Thursday, June 21, 2012

Damn That Roger Clemens




Doesn't it gall you when some obviously guilty person cleverly navigates the system and goes free?
So maybe you, like me, are irritated that nothing has happened to Roger Clemens.

In his 24-year-career, he was unquestionably a great pitcher, winning a record seven Cy Young awards, striking out over 4,000 batters, with a remarkable 3.12 earned-run average. No way he did all that without a juice boost. When he was 40 he was pitching like he was 30. Did he use steroids? Of course. Guilty. Case closed.

He was outed, about 4 1/2 years ago, in the famous Mitchell Report, baseball's investigation into steroid use. Of course, Clemens denied these charges. Lying to the media is no big deal but fibbing to Congress is a felony. After he denied these charges in a Congressional hearing in 2008 the feds, not believing the denials, went after him, dragging him into court, charging lying to Congress and obstruction of justice.

Last Monday, the jury acquitted Clemens of all charges, proclaiming there wasn't enough evidence to convict him.

What the hell?

This is the second time Clemens weaseled out of these charges. The first time, last summer, the case fell apart because of a prosecutoral blunder, when the jury saw evidence that was inadmissible. The prosecutors were crucified by the media, who claimed even rookie attorneys wouldn't make such a boneheaded mistake.

But the retrial, which ended Monday, also failed. This time the case, largely based on the testimony of two witnesses, crumbled because one of the witnesses, Clemens' close friend, pitcher Andy Pettitte, essentially changed his story. Pettitte said his memory of a key conversation with Clemens a dozen years ago was foggy. That left trainer Brian McNamee, who's credibility is shaky, as the primary witness. With reasonable doubt clouding the testimony of both witnesses, Clemens skated free again.

Clemens is acting all innocent. Don't believe him. He's as guilty of using steroids as Barry Bonds, who also juiced and escaped penalty. Sources of mine tied to underground steroid sales named Clemens back in the late 90s as a frequent user. No question he's a juicer. How else could he maintain such a high level of excellence for so many years? He's human, not from Krypton.

So Clemens gets away with it, thumbing his nose at justice. Not much we can do about it, though.

Clemens has never been a favorite of mine. He always seemed like an arrogant, selfish jerk. Souces of mine that are close to guys who've played with him confirm that he's a jerk, an egotistical diva who abused his teammates. When a good guy cheats the system, you don't feel too bad about it. But when a jackass does it....

Damn that Clemens.

A few months ago, a source close to the Yankees told me it was an open secret that Pettitte would change his testimony. Some speculated it was a payoff. Others said it was blackmail, that Clemens had something on Pettitte. But the word was that Pettitte's backtracking would severely damage the federal case. Foolishly I didn't believe any of it.

Damn that Clemens.