So if you saw the interview on "60 Minutes" tonight, you know that Roger graded out thusly on each of my two assignments for him:
There were specific things that Roger said in the interview that would and did perturb me, regardless of whether or not I believe he is innocent (and we'll get to that shortly). Here they are (my thoughts are preceded by SP - yes, very creative, I know):
"CLEMENS: I'm angry that that what I've done for the game of baseball and the personal, in my private life, what I've done that I I don't get the benefit of the doubt The stuff that's being said, it's ridiculous. It's hogwash for people to even assume this. 24, 25 years Mike. You'd think I'd get an inch of respect. An inch. How, how can you prove your innocence?"
SP: I am very uncomfortable with (if not insulted by) the insinuation that someone's performance on the field and good works off the field (of which Roger has many in both categories) should automatically exonerate them from accusation of any wrongdoing when the fact of the matter is there has been enough innuendo and now testimony, along with the circumstantial evidence of body types and durability, to at least wonder if Roger has been using anything at any point in his career. To me, this defense (or complaint) from Roger is a variation of the "Do you know who I am?" defense that athletes will use when getting pulled over for a traffic violation. "He won 354 games, he's been very generous with his time and money, therefore he is above reproach when it comes to the use of performance enhancing drugs even though there is testimony from a guy who trained with him for ten years and even though Roger's body type since leaving Boston has always raised at least some suspicion in an era where many of the stars DO use steroids." To me, the accomplishments/charitable works are mutually exclusive from the allegations.
"CLEMENS: And if if if I have these needles and these steroids and all these drugs, what, where did I get ‘em. Where is the person out there gave ‘em to me? Please, please come forward."
SP: This was the most ridiculous thing that Roger said in the interview. Distributing steroids is illegal and punishable with serious fines and prison time. So we're supposed to believe that because no one has come forward, admitted a felony, and said "I gave Roger Clemens steroids", then there's no way he could have taken them? I should've used this one back in high school when my mom caught me with beer on my breath. "Where is the person that bought me the beer, Mom? Huh? Please, please come forward."
"WALLACE : Why would Brian McNamee want to betray you?
CLEMENS: I don't know. I'm so upset about it, how I treated this man and took care of him.
WALLACE: I imagine he's watching the two of us right now, wouldn't you?
CLEMENS: I hope he is.
WALLACE: Okay. Anything you want to tell him."
SP: Ok, here it is ... your big chance, Roger. Time to take down Brian McNamee. Time to take him down to Chinatown ....
"CLEMENS: Yeah. I treated him fairly. I treated him as great as anybody else. I helped him out!"SP: Huh? That's it? This guy, according to you, Roger, is LYING and accusing you of unthinkable cheating. He is personally denying you of your legacy. And that's it?!?
"CLEMENS: My body never changed. If he's putting that stuff up in my body, if what he's saying which is totally false, if he's doing that to me, I should have a third ear coming out of my forehead. I should be pulling tractors with my teeth."
SP: Awesome hyperbole from Roger. If you take steroids like wrestlers from the WWE, you end up with a third ear or pulling tractors with your teeth (or giving nonsensical interviews like this). Nobody is accusing Roger of taking steroids in monstrous amounts or even long cycles. There was a very specific number of injections mentioned in the Mitchell Report, and I'm no doctor but I think that number is far from the amount that would qualify Roger as a "freak". That said, I'll send a 1560 THE GAME t-shirt to the first person to email me a photoshopped JPEG of Roger Clemens with a third ear growing out of his forehead. I would think there has to be one out there by now.
"TRACK: BUT HE DID ASK CLEMENS FOR A FAVOR JUST A FEW DAYS BEFORE THE MITCHELL REPORT CAME OUT.
CLEMENS: He emails me and asks me where all the good fishing equipment is down at Cabo that I bought so he can go fishing. Thank you very much. I said, Have a good time, go fishing. Doesn't say a word that you, that you know I'm fixing to bury you with all these accusations and what do we do about it. Didn't say a word about it. That's what pisses me off."SP: Holy shit, if this is true, Brian McNamee has cajones the size of church bells. Are you kidding me? See now if I were Roger, I'd have honed in on this. He'd have at least gotten the sympathy of the male population out there because that shit just completely violates the guy code which states specifically in Section 2, paragraph (a) "Thou shalt not ask to use one's fishing equipment in Cabo if thou art about to trash one's Hall of Fame baseball career with accusations of steroid use". Honestly, if Roger had just used this as his character assassination on McNamee, and said "I know what Brian McNamee said, Mike, but honestly how can you believe a guy who would ask to borrow your fishing gear after accusing you of steroid use and not even having the decency to tell you about it?!?" I seriously think 90% of the guys in the United States would've been nodding along like "Yeah, no shit! Fuck you, McNamee!! RAT FUCK!!!" Upon further review, I revise my grade of Roger's Brian McNamee character assassination from an F- to a solid D for at least bringing up this story. He should've stuck with it longer, though. If the interview was twenty minutes long, he should've focused on this "fishing gear" story for eighteen of them.
"WALLACE: What, hold, what did McNamee gain by lying?
CLEMENS: Evidently not going to jail."SP: McNamee committed perjury to stay OUT of jail? My head is spinning. I guess I need to go commit some felonies to make sure I don't wind up in the clink. Honey, pass me that plate with all of the white powder on it, and get my bookie on the phone .... thanks. Now let's go beat up some old people!!
"WALLACE Why would Brian McNamee tell the truth about Andy Pettitte and lie about you?
CLEMENS: Andy's case is totally is, is totally separate. I was shocked to learn about Andy's situation. Had no idea about it."
SP: Actually, Andy's case is not totally separate from yours. Let's take inventory:
- You are both named in the Mitchell Report.
- You have the same trainer (who happens to be the same accuser)
- You've played for the same teams the last decade.
- You work out together.
- You eat together.
- You seemingly don't make a move career-wise without mentioning Andy, to the point where it feels almost uncomfortable discussing it.
- He is your best friend in baseball.
"WALLACE And never anabolic steroids?
CLEMENS Swear."SP: I've checked the Swear Handbook and because Roger didn't pinky swear or swear on anyone's soul or grave, this swear is not valid. So I still have my doubts about his innocence .... I mean, if it were a pinky swear I'd be ready to send Brian McNamee up Shit's Creek. I mean, it's a fucking PINKY swear. But just "Swear"? Weak.
Roger went on to discuss the concept of being "guilty until proven innocent" in the United States (which is actually very true), then considered the possibility of taking a lie detector test, and finally wrapped up the interview by retiring for the fourth time in his career.
For the sake of baseball, I'd like to believe Roger Clemens, although I think the era we are in right now is so tainted that to start dissecting everyone's legacies and who may or may not have used something becomes mind numbing and frankly isn't a lot of fun. I'm at the point now where, when it comes to Clemens and McNamee, I'm ready to believe whoever decides to flinch first and take the other guy to court. Seemingly that would be the person who least fears putting his hand on the Bible and speaking truthfully (or perjuring themselves, which Barry Bonds has proven is always a possibility). And it's been said over and over again, but bears mentioning, if Roger is so innocent, then why did he wait so long to speak up? (one of about 20 questions that Mike Wallace failed to ask that should've been asked)
So to be continued, I guess ...
Roger gets one more public forum here in Houston tomorrow before going to Congress on January 16, assuming he can break free from his golf commitments. For Roger's sake, he better hope the people asking him the questions tomorrow throw him some softballs like Gilbert did ...
Somehow, I don't think they're going to ...