This week has not been a good one for hard-core fans of the game, and perhaps one of the sadder stories of the steroid era came to a conclusion yesterday.
Miguel Tejada this week was charged with lying to Congressional investigators about the use of performance-enhancing drugs in baseball. He pleaded guilty yesterday to the charges, and his punishment — if any — should be coming shortly.
However, the saddest part of yesterday was seeing Tejada in Houston yesterday evening during a press conference after appearing in Washington. He was signed to a handsome contract to be part of the rebuilding process in Baltimore as a free agent from Oakland — where he was considered one of the better shortstops in the game at the time — and vault the team into contention.
Despite having a career year in 2004, and being relatively solid at the plate until 2007, he never did really make the Orioles into a better team. Later on, some of us perhaps saw the dark side of Tejada with the whole Palmeiro episode, demanding his way out of Baltimore, his age discreprancy, and his questionable work ethic despite his talent at the plate.
In the end, after the 2007 season, Miguel left to Houston (via a trade) as a pariah to some in the Oriole community.
Although most fans probably do not at all feel sorry for a multi-millionaire who lied about his misdeeds, there’s a tragic part about this with Tejada.
Now, I don’t know him at all; however, I saw the way Miguel was with fans — nothing short of wonderful and engaging for the most part — and thought he interacted with people well. Furthermore, everyone for the most part when he came into town talked about his infectious love for the game and upbeat attitude.
Then again, in the last year, he’s been exposed as one of many who probably took the dirty road to the top; alas, to me it’s kind of sad. Realize, Miguel Tejada is nothing short of revered in the Dominican Republic — where baseball is a religion — and came from what we would consider abject poverty and became wealthy beyond his or any one’s dream.
He looked like a broken man yesterday and someone who sold his soul to be better, but instead got exposed in the end.