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Matchup/Preview/Diary Game # 106 at Diamondbacks

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Rogér Clemens   Claudio Vargas
9 - 4, 1.46   4 - 5, 5.26

We'd like to interrupt the regularly scheduled half-baked guesses and inapplicable statistics to debunk the exquisite bullshit being peddled by Jayson Stark in re the now-seriously compromised Hall of Fame run being made by Rafael Palmeiro.

Just in case your ISP/cable company has had as many problems providing you with your service as mine has had lately, and your lines of communication have been down, Palmeiro was suspended yesterday after he tested positive for a banned substance, i.e, steroids. Yes, the same Palmeiro--we are not talking Orlando here--who went to Washington in March and said "I have never used steroids. Period." But now that testimony has been rendered as inviolable as your United Airlines pension plans. Seems like Raffy meant something else when he appeared before the Congressional blowhards. Turns out he lied.

I guess Stark just thinks it's more Useless Info. "Palmeiro still worthy of Cooperstown," reads the headline over Stark's specious work, and what I'd like to ask is "why?"

"I'm not a cop," writes Stark.

Bullshit. He is a cop if he's agreed to turn in a Hall of Fame ballot that he has marked. He and every other writer and player and miscellaneous personage congregating about the game who is mailed a ballot every year has been entrusted and charged with that particular policeman's job. It is they who decide who and what receive official remembrance for standards of excellence. They are police, they are judge and they are jury.

And it is not morally defensible to duck out the first time you are asked to levy a sentence against someone who clearly broke clear and obvious standards of fair competition. MLB didn't have to pass a law against steroids for the athlete to know that they were wrong. It doesn't matter that MLB just put together their first coherent set of guidelines on the matter just last year. Steroids didn't become wrong last year. Those who've taken them, and those who haven't, are united in one thing: Members of both camps both know that there is something dishonorable with taking steroids when competing in athletic contests.

Stark writes that "baseball let them cheat," as if--even if it were true--that relieves him of his duty to pass righteous judgement. First off, officials of MLB were not handing out needles and steroid precursors at the clubhouse doors. To say baseball "let them cheat" is like saying that the cops at my high school in the early '80's shouldn't have picked up the potheads selling dope in the dustbowl next door, because the school was letting them deal.

Some players--and it still doesn't look like all that many, Jayson--may have gotten away with it. That does not excuse Palmeiro.

And I tell you, I really get sick of hearing about Gaylord Perry everytime some superstar wantonly compromises the game. The difference betwen what Gaylord Perry did and what Rafael Palmeiro is now proven to have done is the difference between a pen knife and a bayonnet: they won't let you on a plane with either, but one's just a bit more serious.

Stark implies that he has no way of differentiating between those who have done the 'roids, those who might have, and those who have been unfairly besmirched by a book or an article. I say he does: who flunked the test.

That's right Mr. Stark: In baseball, as in America, you're innocent until proven guilty, but when you're guilty, you're guilty.

*** ***

With ESPN's Power Rankings starting to take notice, Roger Clemens brings his superb road ERA of 0.31 to the BOB. We'll find out whether Sunday's lackluster play was an aberration or the beginning of a trend, and whether the sharp increase in runs given up after the 3:00 trade deadline passed was a weird coincidence, or a harbinger of coulda-shoulda-woulda's.

Claudio Vargas sucked with the Nationals, then sucked for a bit when he joined the D-Backs as a waiver wire addition. But he carried a 2.01 ERA in July, and has the opportunity to set a lean tone for Vazquez and Halsey to follow.

Let's hope that the Astros squash that opportunity like some fat yellow grasshopper underneath a combine. . .

Home and Away OPS Revisited
Road OPS Astro Pos D-Back Home OPS
.619 Brad Ausmus C1 Chris Snyder .627 x
.391 Humberto Quintero C2 Kelly Stinnett .786 x
.605 Mike Lamb 1B Tony Clark 1.230 x
.664 Craig Biggio 2B Craig Counsell .785 x
.595 Adam Everett SS Royce Clayton .704 x
.903 Morgan Ensberg 3B Troy Glaus .976 x
x .966 Orlando Palmeiro OF1 Shawn Green .882
x .859 Lance Berkman OF2 Luis Gonzalez .782
.720 Jason Lane OF3 Chad Tracy .725
.550 Willy Taveras OF4 Quinton McCracken .709
.668 Eric Bruntlett Util/PH Alex Cintron .688 x
x .389 Roger Clemens P1 Claudio Vargas .333
.400 Ezequiel Astacio P2 Javier Vazquez .760 x
.321 Wandy Rodriguez P3 Brad Halsey .384 x