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More on the Bonds Ball

the tainted barry bonds home run ball 756From the “you might have missed this, I almost did” department:

Fashion designer Marc Ecko took to the tubes at ESPN.com today for a live chat about his handling of Barry Bonds‘ tainted ball. As it turns out, Ecko is an interesting, thoughtful, and seemingly intelligent man who did not enter into this lightly or on a whim. He appears quite genuine in his quest to use this as a way to further the debate and dialogue about ethics and integrity in sports.

The full transcript is behind ESPN’s “Insider” firewall (nice job, dopes), so if you’re not a member of that service you won’t be able to read it. How-evah, I’ve excerpted two of the best passages for you because I think they deserve to be seen.

Chris (Boston): Out of the three choices you proposed, which one would you choose?

Marc Ecko: I voted, before people knew the site was live, for the asterisk. The reason is that it’s a lot bigger than 756. It has to do with the last 10 years in sports. It’s a system that fosters its athletes to cheat. I want to be able to look at my heros and look at them as heros for a reason and doing it on their own. My ability to imagine doing these things and the very notion that it might not be what it actually is, is bad for the sport. You don’t need that in the living room, when you’re watching the game. You don’t need to be having that discussion.

Then a few questions later…

Chris Starr San Francisco, CA: I understand you’re not a Barry Bonds fan and that’s fine, but wouldn’t the $752,467 have been spent as a donation to charity? Isn’t that a lot of money to waste on a baseball you have no intention of keeping?

Marc Ecko: Actually, as a private citizen who spends millions and millions on charity as it is and earns his money by working really hard, I think the way I spent the money is a good thing. This won’t get swept under the rug. As a social issue, this is real. In terms of speaking about our values and pro sports. I think it’s been good to get that debate out there. After 10 million votes, it’s about seven cents a vote. I wanted to do this, I wanted to mix it up. I earned it. That’s what life should be about. Good question. Fair question.

He also talks about the Hall of Fame and how they’re working with him to display the ball and tell the whole story behind it (assuming it doesn’t end up in space).

This is just about the best thing that could have happened to the ball. Maybe some good will ultimately come of it.

42 comments to More on the Bonds Ball

  • df1570

    How tragically unfair it is to Barry Bonds to have this kind of discussion going on about the record-setting home run ball while a confirmed cheater like Gaylord Perry continues to reap the benefits of his Hall of Fame legacy.

    Shameful.

    It’s really as simple as “black and white”, no pun intended (or, perhaps, intended).

    Perry was a good old boy.

    Bonds is a jack-ass.

    Perry cheated, was caught, admitted to it and still made it to Cooperstown.

    Amazing country we live in.

  • dan the man

    Drew, since I think we’re both done killing each other, I’d be curious to know what baseball organization you think is the most upstanding towards its fans and why?

    And I would vote for the asterisk as well, but this ball absolutely needs to be in the Hall. People should have the opportunity to see the ball and think about it and come to their own conclusions.

  • neal s

    There’s probably something to the notion of “good old boy” versus “jackass” (fair characterizations), but there’s a big difference between throwing a spitball and juicing.

    There are degrees of cheating, after all, and I think one is worse than the other.

  • Brendan

    If it goes to the hall, it should go without the astrisk. I understand the social importance of what this ball represents, but what’s done is done. Parents who take their kids to Cooperstown 20 years from now will have no choice but to explain to their kids why there’s an astrisk on the ball.

    Let people choose for themselves if they want it to be an issue instead of forcing it on them. There are people out there that still worship Bonds even though he cheated.

    It’s a nice “F you” to Bonds, but I don’t think it’s fair for future generations.

  • neal s

    I’d argue, Brendan, that having that conversation 20 years from now is exactly what needs to happen.

    From the way Marc Ecko describes it in his chat, the HoF will display the ball within its historical context, including information about how it got there and why it has an asterisk (if it has one). I don’t think sweeping the steroid era under the rug would serve future generations. To me, this is a creative and provocative solution that could help future generations understand what the past 15 or so years were really like.

  • dan the man

    Danys Baez is having surgery. Yet another pitcher that’s getting paid to not pitch. Man o man. If I’m a pitcher, I’m just getting Tommy John surgery the minute I hit the minor leagues even if my elbow is fine. It seems almost unavoidable these days.

  • df1570

    Oddly, Neal, throwing a spitball was always considered cheating when Gaylord Perry was in the big leagues. Back then, and now, if you get caught doctoring the ball, you’re kicked out of the game and suspended. I’m not sure why some people think that’s cheating LESS than steroids, but they do.

    Steroids – because baseball approved of it, basically – wasn’t really even considered ANYTHING throughout most of Bonds’ career…not until 2003 did baseball realize the government (I guess they have nothing better to do with their time? story for another day) was getting involved and decided to act on it.

    If Bonds was a nice, white guy, this wouldn’t be nearly as big of a deal.

    Truth.

  • Andrew in Rochester

    I’m not so sure. The sentiment against Rafael Palmerio getting in is rather large, and he seemed to be an upstanding guy outside of what he’s remembered most for nowadays: pointing his finger at congress and then pointing it at miguel tejada. But he was a generally a nice white(ish) guy.

  • neal s

    They announced the winner this morning: 47% of voters opted for sending the ball to the HoF branded with an asterisk.

  • GD

    We are 138, We are 138, We are 138
    We are 138, We are 138, We are 138
    We are 138, We are 138
    In the eyes of tigers

    Do you think we’re robot queens?
    Does this face look almost mean
    Is it time to be an android not a man?

    The pleasantries are gone
    We’re stripped of all we own
    In the eyes of tigers

    We are 138, We are 138, We are 138
    We are 138, We are 138, We are 138
    8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8
    8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8

  • Matt

    How do you figure this is all about Bonds being black? McGwire has been getting his ass kicked over his (also assumed) use and his subsequent shameful display at the congressional hearings. He didn’t get in first-ballot and IMO shouldn’t get in period. And that’s coming from a Cards fan that worshipped him during his days with the Cards.

    With respect to having a “choice” about discussing this with your kids in the future…let’s keep in mind the axiom that those who don’t remember/ignore the past are condemned to repeat it. I think one version of “the steroid era” (which continues even today as the HGH era) is more than enough.

    As far as the difference between Perry and others…I’m not sure I’d have wanted Perry in the Hall. But IMO there is a difference of degree in what happened. A steroid-enhanced training program is literally a year-round conspiracy, as opposed to glopping some Vaseline on the bill of your cap before leaving the clubhouse. Also, use of steroids was/is a federal crime (regardless of whether it was against the rules of MLB). That carries serious weight.

  • dan the man

    Yup, steroids way worse than spitballs. No jail time for spitballs.

    This isn’t about Barry being black – let’s not start race issues where there really aren’t any. He’s a dick so nobody likes him. Black or white, if you’re an asshole athlete, you’re going to take heat.

  • Joe the Guy

    There is a difference between breaking a rule and cheating.

    Spitballs – breaking a rule
    Steroids – cheating
    Videotaping Signals – breaking a rule
    HGH – cheating

    Matt stole my thunder. If you think this is about race try and find McGwire. Or Palmeiro. Who brought up race anyways? Was it drew?

    rereading……

    Yup. It was. We’ll call that a lucky guess.

    Nonsports sidenote:

    None of this country’s are about race. NONE. It’s about class. You’re born into the class you will die in. If the people here can afford to go to baseball games than you should consider yourself lucky. “They” want you to think it’s about race, so that no one figures out it’s about class.

    Enough of that.

    One for the LC Music Club:

    Gram Parsons – Streets of Baltimore

    Neal, what is prize for getting fired from work for being caught jive-ing on the Loss Column? I’ve had some close calls man………

  • Joe the Guy

    Jive Clarity:

    I should not have said None of this country’s issues that was foolish.

    But the class issue is far superior.

    And “They” propel the race issue whenever “They” get the chance, so that no one figures out it’s about class.

    Like I said I’m @ work and reading and typing feverishly.

  • dan the man

    That’s some straight jive, Joey, but I like it. And it’s basically true. If the disparity of class didn’t exist, then this country’s race problems would diminish significantly. Then again, some race problems will always exist – it’s part of the culture of this country and it dates back to slavery. We fought a war over it. Countries like the UK, who didn’t have such an epic slavery dilemma don’t experience nearly as much animosity between blacks and whites. A couple hundred years later, we’re still feeling the effects of this terrible crime.

  • df1570

    So “race” hasn’t played a factor in Major League Baseball?

    I assume whomever it was that wrote that wasn’t being serious.

    Have any of you ever been to the Negro League museum in K.C.?

    There’s a typed letter there – on official LEAGUE letterhead – that reads the following:

    Member clubs are strongly discouraged from employing colored players.

    The words “strongly discouraged” are underlined for emphasis on the letter.

    Not so sure “colored” has anything to do with money or what neighborhood you live in.

    Joe The Guy should be: Joe The Funny Guy. To wit, he writes:

    Throwing spitballs – breaking the rules
    Steroids – cheating

    How is that throwing spitballs – which is, admittedly, against the rules labeled as “breaking the rules” but steroids, which is, now, against the rules too, isn’t “breaking the rules”, but instead, it’s “CHEATING”.

    I hope Joe’s not an attorney.

    Doctoring a baseball is cheating. Corking a bat…cheating.

    I brought up race NOT to defend Barry Bonds. I brought up race to point out that no one says Gaylord Perry was a cheater. And I merely followed that up with…is that because he was white?

    As for Bonds, he’s a cheater AND he’s black. Those are two facts.

    Perry is a cheater AND he’s white. Two more facts.

    And Bonds – by almost all of your standards – doesn’t belong in the Hall of Fame.

    And Perry is in.

    That’s wrong.

    If you all are afraid to talk race, that’s your call.

    It’s certainly a very sensitive subject.

    I’m not afraid to delve into it when I think it’s a fair subject to discuss and, in this case, I can’t help but wonder why Gaylord Perry is “exempt” from cheating discussions and Bonds isn’t.

  • Andrew in Rochester

    But Race is a large part of class. Inner cities hold the highest amounts of homelessness, drug use, and poverty, and are predominately black. I’ve seen the Wire, so it must be true.

  • Big Stat

    Breaking the rules is cheating. Bonds should be in the hall even if you take away all of his post steroids numbers he is still hall worthy.

  • Andrew in Rochester

    The reason Perry is exempt should be obvious.

    What do Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmerio, and Barry Bonds all have in common that Gaylord Perry does not outside of any cheating?

    Gaylord Perry has a funny name. Case closed.

  • Cameron Frye

    The idea that “in 20 years” parents will have to tell their kids about Bonds and the asterisk is laughable. Only someone gullible enough to believe that cheating and PEDs no longer exist in sports would say something like that.

    Let’s be realistic here. In 20 years, the PEDs like The Cream and The Clear are going to seem like candy to what the players will be taking. As long as there is sport and as long as people can get paid large sums of money to play those sports, PEDs will be a factor in the games. And as long as there are people trying to stop PEDs from being a factor (Dick Pound), there will be people out there one step ahead of the system, offering undetectable drugs to those athletes.

    Stop pretending that steroids are already gone and that once Barry Bonds officially retires that everything will be back to normal. Long after Barry retires, players will still be using and still trying to get their edge. I don’t wanna mention any names (Poo-holes, Burrell, Andruw, ARam, Beltre, Pudge, Swisher, etc) but guys with big muscles, defined physiques, receding hairlines and sever acne (Poo-holes, Clemens, et al) should not get a free pass from the fans and the media because they are upstanding citizens and good interviewees.

    Stop trying to pretend that Barry Bonds got some unhealthy advantage because he used. At least half the pitchers he faced in the past 7 or 8 years were using similar PEDs.

    And finally, stop pretending that just because Barry allegedly used the roids that his record is tarnished. Hank Aaron used greenies. The guy who caught Hank Aaron’s 715th HR ball – Tom House – has ADMITTED to using roids. If he was using them almost 40 years ago, why is Barry Bonds the only demon here? I can use a slippery slope argument here and point out that Barry Bonds has failed the same number of drug tests as Hank Aaron. Since we now know that roids were around when Hank was playing…..

  • dan the man

    “At least half the pitchers he faced in the past 7 or 8 years were using similar PEDs.”

    Wow.

    Is that a fact? At least half? Because you would know that for a fact, I’m sure.

  • dan the man

    No one is saying Bonds is the only dirtbag out there using PEDs, he’s just the biggest asshole who’s using them. We can’t be assholes back to him? Any fan of the game knows that the ordeal won’t just disappear once Bonds is gone because every fan has three or four or five people on the their favorite team that they suspect of using steroids. When Bonds is done playing ball, I won’t just forget that I suspect Miggi, Roberts, etc of using PEDs at one point or another.

  • Matt

    Let’s not kid ourselves here…another MAJOR difference between Perry (for example) and the players and potential Hall of Famers of today is the HyperMedia. Between your corporate websites…ESPN, CNNSI…blogs, newspapers and 25-30 cable/satellite sports channels you’ve got a shitload of programming hours and column inches to fill. Do you think for a second that Perry could get away with today what he got away with during his time? Hell no. Look at the scrutiny that hit Kenny Rogers during the WS last year when it was apparent he was doctoring the ball.

    Woe to the poor bastard that gets caught cheating during a slow media week.

  • dan the man

    Excellent point, Matt.

  • neal s

    So true, Matt. Thanks a ton for chiming in and please stick around.

  • df1570

    Kenny Rogers – not in the Hall of Fame. Not going to the Hall of Fame. Not a real comparison to the Perry issue, expanded TV coverage or not. No one really cares about that dirt on the hand thing with Rogers because he’s essentially a journeyman. Hell, if I were in his shoes, I’d probably put a nail file in my back pocket too.

    Now, if Roger Clemens got caught doctoring the ball in one of these playoff games that the Yankees are playing in for the 94th straight year – it seems – a majority of fans would say, “yep, knew it…a cheater all along…scratch all 350 of those wins and keep his ass out of the H.O.F.”

    Obviously, they’re going to do the same thing to Palmeiro, even though he clearly has the numbers to support induction into the Hall of Fame.

    Palmeiro got caught cheating in the final year of his career and to a lot of people, he’s now a “lifetime cheater”…forget those 3,000 hits, the 500 HR’s, etc….he was cheating the whole time, right? Wrong, most likely. But then again, he wagged his finger in our face and said, “I did not have sex with that young woman…Ms. Lewinsky.”

    Oops, wrong guy.

    By the way, privately, don’t we all wish Bush would get caught up in some scandal so we can designate him for assignment a year early?

    Anyway, back to sports…

    The Hall of Fame voters knew Perry was a cheater when they inducted him.

    It was one of those wink-wink things…”hee hee, Gaylord used to throw the spitter and drive those batters wild…”

    It’s not REALLY about media coverage. It’s more about, in our country, anyway, our “rush to judgement” affliction…we need to make a stand NOW, get our viewpoint out NOW and the hell with waiting for the dust to settle to give us the chance to hear all the facts and figure out what really happened.

    See: Duke lacrosse case – exhibit A

    The guys who let Perry in the H.O.F. never imagined that 15 years later, a juiced-up malcontent would smash the all-time HR record and do so under the microscope of steroid use…and that by letting Perry in – a confirmed cheater – they’d someday have to make heads or tails on letting Bonds and Palmeiro in.

    Forget McGwire. He’s not a Hall of Famer with 1700 or so hits. That’s an easy “steroids” debate to put to rest. In fact, like Scott Weiland of Stone Temple Pilots who was CLEARLY better when he was actually using heroin regularly, McGwire should have started his steroid rampage 10 years earlier…he’d probably be somewhere in the 2700 hit range and well into the 700′s with H.R.’s and then we could argue his case too.

  • Cameron Frye

    df1570 Says: Now, if Roger Clemens got caught doctoring the ball in one of these playoff games that the Yankees are playing in for the 94th straight year – it seems – a majority of fans would say, “yep, knew it…a cheater all along…scratch all 350 of those wins and keep his ass out of the H.O.F.”

    What? The obvious steroid use isn’t enough to bust him the way everyone has busted Bonds?

    College:
    http://images.chron.com/content/news/photos/04/01/08/clemens/ut83.jpg

    Rookie: http://graphics.boston.com/bonzai-fba/Globe_Photo/2006/04/04/1144166991_0860.jpg
    http://services.bostonglobe.com/mas_assets/full/1540677.jpg

    Today:
    http://en.epochtimes.com/news_images/2007-5-7-clemens.jpg
    http://cache.deadspin.com/assets/resources/2007/07/070702_clemens_vmed_8p.widec.jpg
    http://blog.ticketcity.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/05/clemens_aaa.jpg

    That last shot was his final warm-up before his return to the Spanks this season.

    That’s natural and I am the Queen of England.

  • neal s

    Cameron: that one got caught in the filter on account of the multiple links. Sorry ’bout that.

    Thanks for chiming in.

  • Matt

    McGwire “not a Hall of Famer”? Hey, in light of his (assumed, never proven or admitted) steroid use I agree with you…but before it was assumed he was a juicer he was a cinch for the HoF based on the 500+ HRs. Palmerio and Rogers are both good enough that whether or not they’d get in is actively debated (though they’re not good enough to merit assumed induction, they’re not insignificant enough to simply be dismissed).

    I don’t understand how you can just blithely dismiss the media in how Bonds’ differs from Perry. It’s not simply a matter of rushing to judgement (have you read “Game of Shadows”? Bonds did admit to using Cream/Clear…he just claims he didn’t know what they were. Yeah…sure.), the news machine must be fed. Look at all of the other stories that receive ridiculous amounts of attention: Paris Hilton, kids down a well, astronauts in diapers, etc. Bonds is just another freakshow. Perry would have been also in today’s environment.

    And there is still the undeniable matter of degree in all of this. Speeding isn’t the same thing as murder, and it’s not treated the same way even though technically both are breaking the law. The same thing goes with Bonds vs. Perry. Using steroids is a year-round conspiracy, and they effect every aspect of your game (i.e. you’re always “more” for having used them). Perry’s version of cheating was a glob of Vaseline, and he didn’t throw spitters on every pitch.

    Perry was…colorful. Bonds was and is…a dick. Reporters, HoF voters and fans are human beings, and you can’t realistically expect that they’re going to forget or ignore how Barry treated others. Barry chose to be a jerk. Barry chose to take steroids. Now Barry will have to deal with the consequences of his choices.

  • neal s

    What Matt said.

    Excellent points, my man.

  • Joe the Funny Guy

    The most important part of the Gaylord Perry arguement is that it took place between 20 and 40 years ago.

    It wouldn’t fly today. Just like steroids and PEDs, ideally, won’t fly 20 to 40 years from now.

    HyperMedia is an incredible term Matt. No surprise DF’s not buying it. The “rush to judgement” attitude DF described is in fact propelled by the media.

    (that said I really dig your posts DF. you are a well informed and challenging guy, it’s cool to have someone with your angle here all the time)

    We shouldn’t be afraid to talk about race. However, this isn’t a race issue with Bonds and the Hall. It is a “nice guy” issue. Ask Jim Rice. Maybe it’s a flaw that the media votes are the ones that count. The nice guy factor is automatically entered in because of the human factor.

    My bet is when the money runs out for Barry, or runs out past his liking, which could be a while, Barry will change his tune entirely. Just ask Jim Rice. He’s a real nice old man now, giving his analysis for Pink Sox Nation on the PSN Post Game Show every night. Now that he’s been snubbed from the Hall for years and years……..

    I’m not a lawyer but I am a musician and your heroin/rock star analogy to steroids and athletes is way off somewhere in left field. In the Monster, with Manny. That far off.

  • df1570

    I was just trying to say that perhaps if McGwire would have been on steroids his entire career, he would have had the numbers FULLY representative of being in the H.O.F. — 1700 hits, at least 30% of those attained while on steroids, I assume…had he been juicing all along, he might have been a 700 H.R., 2700 hit guy…a Hall of Famer for sure…1700 hits – no matter how many H.R.’s – doesn’t get you in the Hall of Fame.

    Scott Weiland’s music and band – STP – started going downhill as soon as he got clean off the smack. More heroid=more songs like “Vaseline”, “Sex Type Thing” and Wicked Garden.

    Not that I’m advocating heroin use…I’m not. Except maybe for Scott Weiland.

    For entertainment purposes, only. As they say in the gambling world.

    You all have a very interesting perspective on Gaylord Perry, that’s for sure.

    Somehow, the Black Sox scandal and “fixing games” is still an issue today, nearly 100 years later. That’s STILL cheating.

    But Perry’s misgivings are swept under the carpet as chicanery, gamesmanship and, to some, under-emphasized because the media coverage wasn’t very overwhelming back then.

    You all made my point for me, thank you very much.

    “If Perry cheated like this TODAY, he’d be getting the shit kicked out of him for being a cheater.”

    Well, TODAY, we all know he cheated back then. Why are we willing to overlook that now?

    Anyway, who cares? I’m just trying to get my September bonus check from Neal for getting you guys to post over 5,000 times in the month of September.

    Come on boys, 348 posts to go. We can do it.

    Vick, the asshole newspaper writer from Oklahoma State, Jamal, the Orioles and their suffering-bastard of a season…348 posts until the promised land. And lots of untouched subjects.

    Let’s gooooooooooooooooooo!

  • Andrew in Rochester

    Jeez, it’s not really not that high, is it? What the heck do we have to talk about this much anyway? O’s stink, Raven’s are underwhelmingly good, Bonds is in fact a black man who cheated, Mike Vick is almost as dumb as OJ…that’s it.

    Anyway, what about Raffy? 3020 hits, 569 home runs, career OPS+ of 132, 1835 rbi…those are hall of fame numbers….but he got busted cheating….BUT he’s not black (what is he? cuban? half white? what?), but I really don’t think there’s a lot of effort out there to induct him in 4 years to the hall of fame. Explain that, if the main reason Bonds is so highly criticized is that he’s black instead of a WASP.

  • dfgolf

    You are asking the wrong guy about Palmeiro…if u r asking me, that is.

    He ABSOLUTELY belongs in the HOF.

    Gaylord Perry is in — ha ha

    Raffy WON’T get in because he got caught. But he wasn’t a steroid user throughout his career. Unfortunately, he panicked at the worst possible time…right after the finger wagging incident.

  • Matt

    You actually believe that the only time Palmerio used steroids was immediately after the congressional hearings? Please…that’s crazy.

    You bring up the Black Sox scandal. Excellent example of what I wrote earlier…the Black Sox matter (much like Bonds’ use of steroids) amounted to a criminal conspiracy. It’s all a matter of degree. Yes, Perry cheated…but it was (pardon the expression) lightweight, as opposed to the heavy-duty conspiracy that was Bonds or the Black Sox.

    It’s a lot easier to shrug off lightweight cheating by a personable guy than it is to ignore a criminal conspiracy conducted by a complete jerk…regardless of the color of anyone’s skin. Same reason Mr. Vick is about to spend some time in an 8×8 box.

  • Andrew in Rochester

    You know, that stuff never made any sense to me. I mean, if he were using stanzanol or whatever his whole career, how come he never broke 50 home runs or only topped off at about a .600 slugging percentage? His number definitely didn’t stop declining into his twilight years unlike some of the other “suspected” users like Bonds or Sheffield. It doesn’t fit with me, personally, and it makes even less sense that he would’ve started going into his last season, with the crackdowns coming that very year. And I didn’t really see his production decline after he stopped taking it (I believe his failed test occured in April or May of ’05)…it just doesn’t fit with me. And further, why panic and take drugs? I dunno. I feel bad for him, but he probably was a doper – that’s just how the era that he played in was defined, and he was caught.

    Anyway, my question wasn’t does he belong in the hall (I agree, he does) but rather why does the public show such disdain for him like they do for Bonds, since they are members of different races, if in fact this is a race issue?

  • dan the man

    Loving these debates.

    All I have to say about Raffy is… where the hell is he?

    Didn’t he promise us all that he would be back with the “real story”? He told everyone that he had proof he was innocent, and that we’d hear from him again in time. 2 seasons later, he’s a ghost. Same as McGwire. So was Raffy just bullshitting to buy himself some time until Orioles Nation forgot about him? It begs the question, why don’t guys who got caught just come out and say, “Look, I screwed up. I apologize, I’m going to get help. I’m going to be an advocate against steroid use. I take full responsibility.” Right? Sports fans LOVE that shit. We are so ready to forgive if these guys would just own up and do the right thing. I’m not saying if Raffy had said that, that he should get free passage into the HoF, or that it should make us all forget about it. But if he had said that, we could at least respect him for that, knowing that no one else (Giambi doesn’t count) has been forthcoming about their “alleged” steroid use. Alas, there’s too much stubborn pride in sports, and you mix that with some fear and some denial and there you have it.

  • df1570

    It doesn’t matter what I believe. It matters what we can discover.

    Here’s what one of his ex-teammates told me about Palmeiro. He says “this is the story”. You can choose to believe this or not.

    Like Canseco wrote in his book, Palmeiro “experimented” with a cycle or two in the early 1990′s and did NOT like the experience. He did NOT continue using.

    To back that up – if you care – Palmeiro NEVER showed any of the tell-tale physical signs that almost every other “suspected” steroid user has displayed.

    Anyway, as he entered his final year, Palmeiro spoke often about the 3,000 hit club and how he felt – given what he had read and heard on TV – that he was “borderline” as it relates to the H.O.F. because he needed 3,000 hits. Evidently, Raffy was buying into all that talk that he wasn’t “dominant” during his era, despite his numbers.

    In his final year, you’ll recall, he got off to a horrendous start and was bothered by a nagging back injury and was very concerned he might wind up falling short of the 3,000 mark. As of mid-May that year, he was still almost 100 hits shy of 3k.

    He panicked, went on the juice for the physical rehab elements of it more than anything else, improved his back, got the 3,000th hit, tested positive and, of course, the rest is history.

    That came from someone that was in the clubhouse with him during those days.

    Believe it if you will.

    I think I do.

    Doesn’t make it right, by the way.

    But I’ll contend that Palmeiro was NOT a lifetime steroid user, both based on what I saw of him up-close, physically, and what people who shared the locker-room with him would reveal.

    You have to realize, making the H.O.F. is probably worth anywhere from $10-$20 million to these cats over the course of their lifetime in endorsement deals, card signings, etc.

    I’d go on the juice for $10 million.

  • Andrew in Rochester

    You know, that story makes a lot sense except how dumb does a guy have to be to see the crackdown from the U.S. Congress, the baseball commissioner, et al. and then after going in front of people, after seeing that testing was in place, to then go and do it anyway – especially after not doing it all your life. It’s just a crappy story either way, especially because I really believe that that story put this clubhouse down so far that we are where we are now, with upset players that don’t want to be here anymore, even when they were really quite energetic that season.

    Lame.

  • df1570

    I’m sure Palmeiro felt like he probably wouldn’t be tested or, for some odd reason, he’d be “exempt” from any kind of whistle blowing by MLB since he was approaching a hallowed record. To wit, they waited nearly six weeks after he broke the record to reveal he had failed the test IN MAY.

    Of course, they talked about “the right to appeal” and all that other stuff, but the truth is that MLB probably knew he had flunked the test and still didn’t want to interfere with baseball immortality.

    That’s why I say: “let ‘em all juice”.

    That way, there aren’t any conspiracy theories, untold stories, clubhouse rumors, etc.

    If you want to be a dumb-ass and ruin your life, knock yourself out. Boxers and those maniacs involved in ultimate fighting do it all the time and no one cares.

    Juice up all you want, I say.

    Then, when you’re 69 and your grandkids say, “Grandpa, how come you have two heads and everyone else has one?”, you’ve got a story to tell.

  • df1570

    By the way, the blog with a tip of the hat towards this site is us at http://www.wnst.net – enjoy.

  • Andrew in Rochester

    Good stuff, Drew. And yes, I totally am willing to bet that Freddie has a good 6 or 7 pitch at bat against Banks (whoever that is) tonight at some point, even though he’ll still strikeout with the bases loaded to end the game at 6-5 toronto.