Not always a Yankee, Rocket now a Yankee problem


Clemens testifies in front of Congress on February 13, 2008. The indictment stems from his testimony that day. Credit: AP Photo, Pablo Martinez

Roger Clemens’ six season with the Yankees were, in the annals of his career, mostly unspectacular. He stole a Cy Young from his teammate Mike Mussina in 2001 and captured two World Series rings, but his numbers — a 4.01 ERA/114 ERA+ with strike out rates below his career norm and walk rates higher — show that the Roger who was in the Bronx was more hype than substance. He was, after all, pitching in his age 36-40 seasons and made his Yankee encore at age 44.

Still, the post-baseball Roger Clemens — the one embroiled in a PED scandal and facing an indictment for perjury — will forever be linked to the Yankees. Unfairly or not, Roger Clemens’ problems will cast a shadow over Yankee past and could impact Yankee present and Yankee future too. This nagging issue comes about because Andy Pettitte, it seems, is key to the Justice Department’s case against Clemens.

Once upon a time, Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte were very close friends. They wintered together in Houston; their kids grew up together; they trained together; and they, according to Pettitte, shot human growth hormone together. Clemens said that Pettitte “misremembered,” but in the he said-he said war, Congress and the Justice Department have seemingly sided with the current Yankee southpaw.

As former House Representative Tom Davis said late last week, Pettitte was the House’s key witness. In a phone call with ESPN New York’s Ian O’Connor, Davis spelled out the Congressional case against Clemens and highlighted Pettitte’s importance. “If it was just Roger versus McNamee, it’s a different matchup,” he said. “We didn’t call Andy Pettitte, we deposed him, and he supported McNamee and that was a problem for [Clemens]. Without Pettitte, neither McNamee nor Clemens was that articulate or credible.”

Pettitte has yet to address Clemens’ situation and, if the case goes to trial in three or four years, Andy will likely be called as a witness. It will create an uncomfortable situation for the two men and for a Yankee organization trying to live down the Mitchell Report accusations. “Andy Petttitte didn’t want to testify against his friend,” Davis said to ESPN. “But when he raised his right hand, he told the truth. It would’ve been different without him. Roger was a great pitcher who’s done a lot for the community, and McNamee’s had other issues.”

Today, Clemens and Pettitte seem cordial at best, but their intense friendship has long since cooled. In an interview with Boston’s WEEI last week, the Rocket commented on Pettitte. Clemens, who must repeatedly deny any PED use, said he and Andy no longer speak. “My boys went out to a game quite a bit,” he said, but we don’t.”

While the perjury case may rest in part on Pettitte’s shoulders, Clemens’ lawyer is being aggressive — some would say overly so — in his case. He rejected a plea deal that would have required Roger to admit PED use in exchange for no jail sentence, and Rusty Hardin seems willing to let this drama play out in an open court room. “The government made a recommendation [for a plea agreement] and we declined,” Hardin said to ESPN. “I will tell you the recommendation they made was a very good one if he was guilty. And if he was guilty we would have jumped on it.”

Hardin too is engaged in his own he said-he said debate with Representative Davis. The former House member claims they gave Clemens ample opportunity to avoid testifying for Congress but that Clemens wanted to clear his name. “We’re sitting around, and they were deciding whether to go through with the hearing or not,” Davis, who insists that Congressional representatives urged Clemens to be as forthcoming with the truth as possible, said. “This wasn’t a mandatory hearing. We weren’t hanging [him] out to dry. We were only giving him an opportunity to refute the Mitchell report and to tell his side of the story.”

Hardin refuted that take. “So Tom Davis,” Clemens’ attorney said, “who I saw on TV last night, comes down to us, calls us aside and urges us to have Roger testify. And now that son of a bitch is on TV saying that Roger insisted upon it.”

It’s a nasty, nasty business, and Clemens has found himself embroiled in a royal mess. By the time this case goes to trial, Andy Pettitte will have likely retired. He’ll be called upon to rehash his own PED testimony, and he’ll have to again talk, under oath, about the conversations he had with Roger Clemens while both were on the Yankees. The era may be in the past, but the legal percussions will echo into the future. As Joe Torre, the man who managed a team hiding some steroid users, said, “It’s sad.”

Categories : STEROIDS!


  1. Bret says:

    I don’t care at all about steroids from a moral standpoint but you have to wonder just how healthy and good Arod and Pettitte would have been in their careers without HGH/roids. Arod is having a miserable season if you look at anything other than RBI (which is a dependent variable) and now a little calf strain and it is like he was shot by a sniper in WWII. Pettitte was healthy year after year, now a groin strain and he might be out two months or more? Canseco said the major benefit of roids is health, hard to dispute that given what is happening to these two.

    • You are truly an artist of the tangential off-topic passive-agressive bait-and-switch agenda shift.


    • Zanath says:

      I wouldn’t say Pettitte was healthy year after year. After all, the reason he said he used HGH was to recover quicker after an injury he had. And he had always had shoulder problems (or was it elbow, I can’t remember).

    • Ross in Jersey says:

      Or maybe, just maybe, they are now 35 and 38 years old respectively and their bodies don’t heal as well as they once did.

      Also, they play on a team that has a very high (>90%) chance of making the playoffs right now, so their team is very astutely making sure they’re healthy for October rather than rushing them back.

      • And maybe they’ve both got a lot of extra miles on their odometers since they’ve played in so many playoff games, something that Jeremy Guthrie and Daniel Cabrera and Brad Bergesen and Nick Markakis don’t have to worry about.

        • Pete says:

          you’re alright, tsjc. I don’t care what everybody else says

        • bexarama says:

          No Oriole would ever use steroids anyway. Obviously.

          • Zanath says:

            Jay Gibbons.


          • Bret says:

            See the difference is steroids aren’t affecting the Orioles. They have no player locked up long term on the basis of what he did on steroids. They also aren’t relying on a starter for postseason that can’t pitch because he doesn’t have the juice.

            But once they replace MacPhail with a GM that can make smart moves like Javier Vazquez, Austin Jackson, Damaso Marte, A.J. Burnett and the Arod Contract I’m sure they will get better. After all, the Yankees win because they are smarter than all the other teams.

            • Ross in Jersey says:

              Well, I’m glad you finally came out of the closet as nothing more than another sore loser.

            • bexarama says:

              I have been waiting for a reason to use this. I’m excited!!!


              (MacPhail is also a pretty good GM. DID I JUST BLOW YOUR MIND???)

            • Andy in NYC (who is back from Bahston again) says:

              There are so many inaccuracies here…


            • Pete says:

              I’m gonna break O:S for just a second and say this: nobody thinks the Yankees win solely because they are smarter than all the other teams. In fact, I would say that few would argue that the Yankees even are smarter than all the other teams.

              The Yankees win because they are a well-run organization and have been for almost a century, building up an enormous fanbase, which has in turn brought enormous capital to the team, which then, in keeping with the initial “well-run” premise, re-invests that capital. Some of the re-invested capital goes towards players on the field in the form of FAs and trades, because major league success is the foundation upon which the franchise is built, and is the main factor in keeping revenue stable. Some of the re-invested capital goes towards scouting (major league, domestic amateur, international amateur), drafting, IFA, and coaches/player development, because a key to sustained major league success is production from cheaper, cost-controlled players. And some of that capital is re-invested into more traditional business ventures like the YES Network and advertising and what not, because having diversified assets not only provides the franchise with a higher likelihood of financial growth, but it also reduces the financial risk of on-field catastrophes.

              In other words, the Yankees win because they are a fundamentally sound business whose primary product is winning. Winning generates revenue, not vice versa.

            • Jobu says:

              “They also aren’t relying on a starter for postseason that can’t pitch because he doesn’t have the juice.”

              No they really aren’t are they.

      • Angelo says:

        Also, A-Rod isn’t having a bad year. He’s just having a bad year because of the player we know as A-Rod.

        He’s having a good year compared to most thirdbasemen.

        • Ghost says:

          To bad most third basemen won’t cost you nearly 30 frickin million dollars a year.

        • Bret says:

          His OPS isn’t very good even for a 3rd baseman, especially one making 30 million. But enjoy the next 7 years of that contract.

          And this is the 3rd year in his career that Pettitte will not have pitched in at least 30 games. That is pretty healthy. Now he might miss the rest of the year because of a mild groin strain?

          • Ross in Jersey says:

            The money he’s making is not relevant to this argument, not that it matters to the Yankees anyway.

            His OPS that isn’t very good for a 3B? Yet he’s still the 2nd or 3rd best 3B in the league. He’s hit more homers than Longoria.

            Who says Pettitte will miss the rest of the year? Way to make stuff up.

            • Angelo says:

              Thank you. And like you said, we aren’t talking about money. I was speaking strictly of performance.

              Barely anyone can live up to being paid 30 million dollars. That’s not what I was speaking of.

            • Bret says:

              I think 30 mill a year matters even to the Yankees. He is not the 2nd or 3rd best 3rd baseman in his own division.

              Longoria, Beltre, Bautista. A .818 OPS while missing a bunch of games at a corner power position is not anything to write home about. The fact that he is going to be even worse going forward will be a major issue.

              • bexarama says:

                So you think A-Rod is doomed and will never ever be awesome going forward, but Beltre and Bautista will replicate their 2010s. Got it.

              • Ross in Jersey says:

                Bautista is a RF, but thanks for trying.

                Also, A-rod, through all the injuries and despite having his worst statistical year ever and being 11 years older, trails Longoria in OPS by 64 points.

                I’d say that’s a lot to write home about. It’s a testament to how good a player the man still is.

                And really, how do you talk about steroids and defend Beltre? LOL

                • Angelo says:

                  Because his name is Bret. What do you expect?

                • Bret says:

                  He isn’t playing 3rd very well when he does play and was DHing a lot of the time. Even you will admit that .818 OPS for a DH is somewhat light right? Longoria plays great D every game, same with Beltre and more importantly they are both on the field every night at 3B.

                  Beltre may have done roids but he is hitting this year so I think it could have been the impact of Safeco field or he has found a way to beat the piss test.

                  • Angelo says:

                    Beltre is having a great year. I’m sure playing in Fenway is helping him and I doubt he continues to do this going forward.

                    • bexarama says:

                      It’s actually not, he hits better on the road. He’s just having an excellent year. Like he did in 2004. In a pitcher’s park, like Safeco. Doesn’t mean he’s on ‘roids, just means he’s having a really good year.

              • Ghost says:

                Isn’t Bautista playing outfield this year?

                And I respect where you were coming from Angelo, but performance and dollars go hand in hand, if you pay that high a premium on anything you expect nothing but top quality return and while Arod has driven in the runs in scoring situations, the return this year has not justified the money being dolled out.

                • Angelo says:

                  That contract was ridiculous and everyone knew that A-Rod couldn’t live up to being paid that much, especially since he’s going to be in his 40′s when the contract ends.

                  If we want to say anything positive about A-Rod it can always be countered by dollar figures if that’s the case.

                  Money creates expectations, and at this point I wouldn’t expect A-Rod to play up to that contract the way fans and everyone want him to.

                  • Ross in Jersey says:

                    I put a positive spin on it by thinking about the ridiculous shopping spree that Brian (or whoever) goes on once that contract comes off the books.

                    • Ghost says:

                      You mean Eduardo Nunez and Ramiro Pena are not going to be the everyday 3b of the future once Arod is gone.


    • Andy in NYC (who is back from Bahston again) says:

      Pettitte was healthy year after year[...]

      Really? I seem to remember that the reason Pettitte even used HGH in the first place was to try to heal from his elbow injury that kept him out pretty much the whole first year of his Astros contract… and that there was speculation when he signed with the Astros that the Yanks were lukewarm on re-signing him, and let him go to the Astros, due to concerns about…his elbow.

    • bexarama says:

      Wow, you’re awful. If ‘roids/HGH magically kept these guys healthy, and they’d been on them even since they got the new testing, why wouldn’t they simply stay on them?

    • JGS says:

      Arod is having a miserable season if you look at anything other than RBI

      He is having a miserable season for A-rod. His .352 wOBA would be second on the Orioles (to Luke Scott, 7th in the AL)

    • Ed says:

      HGH != steroids. HGH is a placebo at best, rather destructive to your body at worst.

      Regardless of those issues, Pettitte is old enough that you should expect random muscle strains and things like that. He’s had a long career, and has more than a season’s worth of work in the postseason to go along with that. He’s definitely at the tail of his career and experiencing the pains that go with it.

      A-Rod’s also old enough to start having some issues. His hip isn’t exactly in the best of shape. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if hip issues cause him to favor one side over the other, which would make leg injuries more likely.

      Or, more simply:

      the major benefit of roids being young is health, hard to dispute that given what is happening to these two.

      • Hughesus Christo says:

        Cigarettes warm your lungs and improve your voice, bro.

      • UncleArgyle says:

        If only those two did what true, hard working, baseball players used to do before the disgraceful steriod era; Abuse Painkillers and booze to dull the pain, and use plenty of Coke and Speed to stay focused and alert during a 162 game sched. Oh, how I long for the Golden Age of Baseball.

    • I’m not going to delete all of these comments, but I’d like to ask Bret, again, to keep comments on topic. Thread-jacking will not be tolerated again.

  2. Zack says:

    In response to Davis’ comments, I’ve heard too many recent DAs/government officials talk about how they have rock solid evidence in a case, only to come up short – Duke lacrosse, Barry Bonds, Rod Blagojevoch.

    • Hughesus Christo says:

      So you have 3 out of the thousands of cases brought by DAs across the country over the last 20 years?

      • Zack says:

        Except not every case is this public, and the people in charge do not proclaim they have rock solid evidence, like they did in those cases. Excuse me if I just see Davis talk as trying to pressure Clemens because the syringes stored in a beer bottle might be thrown out.

    • A.D. says:

      I wouldn’t be surprised if Clemens get’s out of this one, but given that he’s likely guilty, is it really worth the risk?

    • UncleArgyle says:

      Its almost like our government is filled with idiots who say things that they can’t possibly deliever on, all the time….

  3. Yank the Frank says:

    Clemens: You want answers?
    Congressman: I think I’m entitled to them.
    Clemens: You want answers?
    Congressman: I want the truth!
    Clemens: You can’t handle the truth! Son, we live in a world that has baseballs. And those balls have to be hit by men with bats. Who’s gonna do it? You? You, Congressman? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for steroids and you curse HGH. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know: that HGH, while illegal, probably sells tickets. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, sells tickets…You don’t want the truth. Because deep down, in places you don’t talk about at parties, you want me on that mound. You need me on that mound. We use words like fastball, slider, split finger…we use these words as the backbone to a life spent playing a sport. You use ‘em as a punch line. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and falls asleep to the Sportscenter clips I provide, then questions the manner in which I provide it! I’d rather you just said thank you and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a bat and dig in. Either way, I don’t give a damn what you think you’re entitled to!
    Congressman: Did you order the HGH?
    Clemens: (quietly) I did the job you sent me to do.
    Congressman: Did you order the HGH?
    Clemens: You’re gddamn right I did!!

  4. Ghost says:

    So who has a better shot at the hall:

    A) The likeable finesse southpaw who when he hangs up his cleats, should at the least according to baseball stats be in consideration for the hall. Though honestly admitted to using steroids.


    B) The not-so-likeable power flamethrower who has all the kind of stats that place him in an exclusive class of baseball elite and would otherwise be a sure fire first time inductee if it wasn’t for suspicion of steroid?

  5. The era may be in the past have been loosey-goosey


  6. Sadly, Andy Pettitte testifying in greater detail about what he did and what he used at some point in the future after he retires but before he gets on the HoF ballot for the first time probably torpedoes his chances at enshrinement.

    That testimony will be too fresh in voter’s minds.

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