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August 15, 2005

Baseball, Palmeiro, & Androgenic Substances

Rafael Palmeiro at Baseball Reference On February 14, 2005, former Major League Baseball (MLB) player, Jose Canseco published his book, Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits and How Baseball Got Big. In that book Canseco writes that he injected Mark McGwire with steroids in a bathroom stall when the two played together in Oakland. Canseco also said he witnessed Rafael Palmeiro, a teammate at the time with the Texas Rangers, use steroids. As a result of Canseco's accusations, it was reported that Palmeiro was considering taking Canseco to court. News reports also indicated that Palmeiro was considered hiring the law firm of Orioles owner Peter Angelos. "The one thing I can say," said Palmeiro, "is I have the best law firm and the best lawyer standing in the wings in Peter Angelos, I have options available for me. [Angelos] stands behind me and he's ready. I will look at all my options and I'll decide."

Bud Selig info...In an early March 2005 news conference, Commissioner of Major League Baseball (MLB), Bud Selig said, "I am very confident that we will effectively rid our sport of steroids in this coming season." On March 17 several current and former major league baseball players testified before the House Government Reform Committee in Washington, D.C. Among the witnesses were Palmeiro, McGwire, and Sammy Sosa. Palmeiro, a left-handed player on the Baltimore Orioles roster made it clear to the Congressmen: ""I have never used steroids. Period." During the second week of May, in compliance with MLB's new drug testing policy, Palmeiro took a drug test. On July15, he chalked up baseball hit number 3,000.

On August 1 Palmeiro was suspended from playing Major League Baseball for ten days because he failed a steroid drug test. He immediately claimed, "I have never intentionally used a banned substance, but I unfortunately wasn't careful enough." Congress, concerned about the integrity of millionaire athletes, not to mention the "Nation's Pastime", hinted further investigation of citizen Palmeiro might be warranted.

Rafael Palmeiro Corrales was born September 24, 1964 in Havana, Cuba. After attending Mississippi State University he was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 1st round (22nd pick) of the 1985 amateur draft. He made his MLB debut on September 8, 1986. In addition to the Cubs he has played with the Texas Rangers and the Baltimore Orioles. In twenty MLB seasons, he's played in the outfield, at first base and has been used as a Designated Hitter. In addition to his professional baseball affiliation he had also become recognized, in the early 21st century, as a spokesman for the erectile dysfunction drug Viagra.

Stanazol info... Palmeiro tested positive for the anabolic steroid stanozolol (also known as Stanazol and Winstrol.) It is a strength-building steroid that can be ingested or injected. A baseball player would take a steroid to increase muscle and strength which might improve power hitting abilities. Stanozolol is a 17-alpha-alkylated steroid that is toxic to the liver in both its oral and injectable form. It is related to the veterinary drug Winstrol®-V. If Palmeiro did knowingly take the steroid he violated several rules in several spheres. Baseball prohibits the use of steroids like stanozolol and the 1990 Anabolic Steroids Control Act classified a drug like stanozolol as a Schedule III controlled substance. Taking the substance would be a crime. So is perjury... if Palmeiro lied to a congressional committee.

According to some anabolic-androgenic steroids are clearly the "bastard child" of controlled substances. From the synthesis of testosterone in 1935, to the embracing of the so-called "pro-hormones" by the physical fitness community in the 1950s, to the classification of anabolic steroids with a hallucinogen like LSD and a narcotic like cocaine, the substances have earned a notorious reputation. The International Olympic Committee banned the substances in 1975. Steroid testing of Olympic athletes began during the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) banned steroids in 1973 and began testing in 1986. The National Football League (NFL) also banned the bad steroids in 1986 and instituted random testing during the 1990 season. In 2004 Major League Baseball (MLB) and the Major League Players Association reached an agreement on a new drug program that included year-round testing for steroid use and stricter penalties for players who initially test positive - a 10-day suspension without pay for the first offense. The new policy went into effect with the start of the 2005 season and Palmeiro is one of several MLB players who have been caught and punished for a "first offense."

There are some unanswered questions in the Palmeiro case: Is the player telling the truth? Is or was his use of the drug Viagra, which by the way is an official sponsor of Major League Baseball, a result of his use of an anabolic steroid? Such steroids have been known to interfere with the proper functioning of the sexual organs. While steroids sometimes initially increase libido, impotence is not an unknown side effect of continued steroid use. And if Palmeiro is judged to have taken steroids, should his nomination and election to Baseball's Hall of Fame be affected? After all, taking anabolic steroids to improve baseball performance is cheating...according to the rules.


May 15, 2005

Cosmic Game Report: Procoders @ Mothers

Game Report Neither of these teams are playing well this season. The Omegatropolis Procoders and the Motherland Mothers both have trouble getting baserunners across the plate. In this duel, a combined 25 potential runs were left on the bases. Twelve baserunners were stranded in the five extra innings. Eventually dBase II hit the home run in the top of the 14th inning that would end it. The Mothers left two runners on base in their part of the inning. When Henrietta Crosby, Harry Crosby's mom, grounded out to LISP to end the contest, more than a few "hallelujahs " were heard around the stadium.


May 10, 2005

Interview with a Jack Kerouac Bobblehead

Kerouac Bobblehead The Jack Kerouac Bobblehead Doll was created in 2003 as a promotional souvenir. It was given away free to the first one thousand minor league baseball fans entering LeLacheur Park in Lowell, Massachusetts. The Kerouac Bobblehead attracted terrific interest right from the start with articles about the promotion appearing online at CNN and at other media outlets. As a result of the interest an additional 500 Kerouac Bobbleheads were produced before the mold was destroyed.

When the Lowell Spinners of the Class A New York-Penn League gave away the Kerouac Bobblehead on August 21, 2003 it was reportedly the first time a literary figure had been bobbleheaded explicitly for a baseball promotion.

The union of baseball and bobbleheads goes back to the late 1950s when generic baseball team bobbleheads appeared. In 1961 bobbleheads of Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, and Roger Maris appeared. The bobblehead fad faded in the 1970s only to reappear again at the beginning of the 21st century.

On Wednesday May 4, 2005 at a ceremony in front of the City Hall in Lowell, it was announced that the 2003 Jack Kerouac Bobblehead would be included in the collection of the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. ''Kerouac is certainly an icon in American history," said Jeff Idelson, the Baseball Hall of Fame's vice president for communications and education. And Kerouac was a great lover of baseball, having invented his own "Summer League" baseball game when he was a child growing up in Lowell.

We caught up with one of the eight inch Kerouac Bobbleheads on Sunday, May 8. It was sitting on the fireplace mantle in the home of a bobblehead collector who asked that her name not be published.

Cosmic Baseball Association (CBA) What a great honor to be selected to be in the National Baseball Hall of Fame, congratulations.

Jack Kerouac Bobblehead (JKB) Thank you, but the whole thing is rather confusing to me.

CBA Have you had any contact with the real Jack Kerouac?

JKB Well, you know he's dead. He died in Florida in 1969, well after my birth, so no, I've had no contact with the real Mr. Kerouac.

CBA I understand that he died, but I would imagine there must be some spiritual connection between you and Kerouac.

JKB As a bobblehead I don't have any spirit to speak of. I have at most some odd symbolic value for the person who owns me.

CBA You sound wistful when you say that.

JKB I would say despondent, but whatever, words aren't the point.

CBA You probably already know that there are approximately 1500 Kerouac Bobbleheads. Have you been in contact with any of the other Kerouac Bobbleheads?

JKB Not directly. The other evening the women who owns me was using her computer to find other Kerouac Bobbleheads. I saw displayed on her computer monitor screen several of my brothers but we could not communicate.

CBA Did you know after the Hall of Fame announced it was including a Kerouac Bobblehead in its collection the price of a Kerouac Bobblehead jumped considerably?

JKB I'm not surprised. Kerouac is an "American" icon as one of the Hall of Fame's vice presidents declared. America is very much about money.

CBA A Kerouac Bobblehead is selling for $132.50 this week on an internet auction site.

JKB I'm still not surprised and I won't be surprised when the value triples, which it will. Collectors are an obsessive lot.

CBA You have no idea which Kerouac Bobblehead will be in the Hall of Fame do you?

JKB Nope, no idea.

CBA No one has contacted you, have they?

JKB How would they do that? And no, nobody has contacted me and I doubt they will.

CBA If asked to go to the Hall of Fame, would you?

JKB Are you kidding, absolutely I would...just as long as Pete Rose doesn't get in there.

CBA Not a Pete Rose fan?

JKB Right, not a fan. A great baseballer, a seriously flawed man.

CBA The same could be said for Kerouac, he was a great writer but he lived a flawed existence.

JKB Is that what makes him a great writer?

CBA That's a good question, what do you think?

JKB I don't think, I just bobble.

CBA Okay then. Thanks a lot for taking the time to talk with us.

JKB You're welcome. Thank you.

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May 8, 2005

Cosmic Game Report: Beats @ Warriors

Game Report One got the feeling, when poet and thirdbaseman Ray Bremser swung and missed a Sun Tzu fastball to end the top of the first inning, that the stars were not aligned in the Dharma Beats favor today. Jack Kerouac and Gregory Corso had each launched two-out singles. With Kerouac at third and Corso at first, Bremser came to the plate. Three super Sun Tzu fastballs whizzed by the frozen Bremser and the inning was over. That Bremser went on to have a 3 for 4 day at the plate and scored the only run for his team just highlights how crazy the stars can sometimes be. Every Wonderland Warrior except Moshe Dayan and the two pitchers had one or more hits. Esther Blake and Vo Nguyen Giap each had two homeruns. Bottom line: The Warriors blasted the Beats out of kingdom come in this game.


May 2, 2005

MLB: Mets File Protest Using MLB Rule 4.16

MLB Rule 4 Using Rule 4.16 (and 4.19) New York Mets Field Manager Willie Randolph filed a protest with the National League hoping to overturn the Washington Nationals 5-3 victory in the game of Saturday April 30. That game was called in the 8th inning due to weather conditions (rain). Major League Baseball Rule 4 contains the rules governing the "Starting and Ending" of a baseball game. Rule 4.19 gives a team the authority to file a protest. Rule 4.16 is the rule that Randolph thinks applies to the situation at RFK on Saturday night. Two rain delays resulted in a soggy, potentially hazardous field of play. Randolph, describing the actions of the RFK grounds-keeping crew as a "debacle" believes the Mets should be awarded the game because the groundskeepers did not "comply" with umpire instructions regarding the "preparation of the field for resumption of play." On Sunday after the game Randolph told reporters that he doesn't expect to win the protest, but "if there is a chance, you take a shot at it." The Mets dropped to 11-13 in their fourth straight loss. The Nationals improved to 13-11, having won two straight from the Mets.

A game shall be forfeited to the visiting team if, after it has been suspended, the orders of the umpire to groundskeepers respecting preparation of the field for resumption of play are not complied with.


May 1, 2005

Cosmic Game Report: Poetics @ Pharmers

Game Report Anti-depressant leftfielder Celexa knocked in four of the New Ceutical City Pharmers' six runs. Bolex Poetics starter and revered experimental fimmaker Stan Brakhage had control problems and walks got him into trouble. The Pharmers are hovering around .500 while the Poetics continue to sink further into the Lowerleague's cellar. And May is just beginning...

Game Report


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