Monday, August 23, 2010

Clemens: Indecent But Not (Yet) Proven Guilty

Roger Clemens... you can't defend him. Unless you're Rusty Hardin, his lawyer, in which case you can try to defend him.

The feds don't indict somebody unless they're damn sure the conviction is in the bag. But...

They'd better have a positive test, as Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams, the reporters for the San Francisco Chronicle who broke the case against Barry Bonds, say the feds do have on Bonds. If the feds have a positive test on Clemens, then either he cops a plea (hard to imagine the obstinate Rocket doing that), or he goes to prison, where somebody just might try to do to him what he did, and tried to do, or Met fans believe he tried to do, to Mike Piazza.

If the feds do not have a positive test, then their entire case boils down to the word of Brian McNamee. And McNamee is a known liar and snake who would say anything, and tarnish anyone, to keep his sorry ass out of jail.

And Roger Clemens would then be found Not Guilty. Because even with Andy Pettitte's testimony, which Tom Davis, the Republican Congressman from Virginia who chaired the committee in question, said was crucial to gaining the indictment, Hardin can still spout Clemens' line that Andy "misremembered" or "misheard," and there's your reasonable doubt.

No positive test, and Clemens walks.

He may then become a "Flying Dutchman." Not like Honus Wagner (that was his nickname), but like Shoeless Joe Jackson did, like Pete Rose has, like Barry Bonds probably will. Going from port to port, and no one will let him dock.

On the other hand, O.J. Simpson still had people who let him in... until he did the dumbest thing any ex-athlete ever did. Face it, if you were acquitted in one of the biggest trials ever, regardless of whether you actually did it or not, the last thing you would want to do is put yourself in a position to be hauled back into court.

Roger Clemens is now in a bubble. As well as on the bubble. Even if he is acquitted, or settles his case, who will trust him again? Anyone who does trust him, who will trust them again? Besides Clemens.

The Yankees did have steroid users. Jason Giambi and Gary Sheffield, most consequentially, aside from (possibly) Clemens.

But their opponents had many more, from Rafael Palmeiro and Brady Anderson on the 1996-97 Orioles, to Luis Gonzalez and Matt Williams on the 2001 Diamondbacks, to David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez (and possibly more) on the 2003-present Red Sox, to Ivan Rodriguez on 3 separate teams that faced the Yankees in the postseason: The 1996-99 Rangers, the 2003 Marlins and the 2006 Tigers.

You want to invalidate any of the Yankees' titles, you gotta invalidate those, too. And the Yankees are still way ahead.

But if Clemens wants to come to Yankee Stadium for Old-Timers' Day, he'd better buy a ticket. He ain't takin' the field wearing Number 22, that number ain't gettin' retired, and the only way he'll get into Monument Park is on foot with the tourists and regular fans.

Suddenly, Ed Whitson, Randy Johnson, and even Kyle Farnsworth don't sound so bad.

And, besides, we can always say that Clemens may be an asshole, but he started out with the Red Sox, so they probably made him that way. They've done it before, and they will again.

After all, they are The Scum.

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