No other player was given this privilege, meaning that there was likely some circumstance that led to this. It may have been an unusual circumstance of the testing, his stature in the game, a desire of the Commissioner to avoid the appearance of a ‘witch hunt,’ or some paranoiac conspiracy theory. We have no answer to this question. It is also very unclear when this hearing took place. Discussions with reporters covering the Orioles did not clear this up. All parties were confused as to whether Palmeiro left the team for the hearing and had no inkling that this situation was ongoing.So that's odd. Also odd is that, despite the hearing, no one in the press seems to have gotten word of it. (However Carroll says "Rumors began circulating this weekend that something was brewing. I heard from no fewer than three independent sources that a 'big story' was breaking.")
Though this is interesting: in a Daily Show interview last week (July 26), Bob Costas brings up Palmeiro pretty much out of nowhere. (You can see the video here.) Jon Stewart brings up steroids, makes a pretty funny joke, then Costas suddenly mentions Raffy:
"...everyone talks about Bonds, whatever; but to me the most interesting guy in the midst of all this is Rafael Palmeiro of the Orioles: recently reached 3000 hits, closing in on 600 homers, seems to be a good guy, emphatically denied any steroid use, and I accept that. But it's interesting while he denies using performance enhancing drugs, he is the national spokesman for Viagra. [Laughter] So, I don't -- I don't say the two are connected, but I will say this: for the past few years, this -- this guy's been getting good wood on everything."Ba-dum-bum. Terrible, obvious joke. But the fact is, everyone's making that joke now, and Costas was the first, by almost a week. So maybe some in the press did know about it, or at least have an idea about it?