Less than two years removed from being diagnosed with cancer, Puyallup native Jon Lester just pitched a no-hitter for the Red Sox. This after being the winning pitcher in last year's final World Series game. Talk about a comeback... Awesome.
Let's be clear: I'm squarely in the "Roger Clemens is a juicer" camp. But I think there's an interesting dynamic in the way that people assess Clemens' believability. It comes down to personality, specifically Clemens' personality. By most accounts, Roger Clemens is an arrogant, selfish douchebag, a perception he reinforced yesterday by throwing first his wife and then his agents under the bus and following that up with the fairly outrageous claim that his witness tampering was an attempt to "help" the committee with its investigation. His performance, both yesterday and in the past, makes it easier to believe the allegations against him, even when they're coming from someone as ethically challenged as Brian McNamee.
That's a sharp contrast to the way most people think about, say, Lance Armstrong, who has in the past been accused of essentially the same "crime" as Clemens. There's even the equivalent of a corroborating statement like the one Andy Pettite made about Clemens. The wife of Frankie Andreu, Armstrong's former teammate, signed a sworn statement that Armstrong admitted he'd doped when he was in the hospital recovering from cancer surgery. While Armstrong has been every bit as aggressive and litigious as Clemens in denying the allegations and attacking the credibility of his accusers his reputation, while perhaps somewhat tainted, hasn't been nearly as damaged as that of Clemens. Why? Because Armstrong doesn't come across (usually) as such a complete asshole.
According to Roger Clemens, not only is Brian McNamee lying, so is Clemens' good friend Andy Petitte. And Andy Petitte's wife. Petitte gave a sworn statement (which is corroborated by a statement from his wife),in which he says Roger Clemens admitted using HGH years before the 2005 Congressional hearings on performance enhancing drugs in baseball. When Petitte later asked Clemens what he would do if he were called to testify, Clemens said, oh no! It wasn't him that used HGH, but his wife. Seriously. The guy threw his own wife under the bus to protect himself. What a complete and total douchebag.
As Kevin has threatened to take away my blogging privileges if I don't, you know, post... I knew I needed to jump on the blog right away. Especially when a recent Onion article with the above title caught my eye.
FOXBOROUGH, MA—As the once-invincible, still-insufferable Patriots attempt to come to grips with their 17-14 Super Bowl loss to the Giants, the death of their dream to go undefeated, and the possible end of their dynasty, almost every other person in America is reveling in what they consider the perfect ending to New England's season.
My only excuse for not posting earlier is that I didn't want to strike while the wound was still fresh. Much better to let it scab over a bit and then pounce. In case this is my last post (you know, because Kevin's a sore loser), it's been nice...
OK, I realize there aren't too many people outside of New England who are bemoaning the Giants' upset of the Patriots. Besides me, of course. But seriously, has everyone considered the consequences of this disaster? Now, instead of being bombarded constantly by ads featuring one doofus-y Manning, now we've got two. Basically, we're never going to be able to turn on a TV without seeing one of their oddly misshapen heads and listening to their corn pone jokes. Great. Say what you want about the Pats and Tom Brady, they stay out of your face when they're not on the field.
And I'll say it right here: that was a fluke. The Giants will be lucky to make the playoffs next year. Yeah. I'm bitter...
There's an interesting narrative emerging from some of the Major League players implicated by the Mitchell Report on the abuse of performance enhancing drugs in baseball. It sounds sort of familiar... "I tried it once. I didn't really like it. I didn't even inhale." Yep. Good ol' Bill. I'll still take him in a heartbeat over anyone currently running (or in office), but he did have a way of making a lie sound like ... a really bad lie.
So now you have a lot of baseball players saying, "I tried HGH. Just for a day or two. I just wanted to help my team. But I didn't really like it. And I didn't use steroids." The implication is that they weren't really cheaters, just good team guys who made a single mistake. Andy Petitte, David Segui, Fernando Vina, Brian Roberts ... the list goes on. Vina even went so far as to claim that the cancelled checks from him to sidewalk steroids vendor Kirk Radomski, which were reprinted in the Mitchell Report, weren't for steroids, but "other things." What those things were he couldn't say. "I used to write a lot of checks." Uh huh. That's a really bad lie.
If it weren't so pathetic, it would be kind of funny. But these guys are actually being taken at their word. Let's be really clear: they cheated. There aren't good cheaters and bad cheaters, just cheaters. And no one should be giving them a pass for admitting they cheated only after they got caught. A real stand-up guy would have admitted his mistake without being forced into it.
So, the Mitchell Report is out and the biggest bombshell is that Roger Clemens allegedly had someone shoot him in the ass with testosterone and HGH. There's been a lot of moaning about how the report unfairly tarnishes the legacy of one of the game's greatest players based primarily on the testimony of two individuals of questionable character who had something to gain from "naming names." This is, of course, complete bullshit. Mitchell gave every player who's named in the report the opportunity to respond directly to the allegations being made. Not one, Clemens included, chose to do so. That says something.
It's also curious how some of the very same people who convicted Barry Bonds of being a juicer — based on allegations made by Victor Conte and others who had no less to gain than the whistleblowers in the Mitchell Report — are now rushing to Clemens' defense. Like most reasonable people, I dismissed Bonds' frequent claims that he is the victim of racially motivated persecution, but given the way a lot of sportswriters and others are reacting to the news about Clemens, you really have to wonder. And, by the way, I think Bonds probably IS a juicer, but if the Mitchell Report makes anything clear it's that Bonds isn't the arch-villain he's being made out to be. He's part of a very big club.
Now let's be clear, Clemens is a first-class douche. He's a me-first player obsessed with money and personal glory. And his career arc, like Bonds', defies both logic and any reasonable, statistically-based prediction. Given his ego, his greed and his absurd late-career performance, is it really that much of a surprise Clemens abused PEDs? Everyone doing their Captain Renault impersonation — "I'm shocked, SHOCKED, to see that there is cheating going on here!" — should just stop. Clemens is a juicer. Deal with it.