Sunday, January 06, 2008

A Great Competitor


To me--Roger Clemens is the Greatest Competitor of My Generation. From his very beginnings in Boston--playing for The Red Sox, I have enjoyed watching him pitch. The fact that my brother, Michael, is a Boston Red Sox Season Ticket Holder, allowed me to see Clemens in his early prime.

His dedication to the profession, his undying work ethnic, his fiery nature--watching Roger Clemens compete has been one of my favorite joys following baseball during my adult life. For many years--I have said--I would take Clemens first in any effort to build a baseball team. No one was more team oriented. No one wanted to win more. I have always admired him.

That's why The Mitchell Report's claims of Roger's Steroid and Human Growth Hormone use have bothered me--more so--than any other player named in the report. Clemens' Former Trainer, Brian McNamee's, claims to Senator Mitchell has become my personal "Say It Ain't So--Joe!!" moment.

Now--I have NO IDEA--whether Roger Clemens is guilty or not--yet, he came out FIRING TONIGHT at Mike Wallace on 60 Minutes. Clemens may never pitch another game in Major League Baseball after this evening. But, His Sunday Night Tosses were Major League Caliber Pitches on CBS. This Great Competitor took NO PRISONERS. Mike Wallace may well be one of the greatest interviewers in journalism history--and doesn't fear ANYONE. Yet, each and every time Wallace threw him a curve--Roger Clemens fired back with his High & Tight Fastball or Nasty Slider. A Cy Young and Command Performance like none ever seen previously.

This 60 Minutes Interview was a Playoff Game all its own. In many respects, it was like watching The 7th and Deciding Game of The World Series.

Who was going to win?

No one--as it turned out--right now. This Ball Game remains tied after 9 strong innings. Both starters went the distance. Now, we all head to Extra Innings on The Roger Clemens Saga. A Congressional Hearing in just 10 Days.

Roger Clemens ENTIRE 24 Fabulous Years as a Top Pitcher in the game is now on the line. A Hall Of Fame Career--unquestioned just last month--has now brought doubt. As Roger said to Mike Wallace in the interview--he's guilty until proven innocent--its The American Way of today. So Very True.

Yes, I would love to see Clemens exonerated. But, I don't know whether he will. The Real Proof has yet to be found.

The African Queen has little knowledge of Roger Clemens. In fact, when she watched tonight's interview--Sohna didn't even know what teams Clemens has played for--or whether he was still competing today. Yet, the moment Mike Wallace finished grilling him on television--she turned to me and stated about Clemens: "After listening to him, I think I believe him, more so than the other guy (McNamee). No one faces Mike Wallace so strongly if you are not telling the truth."

I hope she's right--as I wish that tonight's Powerful Performance will help prove Roger Clemens innocent. Can you possible wait for his Congressional Testimony next week? That day--will be Must See TV.

As a side note--whether Roger Clemens is guilty or not--it was nice to see ANY PLAYER take an offensive stand and not remain quiet or make lame remarks--like Nook Logan's infamous comment: "I am just trying to remain focused."

18 comments:

Jim H said...

SBF...

I'd like to believe Clemens as well. Unfortunately, it's difficult to do so, given the aggressive denials of those before him that have ultimately been shallow arrogant posturings. (Palmeiro, Pettite, etc.) It appears that one of the side affects of steroid use is that of bold-faced, unrepentent lying.

It is in no way McNamee's interest to lie about Clemens. Just the opposite, since he was under heavy threat of long jail time should he lie. His claims about Pettite were accurate. Nobody else seems to have denied them. Why lie about Clemens? He'd put himself at great risk from two fronts...prosecution by the Feds and lawsuits from Clemens himself.

I didn't watch 60 Minutes. I didn't witness McNamee plunge the syringe into the Rocket's backside. So I have no right to pronounce guilt. I'm just saying that if I had to lean one way...it would be more towards the guilty side.

Not that I have any right to judge anyone. In fact, I suppose that unless absolute proof were offered, I'd prefer not to have seen these names. It is inherently unfair, I think, to throw them out there and cast a cloud of guilt over these people without clearcut proof.

Of course, if Clemens has nothing to hide, I'd wonder why he's not immediately going to court about these accusations.

It's an odd, strange thing. I think due process is a cherished right in this country, and I hate to see this stuff play out in the media.

Torrance Stephens bka All-Mi-T said...

i have a different purview of the issue clemen----cy

Anonymous said...

Amen, SBF, McNamee is a low-life and the Rocket gave it his all tonight!

Maryland Orioles' Fan said...

There's a long way to go in this whole affair, we shall see. I have no idea why MacNamee would ever lie in this situation unless he's desperate or really dumb.

We don't have any burden of proof besides the Mitchell Report and the words of the trainer, but I think Roger's actions have said a lot about him; thus, he's being tried in the court of public opinion whether it's fair or not.

Edward J. Cunningham said...

Even before Game of Shadows came out, most of the people who said it was obvious Barry Bonds took steroids pointed to what Bonds had been able to do at an advanced age when his skills should have been deteriorating. Keep that in mind when you look at what Clemens has been able to do at an advanced age when his skills should have been deteriorating.

The biggest difference between Bonds and Clemens is that unlike home run records, the truly top records in baseball are unreachable. With a five-man rotation, the twenty-game winner---which used to be common---is now quite rare. We'll never see another 30-game winner again, and Tom Glavine may have been right when he said he was probably the last 300-game winner baseball will see for a long time. Bonds could overtake Ruth and Aaron (although apparently not Sadaharu Oh). Even with steroids, there was no way Clemens could ever pass Walter Johnson to get SECOND place in terms of career wins.

Still, in today's age, winning 360+ games looks a lot like hitting over 755 home runs...

Anonymous said...

I think its delsuional to think Clemens did not have chemical help the last few years of his career. Like Bonds, he was Hall of Fame bound before doping, but couldn't let the young guys pass him by. That is where the competitive nature of Clemens let him down. For both Bonds and Clemens, the doping years do not exist in my book. I do not pass judgement, who knows what I would have done, particularly if management passively approved of my cheating.

paul said...

I've got to think, as Jim does, that he is guilty and is embarking on an expensive pr blitzkrieg. I also have never been a big fan. He often let his temper better him at crucial times. I'm sorry he is getting singled out, but I guess those at the top fall the hardest.

Anonymous said...

Anybody who believes Clemens is innocent are as foolish as those who believe that the Lerners and Stan Kasten care about fans.

Senator Joe said...

Clemens is full of BS! Mike Wallace is a personal friend of Roger Clemens, so that can't be construed as a hard hitting interview. Clemens' follow-up news conference was less than convincing. His refusal to take a polygraph is telling. His tightly written defamation complaint addresses suppositions in the Mitchell report. The telephone conversation that Clemens recorded between himself and McNamee does not confirm or deny steroid use or that McNamee lied about his reporting of Clemens in the Mitchell report. Which leads me to the fact that McNamee had no plausable reason to falsely accuse Clemens. Why not just pick a name out of the hat? Bernie Williams? Paul O'Neil? Clemens got better as he got older. BS. Clemens said that very little was said in the Clubhouse about PEDs. BS. Clemens said he got shots of B12 and Lidocain in his rump. Muscular injections of vitamins are ineffective. Muscular injections of Lidocain make for 1 thing only; a numb rear end. SO PLEASE SPARE ME! I almost vomited when I heard Clemens utter the words "after all I've done for this game, I can't get an inch of respect, no benefit of the doubt". What and arrogant ass. What a cheater. What a liar. These divas forget too quickly who this game belongs to; that's you and me, Joe fan. Clemens hasn't done a damn thing for this game. I have by plopping my hard earned cash down at the ticket counter first in Washington, then in Baltimore and now Washington again. This answer to this sham is a Congressionally appointed comissioner with absolute power. The union must also be abolished because they are as complicit as the owners and players in this drug era. The rule of thumb for this period of time in baseball is that if it seems too good to be true, it more than likely is. McGwire, Sosa, Bonds, Clemens, Ripkin, Ryan, A-Rod....and the list goes on. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Anonymous said...

Senator Joe - intramuscular injection of B-12 is in fact an established protocol (see one study on it at http://www.jabfm.org/cgi/reprint/18/6/567). And who does more for the game - people like you and me who watch it and love it or people like Roger who play through a 162 game schedule? Puh-lease, it's not even close...it's their game - we just watch.

Tom said...

I'd hate to meet McNamee's enemies if he considers Cleemons his friend!

senator joe said...

anon,

your summation is like saying that producers are good for the economy rather than consumers. And I stand pat on my opinion on injections of b-12. There are less drastic ways to injest the suppliment. He's a liar. He's a cheater.

Hooker said...

Roger Clemens comments:

First- The best competitor on my generation was Bob Gibson!

Second- For those who believe that Clemens' performance from ages 34-40 has been odd for a person of that age, let me remind the readers about Nolan Ryan who pitched for 27 years and retired at the age of 46 with 5000+ strikeouts and a record 7 no hitters, one at age 43 (06-11-90) and another at age 44 (05-01-91). He and Clemens had the same passion, competitive drive and unbelievable physical conditioning programs. Clemens' performances are not odd at all.

Finally, Why would McNamee lie? The answer is the same jail time everybody refers to. Feds have McNamee on drug trafficing charges and were willing to give him a break if he gives them names. He gives them a big fish and the Feds buy the info without checking or verifying the accuracy of the charge BECAUSE the charge did not implicate Clemens in any drug trafficing scheme (BALCO)and Feds were not interested in players who used steriods unless they lied under oath about there use. The end result for McNamee was to give them a big name to make his info believable knowing that the Feds would not charge Clemens with any crime and he gets no jail time for trafficing in drugs. Sounds like a deal that any desperate person would do to escape jail. However, he didn't count on Clemens and baseball reaction to his charge. Recant now and he defintely goes to jail for prejury.

Screech's Best Friend said...

Hooker: Bob Gibson is the finest competitor of my LIFETIME--but he is not of my Generation. Thanks for the nice comments.

Senator Joe said...

Sorry Hook,

I work for a prosecuting division for the Department of Justice. Big Fish without evidence are just smelly. In other words, we don't work that way regardless of how we are portrayed in the movies. Finally, as I said in an earlier post, Nolan Ryans performance is now completely suspect in my eyes. If it looks too good to be true, then it is. Both Clemens and Ryan performances ARE odd, ARE uncommon, and now ARE not believable.

Hooker said...

senator joe

You spent too much time in the prosecuting division. We, the general, do think that's the way you operate for the same reason that you think Nolan Ryan & Roger Clemens's results are odd. Where does this end? Do you think that Hank Aaron cheated in accumulating 756 HR and do I think that law enforcement agency make fishy deals and plant evidence? I choose to believe in the "innocent until proven guilty rule". Bring out the smoking gun (who cheated and who makes fishy deals)and the theories go away.

Anonymous said...

It would be interesting to have Paul Ekman review the tape. He is an expert in reading facial expressions for lying, and has been hired by the FBI etc to train them.

Anonymous said...

I was pretty surprised at what Kennedy had to say there. In wanting to make a point about the Mitchell Report not being the all-inclusive bible of naming PED users, Kevin Kennedy said that a current colleague of his, who was with the Boston Red Sox in 2004, told him that he (the colleague) witnessed, for a fact, a member of the '04 Red Sox injecting himself in the buttocks with a needle full of PEDs. Kennedy said that the user is no longer a member of the Red Sox - but, he was a player on the team that won the ring in 2004. As per Kennedy, his colleague said that the "user" was giving a demo (to the "colleague") on how to do the injection.