Rafael Palmeiro will be in uniform tonight, but may not be in the lineup until Friday, according to an AP report that focused on the effect Palmeiro's return will have on the team, and the effect it is already having.
"What's going on?" Lopez asked.
"Palmeiro," a teammate replied.
Lopez raised his eyebrows and quickly scuttled out of view.
Palmeiro's return will indeed be a circus, even coming at home. I would expect boos, and how can you blame the fans for booing him? He's done a lot of good, but nobody likes feeling lied to, and I have to guess a strong number of fans feel that way about Palmeiro. Raffy has a lot of answering left to do, and it'll start, for now, with how he does on the field.
If you were in the position of power, the final call on the subject, would you want Palmeiro back on this team? What is there to gain really? The old saying is there's no such thing as bad press, but there is. It's a stupid saying. Yes, you can spin the "positive" out of it by pointing out that people are paying more attention to the Orioles now than they were even when the team was in first place for the majority of the first half of the season, but the attention is because of what is widely viewed as a shame and a disgrace to the game. That's not good.
Personally, I believe I'd have to think long and hard. This team isn't going to make the playoffs with or without him, that's pretty much a given. I like Palmeiro, but what does he add from here on out? Stress? Negative publicity?
It's going to be interesting to say the least.