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A TALE OF TWO DENIALS Jeff Bagwell is telling Jerry Crasnick that he never used steroids and Rafael Palmeiro is making similar denials to Sports Illustrated. The difference is Palmeiro's positive test, which of course he still maintains is some sort of wacky mix-up.  In light of their concurrent denials and Bagwell's clean slate, I expect Bagwell to be much closer to enshrinement.  David Pinto correctly points out that "Denials, for some reason, have a way of making you guilty."  Which is why Bagwell's confessed ambivalence regarding enshrinement also helps.  Palmeiro hopes that the voters will look beyond his positive result and instead look at his record, a record that to their minds is tainted by the test result.  He wants in.  The fresh denial colors him delightfully desperate. But this is Bagwell's take:

"Here's my whole thing when people ask me about the Hall of Fame: Would I be honored to death to be in the Hall of Fame? Of course I would. But it doesn't consume me at all. I loved every single part of what I did as a baseball player. But I've got my kids, I've got my family, and getting in the Hall of Fame isn't going to affect my life one way or the other. And it won't make me feel any better about my career.

"So much has gone on in the last eight or nine years, it's kind of taken some of the valor off it for me. If I ever do get to the Hall of Fame and there are 40 guys sitting behind me thinking, 'He took steroids,' then it's not even worth it to me. I don't know if that sounds stupid. But it's how I feel in a nutshell."

Bagwell would rather be known for being clean than being in. Palmeiro would rather be in, even though all assume he's guilty.