Saturday, August 6, 2005

Create Your Own Steroid Apology!

By Greg Wyshynski

I liked Rafael Palmeiro a lot better when he was shaking his fingers at Congress instead of keeping them plugged in his ears.

There was something inspiring about Raffy sitting before all of those old white guys, defiantly denying that he had injected, ingested, or invested in steroids of any kind.

Remember?

"I have never used steroids. Period. I don't know how to say it any more clearly than that. Never. The reference to me in Mr. Canseco's book is absolutely false."

Damn! No "it depends on what your definition of 'is' is." None of that "we never said they had weapons, but the potential to make weapons." This was a major league ballplayer sitting before our nation's elected officials, basically telling them to bugger off when it came to his alleged association with steroids.

And now that Palmeiro's tested positive, lost his appeal, and is serving a 10-game suspension? He's a jellyfish. A pathetic, quivering little nothing with the stoic conviction of a puppy suffering from A.D.D. His statement following the suspension was an exercise in parsed words and the kind of writing you'd expect from a team of Peter Angelos's top lawyers. Jason Giambi's question-ducking press conference earlier this year was truth serum by comparison.

"The arbitrator did not find that I used a banned substance intentionally — in fact, he said he found my testimony to be compelling — but he ruled that I could not meet the heavy burden imposed on players who test positive under the new drug policy."

Well, what was your testimony, and what's the burden, Raffy? Did you say, "I didn't knowingly take anything," and then the arbitrator said, "Gee, that's a compelling argument. Got any receipts that prove you didn't take anything?" And they you said no, and found yourself suspended. Is that how it worked, Raffy? Because that's just ridiculous.

Steroid apologies/mea culpas don't all have to be as pointless and meandering as Palmeiro's. In fact, there's an easy way to spice them up...

... Through the Miracle of Mad Libs!

For those unfamiliar with the word game, here's a quick primer. Below is a list of different types of words. Randomly fill out each category. Below that list is Palmeiro's statement, with a bunch of blank spaces and numbers that correspond to your list of words. Print this out, fill it out, and revel in the fact that you managed to turn one man's career nadir into hours of family fun.

Here we go.

1. (Verb ending in -ing)
2. (Noun, singular, something you make)
3. (Verb, present tense)
4. (Adjective)
5. (Noun, singular)
6. (Noun, singular)
7. (Adverb)
8. (Noun, singular, paper product)
9. (Nouns, plural, can be swallowed)
10. (Noun, orifice)
11. (Noun, singular, type of communication)
12. (Verb, present tense)
13. (Nouns, a group)
14. (Noun, occupation)
15. (Noun, type of game)
16. (Noun, person)
17. (Adjective)
18. (Noun, occupation)
19. (Nouns, people)
20. (Noun, location)
21. (Noun, singular)
22. (Nouns, plural)
23. (Nouns, plural)

"Thank you very much for (1)___________ me on this call today. I am saddened that we are here to address this issue, but because of the importance of it, I feel the need to make a brief (2)_________ and address your questions. At the outset, let me say that under the rules of the basic agreement and the order of the independent arbitrator, there is an order of confidentiality governing the specifics of this case. I will attempt to (3)_________ as much as I can and be as (4)___________ as possible, but there will be issues I can't address based on the orders imposed on me by the (5)___________ and the (6)____________."

"I am here to make it very clear that I have (7)________ used steroids. (7)_______. (7)_______. Period. When I found out that I had failed a test under the new drug policy, I filed a (8)__________ and challenged the suspension on the basis that I had never intentionally taken (9)____________. Ultimately, although I never intentionally put (9)____________ into my (10)___________, the independent arbitrator ruled that I had to be suspended under the terms of the program."

"I am sure you will ask how I tested positive for (9)____________. As I look back, I don't have a specific answer to give. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to explain to the arbitrator how the (9)____________ entered my (10)__________. The arbitrator did not find that I used (9)____________ intentionally -- in fact, he said he found my (11)___________ to be compelling -- but he ruled that I could not meet the heavy burden imposed on players who test positive under the new drug policy."

"I (12)_________ this punishment and want to address it publicly. I want to apologize to Major League Baseball, the Baltimore Orioles organization, my teammates and most of all, my (13)__________. Given my role with the No Tolerance Committee and my relationships with Congress, I feel the need to communicate a serious message to my fellow players and to (13)_________ everywhere. All of us have to be responsible and exercise extreme care in what we put in our (10)__________. I hope that all major league baseball players and (13)_________ will learn from what has happened to me. I have never intentionally used (9)____________, but unfortunately was not careful enough."

"I take my role as a (14)____________ seriously. I love (15)_________ and have great respect for all of the players who played before me. I have always done my best to live each day in ways that would make my (16)________ proud. Everything I have accomplished is the result of hard work and dedication to being the best possible player I can be."

"I feel (17)_________ that this has happened, but I think there is something to be gained from it. If my situation results in the education of current and future players about the dangers of taking anything without a prescription from a (18)______________, that is a positive. At the end of the day, it is important for all players to understand the risk of contamination and to be very careful about what they put in their (10)__________."

"This suspension is going to be incredibly difficult for me, my wife and my two (19)______________. Over the next week and a half, I am going to spend time with my (19)______________. I am going to come back and will be as determined as ever to help the Orioles get back to (20)_____________. We have worked very hard to be in position to bring our fans a (21)____________, and I will not let this be a distraction."

"Finally, I would like to thank commissioner Selig and Mr. Angelos for their strong words of encouragement. I had the opportunity to speak with both of them and I am extremely appreciative of their (22)_________ and (23)___________."

One More Thing

No column next week, as I'm taking a little vacation up to the great state of Maine.

In closing, I'd like to echo the thoughts and prayers of most of my fellow New Jersey Devils fans in light of a recent free agent signing in the National Hockey League.

And the best way to accomplish this is by quoting the cinematic classic we call Animal House thusly:

"How does it feel to be an a**hole, Niedermayer?"


SportsFan MagazineGreg Wyshynski is the Features Editor for SportsFan Magazine in Washington, DC, and the Senior Sports Editor for The Connection Newspapers of Northern Virginia. His book “Glow Pucks and 10-Cent Beer: The 101 Worst Ideas in Sports History" will be published in Spring 2006. His columns appear every Saturday on Sports Central. You can e-mail Greg at [email protected].

Contents copyright © Sports Central 1998-2017