The Rafael Palmeiro most of us remember, before the steroid test that ruined his career.

Where Did You Go, Raffy Palmeiro?

This morning's Baltimore Sun contains the first interview with former Texas Rangers first baseman Rafael Palmeiro since Congress cleared him of lying under oath. The paper's reporting that a year after failing a test for steroids and denying he ever used performance-enhancing drugs, the guy now "spends his mornings working out, his days playing baseball with his two sons at his suburban Dallas home and his nights watching on TV as his former teammates throughout the majors play the game he still loves." Dan Connolly writes a pretty straightforward piece here: You're left to draw your own conclusion about whether Raffy shot up with the good stuff, or merely got some B-12 laced with stanozol from Baltimore teammate Miguel Tejada. But it's nonetheless a sad portrait of a guy who was on his way to at least Hall of Fame consideration before he became a punch line and punching bag for even putting himself in this position. Your heart kinda, sorta, maybe, not-really breaks for Raffy when he tells Connolly:

"The tragedy of all of this is that it happened to me and it shouldn't have happened. It ruined my life and my career. That's the tragedy of this. Three thousand, it's just a number. It's just a game. The other deals with my life and my livelihood and my family and all that I stand for. All of that is gone."

And some folks still wonder whose fault that really is. In other depressing you-gotta-be-kiddin'-me news related to former Texas Rangers and steroids, the San Diego Union-Tribune's reported yesterday that Jose Canseco has signed with the San Diego Surf Dawgs baseball team of the independent Class A Golden Baseball League. That's like Hunter Thompson working for the Greensheet. --Robert Wilonsky

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