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Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Fanhouse: Rafael Palmeiro Could be Telling Truth, Says Former Congressman

Truth or Drug Abuse Representative Education?

The former head of the Congressional subcommittee that Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and Jose Canseco testified in front of told FanHouse that Palmeiro indeed may not have knowingly used steroids despite a positive test days after he recorded his 3,000th hit—a benchmark that typically ensures entry to the Hall of Fame. Palmeiro will find out Wednesday if he’ll be a first-ballot selection as the Baseball Writers’ Association of America reveals if anybody reached the 75% threshold for induction.

“I feel bad for him,” said Tom Davis, a retired Virginia Congressman who now is director of Federal Government Affairs for Deloitte & Touche. “I believe that he didn’t know he was taking steroids. I think he told the truth. We conducted an investigation and that was the conclusion our investigators came to.”

...The decision for voters—including for the Veterans Committee that has a say after the baseball writers pass on a player – will be some more difficult in the coming years. All-time home run champ Barry Bonds and seven-time Cy Young winner Roger Clemens—the headliners of the Mitchell Report and two players under separate indictments for telling federal officials they never knowingly used PEDs—- are Hall eligible in 2013.

“This is not all about the players,” Davis said. “Management and ownership all winked and nodded. These players were moving the turnstiles. At one point, you have to make the decision that more players were probably using than even were in the Mitchell Report. We know a lot of (players) were using, but could never prove it. Guys like McGwire shouldn’t be barred.”

Repoz Posted: January 05, 2011 at 05:01 AM | 35 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: rumors, special topics, steroids

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   1. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: January 05, 2011 at 05:16 AM (#3723684)
“I feel bad for him,” said Tom Davis, a retired Virginia Congressman who now is director of Federal Government Affairs for Deloitte & Touche. “I believe that he didn’t know he was taking steroids. I think he told the truth. We conducted an investigation and that was the conclusion our investigators came to.”
Nobody cares.
   2. John DiFool2 Posted: January 05, 2011 at 05:34 AM (#3723696)
Some do, like me. It's quite possible that Raffy is getting the rawest of the raw deals.
   3. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 05, 2011 at 05:39 AM (#3723701)
If a Congressman thinks someone is telling the truth, does that mean the person was actually lying? Is it like a double negative?
   4. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 05, 2011 at 05:47 AM (#3723706)
Palmeiro will find out Wednesday if he’ll be a first-ballot selection


And I'll find out Wednesday if I won the lottery.

Look, I'm open to considering evidence in Palmeiro's favor. I think it's possible he didn't knowingly use. But I've seen nothing persuasive to rebut the failed drug test.
   5. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: January 05, 2011 at 05:50 AM (#3723707)
And I'll find out Wednesday if I won the lottery.


Assuming you bought a ticket, you've actually got a better chance than Raffy.
   6. Mr2bits Posted: January 05, 2011 at 05:58 AM (#3723711)
I'm open to considering evidence in Palmeiro's favor. I think it's possible he didn't knowingly use. But I've seen nothing persuasive to rebut the failed drug test.


And how exactly would someone go about doing that? You could line up every player he ever played with, and have them all swear he never used in front of them (or never admitted using), and it still wouldn't prove he didn't knowingly use in the privacy of his own home. Absent some masked man coming forth and saying he drugged Palmeiro in his sleep (or intentionally sold him a tainted supplement), the only "evidence" we have in this situation is his word...which of course is discounted due to the positive drug screen.
   7. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 05, 2011 at 06:10 AM (#3723716)
And how exactly would someone go about doing that?


It would be very, very hard, which is why Palmeiro's in a tough spot even with people like me who have an open mind. Though of course I don't give a hoot whether he or any other player used and I find the entire steroids-in-baseball controversy to be idiotic. The people who get worked up over this come off as very small-minded to me, and it's hard to have respect for them.

Anyway, one way for him to show he was perhaps innocent would have been to test the B12 Tejada had to see if it was tainted, but they tested some substances that were purportedly related and found them clean.
   8. Greg Goosen at 30 Posted: January 05, 2011 at 06:23 AM (#3723720)
The people who tolerate law breaking, especially by millionaires, strike me as retarded and I have zero respect for them.

A player who led the league in singles goes on to hit 500 home runs..how many times has that happened? Strikes me as unlikely as the POW in "Stalag 17" who believes that his wife found a newborn baby on her doorstep.
   9. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 05, 2011 at 06:32 AM (#3723723)
The people who tolerate law breaking, especially by millionaires, strike me as retarded and I have zero respect for them.


Everyone breaks the law, unless you've never driven over the speed limit or gotten a parking ticket or drank when you were underage or used any illegal drugs yourself or a million other things. There are a gazillion laws, and good people willingly engage in "law breaking" all the time.

Not that every baseball player who used steroids broke the law. Anabolic steroids weren't even scheduled until 1990, and substances like some of the BALCO substances and others weren't illegal for a period. Then you get to whether substances that are illegal in the U.S. are legal elsewhere.

Again, the hysteria is idiotic.
   10. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 05, 2011 at 06:38 AM (#3723726)
A player who led the league in singles goes on to hit 500 home runs..


Yes, because good hitters in their early 20s never develop power.
   11. bookbook Posted: January 05, 2011 at 07:10 AM (#3723738)
Seems much more likely than Babe Ruth's career path...
   12. bookbook Posted: January 05, 2011 at 07:14 AM (#3723740)
I also have to note that you take a man who is now a high-powered lobbyist--for an accounting firm, no less--and base your questions about his integrity on his previous job....
   13. Best Dressed Chicken in Town Posted: January 05, 2011 at 07:26 AM (#3723744)
A player who led the league in singles goes on to hit 500 home runs..how many times has that happened?

Stan Musial led the league in singles and hit 475 HR. Not hard to imagine him hitting 500 if he played in Palmeiro's era.
   14. Walt Davis Posted: January 05, 2011 at 07:46 AM (#3723750)
The Palmeiro and general post-testing argument:

The use of steroids is now a violation of baseball rules. However it is only repeated use of steroids which draws a lifetime ban that, under current HoF voting rules, would presumably make you ineligible for the HoF. Palmeiro's presence on the ballot makes it clear that he and others who test positive for steroids are eligible.

Now that it is against the rules, it is clearly "cheating." So are the spitball, corked bats, etc. Now engaging in those activities is more likely to earn you something like a 5-game suspension not a 50-game suspension so clearly the use of steroids is a much worse form of cheating than those. It is also clear that it is not as serious a rule violation as gambling or throwing a game.

It is an act with a clear penalty and it doesn't negate the achievements of the player. This is not necessarily inconsistent with other sports -- records are not necessarily expunged (some have been in track I believe) but, more importantly, there is, for example, no rule preventing a runner from winning a future Olympic gold medal. Football writers have voted former steroid users MVP and, one would guess, will enshrine known steroid users (i.e. guys who tested positive after it was against the rules) in their HoF if they have not done so already.

Failing a steroid test could of course be considered under the HoF "integrity" and "character" clauses. This is also true of "convicted" spitballers, ball-scuffers, bat-corkers, umpire-spitters and guys who get into fights on the field. Again, given the more severe penalty, it is clearly a greater violation of the "spirit of the game." As to "general character", it presumably should not be considered as black a mark as, say, spousal abuse or, I would argue, drunk driving or, others might argue, recreational drug use.

By putting rules in place, MLB has provided us with at least some mechanism to judge the impact that steroid use should have on the evaluation of someone's career. Palmeiro has a serious violation of the rules on his record but not a career-altering one. His team was not required to forfeit games prior to his positive test, his statistics are not altered, his career is not ended. With testing in place, future voters have little choice but to assume players are clean before and after any single positive test (give or take the time between the previous test and the positive one). If a player is not caught and suspended for use, the player has not violated any rule.

Let it be noted that, by putting rules in place, MLB has made it clear that while the use of amphetamines and other drugs is not as serious a violation of the rules as the use of anabolic steroids, it is a serious violation of the rules. Things are a bit muddier here since the first violation only brings a warning (suggesting it's even less important than throwing at a batter after being warned) but the 2nd brings a 25-game suspension (if my memory is correct). Given there are known amphetamine users in the HoF, this certainly opens the door to any pre-testing steroid users even if the voters want to apply new ethical standards to pre-test players.

Some writers have said they'd like the HoF to provide guidance on how to handle the steroid issue. It's not clear to me what they are waiting for -- Palmeiro violated MLB's steroid policy and Palmeiro is on the ballot. McGwire has confessed and he is on the ballot. It is clear that steroid use, in and of itself, is not disqualifying anymore than being suspended for a week for using a corked bat is. Meanwhile the violation of such a serious rule is clearly some mark against the player's integrity and the HoF has decided to leave it up to the voters to decide if it is severe enough to warrant exclusion just as they always have. It would be a gargantuan stretch to think that wants to exclude players based on mere suspicion of steroid use.

The lawyers and philosophers in the crowd can put this all more formally and convincingly probably but if you want the pithy equivalent of "innocent until proven guilty" it is "Palmeiro served his time."

I am assuming that Palmeiro holds the record for most suspended games in a career but, in theory, I see no reason why, say, a pitcher who had received 50 games worth of suspensions for foreign substances, emery boards, etc. should receive any larger HoF voting penalty than Palmeiro.

So, Ray, why do you require evidence he didn't use intentionally? He violated a baseball rule and he was appropriately punished. MLB has made it clear that this violation doesn't invalidate any of his on-field accomplishments.

Do you plan to apply this to all players who test positive in the future? If so, why? If a superstar player were to test clean for 5 years, have a single violation, then test clean for another 15 years, would he not receive your vote? Sosa was suspended 5 or so games for using a corked bat, does he receive 5 black marks compared to Palmeiro's 50? Or is any suspension, regardless of length, disqualifying (under the integrity and character clauses presumably)? Mike Cameron's not a serious HoF candidate but he had a 25-game suspension for greenies, is he off your list as well barring evidence he didn't knowingly use them? Heck, I don't even know if McGwire (post-confession) is on your ballot.

For those about to accuse me of trying to have my cake and eat it too ... well, yeah. That's the way it works sometimes. There was no rule for McGwire to violate. There was a rule for Palmeiro to violate but, while clearly a violation that carries a severe penalty, it isn't overly severe, MLB makes it clear that violators are welcome to return to the game, without prejudice, after they have served their suspension and the HoF has made it clear that Palmeiro is still eligible.

Rafael Palmeiro is a player suspended 50 games for violating baseball rules, nothing more, nothing less. He is not, by baseball's own standards, unworthy of playing the game nor, similar to McGwire, banned from future participation in organized baseball. He is not, by the HoF's standards, unworthy of being on the ballot.

For voters, the question is whether 50 games worth of suspension is sufficient evidence of a lack of integrity or character as to outweigh a player's on-field accomplishments.
   15. Ron J Posted: January 05, 2011 at 07:53 AM (#3723752)
#13 No idea whether Yaz ever led the league in singles, but he'd hit 95 HR in 903 games before 1967.

Likewise Kirby Puckett. 4 HR in his first 289 games. He hit a ton of singles in that time.

Looks like we've identified 3 hall of famers who used steroids. And then there's Lou Gehrig. 37 HR in his first 304 games. Tremendously strong. Unusual health record. I think we can connect the dots here.
   16. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: January 05, 2011 at 08:06 AM (#3723760)
Strikes me as unlikely as the POW in "Stalag 17" who believes that his wife found a newborn baby on her doorstep.

Isn't that the movie where William Holden is accused of betraying his colleagues based solely on the "eyeball test," and is then viciously attacked by a mob that knows all it needs to know?
   17. HGM Posted: January 05, 2011 at 08:08 AM (#3723761)
Walt - Ray can correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure I recall him stating in other threads that he'd vote for Palmeiro. He doesn't care about steroid use when it comes to the Hall. He's just saying that he believes Palmeiro used steroids, willingly and knowingly, not that that should disqualify him from the Hall.

Also, I believe that Palmeiro's suspension was 10 games. They later amended the rules, making a first time suspension 50 games.
   18.   Posted: January 05, 2011 at 09:19 AM (#3723771)
That was funny. Willie Mays finished second in singles in 1958. Went on to hit almost 700 homers.

Is that why he didn't get 100%?
   19. bumpis hound Posted: January 05, 2011 at 10:14 AM (#3723776)
The people who tolerate law breaking, especially by millionaires, strike me as retarded and I have zero respect for them.

People who mistake regulatory strictures for moral absolutes strike me as retarded and I have zero respect for them.
   20. jingoist Posted: January 05, 2011 at 11:34 AM (#3723781)
My best guess is that whenever the next form of player performance enhancement comes along it'll make anabolic steroids look like childs play.
I wont be around 50 years from now but like our current approch to curing cancer = radiation and chemicals - people will look back on the steroids era and say "no big deal, what was all the fuss about".
   21. Vrhovnik Posted: January 05, 2011 at 12:50 PM (#3723786)
Isn't that the movie where William Holden is accused of betraying his colleagues based solely on the "eyeball test," and is then viciously attacked by a mob that knows all it needs to know?

It adds up that you got yourselves the wrong guy. Because, I'm telling you, the krauts wouldn't plant two stoolies in one barracks. And whatever you do to me, you're gonna have to do all over again when you find the right guy.
   22. Benji Gil Gamesh Rises Posted: January 05, 2011 at 02:44 PM (#3723809)
Someone correct me if this happened and I somehow missed it, but if the Congressional committee "conducted an investigation" and concluded that Palmeiro unknowingly took steroids, shouldn't we maybe have heard about that in a very public way?
   23. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: January 05, 2011 at 03:16 PM (#3723826)
Well, I was going to snark in a Hitler reference, but after Walt's well thought out #14, I will not disgrace this thread with stupid snark.

I hate cheaters and if I were the king of baseball, scuffballers and batcorkers would get heavier penalties. But as Walt explains, MLB has a punishment system that maps the punishment to the crime as they see fit. Once the punishment is served, a player gets his second chance.

I'm okay with named users making it into the HOF; I've mellowed some on this topic. We simply will never know the impact of PEDs, whether 325' FOs turned into 330' 2Bs and 330' 2Bs turned into 335' HRs or if there was any impact at all. MLB made its bed, stuck its head in the sand and we just move forward. To me this is like Ford pardoning Nixon -- I wanted the wrongdoer punished there is really nothing to be gained by prolonging the angst and something to gain by moving forward. (Like fewer self-righteous articles in the paper!)

If someone is borderline and had been caught, I could see holding the cheating against the player and not voting.
   24. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 05, 2011 at 04:16 PM (#3723880)
Someone correct me if this happened and I somehow missed it, but if the Congressional committee "conducted an investigation" and concluded that Palmeiro unknowingly took steroids, shouldn't we maybe have heard about that in a very public way?


They didn't conclude that he unknowingly took steroids. The issue was whether he had taken steroids prior to testifying. They spent god knows how much money investigating him for perjury, but they couldn't prove that he had taken steroids prior to his testimony. The failed test came later, and they couldn't show that the drug was in his system at the time he testified.

Quoting now from a November 2005 news story:

In announcing the panel's decision, Rep. Thomas A Davis III (R-Va.), the committee chairman, did not fully absolve Palmeiro. "We couldn't find any evidence of steroid use prior to his testimony," Davis said. "That's not a finding of innocence, but it's a finding that we could not substantiate perjury."

Palmeiro claims that he didn't "knowingly" take steroids, which, again, is plausible, but I can't give him the benefit of the doubt in the face of the failed test and in the absence of persuasive evidence to rebut the failed test. I note that if he knowingly took stanozol on the heels of his congressional testimony and with everything swirling around him on this issue, he is probably the dumbest steroids user ever. So in that sense it does seem unlikely.

Re them testing B12 that was purportedly related to Tejada's B12:

Palmeiro's defense in the committee's investigation relied heavily on the possibility that a tainted B-12 shot had caused him to fail a drug test. But the report reveals that three samples of the vitamin, two given by Tejada and the other by an unidentified Orioles player who had gotten the B-12 from the Orioles shortstop, were tested and were not contaminated with stanozolol, the drug found in Palmeiro's system. Also, Tejada passed two drug tests during the 2005 season.

"The Committee obtained no evidence indicating that B-12 has ever been inadvertently contaminated with stanozolol," the report said.


Though Tejada is not implicated in any steroid use, his testimony raised some questions. Tejada said he supplied two unnamed Orioles teammates -- identified by the panel as players A and B -- with B-12 during the 2005 season. But his accounts of when the B-12 was given and how much of it was supplied differed in the testimony of the two players. The players testified that each had personally injected Tejada at least 30 times with B-12 since 2004.

"During our investigation the Committee did find substantial inconsistencies between Mr. Tejada's accounts and the accounts of players A and B," Davis said.
   25. Ron Johnson Posted: January 05, 2011 at 04:18 PM (#3723881)
#22 They investigated it solely from the point of view of proving that Palmeiro committed perjury. And concluded that there was no way to prove Palmeiro had ever taken steroids at the time he testified before Congress.

Indeed what Davis said at that time was, "We couldn't find any evidence of steroid use prior to his testimony. That's not a finding of innocence, but it's a finding that we could not substantiate perjury."

Also of note:

"The players association does not contend that the B-12 shot that Mr. Palmeiro took caused his positive test result. We have no evidence to suggest that. As a matter of fact, all of the evidence that exists runs in the other direction." (Michael Weiner MLBPA. Weiner represented Palmeiro at the arbitration hearing by MLB into Palmeiro's positive test)

"I disagree with what he's saying. He is speaking on the players' association behalf, but I feel that the B-12 was probably the thing that might have done it." (Palmeiro in response to Weiner's statement)

EDIT: Coke to Ray.
   26. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 05, 2011 at 04:27 PM (#3723899)
So, Ray, why do you require evidence he didn't use intentionally? He violated a baseball rule and he was appropriately punished. MLB has made it clear that this violation doesn't invalidate any of his on-field accomplishments.

Do you plan to apply this to all players who test positive in the future? If so, why? If a superstar player were to test clean for 5 years, have a single violation, then test clean for another 15 years, would he not receive your vote?


Oh, I'm just talking about whether I believe him or not. I don't care whether he used, and I've been supporting him for the Hall unequivocally.
   27. Benji Gil Gamesh Rises Posted: January 05, 2011 at 04:31 PM (#3723902)
Thanks Ray/Ron.

So that quote that brought me up short is either an elaboration based on Davis's personal opinion, or just simply not stated the way the official statements from 2005 read. Because Davis's recent quote makes it sound like they investigated, and concluded that he had taken steroids but had done so unknowingly.
   28. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: January 05, 2011 at 05:29 PM (#3723974)
A player who led the league in singles goes on to hit 500 home runs..how many times has that happened?

Ichiro leads the league in singles every year and he could hit 30 HR a year if he wanted to ;-)

It is an act with a clear penalty and it doesn't negate the achievements of the player.

Well, it doesn't "negate" them, but if you're trying to adjust a player's numbers for context, you could argue that a contextual adjustment for steroid use is merited.
   29. Morty Causa Posted: January 05, 2011 at 06:01 PM (#3724008)
It adds up that you got yourselves the wrong guy. Because, I'm telling you, the krauts wouldn't plant two stoolies in one barracks. And whatever you do to me, you're gonna have to do all over again when you find the right guy.


As a concept for a deterrent, that has never seemed to me to be very convincing. It's kind of like the following:

"Beat me and you will be beating one of your own." "Whatever."
   30. Mark Donelson Posted: January 05, 2011 at 06:14 PM (#3724021)
As a concept for a deterrent, that has never seemed to me to be very convincing.

I'm not so sure about this part of the line, either:

the krauts wouldn't plant two stoolies in one barracks

Pretty sure the Stasi had informers spying on informers, so why not?
   31. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: January 05, 2011 at 06:38 PM (#3724051)
the krauts wouldn't plant two stoolies in one barracks

They didn't have enough to go around, what with all the shenanigans going on in Stalag 13
   32. bond1 Posted: January 05, 2011 at 07:44 PM (#3724111)
I'm assuming Raffy led the league in singels in 1990. Raffy led the league in doubles the following year.
Since Davis claimed he conducted an investigation, I'm assuming Davis' comments means Palmeiro was not named in the Mitchell report either.
   33. Jick Posted: January 06, 2011 at 12:09 AM (#3724370)
"I hear some voters talk about how they'll probably vote for Barry Bonds because he was a Hall of Famer before he (allegedly) took steroids,'' Palmeiro said. "Well, why can't they do the same thing for me? I had one bad mistake at the end of my career.

Read more: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/writers/mel_antonen/01/05/palmeiro.hall.of.fame/index.html#ixzz1ACmZkppq


In the same article, he's quoted as saying he stands by the B-12 story. I don't see how the B-12 thing counts as his mistake, though...

(PS - I'd never seen that "read more" thing showing up with just a copy / paste of the original paragraph. That's convenient.)
   34. William Satterwhite Posted: January 06, 2011 at 12:58 AM (#3724424)
"I hear some voters talk about how they'll probably vote for Barry Bonds because he was a Hall of Famer before he (allegedly) took steroids,'' Palmeiro said. "Well, why can't they do the same thing for me? I had one bad mistake at the end of my career.

Read more: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/writers/mel_antonen/01/05/palmeiro.hall.of.fame/index.html#ixzz1ACmZkppq

In the same article, he's quoted as saying he stands by the B-12 story. I don't see how the B-12 thing counts as his mistake, though...


It seems that Palmeiro is saying that he knows he is still innocent but if other people choose to believe that he is lying and did use steroids, that they should assume he only used the one time he failed the drug test. The problem is, I've always figured most people believe Palmeiro used steroids throughout most of his career.
   35. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 06, 2011 at 01:16 AM (#3724436)
The problem is, I've always figured most people believe Palmeiro used steroids throughout most of his career.


Before Palmeiro's failed test, the evidence against him basically consisted of Canseco's allegations, set forth in his book.

I honestly don't know what to make of Canseco's allegations, at this point. He's named the following players as users:

McGwire
Palmeiro
Giambi
Juan Gonzalez
I-Rod
A-Rod

(Canseco claimed he personally injected the first five players.)

Evidence subsequently surfaced that five of those six players have used steroids. (I could be wrong but I don't think any independent evidence has surfaced on I-Rod.) But none of those players, to my knowledge, have agreed that Canseco's version of events is the truth. And for all five of those players, the evidence that subsequently surfaced was not linked to Canseco in any way.

As a side note, Palmeiro never looked bulky to me, like McGwire or some of the others. He looks to have gained a little weight over his career, as most players do (since most people are heavier at 40 than they were at 25).

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