Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Congress Raises the Stakes

Baseball pitchers are always talking about owning the inside part of the plate. If you bust one in on a hitter's fists once in a while, he's a lot less likely to lean out for a healthy swing at your best stuff.

Now it looks like Congress is adopting the same technique. I'm writing as I listen to the House Oversight Committee hearing on baseball's steroids mess. The high hard one came in the opening moments: the Committee is asking the Department of Justice to investigate Miguel Tejada.

Tejada was interviewed by House investigators after then-teammate Rafael Palmeiro told this same committee in 2005 that he had never, ever used steroids--and then failed a drug test. Palmeiro said he thought he was using vitamin B-12 supplied by Tejada. Tejada then told the investigators that he, too, was clean.

The Mitchell Report says otherwise, naming Tejada among the dozens of players who supposedly used performance-enhancers. And based on that, Congress is now calling in federal law enforcement, on the suspicion that Tejada lied.

Look, does anyone really think steroids weren't all over baseball? And does anyone doubt that the reason it's taken so long for all this to come out is the "code of silence" that's baseball's most important (unwritten) clubhouse rule?

That's what Congress is now trying to attack. Tejada may be the guy getting knocked down by the pitch, but it's aimed at every one of those players, owners, and major league baseball officials who knew the truth but didn't step up and tell it.

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