The Assumption Of Guilt

The finger point.

That’s what we all remember.

He’s one of 28 men to finish his career with 3,000 or more hits in Major League Baseball. Only Pete Rose (gambling) and Craig Biggio (wait ’till next year)  don’t have a bust in Cooperstown from that elite club.

He finished with a batting average of .288, 569 home runs and 1,835 runs batted in.

Never the focal point of any team, he served as an outstanding player in the background.  He was one of those guys who diehard fans knew and casual onlookers would mispronounce his last name.

Rafael Palmeiro should be in baseball’s Hall of Fame. In third year on the ballot, Palmeiro’s vote dropped to below 9%. You need 75% to get in. He’s not going to make it.

Palmerio tested positive for steroid use in 2005 and will never live it down. Palmerio’s career ended that year as an Oriole and wagging his finger in front of the United States Congress.

Eight years later, on a team with a real chance to make a deep run in the postseason, the leader of the Orioles faces a similar situation this week in the national spotlight.

Chris Davis finished the first half of baseball’s regular season with 37 home runs and an army of fans in Baltimore. He tied Reggie Jackson’s American League record at the break and enters the Home Run Derby as the favorite to win the competition. He’s absolutely living the life right now.

In six years of playing in the majors, the All-Star first baseman for the Orioles currently rides on a pace to beat Barry Bonds record of 73 homers in a single season. That’s the official record in baseball. Bonds was never suspended or reprimanded for any drug use in his entire career.

Bonds also faces the same problem as Palmerio. Everyone thinks he did drugs. There’s a mountain of evidence to support accusations that Bonds cheated his way into the record books and tainted his body and the sport many people love. He will likely never make the Hall.

Fair or foul, Davis will hear these questions all week in New York City in the high point of his still blossoming career. The only time Davis has denied using any sort of performance enhancing drug to date is on Twitter. Someone asked the slugger if he’s on steroids. He said no. Simple as that. No Baltimore journalist has ever approached Davis with the same question.

The game changes in New York when the world gathers for a break in the regular season. I just hope Chris Davis doesn’t point any fingers. Videotape stays around forever.

Comments? Send me a tweet @WBALDash

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