(visibly relieved that Kruk isn’t doing the interview)

George W., as quizzed by ESPN’s Karl Ravech, quotes taken from Buster Olney’s Monday blog.  Hey, how about the great career accomplishments of Rafael Palmeiro?

KR: When you were the owner versus today, are people more skeptical of the athletes now because of all the stuff that we hear about?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, it’s hard to tell; I don’t know. Clearly, the steroid issue has put a cloud over the great sport to a certain extent. I appreciate the fact that the commissioner and the labor man have worked out an agreement to try to win the trust of the fans. Look, you know, I became concerned about it in 2004, and gave a speech at the State of the Union. People said, what is he talking about, why would he want to talk about steroids? And my worry was, was that it would affect younger Americans, as much as anything else, and that’s why I put it in there. And then Congress followed up and did some useful hearings.

KR: What prompted the need to get it in, in ’04? Was there sort of an awareness that perhaps this was happening?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes. Well, what happened was, was that I had talked to some of my baseball buddies — we had a Christmas party here and some of our baseball friends from the past came and said, this steroid issue looks like it’s getting out of control. So I just decided to say something about it, with the attempt to try to put the spotlight on it. And then John McCain picked it up and members of Congress did. And I think it was a useful — those were useful forums, because it basically said, you know, enough is enough, and we want players to be using their God-given talent.