|ESPN.com: Page 2||[Print without images]|
|Do you think these players believe their own testimony?|
|Can Congress handle the truth about steroids?|
"Raffy, Juan and Ivan were definitely scared the first time I injected them, but after a while it became no big deal to them, either. And throughout my time on the team, they were on a combination of growth hormone and steroids -- mostly Deca and Winstrol, but with a small dose of testosterone."Either Canseco or Palmeiro is really lying. Now you wonder whether Palmeiro will follow through on his previous threat to sue Canseco. After all, Palmeiro plays for an owner Baltimore's Peter Angelos who is known as one of the country's best litigators. Or maybe there was some truth in what Canseco and his lawyer suggested before the hearing that baseball's power brokers somehow influenced Congress to deny Canseco's request for immunity, to protect current players who were (and weren't) present. Once the hearing began and it became clear that Canseco wouldn't be able to speak freely, you wondered whether it would free McGwire to say he never used steroids and give vague answers to broader questions. Yes, McGwire was under oath. But several congressmen had said this wouldn't be a witch hunt. Plus, retired McGwire will never be tested for steroids and the FBI sources told the Daily News that no evidence was collected against him. Oh, well, at least McGwire didn't lie to Congress. Sosa was not a direct target in Canseco's book. Canseco, who wasn't a teammate of Sosa's, writes only that Sosa's physical transformation "seemed even more dramatic than McGwire's" and that it was so obvious Sosa was using steroids "it was a joke." After Sosa's opening statement that he flat-out has never used performance-enhancing drugs, his answers often were comical. As a columnist in Chicago, I spent enough time around Sosa to tell you he can speak and understand English extremely well when he needs to. But at Thursday's hearing, with his lawyer to his right and an interpreter to his left, Sosa often acted as if he didn't quite understand the question and some of his answers were nonsensical. Such as: "To my knowledge, I don't know." Then again, some of the questions weren't much better. Some of the representatives obviously hadn't read Canseco's book and hadn't done any homework on the subject of steroids and baseball. Too often they ate up their allotted time with what amounted to grandstanding speeches about sportsmanship and role models. Yet three congressmen admonished McGwire for refusing to answer questions. Especially tough on him was William Lacy Clay (D, Mo.), who scolded the former St. Louis Cardinal with: "I wish you had taken this opportunity to answer some of the questions about your career and some of the records you set." Oh, but McGwire did answer. He answered by not answering. It leaves me wondering whether McGwire even belongs in the Hall of Fame. The only case you can make for him is a power case. Yes, he hit a then-record 70 home runs in 1998, and he wound up with 583 for his career. But he won no MVPs and only one Gold Glove. If some of McGwire's power came from a syringe .... I'll remember this hearing for helping raise the public's awareness, especially about the epidemic steroid use among teenagers. I'll remember that baseball was caught deceiving the public about the few teeth its new testing program does have. But most of all, I'll remember Mark McGwire, surrendering. Skip Bayless can be seen Monday through Friday on "Cold Pizza," ESPN2's morning show, and at 4 p.m. ET on ESPN's "1st & 10." His column appears twice weekly on Page 2. You can e-mail Skip here.