Palmeiro's polygraph fails quest for truth

November 12, 2005|By JOHN EISENBERG

Fact: My favorite question from the polygraph exam Rafael Palmeiro's agent set up last June to help Palmeiro prove his innocence: "Do you recall ever secretly doing anything that would have caused shame or dishonor to your family?"

Opinion: Maybe it's just me, but I think this would have been a better question to ask: "Have you ever taken steroids?"

Fact: My second-favorite question from the exam: "In the past year, did you ever seriously think about violating your personal beliefs by doing something unlawful?"

Opinion: Who wrote this stuff, Dr. Phil?

Fact: The Ravens are on pace to score 194 points, by far the fewest for them in a season since they moved here from Cleveland. But by golly, they long ago blew past the NFL record for fewest points in a season - 37, set in 1934 by the Cincinnati Reds.

Opinion: A lot of fans in this city will never forgive the Colts for leaving, but this year's Horseshoes are hard to dislike with their good-guy coach, good-guy quarterback and fun-to-watch playing style.

Fact: Even though the recent World Series had the lowest TV ratings in the event's history, Game 4 still drew Fox's largest prime-time audience since the American Idol finale in May.

Opinion: A lot of people fail to understand that all TV ratings are markedly smaller in a historical context because there are so many more channels and viewing options than before.

Fact: Among the items that will be for sale when the Babe Ruth Museum holds a "warehouse clearance sale" starting at noon on Nov. 26: a five-foot cutout of 1890s Orioles star Wilbert Robinson, and a blow-up of a young Jim Palmer eating a stack of pancakes (which earned him his nickname "Cakes").

Opinion: Steve Courson, the former Steelers lineman who died when a tree fell on him Thursday, deserved a medal of honor for his part in the war against steroids. He was a former user who had become an active and outspoken critic. His death, sadly, is a step in the wrong direction.

Fact: If you take away Kevin Millwood, the best pitchers available this offseason via free agency (A.J. Burnett, Paul Byrd and Jeff Weaver) and trade (Javier Vazquez) are a combined six games under .500 for their careers. Millwood, meanwhile, is 32 games over .500.

Opinion: I like Weaver, the least heralded of the bunch, as a sound pickup for the Orioles. He's just 29 and has thrown 444 innings for the Dodgers over the past two years with a high ratio of strikeouts to walks. He would almost surely help solidify the rotation.

Fact: Remember when pro basketball player Latrell Sprewell turned down a three-year, $21 million contract offer last year, saying he was worried about feeding his family? Well, his family is having to get by on even less now. Sprewell is looking for a job.

Opinion: It would be wonderful to see Preakness/Belmont winner Afleet Alex and Breeders' Cup Classic winner Saint Liam square off (there's been talk), but these things never seem to happen anymore with horses that are worth so much when they retire to stud.

Fact: Among the commemorative sports posters sold by the U.S. Postal Service this fall was one picturing Johnny Unitas of the Indianapolis Colts.

Opinion: By announcing a deal to bring a team to Los Angeles at some point, without naming that team or a time frame, the NFL is primarily making it easy for all of its team owners to play hardball with their hometown politicians if they want new stadiums.

Fact: Congratulations to local baseball writer Charlie Vascellaro, who has published a Hank Aaron biography that Amazon.com reviewers have called "outstanding" and "inspirational."

Opinion: Credit for a job well done is due Towson football coach Gordy Combs, whose program has been through the "almost eliminated for budgetary reasons" phase, the "no scholarships, good luck" phase and now has a shot at making the Division I-AA playoffs.

Fact: Former Terp Terence Morris is back in the NBA, coming off the bench in Orlando. Actually, except for Steve Francis, all former Terps currently active in the league (Houston's Lonny Baxter, Portland's Juan Dixon and Steve Blake, the Lakers' Laron Profit and the Clippers' Chris Wilcox) are reserves. (Joe Smith is injured, and Tony Massenburg is finally out of the league at age 38 after playing for 13 teams.)

Opinion: I don't agree with those who criticize the Ravens' defense for not scoring touchdowns like it did until this season. Sorry, but that's not part of any defense's job description. The offense is supposed to do the scoring.

john.eisenberg@baltsun.com

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