Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Gee Whiz! Are You Kidding Me?
"Gee Whiz!! Are You Kidding Me?" A Perfect Description of Roger Clemens' and Brian McNamee's appearance on Capitol Hill today over Steroids Use as proclaimed in The Mitchell Report. Representative Dan Burton (Republican, Indiana)had uttered the remark--blasting McNamee for not telling the truth. But, Mr. Burton's comment could well have been a summation of this Hollywood Movie. As predicted, this was MUST SEE TELEVISION. An erstwhile battle--with combatants ready to roll. A Packed Rayburn House Office Building Committee Room, An Attentive At Home or Work Audience Watching, An Embattled Future Hall of Fame Pitcher, A Behind The Scenes Trainer Tossing Some Serious Smoke, and possibly, the most Grandstanding Congressmen & Congresswomen witnessed in The Nation's Capital in some time. Yes, this was The PLAYOFFS and America's Elected Officials were looking to score.
None more so than when Committee Chair--Henry Waxman (Democrat-California) started insinuating to Roger Clemens that he had Witness Tampered with a former Nanny--before allowing her to speak to Congressional Staff. Clemens' Attorneys, Lanny Breuer and Rusty Hardin--sitting in The Field Box Seats--immediately jump onto the field of play--"Objection!!" they yelled. Only to be gaveled down by Waxman--they were "out of order". But not before Mr. Hardin fired back one serious sinker, low and away--"In the FREE WORLD--that is my job as council--to PROTECT MY CLIENT!" (In The Free World!!--how good is that!--and we live in America) The Guffaws & Claps were palpable. In Our Newsroom on Capitol Hill--A BIG CHEER WAS LET OUT. Perry Mason had come to the rescue for his man. Hamilton Berger had been struck down, yet again. You know, Hollywood's writers may just be returning after a long labor strike--but none of them could have written such an exquisite line. Waxman was left speechless. On his very own turf--this Representative was given the brush back. How cool was that!!
On and On, and On--it went. Riveting and Downright enjoyable to watch. Someone might go down for the count, but everyone watching really wanted to know--who was going to win back, and who was going to lose--their reputation. Even The Justice Department was watching very closely.
As the innings played out on Capitol Hill this morning and early in to the afternoon--it became clear the only aspect missing was the calling out of "Scorecard!!, Get Your Scorecard!!" from The House Sergeant at Arms. As you know, sometimes you can't tell the players--without The Scorecard. Besides, this low scoring affair needed to be saved --for posterity--Pitch after Pitch, Swing after Swing. A High & Tight Fastball here, followed immediately by a Curve there. Sometimes those tosses were deflected--other times the batter would swing and miss. Over time, no one was really gaining an advantage--although some flak was being taken by all.
Two Good Examples.
Representative Elijah Cummings (Democrat-Maryland) lead off by feeding Roger Clemens fastball after fastball--fact after deposed fact, using Andy Pettitte's Deposition as his bait--lining up Clemens for the off speed zinger. After 23 Years of Major League Baseball--Roger Clemens could see that slider coming. Defiant at times--and always responding with "Mr. Congressman" (which brought a chuckle to my lips all day)--Roger fought back--testily. Just 20 Minutes after the 10AM Starting Time, this hearing had become one nail biter. Just One Score by Cummings, or One Error by Clemens was all that was needed to finish Roger off. But, this Sure Fire Hall of Famer (if he survives these perilous times) choked up on his bat--hoping to deflect pitch after pitch. Quickly, Roger Clemens learned--he was NO LONGER IN A LEAGUE OF HIS OWN. He was playing Congressional Ball. This was HARDBALL on a different plane. And in this league--Roger Clemens didn't necessarily have command of the strike zone. At first, he struggled mightily and although, Roger Clemens did lose some serious face today--he didn't strike out.
Thanks to Representative Dan Burton (Republican--Indiana) who just HAMMERED AWAY on Brian McNamee. Congressman Burton not only threw 100 Mile Fastballs Right Down the middle of the plate--implicating McNamee as a liar--Brian McNamee took all those pitches--looking--for not only Strike Three--but for Three Strikes "You're OUT!!". Burton with the FLAMBOYANT OUT CALL!! silencing McNamee with "you (McNamee) just lie when its appropriate for you....Lie after Lie, after Lie after Lie--you are not believable!!" And, finished McNamee off with: "You are destroying him (Clemens) and his reputation--how does he get that back? if it is not true!!"
Clemens' Former Trainer dropping his head in shame. Under normal circumstances--Brian McNamee would have been summarily judged as a discredited witness--And This Game Would Have Been Over. Only Andy Pettitte's and Chuck Knoblauch's Depositions saved him any grace. Because intentional or not--these two former teammates of Roger Clemens--their Sworn Testimony--gave credence to McNamee's withering ways. Pettitte & Knoblauch had provided the long relief and shared the save opportunity for McNamee--when Brian was taken out--early in the game.
For Four Hours and Thirty Minutes this battle was engaged. No one was left on the sidelines. Even Roger Clemens' wife--Debbie--was dragged onto the field of play and scrutinized. As well as, Jose Canseco (who basically got the ball rolling on the public's awareness of performance enhancing drugs) as a clash point over a 1998 party which McNamee claims Clemens attended. A party in which the aforementioned Nanny was a key witness.
Unfortunately, at its conclusion, this Made For TV Event didn't have a Hollywood Ending. Because, when all the pitches were tossed and the batters had taken their respective swings--today's hearing in Rayburn House Office Building--Room 2154--left everyone wondering: "Just, how much was fact? And how much more--was fiction?" No, this Soap Opera, Court Room Drama, Who Dun-it and sometimes Side Splitting Comedy, had no happy ending.
"I Swear To Tell The Whole Truth And Nothing But The Truth" was repeated by Roger Clemens and Brian McNamee at the very beginning of these testy proceedings.
Yet, at the very end of this epic affair--what was UNDENIABLY CLEAR--is that SOMEONE IS STILL NOT TELLING THE TRUTH.
"Gee Whiz--which one of you is kidding me?"
Today's In Game Photo--AP (Pablo Martinez Monsivais)