“It was great to be able to tell them what I’ve been saying all along, that I’ve never used steroids or growth hormone. And I look forward to being here I guess in this room next week. So, thank you very much. Y’all have a good day,” Roger Clemens said after five hours of questions (and probably as many autograph requests). I’m sure Brian McNamee will say the opposite, and Congress will be none the wiser. Taxpayer time and money well spent.
So here’s a “shocker” from Ken Davidoff: Andy Pettitte is mad at Roger Clemens, and — brace yourselvse — the two of them weren’t as close as everyone made them out to be.
My world has just been torn apart. No, wait. It hasn’t. But we’ll get to that in a minute.
First, the goods:
“They were never as close as they were made out to be,” a friend of both said on the condition of anonymity. “They just sort of went along with it in the media, because it was a good story.”
Indeed, we had one of the game’s all-time best pitchers taking a fellow Texan under his wing, a guy whose childhood bedroom featured a Clemens poster. We had the pair bolting together to the Astros and returning together (a few months apart, granted) to New York.
Though Clemens and Pettitte enjoyed working out together, their relationship didn’t extend much beyond that. Clemens is an extrovert, Pettitte an introvert. Clemens enjoyed going out after games on road trips; Pettitte almost always stayed in. Their families aren’t particularly close, although both make the Houston area their full-time residences.
When Clemens sat out the start of the 2006 season, keeping the Astros waiting for months on yet another unretirement, Pettitte joined other veteran teammates in growing annoyed by The Rocket’s prima-donna vacillating.
So not only is Pettitte, as Davidoff’s piece notes, mad at Clemens for his defense tactics concerning the Mitchell, but it seems that the two had fleeced the media. And, oh yeah, had the media bothered to report this story two years, they would have found out that Clemens and Pettitte weren’t best friends then either. But, hey, that would actually require reporting and effort.
Now, I don’t care about the facts in this story. Does it matter to me if Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte are friends? No. Do I care if they’re close or not? No. It impacts my life and the Yankees about as much as that overblown story concerning the quote-unquote fight that Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez are in. Whatever. This is baseball, not high school.
But this story matters because it’s yet another example of how the media gets things wrong. Switching gears for one minute, if you take a peak at The New York Times’ coverage of Saturday’s Democratic caucuses in Nevada, the article leads with the fact that Senator Hillary Clinton captured more votes than her opponents, and then the reporters conveniently slip in the fact that Senator Barack Obama will actually get more national delegates. You know how one becomes a presidential candidate? By capturing more national delegates. So who really won, other than the people reporting the story and selling papers?
This story from Nevada and the Clemens-Pettitte story are from opposite sides of the news spectrum. One is about a highly-charged partisan battle for the chance to run for the White House; the other focuses on two baseball players from Texas who are dealing with accusations from a shoddy report. Yet, these stories both have one thing in common: They are complex issues with shades of gray that media insists on presenting in black and white.
Everything is win or lose. Clinton either wins the most votes or loses the most votes; forget the more important delegate count. Clemens and Pettitte either are best friends because they follow each other to Houston or not. There is absolutely no leeway for anything else. Maybe Clemens and Pettitte were friends, but the Mitchell Report strained that relationship. Maybe Davidoff is right or maybe not. How are we to judge a story when, three years later, the media basically says they covered it wrong the first time? Does anyone care what the facts are?
There is, of course, one final explanation that would get the media off the hook, at least in this one case. Roger Clemens planted this story about his non-friendship with Andy Pettitte so that when Congress questions him about Pettitte’s admitted HGH use, he can avoid answering by pointing to the “revelation” that the two aren’t that close. I wouldn’t put that past the Rocket; would you?
Nothing in this post is an endorsement of any political candidate or party. I don’t care for whom you choose to vote. Please leave the partisan politics outside of the comments.
“This is a textbook case of slander: If steroids had not injected themselves—maliciously and with premeditation—into Mr. Clemens’ bloodstream on multiple occasions, people would not be accusing my client of taking steroids,” Clemens’ lawyer Rusty Hardin said in a statement released Tuesday.
With Congressional grandstanding comes legal games.
Right now, Roger Clemens does not have to testify in front of Congress or agree to a deposition in front of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Henry Waxman and Co. have asked Clemens to cooperate, but Clemens would simply be granting Congress a favor in doing so. He has yet to be legally compelled to testify.
And guess what? It doesn’t sound like he’s too keen to come forward on his own. T.J. Quinn has the story:
After saying repeatedly that Roger Clemens will answer any questions Congress wants to ask him, a source familiar with the inquiry said Saturday night that attorney Rusty Hardin is hedging over the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s request to depose Clemens under oath next week because it might interfere with his defamation lawsuit against personal trainer Brian McNamee.
The source said Hardin is also making “noises” about not turning over a taped conversation between McNamee and two investigators for Hardin’s office recorded Dec. 12, the day before the Mitchell report was released.
Raise if your hand if you’re surprised. Exactly.
While tales of reported abscesses on Clemens’ buttocks may end up throwing McNamee’s credibility into doubt, I’m not at all surprised that Hardin would opt not to have Clemens testify in front of Congress. Our esteemed legislative body isn’t the tightest lipped organization, and Hardin wouldn’t want his legal strategy plastered all over the pages of the nation’s newspapers. On the surface, this does represent an about-face for Hardin who said that Clemens would definitely testify at a hearing, but a deposition may hold more legal weight.
Meanwhile, Quinn’s sources say that nothing has been decided yet. Clemens may yet agree to be deposed or Congress could resort to a subpoena. No one knows. For a change.
There’s been plenty on the Brian McNamee/Roger Clemens front over the past few days. Although I’d love nothing more than to see this whole thing just disappear, it’s not going to, which means we’re stuck with it. First thing I caught on it this morning was a piece on ESPN, where McNamee’s lawyers are looking to expose a conversation between McNamee and Clemens which took place on the day before the Mitchell report was revealed.
“They should ask for the entire tape of the interview back in December. That’s the tape they should ask for,” Earl Ward, one of McNamee’s lawyers, said Tuesday. “According to Brian, they tried to get him to recant. Brian said, look, what I told the [Mitchell and federal] investigators was the truth.”
If that’s the extent of the conversation, I’m not sure how much it helps McNamee’s case. However, if his lawyers are pushing for its release, there’s bound to be a bit more revealing information contained therein.
But then I caught a piece in Slam! Sports which aims to trounce McNamee’s credibility. In fact, just three paragraphs in, we’re treated to this quote:
“I hope baseball is not putting all of its case on this one witness because in my 32 years as an investigator, I would not find him to be very credible,” Florida state attorney office investigator Don Crotty said yesterday.
Crotty’s distrust of McNamee stems from an incident back in 2001, where a number of Yankees were having a party in Florida — which incidentally started in Chuck Knoblauch’s room. Outside, investigators found a woman passed out in a swimming pool. She had been drugged with GHB. McNamee was implicated, but never charged, since prosecutors didn’t think the victim’s case would hold up — because he had slept with a married member of the team. Crotty believed that McNamee was dishonest with him when questioned pursuant to the case.
It also appears that Brian referred to himself sometimes as Dr. McNamee:
An investigation showed his doctorate earned at Columbus University in Louisiana is now Columbus out of Mississippi, since Louisiana closed its operation in 2001 for handing out degrees to many who did “little or no academic work.”
The article says that Clemens actually believed that McNamee had a medical degree.
Also discrediting McNamee is his tenure with the NYPD. Though he was involved in many high-profile cases, including the death of Eric Clapton’s son, he’ll never shed the 30-day suspension he received for his negligence in the escape of a prisoner.
And then we have the issue of physical proof of Roger’s use of steroids. The Blue Jays team chiropractor at the time Roger was with the team didn’t see the telltale signs of steroid use:
“I worked with him daily and didn’t see any signs of steroid use,” Dr. Patrick Graham told The Sun yesterday. “I didn’t notice any rashes, acne or increased muscle mass or structure.”
“I think I would have seen signs of it,” he said, adding he always thought the Rocket’s success in Toronto was because of his newly developed “split-fingered fastball.”
Even after Clemens left the Jays organization, he would come in for a back treatment whenever in Toronto and Graham said he observed no body changes. “I haven’t seen him for two years, but I just don’t think he was on steroids.”
Professional trainer Phil Zullo, of North York’s Pro-Fit, agrees — saying if Clemens took the amount of steroids and the type McNamee alleges in the report, he would have ended up looking like Hulk Hogan. “With the way Roger works out and trains, he would have been a giant,” said Zullo, who did not work with Clemens but has always been known to be against the use of any substances for the amateur and professional athletes he trains.
True, none of this proves that Clemens didn’t do steroids. But then again, is he ever going to be able to prove that?
My stance remains the same as it has since the beginning, in that I don’t think he has to prove that he didn’t. Clearly, my opinion differs with much of the public. But why should Roger have to go to these lengths to defend himself against one person, with a spotty history, who was facing jail time? If there was more than one source of this allegation, then yeah, maybe Roger has to up his defense. But I don’t see the reason to assume the worst when we’re talking about the flimsiest of circumstantial evidence.
Once again, though, it’s my deepest desire to see this story go away.
Sounding a lot like Joe Torre did last week, Hank Steinbrenner issued his own half-hearted views on Roger Clemens. “I thought the media commentary after the press conference was over was a little harsh,” Steinbrenner said on Monday night. “Too much rush to judgment in this country. As far as whether he’s telling the truth or not, I have no clue. But I’m not going to say, well, he’s lying, like everybody on TV did after he was done.” Steinbrenner also noted that PED use in baseball went far beyond the limited New York-centric scope of Mitchell Report. No big surprises here.
This one’s for you, steve. As we all know, Roger Clemens held a press conference this afternoon to discuss the Mitchell Report and his response to it. To put it bluntly, the press conference was a circus through and through. For the most part, Clemens and his lawyer rightly lashed out at the media for the piss poor coverage of Clemens’ response and their unreasonable demands for an immediate response from the Rocket. The conference ended with Rocket basically storming away from the dais.
Meanwhile, the other part — a replaying of the recorded phone conversation from Friday between Clemens and Brian McNamee — was fairly anticlimactic. While Clemens’ lawyer claims the ambiguous phone call in which McNamee never says he or Clemens is lying about their stances on Clemens’ injections — steroids or B12, respectively — the phone call wasn’t exactly a smoking gun that alleviated all doubt of guilt from the shoulders of Clemens.
Tellingly enough, Clemens did not really answer the question when someone asked him why he let McNamee inject him, and he said that McNamee provided his injections. So basically, we can see the defense he’s carving out for himself: He thought B12 just meant B12 while McNamee, taking a cue from accepted baseball insider lingo, thought that B12 meant steroids. So there you go. We’re right back where we started, and this pissing contest is just getting started.