdainful) enough to get caught.
posted by gm2 at 11:43 AM on August 1, 2005


What an asshole. Still, he's in the HOF. Maybe this kills his first ballot chances, but there's no way someone with 3,000/500 is kept out of the Hall. For better or for worse.

Not much black ink, and a lot of time at DH.

Thomas, McGwire, and Bagwell were all better, and none (at this point) wears the steroid taint. And now, you gotta let McGriff in ahead of Palmeiro, too.

Five first basemen from the same era in the HOF? If you gave me even odds, I'd happily wager against Palmeiro's induction.
posted by Kwantsar at 11:52 AM on August 1, 2005


eas98: baseball players have been using amphetamines for many years, and all sports have a history with performance enhancing drugs. What's going on now doesn't make baseball "a joke." Not much has changed other than that the issue is actually being taken seriously now.
posted by MillMan at 12:01 PM on August 1, 2005


Maybe this kills his first ballot chances, but there's no way someone with 3,000/500 is kept out of the Hall.

Stop it, you're torturing poor Pete Rose with talk like that.

C'mon guys, I believe him. He probably just fell on a needle!

Yeah, repeatedly, that damn Jose Canseco just kept playing the same practical joke on him. You'd think he'd learn!
posted by Pollomacho at 12:03 PM on August 1, 2005


Thomas, McGwire, and Bagwell were all better, and none (at this point) wears the steroid taint. And now, you gotta let McGriff in ahead of Palmeiro, too.

You're joking right? McGwire is the poster boy for steroid taint.

How about none of the above?
posted by trox at 12:18 PM on August 1, 2005


This week's LA Weekly has a piece on steroid use that attempts to challenge the conventional wisdom....
posted by mr_roboto at 12:18 PM on August 1, 2005


If Raffy never took steroids (period), I never understood why he and his lawyers didn't drag Canseco and Canseco's publisher into court. Now I understand. Will he and his lawyers drag MLB into court? I somehow doubt it. Goodbye HOF.
posted by clearlynuts at 12:22 PM on August 1, 2005


What an asshole. Still, he's in the HOF. Maybe this kills his first ballot chances, but there's no way someone with 3,000/500 is kept out of the Hall. For better or for worse.


Hello, Pete Rose?

MillMan, I'm glad to see I now have company in the losing battle to remind everyone that greenies/amphetamines have been a pivotal part of baseball for decades and no one was screaming to keep people out of the hall of fame. I'm willing to bet they are much more prevalent still than roids.

I think the only reason McGwire, Sosa and Palmiero will probably still get into the Hall is because, unlike Pete Rose, they are not rabidly flaming assholes that have pissed off anyone and everyone that tried to help them. By all accounts, McGwire is a polite, warm, sociable drug abuser, whereas Rose, who never had so much as a beer in his life, is a rabidly angry, foul mouthed, ingrate tee totaller.
posted by spicynuts at 12:23 PM on August 1, 2005


You're joking right? McGwire is the poster boy for steroid taint.

Why? For taking Andro?
posted by Kwantsar at 12:31 PM on August 1, 2005


Last I checked, Pete Rose has nowhere near 500 homeruns. Yeah, 160 isn't quite 500, is it?
posted by fenriq at 12:33 PM on August 1, 2005


Kwanstar: Only four players in the history of baseball have 3,000 hits and 500 homeruns. Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Eddie Murray, and Rafael Palmeiro. How do you keep that last one out of the HOF?

I agree this is really disappointing, and will hopefully live with him forever. He's a liar of the highest order. However, time does seem to heal all wounds (rightly or wrongly) and so seven years down the line, I just don't see this keeping him out.

Before this, I thought any discussion at all about Palmeiro's eligibility was absolute nonsense, and any baseball writer who would even debate whether or not a 3,000/500 guy should be in or out ought be stripped of his credentials and voting rights. Now I think there's at least a small debate, and certainly a black mark on his career. But I think at the end of the day, he's in-- the numbers are just too overwhelming.

Same with with good ole Barry and his flax seed oil.
posted by xmutex at 12:37 PM on August 1, 2005


spicynuts: Pete Rose violated one of baseball's rules for which the punishment was an accepted lifetime ban. There's really not much of a comparison between Palmeiro and him.

Steroids were not really against the rules of MLB for the longest time (of course this is pretty egregious, but is the truth) and even now the punishment, according to the rules, is a ten-day suspension. It's unfair, really, to call for a ban of Palmeiro beyond what's written in the rules.

You could call for a change in the rules and I would be with you, but as it stands...
posted by xmutex at 12:39 PM on August 1, 2005


It's unfair, really, to call for a ban of Palmeiro beyond what's written in the rules.

I've had this argument ad nauseum with friends for years. It's a matter of principle. Just because something is not against the rules at the time doesn't necessarily make it right. Cheating is cheating. Because a particular variety of cheating is not expressly prohibited by the rules does not change the fact that cheating is lame and immoral. So we should let someone who earned their stats through artificial enhancement (intentional or not) into the Hall of Fame but someone who's performance on the field was in no way enhanced or effected by their activities off the field (plus, Rose was coach when he was gambling, his playing stats should stand on their own) gets a lifetime ban?

Agreed that gambling was against the rules. But let's have some perspective. Nothing Rose did as a PLAYER, when he accrued all of his stats, was against the rules or violated any ethical standards of play. Whereas Palmiero, I would argue, violated the very heart of what sporstmanship should be...fair play.
posted by spicynuts at 12:52 PM on August 1, 2005


There was some interesting conjecture over at a Yankee blog I frequent. Giambi (who's simply tearing it up at the moment) saw the writing on the wall a bit sooner than some of the others and got off the juice in mid-2003, knowing it would take a while to get his body back in order.

Well, "a while" looks to be about 2 years, and the miserable seasons guys like Boone and Sosa (and the setbacks Bonds has suffered) are having make me think they're a bit behind Mr. Giambi on the timeline.
posted by jalexei at 12:54 PM on August 1, 2005


. Last I checked, Pete Rose has nowhere near 500 homeruns. Yeah, 160 isn't quite 500, is it?

Feriq: agreed. However, the point I was trying to make was based on attitudes like this:

time does seem to heal all wounds (rightly or wrongly) and so seven years down the line, I just don't see this keeping him out.

Do I need to list all of the records that Pete Rose still holds? And we are way past 7 years. No, he doesn't have 500 homers. But if you want me to get on google, I will list every single record that Pete Rose has, and you can tell me if Palmiero should be forgiven because he has 500 home runs and Rose should not, because he has 160.
posted by spicynuts at 12:55 PM on August 1, 2005


xmutuex, Bonds is a no-brainer for the Hall of Fame. I think this could actually bar Palmeiro from making it. There's been a lot of discussion about McGwire's chances taking such a huge hit for refusing to discuss anything during the hearings.

But Bonds? No question he'll be in the Hall. Unless they find him sucking stem cells from aborted fetuses or humping a dog or something.
posted by fenriq at 12:57 PM on August 1, 2005


spicynuts: Eh, I don't agree. You have to punish players in a way that's both sensible and appropriate. I think all of us here who are fans of MLB and baseball in general would agree that a ten day suspension (not even a ten game suspension!) isn't really sensible, so let's set that aside.

In order for a punishment to be appropriate, you have to apply it equally (because that's the only just way) and therefore you can't really consider violations of the spirit of a rule because that call is patently subjective. Punishment has to be equal and across the board (as it can't be when making subjective calls on the spirit of things), and because it has to be equal, it has to be according to some set of rules.

And lest you think I disagree with you, I am in complete agreement that Pete Rose deserves to be in the HOF as a player.
posted by xmutex at 1:03 PM on August 1, 2005


And for the record (and to reiterate), Palmeiro doesn't deserve the HOF because he has 500 homeruns, he deserves it (probably) because he is among only four players in the history of the game to have 500 homeruns and 3,000 hits.

That being said, I don't know if I could stomach penciling his name in, deserving or no.
posted by xmutex at 1:06 PM on August 1, 2005


xmutex...i hear ya.
posted by spicynuts at 1:11 PM on August 1, 2005


Isn't it more accurate to compare the rate at which Paleiro hit the home runs than to compare totals? Palmeiro played a lot longer than the three did. I'm not sure that you get in the Hall of Fame for fantastic longevity.

Does anyone have comparisons between these four for HRs/hits per at-bat?
posted by oddman at 1:19 PM on August 1, 2005


And for the record (and to reiterate), Palmeiro doesn't deserve the HOF because he has 500 homeruns, he deserves it (probably) because he is among only four players in the history of the game to have 500 homeruns and 3,000 hits.

Too bad it took him 10,000 at bats! Stupid counting stats. He didn't walk much, didn't run the bases well, played in a park and era that inflated his numbers, was in the top ten of MVP voting only three times, was never the best player at his position, put up a mere 31 win shares in his best season, never led the league in BA or HR, hit a whopping .244 in the playoffs, and played the easiest position on the diamond (when he wasn't DHing). There ought not be anything magical about those round numbers.
posted by Kwantsar at 1:26 PM on August 1, 2005


I'm not sure that you get in the Hall of Fame for fantastic longevity.

Cal Ripken would disagree.

And Kwanstar: I guess you and I will just disagree. Being a member of a group of four players in the total history of the recorded game and in such important offensive categories warrants a spot in the Hall.

Well, would warrant a spot. The steroids thing makes me feel gross. But...
posted by xmutex at 2:06 PM on August 1, 2005


I understand your point xmutex, but I cannot agree. Hypothetical: (beware sci-fi themed) A player has a cybernetic arm (assuming there is no rule on the books against it) and breaks every pitching record imaginable. At the end of his career his secret becomes known. Do you think that person belongs in the hall?

What is the definition of a performance enhancing drug vs a nutritional supplement vs food?
posted by batou_ at 2:14 PM on August 1, 2005


End drug testing for athletes. If the athlete feels a substance enhances performance, it's his body, mind and game.

Let's see what steroids can do! Right out in the open, instead of this sneaking around behind everyones backs, lying and cheating to get one over on the other guy.

Let's make it fair. No more drug testing for athletics.
posted by telstar at 2:17 PM on August 1, 2005


Uhm... not to be an a-hole, but all the post links to is a news story on SI? I mean, there must be dozens and dozens of sites with background info...

I'm just saying...
posted by AspectRatio at 2:18 PM on August 1, 2005


Let's see what steroids can do! Right out in the open, instead of this sneaking around behind everyones backs, lying and cheating to get one over on the other guy.

The SNL sketch about the All-Drug Olympics pretty succinctly describes why that might not be a great idea.

Kevin Nealon: Oh! He pulled his arms off! He's pulled his arms off, that's gotta be disappointing to the big Russian!
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 2:50 PM on August 1, 2005


xmutex, are you really arguing that longevity is the only reason Ripken is going into the Hall of Fame?

At any rate, it will be fun to compare the two.

Ripken played a much harder position and played it better.
Ripken had two MVPs, was rookie of the year, had two Gold Gloves (at short stop), and two All-Star game MVPs.
Palmeiro has three Gold Gloves (at first base).

Now Palmeiro's big claim to fame is his hitting. Ripken was never known as a great hitter (good yes, great no.) He had 2,991 hits and 402 HRs over his first 19 seasons. Palmeiro has 3018 hits and 569 HRs over his 19 seasons. That is a grand total of 27 more hits and 167 more HRs. Remember Palmeiro is supposed to be a great offensive power, Ripken was not. If we look at yearly averages the numbers are even closer. Palmeiro only managed one hit and ten home runs more per season than Ripken.

So Ripken was a great all-around player with numerous and varied accolades who played a demanding fielding position for the majority of his very long career.

Palmeiro is a good hitter who barely out hits a guy known for his fielding and longevity more than anything else and also has a very long career.

Any candidate for the Hall that is being considered because of his hitting should obliterate Ripken's numbers, Palmeiro does not (not even close.) Did I mention that Ripken was named to that All-Century team?

What's that argument for Palmeiro again?
posted by oddman at 3:09 PM on August 1, 2005


The very Libertarian notion we should abolish testing is, as is usually the case with such extreme laissez faire worldviews, mostly harmful to the poorest of players: those players who ride the cusp between making peanuts in the Minors and making a respectable MLB salary. The subtext in accepting performance enhancers at the fringes of performance enhancement is that we would rather establish an athletic freakshow (for television ratings and McDonalds tie-ins) as opposed to something relatively-wholesome and relatively-safe for the participants (hey... it IS a job).

Feel free to inform me of my naiveté :(.
posted by basicchannel at 3:19 PM on August 1, 2005


Yeah, he is one of 4 people to get those stats, but it looks like he cheated to get them. I think that's a pretty good reason not to let him in the hall of fame. He didn't get his stats honestly. As a resident of dallas, i've been a raffy fan for a while and this just sucks. He only did he take steriods, he bold-faced lied about it under oath to congress.

Also, the Rangers were going to have a raffy tribute when he came by the ballpark, but had to cancel it since he won't be coming through now.
posted by puke & cry at 3:25 PM on August 1, 2005 [1 favorite]


Comparing Palmeiro to Ripken or Rose is just trolling. There is no comparison.

spicynuts: It's a matter of principle. Just because something is not against the rules at the time doesn't necessarily make it right. Cheating is cheating. Because a particular variety of cheating is not expressly prohibited by the rules does not change the fact that cheating is lame and immoral.

Those are great reasons to deny your hypothetical vote, but they are not good reasons to bar him from the ballot.
posted by Chuckles at 3:49 PM on August 1, 2005


Perhaps a nice penality would be, if caught using steriods your previous stats are voided. No stats should be considered valid while under the influance of PEDs.
posted by edgeways at 4:08 PM on August 1, 2005


i like the way you think, edgeways
posted by puke & cry at 4:10 PM on August 1, 2005


For me, the scandal here isn't whether an individual player did or didn't take steroids, it's that Major League Baseball, most sports announcers, and many fans turned a blind eye towards the widespread use of performance-enhancing drugs.

I don't endorse taking steroids, but Palmiero (and Bonds) established their numbers during a period when it was an open secret that players were juiced. The balls were juiced, the players were juiced, MLB was trying to make the sport more "fun" for fans. Any records they set during that period count, just as much as the team records count (teams have won/lost records from the season, there were playoffs, and there were World Series champions).

Pete Rose belongs in the Hall of Fame. Any time you're #1 on a (non-sociopathological) list and Ty Cobb is #2, you should be in the Hall of Fame. If you're #4 on a list that starts with Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, and Eddie Murray, you should be in the Hall of Fame. If you want to punish the players for their misbehavior, don't induct them, but their records put them in.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:35 PM on August 1, 2005


kirkaracha, that is really it, isn't it? So long as those late 90's early 00 ratings were bringing MLB back, Bud Selig was only too happy to turn a blind eye. Shame on him and shame on the MLB.
posted by basicchannel at 5:16 PM on August 1, 2005


So long as those late 90's early 00 ratings were bringing MLB back, Bud Selig was only too happy to turn a blind eye. Shame on him and shame on the MLB.

Just playing devil's advocate (my opinion on steroids changes daily) but why shame on them, if it did, in fact, help bring MLB back?
posted by jalexei at 5:34 PM on August 1, 2005


Well, the conventional wisdom is that the 1998 home run race between Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa saved baseball, but this October 2004 study [PDF] says no:
Previous research has concluded that the 1994/95 Major League Baseball strike caused short-term losses in fan interest but did not result in any long-term effects on attendance. While total attendance at MLB games following the 1994/95 strike has recovered to its pre-strike levels, this has been done only through the construction of new stadiums at an unprecedented pace, which cannot continue into the future. After accounting for stadium effects, average MLB baseball attendance has dropped significantly since the 1994/95 strike.
Here's a nice elegy for "the fraudulent summer of 1998."

By the way, most of the steroids scandal revolves around batters, but some people argue that pitchers use steroids, too, and former major league pitcher Tom House claimed that performance-enhancing drugs were widespread in baseball in the 1960s and 1970s.

Whether that's true or not (several players are quoted as calling House crazy), the bottom line is that baseball was played with the common knowledge that players were using performance-enhancing drugs, and unless you're going to throw out all the records from that period, the players' records stand. They set their records under the commonly-accepted conditions at the time.

Damn, I messed up the last sentence in my previous comment. It should be, "If you want to punish the players for their misbehavior, don't induct them until after they die, but their records put them in."

p.s. Way to make Jose Canseco look good, Mr. Palmiero.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:40 PM on August 1, 2005


I never want to meet the man who can look me in the eye and say Rafael Palmiero deserves a place in the Hall of Fame, and not Shoeless Joe Jackson.
posted by Saydur at 7:11 PM on August 1, 2005


Perhaps a nice penality would be, if caught using steriods your previous stats are voided. No stats should be considered valid while under the influance of PEDs.

So, if Palmeiro's nearly 600 home runs were voided, would they retroactively be removed from the ERA of the pitchers that gave up the home runs?

Then you'd have incentives for the pitchers to rat out the hitters.

As for me, I think I'm mostly in agreement with Jayson Stark (and since he is an actual voter, his opinion carries some weight). Though now I do feel a bit dirty for having tried Viagra just on his endorsement.
posted by obfusciatrist at 8:06 PM on August 1, 2005


Dock Ellis pitched a perfect game after dropping acid. How's that for an enhanced performance?

I imagine the catcher told the batters that ole Dock was trippin'. Who'd want to stand in the batter's box then?
posted by Eekacat at 10:41 PM on August 1, 2005


Apparently President Bush has looked into his heart:
"Rafael Palmeiro is a friend. He testified in public and I believe him," Bush said, referring to Palmeiro's denials under oath to a congressional committee on March 17. "He's the kind of person that's going to stand up in front of the klieg lights and say he didn't use steroids, and I believe him. Still do."
posted by kirkaracha at 10:57 PM on August 1, 2005


Now he's saying he never intentionally used steroids:
I am here to make it very clear that I have never intentionally used steroids. Never. Ever. Period.
Uh, sure. And unless he was dumb enough to start using steroids after telling Congress that he did not have intravenous relations with those steroids, he should be indicted for perjury.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:39 AM on August 2, 2005


if it were shown that he had known that he was taking steriods, would he be guilty of committing perjury?

Looks like he may be.
posted by mrgrimm at 4:43 PM on August 2, 2005


« Older Dead Games Tell No Tales (R.I.P Virtua Hamster)   |   Oh, those dual Stromberg carbs! Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post