Everybody mocked Rafael Palmerio back in 2005 when, after testing positive for steroids, he blamed the test on a B-12 shot he received from Miguel Tejada. Palmerio is still mocked. And he is still called a cheater who helped to bring shame on the game of baseball. But as time passes, the reality of the situation needs to be looked at just a bit more. Maybe, just maybe, Palmerio was actually telling the truth.
In September of 2009, here are some known, and established facts. Tejada lied about his age. Tejada lied about knowledge of steroids and HGH in testimony before Congressional investigators. Tejada was named in the Mitchell Report regarding steroids and HGH use in baseball. Tejada has been convicted of lying about his involvement with HGH. Tejada has admitted to purchasing $6,000 worth of HGH. And Tejada has admitted to injecting Palmerio.
So it should be pretty well established that Tejada is a liar. And it can also probably be admitted that Tejada is a cheater. Does anybody really believe that the guy would buy the HGH, have it delivered to him, then not actually use the stuff? So maybe Palmerio knew what he was talking about when it came to Tejada.
And on Sunday, new allegations against Tejada surfaced, this time in The New York Times.
The Times reported that in 2001 Tejada was accused by his teammates of tipping pitches to players on other teams who were from the Dominican Republic, which also happens to be where from Tejada is from. He was even accused of loafing in order to not get to an easy ground ball -- kind of like what Tejada did on a soft grounder by Albert Pujols last week that caused Roy Oswalt to go ballistic on the mound (and guess where Pujols is from, that's right, the Dominican Republic). The situation got so bad that Art Howe, manager of the Oakland A's, Tejada's team then, called a team meeting so that the allegations could be addressed.
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The players were not able to offer up definitive evidence that Tejada was tipping off his countrymen, and Tejada denied the allegations. But the really humorous part came from Tejada "defender" and then teammate, Johnny Damon, who essentially said that Tejada was just such a crappy defender that batters were tipped off to what the pitch was going to be by where Tejada moved on the field before the pitch: "I think what we concluded was that the hitters were seeing him move on certain pitches. That happens, you'll see a young player move closer to the hole on a fastball away, you'll see him creep a little toward the hole. I think that's what it all came down to, Miggy not being able to hide the extra steps." But, as even Damon admits, it was only the Dominican players who seemed to be picking up on Tejada's tips.
Now I keep reading and hearing things about how Tejada is a great clubhouse guy, and how he's a great team leader. And I think this is something that ought to be thought about for a moment. The team leader of the Houston Astros is a convicted liar who purchased HGH and lied about his age. And one of his former teams thought he was tipping pitches to opposing batters. Is this really the type of guy who should be allowed to be a team leader?
As I write this, the Houston Chronicle has been silent on this story though, as always, Astros.com and MLB.com had a story on it. So I'm assuming the Chron, as usual when it comes to Tejada, thinks there's nothing to the story and that he's telling the truth with his denial. Which leads me to ask why it is that Tejada, a known liar, keeps getting a pass when allegations like this come his way? Barry Bonds wouldn't get a pass like this, and he's never been convicted of anything. Neither, for that matter, has Roger Clemens, and his denials are mocked just like Palmerio's denials are mocked.
So there you have it. Miguel Tejada, known and convicted liar. Purchaser of HGH. Probable user of HGH. And a guy whose teammates thought he was tipping pitches. All of that said, I think we owe Rafael Palmerio a big apology. Palmerio probably just thought that Tejada was injecting him with B-12. It's just that Palmerio hadn't learned of Tejada's tendency for lying.