In the Cheap Seats
Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor

Aug. 2, 2005 - When Jose Canseco released his tell-all book earlier this year, people in baseball insisted the only thing he was telling were lies.

We know now that somebody is telling some whoppers, and it doesn't appear Rafael Palmeiro is any more credible than Canseco.

Canseco detailed not only educating Palmeiro and Pudge Rodriguez on the basics of steroid use but also injecting them. Rafael was aghast and indignant over the accusations.

Palmeiro pointed his finger at members of a Congressional committee in March when he adamantly declared, ‘‘I have never used steroids. Period.’’

That period is looking more like a comma, because on Monday he received a 10-day suspension from Major League Baseball after testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug.

Palmeiro doesn't know how the steroids got into his system. They must have been in a supplement ... a witch doctor prescribed it ... I accidentally sat on a syringe ... masked men broke into my home and made me ingest strange pills ... I just didn't know.

Right, and Mark McGwire took nothing stronger than andro, Sammy Sosa didn't know his bat was corked, Barry Bonds took a strange balm he thought was flaxseed oil, Bud "Light" Selig has everything under control, and unicorns run unfettered across elysian fields.

Are there any other fantasies we need to confirm?

‘‘When I testified in front of Congress, I know that I was testifying under oath and I told the truth," Palmeiro said. "Today I am telling the truth again that I did not do this intentionally or knowingly."

Which in translation could mean: "Don't tell me what this substance is (nudge, nudge; wink, wink), so I can say I didn't knowingly take steroids."

Palmeiro then asked questions he couldn't answer - neither can we.

"Why would I do this in a year when I went in front of Congress and I testified and I told the truth?" he said. "Why would I do this during a season where I was going to get to 3,000 hits? It just makes no sense. I’m not a crazy person."

No, he's not crazy. But, why does someone on probation commit another crime? Why does a diabetic eat sweets?

Maybe Palmeiro is telling the truth, but this steroid rap throws every power hitter of this era into suspicion. Is there one home run hitter in the last decade whose numbers are credible?

Is so, then why did individual home runs numbers crash dramatically around the league when steroid testing - even the watered-down variety the MLB started with - was initiated three years ago? No one has hit even 30 home runs this year and there is less than two months left in the season.

Five-hundred home runs, 3,000 hits, one steroid conviction. Take your pick on which will be Palmeiro's legacy.


Chan Ho Park, gone. Alfonso Soriano, here. Both good moves by the Rangers.

Park, the poster child for Ranger general manager John Hart's poor pitching acumen, needed to be traded just to get him off the roster. The knock on Park when he was with the Dodgers was that he was not mentally strong enough to be a No. 1 starter. Boy, did the Rangers find that out.

Plagued by back problems and lackluster performances, Park's main deficiency was a lack of heart. He didn't have any want to about him.

The Rangers will get little if any financial relief from the trade because Phil Nevin, who came over from the Padres, makes about the same money. But, don't cry for Rangers' owner Tom Hicks because he keeps stashing $60 million in his pocket each year he rolls out this under-funded roster.

As for Soriano, Hart and Hicks didn't let the best offensive second baseman in the game go for nothing. While teams were interested, it didn't appear any of them wanted to throw in the major league-ready starting pitcher it would have taken to pry Soriano loose.

While Soriano has his shortcomings in the field, he's too good of a clutch offensive performer to let go for too little.

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