Tejada's Turn Under the Grand Jury Microscope

When word came out that a grand jury had been convened to investigate Roger Clemens, Houston Astros owner Drayton McLane asked him to not come to the Astros camp for spring training. I wonder if Drayton is going to ask the same thing of Miguel Tejada. Because it is now being reported that the Feds, after a year of investigation, are convening a grand jury to look into whether Miguel Tejada lied to Federal investigators who were investigating Rafael Palmeiro.

For those of you with short memories, way back in 2005 Rafael Palmeiro appeared before Congress after Jose Canseco named him as a steroid user. Palmeiro testified on the same panel as Canseco, Mark McGwire, Curt Schilling, and Sammy Sosa. And as some of you may remember, Sosa conveniently forgot how to speak English, McGwire refused to talk about the past, Schilling backed off of his previous statements about pervasive steroid use in baseball, and Palmeiro wagged his finger and stated that he had never used steroids, period. And as some of you may remember, after hitting his 500th homer and getting his 3000th hit, Major League Baseball announced that Palmeiro had failed a steroids test.

Palmeiro went on defense and claimed that he didn't know he took steroids, and that he probably got it from a substance that was supplied to him by one Miguel Tejada, then a Baltimore Oriole teammate of Palmeiro. Federal investigators at the time were not targeting Tejada, but were instead seeking to determine if Palmeiro had lied when wagging his finger before Congress. Tejada told the investigators that he gave Palmeiro a shot of B12, and that he did nothing wrong. Tejada also denied having taken steroids.

All was fine and dandy for Tejada until the release of the Mitchell Report in December of 2007, because it was in the Mitchell Report that Tejada was named as a user of steroids. At that point, Congress requested that the Justice Department conduct an investigation as to whether Tejada had lied to their investigators.

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Since the release of the Mitchell Report, Tejada has committed error after error. It has been discovered that he's lied about his age and about the correct spelling of his last name. His play in the field has dropped off steeply from his days as the AL MVP, and he struggled with the bat for most of last season.

The ironic thing is that Rafael Palmeiro, who was the target of the initial investigation for perjury before Congress, was not prosecuted because the investigators could not determine the exact point that Palmeiro took the steroids - if he actually first took them only after testifying before Congress, there could be no perjury. However, Palmeiro has not played baseball since 2005, though it's possible that he could still be an adequate DH for some American League team.

Another irony is that Barry Bonds, who most of the sporting public has decried as the most evil man in the world because of his steroids use, may not have technically used steroids in that it is being reported that "The Clear" was not classified as a steroid until 2005, and that it has not been shown that "The Clear" even acts like a steroid. But Bonds, like Palmeiro, does not have a job in baseball even though he, too, would probably still make a good American League DH.

But Miguel Tejada has just become the second player associated with the Houston Astros to come under a grand jury investigation for lying to Congress. And Tejada, like Clemens, is being investigated by a grand jury based out of Washington, D.C., and the prosecutions for both players are being headed up by the same people.

And Tejada is also, once again, showing the hypocrisy of Drayton McLane. Roger Clemens has been asked to not come to camp, but there's been no disinvite of Miguel Tejada - McLane doesn't want the media circus that will surround Clemens, but I don't see how the media circus that has been around Tejada has been much better. And I'm sure Julio Lugo would really like a good explanation for why he got released from the Astros over an incident with his wife for which he was not charged while Brandon Backe, who got into a fight with the Galveston P.D. last October is in camp and is probably about to get another spot in the starting rotation.

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