Both are likely to fall on deaf ears -- well, one is, and the other will be laughed at. Jeff Bagwell and Rafael Palmeiro both denied they used steroids this week. Bagwell spoke to ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick and Palmeiro spoke to SI.com's Mel Antonen .
Palmeiro is a test case for the steroid era -- he's the first person with Hall-worth numbers (3,000 hits, 500 home runs -- numbers that made a player an automatic selection before the steroid era) to have tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs. He's also further tainted by appearing before Congress and denying steroid use, only to then test positive.
From Antonen's article:
"I was telling the truth then, and I am telling the truth now," Palmeiro, 46, said in a phone interview with SI.com. "I don't know what else I can say. I have never taken steroids. For people who think I took steroids intentionally I'm never going to convince them. But I hope the voters judge my career fairly and don't look at one mistake."Palmeiro continues to stick to the reacher unbelievable story that he used a tainted vial of "vitamin B-12" given to him by Miguel Tejada and injected by his wife.
There's no smoking gun with Bagwell, just a ton of hearsay and innuendo.
From Crasnick's article:
"I never used [steroids], and I'll tell you exactly why: If I could hit between 30 and 40 home runs every year and drive in 120 runs, why did I need to do anything else? I was pretty happy with what I was doing, and that's the God's honest truth. All of a sudden guys were starting to hit 60 or 70 home runs and people were like, 'Dude, if you took [PEDs], you could do it too.' And I was like, 'I'm good where I'm at. I just want to do what I can do.'
"I know a lot of people are saying, 'His body got bigger.' Well, if you're eating 30 pounds of meat every single day and you're working out and bench pressing, you're going to get bigger. You can go to every single trainer and they'll say, 'He was the first here and last to leave, and that dude worked his ass off.'30 pounds of meat a day? That's more impressive than 449 career home runs, an MVP and six Top 10 finishes in the MVP.
"The heavy lifting all started in 1995. I was going through a divorce and I came to spring training, and I thought everything was good. Then I got to spring training and I'll never forget it: Mike Hampton looked at me and said, 'Dude, what's wrong with you? You're so skinny, you look like you're on crack.' I look back at the stats and they weren't bad [21 homers, 87 RBIs and a .290 batting average in 114 games]. But I told myself, 'I'm never going to have somebody say that to me again.' I said, 'I'm going to find a trainer and get strong.'
Honestly, I think Bagwell would be an interesting case for the Hall without the steroid suspicions, but with them, I don't see him getting as much support this year as his numbers would warrant.
-- C. Trent Rosecrans