After Melky Cabrera’s shoddy webmaster skills died a timely death, I started thinking about past ruses of steroid explanation.
Instant comedy seems to be born every time a baseball player is accused or caught red-handed in using performance-enhancing drugs. Some dopey anecdote is concocted, and the authorities and the fans are supposed to blindly buy it.
So, without further adieu, here is the first installment of “Great Moments in Steroid Scandals.”
"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."
You remember that one, right?
Orioles first baseman Rafael Palmeiro looked into the eyes of Congress, wagged his sanctimonious finger and affirmed to the world he wasn’t dirty.
His adamancy spoke volumes, as his performance in Washington was actually worthy of Tinseltown. The only enhancers Raffy ever took were Viagra pills—and he was paid to tell us that.
But only 135 days after Palmeiro’s fire-and-brimstone speech of innocence, he tested positive for the powerful and MLB-banned supplement stanozolol. Subsequently, he was suspended for 10 games (the ban at the time in 2005).
So, let’s try this again.
"I have never intentionally used steroids. Never. Ever. Period. Ultimately, although I never intentionally put a banned substance into my body, the independent arbitrator ruled that I had to be suspended under the terms of the program."
After this statement of desperation, he was mum to the public about his positive test. But ESPN soon learned that Palmeiro, when talking to an MLB arbitration panel, threw his teammate Miguel Tejada under a massive bus. He claimed Tejada had given him a dreaded B-12 pill that logically must have been tainted.
With Tejada having his steroid transgressions as well, the case simply looked like a juiced guy trying to save his hide on the laurels of another juiced guy.
Because both guys were dirty, their stories weren’t believable, and the mystery B-12 pill never did any real damage. Sure, Tejada was convicted of perjury for lying to Congress about Raffy’s checkered steroid past, but it was a minor violation that did no real damage.
As for Palmeiro and that completely legal pill that somehow caused a positive test for an extremely dangerous steroid, well he’s sticking to his story.
In 2006, he told the Baltimore Sun, "Yes sir, that's what happened. It's not a story; it's the reality of what happened," and "I said what I said before Congress because I meant every word of it.”
I apologize for asking such a silly question, but if Palmeiro regularly took B-12 pills, then why didn’t he buy his own pills?