Keidel: Roger Clemens Issued A Walk

By Jason Keidel
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Smell that?

Take a big whiff, a Tony Montana-style snort, and you’ll find the aroma of relativism surrounding the Roger Clemens case. And, unlike napalm in the morning, it doesn’t smell like victory.

Grab a gloat. Lying to congress is an oxymoron. Worry about the war. Stop selling guns to gangs in Mexico. Casey Anthony got off, so why not Rocket?

Since there’s an element of truth to the assertions, folks feel they may belch them with impunity, forgetting that it’s not that simple. Believe it or not, the government, in its infinite incompetence, can wage a war and still fill a pothole. And it can surely convict Roger Clemens of perjury. These matters are not mutually exclusive.

It’s not that Clemens lied to a bunch of liars. It’s not even that Clemens, as an avatar for millions of kids took steroids and lied about it under oath. Parents should teach their kids about right and wrong.

No, I’ll take Door No. 3: he cheated our pastime, and that’s something that resonates among all ages.

Worse, he was great without the stuff. Like his symbolic brother of the steroid epoch, Barry Bonds, Clemens is the de facto face of the problem. A legend, an near immortal in a game that trades on legacy, Roger Clemens wasn’t happy enough with great. He needed Greatest. Sorry, Roger, but I’m afraid there’s only one Muhammad Ali, and millions before you have tried to be him and failed. There’s only one Cy Young, too, the best Boston pitcher before you arrived at Fenway sometime in the 1980s.

You’re happy Clemens walked because, well, why are you happy? There are no winners here, except, perhaps, the system. Even a moron like Clemens deserves a fair trial, and the judge presiding over the case warned the prosecution several times to stop flaunting inadmissible evidence in front of the jury. It was the judge who ruled the items inadmissible and hence some rebellious barristers flipped the symbolic bird at the very judge trying their case. Not the first time a lawyer acted the fool. Thus we have all the lawyer jokes.

But Clemens is still a joke, and he made a mockery of our sport, the one we’ve assumed is played fairly even if it’s unfair that we don’t have their talent to play it. Sure, he was just one cheater among a legion of liars. But he was the biggest fish, and should have been at least partially fillet.

I really don’t care how long Roger Clemens was supposed to be in jail. Just one day was enough for me, just for the symbolism, the inescapable truth that you can’t cheat the very people who paid your salary – fans – made you millions and almost assured your place among the immortals. Almost.

Feel free to email me:

What’s the takeaway from the Clemens mistrial? Is there one?

  • Bob Fowler

    It’s not like the Feds had anything better to do with $10 million anyway. It was a fiasco. Another fraud perpetrated against the tax payers, in the interest of doing what is best for us.

    In Roger’s last 4 years in Boston he was a combined 40-39, at the end of a 192-111 career. He then goes to Toronto with Jose Canseco and Dr. Anthony Galea, and his career miraculously improves at age 34? Public opinion will still judge him, with or without a trial.

    So I suggest that they do not re-try the case. Tell Roger that he will not have a forum to pronounce himself innocent. Then, pass every shred of information over to Julian Assange at Wikileaks, and let the world have the facts to decide on. Roger Clemens is a liar, cheat and sham. A once great pitcher, who would have been just short of the Hall of Fame without enhancements, he should spend the rest of is days as a pariah.

    • JK

      Very well done, Bob. Thank you. My only objection to your cogent yet colorful take is that Clemens was just short of the Hall of Fame sans steroids. He was first-ballot before PEDs consumed his career (and his life). If I’m not mistaken, he won three Cy Young awards with Boston. That’s enough to get a bronze bust in my book. And this is coming from a man who detests all things Red Sox. But if that’s our only beef, we’re pretty much simpatico on the man and the matter of Roger Clemens vs. the United States of Fates and Fandom.

  • Scott

    Great story.! About a not so great guy !

    • JK

      Thank you, sir. Always great to hear from you, Scott. Enjoy your weekend.

  • Let'sgetAmericaBacktoWork

    What a waste of time and (our) money. Hey, baseball is entertainment–and a very expensive form of entertaiment I might add. Nothing more. Who cares about the Hall of Fame? Who care if they take steroids? What’s the big deal? Get over it and get a life. Twenty million Americans are unemployed. That should be this country’s focus. Boy, have we lost our way.

    • JK

      Sir, if you read my piece you’d see my take on that. One crisis doesn’t preclude the country from prosecuting perjurers. And if your extrapolation is that we who comment on it need a life, why are you wasting your time with plebeians like us?

  • Marc Weiss

    We need to get over it. The whole era is tainted. It’s hard to cherry pick who did and who didn’t do what. Lastly with all of the deficits that our gov’t has the last thing I want is for them to spend our tax money on these witch hunts. Let baseball police their own players. If they can’t, remove it’s anti-trust status.

    • Charles

      “The whole era is tainted. It’s hard to cherry pick who did and who didn’t do what.”

      I do understand that perspective. However, it’s frustrating that players like Clemens, Giambi, Sosa, and Bonds cheated and were so heavily rewarded for their cheating. Think of the trajectory of Clemens’ career before he signed with the Blue Jays. Clemens earned over $100 million the last ten years of his career. He earned $17 million/year his last couple years for pitching three or four months of the season.

      Clemens never would have received those contracts, never would have reached all those milestones, without PED’s.

      The real villain here is ultimately Bud Selig. Selig and MLB marketed a fake product to fans for over a decade. They knew what was going on, but they looked the other way because of all the money everyone was making.

      • JK

        Is Chuck pretending to play nicely?

    • JK

      Maybe we do, Mark. I just have a problem with duplicity, this idea that the U.S. Government can’t do two things at once. Thanks for sharing.

  • Kurt Spitzner

    I am not sure how federal law works but hopefully he can be retried and maybe they will get it right next time,but if not thats just the way it goes but we all know that he is a cheater.

    • JK

      Agreed, Kurt, as usual. Though the government may be embarrassed after blowing this shot.

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