Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Clemens: I did not have steroidal relations with that needle

With football officially over and spring training about to begin, today we got a tatse of what the season will be filled with: talk of 'roids, HGH and bloody bums

Roger Clemens and his arch nemesis, former trainer/primary injector of illegal enhancers Brian McNamee, testified in front of a Congressional hearing this morning regarding their roles in the burgeoning steroid scandal, and to say parts of their testimony resembled a low-grade sitcom would be a major understatement.

In fact the marathon sessions provided enough fodder to fill the sports blogosphere with an unlimtimited supply of unintentional comedic gold for years to come.

Here are a few of the prime nuggets to come out of today's episode of The Day Roger Clemens Went to Capitol Hill:

-When asked why his testimony contradicted good friend and longtime teammate Andy Pettitte's sworn statements regarding the Rocket's use of HGH, Clemens responded by saying that Pettitte must have "misremembered" their conversations, confusing them with a discussion the two had about a TV show in which three old guys discussed using HGH to improve their quality of life.

Um, okay.

-Although Clemens denies that HE ever took performance enhancers, he admitted that his wife, Debbie, actually DID use HGH, in order to get her 39-year-old mother-of-four body in shape for a Sports Illustrated swimsuit picture in 2003.

The kicker is McNamee supposedly injected Debbie one day at the Clemens compound when Roger was not present, giving new meaning to the term 'back door man'.

-Accuser McNamee was labeled a "drug dealer", "liar" and general disreputable scoundrel by many members of the panel, yet he still came off as more believeable than Clemens, thanks to coroborrating testimony from Pettitte and fomer Stankee teammate Chuck Knoblach.

How bad is it when a lying backstabbing drug dealer has more credibility than a 7-time Cy Young winner?

-But the pies de restisance had to be this Jerry Springer-esque exchange regarding the repercussions of Roidger's injections from's Jayson Starke's terrific live-blog of the proceedings:

"Rep. Davis reported that McNamee had testified that Mike Stanton once noticed that Clemens was bleeding through his dress pants -- which caused him to start carrying band aids around, presumably for his bleeding butt."

Davis: "Mr. Clemens, do you recall bleeding through your pants in 2001?"

Clemens: "I do not."

Play ball!

So what are we to make of all this he-said, he-said namecalling nonsense as we head into another baseball season that promises to be filled with more talk of drugs and denials?

For one thing the case of Clemens might be far from over, as the Comitteee weighs its options of whether or not to pursue perjury charges against the Rocket, but in the court of public opinion Clemens' reputation & credibilty is now on par with Mark McGuire, Raffy Palmeiro Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa's from now until the end of time.

No one in their right mind will ever believe that Pettitte & Debbie Clemens used HGH but Roger himself never did, so any denials that come out of his mouth go right on the shelf with those other infamous non-admittances.

The other thing that this mess ensures is that everyone who wasn't sick of the steroid scandal after the BALCO hearings, Mitchell report and every other drugs in sports investigation is surely sick of it now. Sordid testimony, squirming superstars and ready-made soundbites have officially replaced pitching stats, slugging percentages and inflated home run totals, and none of us baseball fans are any better for it.

By now it's quite apparent that the era in question should be classifed as the Steroid Era; it's obvious that many players, hitters & pitchers, stars & scrubs, were active participants in taking anything and everything that could enhance their performance and expediate healing since said substances WERE NOT BANNED BY MLB, and numbers and stats should be taken for what they are - inflated reflections of the times, not accurrate measurements of how these players stack up against the great, non-roided players in the game's history.

What else can we conclude when the best pitcher and batter in the modern era have both been accused of using these substances, and both will most like be tried for perjury and could possibly wind up doing jail time for the sin of trying to become the biggest, baddest players in town, all while the leaders of MLB stood idly by and allowed these things to go on unchecked because these massive men wre successfully making everyone involved in the game richer?

So please, as the 2008 season begins with the Red Sox the defending World Champs and favorites to repeat, can we please just get back to enjoying the game as it was meant to be?

You know, minus the bloody bums.

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