Tejada delivers antidote for stubborn cases of denial

The Baltimore Sun

This latest entanglement for Miguel Tejada doesn't teach us anything new about baseball and performance-enhancing drugs. All it does is reinforce what we already knew, and the events of the past few days tell us that a lot of people needed reinforcing, or else they stay deluded about how bad this is.

What Tejada's federal court appearance today - for allegedly lying to congressional investigators about his knowledge of teammates' use of performance-enhancing drugs - reteaches us is that everybody might not be guilty, but hardly anybody is innocent. Also, you can play "Six Degrees" with just about everybody in baseball, and the tentacles go far back and extend far down the road.

Verdict: The nuggets of revelation won't stop for a long time, and we may never reach the end.

The "Six Degrees" is the most worrisome for anyone who cares about this, and Tejada is a textbook case. This evolved from the time, in 2005, when Rafael Palmeiro tried to shovel blame for his failed steroid test that summer onto Tejada, who he said gave him a tainted syringe.

Fools that we are, we tried to line up behind one or the other, incapable then of realizing both might be wrong in their own ways. The "tainted syringe" theory never was cleared up. But Palmeiro does have to live with his finger-wag before Congress and his subsequent flunked test, five months apart. Now Tejada must live with the consequences of his story to congressional investigators (who had been looking into Palmeiro for lying to them) and of the story the Mitchell Report told two years later.

Meanwhile, baseball should be sweating like a junkie in withdrawal from the reminder of the Tejada-Palmeiro ties to not one, not two, but three of the game's most tainted organizations. They came together, of course, on the Orioles. Tejada is a product of the Oakland Athletics system, home of Jose Canseco, Mark McGwire and Jason Giambi (not to mention the guy who basically brought Tejada down, Adam Piatt).

Palmeiro was previously part of a loaded Texas Rangers team, and was it ever "loaded," especially now with Alex Rodriguez a confirmed member of the Needles-R-Us Club. Yup, Canseco was there, too. Seriously, by now, if he's talking about steroids, why aren't you listening?

Link those three clubs to the places their players eventually landed, and that spreads the doping virus to every single corner of the sport. Again, not breaking news, but still a refresher course for those who still think their team's starting rotation is their biggest concern as pitchers and catchers report.

The news of this week reminds us, hopefully for good, that there's no end in sight. One way or another, the news will keep flowing, whether it is player use or management betrayal or union crookedness or lawbreaking or probes or hearings or executive orders from the White House.

As much as the sheet has been pulled off already, a lot more remains. Time to stop deluding ourselves about "closure." Also, time to stop demanding everybody be let off the hook because of our own fatigue.

We got lied to for two decades, at least, and at some point we should be more tired of the lies than we are about revelations that get in the way of our Cupid's-eye view of the so-called national pastime.

Miguel Tejada standing before a judge today does not give us the whole truth, just a little more than we had before. It's still better to get closer to it than to keep running away from it.

Listen to David Steele on Fridays at 9 a.m. on WNST (1570 AM).

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