Craig Calcaterra

Blogger at NBC's HardballTalk. Recovering litigator. Rake. Scoundrel. Notorious Man-About-Town.

Rafael Palmeiro opens up about his darkest days


Flinder Boyd of Fox wrote a long, in-depth piece about Rafael Palmeiro in which, for the first time, Palmeiro goes into great detail about his life and the days after he tested positive for PEDs. It was then his career, for all intents and purposes, ended and then that his reputation was forever ruined.

It was also then that Palmeiro spiraled into depression:

After the Orioles let him go, Palmeiro tried to stay in shape, hoping for an offer the next year, but no one was willing to take a flyer on a 40-year-old with a steroid past. When he knew his agent wasn’t going to call, the full force of shame struck him head on, and he retreated inside his palatial estate in the Dallas suburbs. His TV would flicker in his room, but he rarely watched it.

“I was done with baseball. I hated it,” he says. “It wasn’t like I had a void, like ‘what do I do now,’ it was, ‘let’s see if I survive today.'”

For the past decade he has dealt with depression. Even today, he can find hope in life with his sons and family, but doesn’t know what his own future holds. He is still lost and, it would appear, still battling depression.

People are entitled to think less of Rafael Palmeiro because of his PED test. People are allowed to discount his accomplishments. A lot of the story is framed around Palmeiro’s belief that he was a Hall of Famer and when he was given almost no support in the Hall of Fame vote, it triggered another downward spiral for him. But still: no one is entitled to a Hall of Fame vote and it’s understandable if people do not have sympathy for Palmeiro over his low vote totals.

That said: because he was the first high-profile player to test positive for PEDs and because it came so soon after his infamous appearance before Congress, the pile-on on Palmeiro was intense and, in some ways, continues to be far greater for him than it has been for almost any other player. While no one can take issue with baseball wanting to rid itself of PEDs, the moralism and shaming and demonizing and vilifying of those players who used PEDs that accompanied those efforts was and continues to be a disgrace. This is especially true for players of Palmeiro’s era, who have been treated like caricatures and, in some cases, punching bags while current players, now that PED testing has become normal, are welcomed back into the fold with little or no comment or concern.

As I said, we can think less of Palmerio’s baseball accomplishments because of the PEDs, but the way in which he and others were made into villains is a far greater wrong. Baseball rules are baseball rules, but human beings are human beings. People with feelings and emotions who, while responsible for their actions and misdeeds, are nonetheless underserving of the kind of intense scorn they received.

I hope Palmeiro can find peace in life after baseball. Some happiness too. Everyone deserves that. As a person who has battled depression myself, I can tell you that I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. And Rafael Palmeiro is no one’s enemy.

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

Associated Press

Baseball is one of the best things. It’s not “The Sesame Street Characters do ‘Scenario’ by A Tribe Called Quest” good. But it’s one of the best things.

Here are the scores. Here are the highlights.

Cubs 5, Cardinals 0: John Lackey struck out 11 in seven innings of four-hit ball and [all together now] helped his own cause by hitting an RBI single. Cards fans booed Jason Heyward for some dumb reason but Lackey was the 2015 Cardinal they should’ve been more upset with on this night, because he owned their guys.

Marlins 6, Nationals 1: Jose Fernandez settled down after a rocky couple of innings and ended up going six and getting the win. At the end of the second he had a little smacking-himself-in-the-head outburst. After the game, Don Mattingly said “He’s just so emotional.” Later, he did not add, “Every time he thinks of you. He’s just so emotional, baby, ain’t it shocking what love can do?”

Blue Jays 4, Red Sox 3: A 1-0 lead in the eighth didn’t hold up for Boston as Toronto put four across, all charged to Koji Uehara, but capped off by a Russell Martin two-run single off of Craig Kimbrel. All of that rendered Clay Buchholz‘s strong, six and two-thirds shutout innings performance an interesting side note.

Mets 5, Phillies 2: David Wright hit two homers and Lucas Duda and Neil Walker each added their own. But another star of the show was Noah Syndergaard, who allowed one run in seven while striking out eight and while throwing the ball really, really hard.

Rockies 5, Reds 1: Trevor Story went long again — his eighth on the year — to ignite a four-run eighth inning for the Rockies who are 8-5 at the moment. Call me in a month if they’re still doing that, but for now they’re playing some better than expected baseball.

Angels 7, White Sox 0: Hector Santiago was staked to a 5-0 lead before he even had to throw a pitch, which is kind of nice. No pitching to the score for him, however, as he struck out 10 over seven shutout innings. Yup, no screwing around for Santiago. Except for the fact that he threw a bunch of screwballs, because that’s what he does.

Twins 7, Brewers 4Miguel Sano and Byung Ho Park homered, and Minnesota had 14 hits. Which is saying something given that the rain turned this into a six-inning game. Maybe mother nature or Rob McKenna,who is unknowingly a Quasi Supernormal Incremental Precipitation Inducer, took mercy on the Brewers.

Diamondbacks 9, Giants 7: Jake Lamb hit a tying homer with two outs in the ninth and the Dbacks rallied for two more in the 11th, including another Lamb RBI, to win a very, very long game. Jean Segura, who hit the go-ahead RBI single in the 11th, and Lamb each had three hits. The Dbacks scored five runs over the final four innings, which is the kind of thing that gives managers and pitching coaches nightmares.

Randy Levine wrote an editorial that was basically pro-Donald Trump


Randy Levine started our day with an interview in which he claimed that Yankee Stadium did not get any public subsidies even though it got TONS of public subsidies. Like, hundreds of millions of dollars.

We end the afternoon with a link to an editorial he wrote for NewsMax railing against proposed changes to the delegate procedures at the Republican National Convention. It’s an editorial that, in essence, argues that the GOP is trying to rob Donald Trump of the nomination.

And, to be fair to Levine — who has a long history and a lot of experience in Republican politics — he’s probably right. I don’t really care about what goes on internally in the Republican Party, but it does seem like whatever is happening there is aimed at doing harm to the guy who has gotten more votes and won more primaries than anyone. To be clear, ALL of these sorts of rules, in both the Democratic and Republican party are written like this to support and help the candidates preferred by the party establishment. Hillary Clinton, while she also happens to have gotten far more votes than Bernie Sanders, is nonetheless getting a greater boost in delegates than some are pleased with due to some rules set by the party.

Still, even if Levine has a valid point, at the end of the day, he’s carrying a brief for Donald Trump. And that can’t feel particularly fulfilling, can it?