Orioles Card "O" the Day

An intersection of two of my passions: baseball cards and the Baltimore Orioles. Updated daily?

Monday, February 9, 2009

Miguel Tejada and Rafael Palmeiro, 2005 Upper Deck #264

Boy, how this card is loaded with subtext. "Team Leaders", indeed. I feel a rant forthcoming.

I'm just about ready to throw in the towel on this whole steroids mess. We'll never know for sure the names of every player that used, and even with the changes to Major League Baseball's testing policies, they're lagging far behind the chemists and dealers in the performance-enhancing drug race. There's just no point in finger-wagging and hand-wringing every time another user is outed, especially if you're going to hold up another player as a supposedly "clean" example. Given some of the names that have been uncovered in recent years (Paul Byrd, for instance), literally ANYONE could be using.

It's especially hypocritical to keep star players out of the Hall of Fame for steroids, considered the blind eye that the MLB hierarchy and the media turned to suddenly muscular physiques and cartoonish home run totals in the 1990s and early 2000s. In case you've forgotten, the reporter that spotted the Andro in Mark McGwire's locker was turned into a pariah for daring to sprinkle dirt on Big Mac's historic home run chase. The Hall of Fame is largely a joke anyway. Bowie Kuhn balks at the suggestion of enshrining Negro Leaguers into the Hall and tries to banish Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays from baseball for daring to sully the name of baseball by appearing at casinos, and he gets rubber-stamped for enshrinement. Marvin Miller revolutionizes the game by helping overturn the unethical reserve clause that had given owners 100% of the leverage in player contracts, and he's left out in the cold.

It's human nature to cheat, to do anything you can to gain an advantage. It's been going on in baseball since the beginning. From the 1890s Orioles packing cement in front of home plate and teaching hitters to chop down on the ball to take advantage of their speed, to pitchers like Burleigh Grimes, Whitey Ford, and Gaylord Perry doctoring the ball to cause unpredictable movement, to the 1951 New York Giants stealing signals to aid their improbable comeback in the pennant race, that's the way it's always been. It's pretty funny that certain kinds of cheating are celebrated as part of the colorful tapestry of baseball, and other kinds are just plain wrong, isn't it?

With all that being said, it still takes an exceptional amount of arrogance and stupidity to scoldingly point your finger at a Congressional panel in a televised hearing and to declare that you have never done steroids, "PERIOD"...only to fail a test for one of the most widely known steroids just months later. No matter how many shades of gray there are in the performance-enhancing drug debate, and no matter how much my opinion might change from day to day, Rafael Palmeiro is going to be on my dog list for the foreseeable future.


William said...

I give that rant an A+. Bobby Estalella used steroids -- BOBBY ESTALELLA. Sheezis, what's the point anymore? The way I look at it, if Clemens was great in a sea of 'roiders [even being a 'roider himself], he deserves the Hall of Fame.

How much more will our generation hail Griffey Jr? Baseball should build a shrine to him -- he had God-given talent and never squandered it. He never got bigger over his career, his numbers never grossly peaked, and the end of his career has been a hill, not a cliff. God bless him.

Kevin said...

Thanks William. I love Griffey too, and hope against hope that he is 100% clean (which seems likely, though as we've seen, no one can tell for sure) and that he returns to Seattle in 2009.