Thursday, February 7, 2008

Roger Clemens

The recent revelations that Roger Clemens used steroids only confirms my longstanding feeling that he is a complete jackass. This realization has its genesis in Game 4 of the League Championship Series in the late '80's, when Clemens and his Red Sox were down 3-0 to Oakland. Clemens got tossed early in game 4 for arguing balls and strikes, which a player is not allowed to do. He claimed afterwards that he had not used any profanity and had gotten tossed for no good reason; in my naivete, I believed him, wanting to give him the benefit of the doubt. It was only years later that the home plate umpire finally spoke out and said yes, Clemens indeed had used profanity. This only makes sense, as no self-respecting umpire would toss a player from a key playoff game without good reason.

Now, fast-forward to 2000 or so. Clemens beans Mike Piazza in the head with a fastball, and expresses no regret whatsoever about it. Later that year, we have the famous incident in which Piazza broke his bat swinging at a Clemens pitch. Part of the bat flew out toward Clemens, who picked it up and threw it at Piazza as Piazza ran toward first!! What in the world was Clemens thinking? His totally lame explanation: "I thought it was the ball". Ah, Roger, if you really thought it was the ball why didn't you throw it to first? After all, this isn't ball tag, where you get a runner out by hitting him with the ball.

It is obvious that, despite the fact that Clemens has a nice family and apparently is a dedicated family man, he is still a complete jerk and deserves all the ignominy that is in store for him as he tries to deny his steroid use. We have seen this sort of thing distressingly often, where someone is caught with his hands in the cookie jar, and then tries to deny it. It has become almost fashionable to simply deny any accusation, as we seem to be in an era that no longer values personal character as once was the case.

My first recollection of this denial phenomenon was in 1973 when the allegations surfaced about Vice-President Spiro Agnew and his corruption from the days when he was governor of Maryland. Agnew's response was to label the allegations as "damned lies", and this was the headline in huge bold letters the next day. However, they were *not* lies, and he was forced to resign in lieu of going to jail as the no-good criminal he was.

Clemens' accuser would have no reason in the world to make up the detailed story about his drug use. He has absolutely nothing to gain, and it is ludicrous to think Clemens will come out of this without his reputation being severely tarnished. If there is any justice in this world, he and his fellow cheaters will never see the inside of the Hall of Fame.

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