Boo-birds stunned Raffy

MIKE RUTSEY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:19 AM ET

Rafael Palmeiro -- unplugged.

The disgraced Baltimore Orioles slugger just wishes he had gone that route Tuesday.

Stunned and shocked at the rowdy reception he received from the Rogers Centre crowd of 25,311 -- he was booed unmercifully during each of his four at-bats -- Palmeiro attempted to drown out the negative vibes in his final three at-bats by wearing ear plugs that were taped shut.

The designated hitter/first baseman, who was suspended for 10 days in August after he tested positive for steroids, didn't meet with the media following the Blue Jays' 7-2 victory Tuesday but spoke prior to last night's game.

"Maybe it wasn't the right thing to do," Palmeiro said yesterday about the plugs. "I've never been in a situation where I've been booed so badly and I don't really know how to handle it. I don't mind being booed because I've been booed before.

"I was just trying to concentrate on my at-bats and trying to really do the best that I can to help my team. At the time, I thought that that was the best that I could do. Maybe it wasn't the right thing to do but I did what I had to do at the time."

Toronto crowds have built a reputation -- and deservedly so -- for being library-like silent and apathetic, so Palmeiro wasn't the only one stunned by their reaction.

He admitted that booing was just part of the game, but it caught him off guard and certainly didn't motivate him. He went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts on Tuesday and did not play last night.

"When I'm up to bat I'm trying to focus on what I have to do to do my job" said Palmeiro, who is in a 2-for-26 rut. "It's just hard to really focus when the whole stadium is booing and yelling."

Just wait till he gets to Boston tomorrow when the Orioles open a three-game series against the Red Sox. The other day he was ripped by the outspoken David Wells but declined to reply to the Boston left-hander's criticisms.

"No," he snapped when asked if he had any comment.

All in all, August probably was the worst month of his lengthy career.

"It has been hard, it hasn't been easy," he said. "I've survived it so far. I'm dealing with it on a daily basis."


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