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Roger's Gambit

Although the story has hardly gone away, I have held back on commenting on Roger Clemens's testimony in front of Congress about alleged steroid use.  Although I think that it is a gigantic waste of our tax dollars for Congress to spend any time on this, it has been great theater.

As a long time baseball fan, I really want Roger Clemens to be innocent.  Whether Clemens was a Red Sox, Blue Jay, Yankee, Astro, or Yankee again, I have always admired his abilities and competitiveness.  He's put up great numbers over a long career.

However, I have a hard time believing that Roger is innocent.  Although Brian MacNamee is hardly the world's most credible witness, he has told the truth about the other players' performance enhancing drug use.  Why would he only lie about Clemens?  Although I think that keeping old syringes and bloody gauze is disgusting, and probably could be easily discredited in a court case, this case is playing out in the court of public opinion.  In that court, Clemens is losing.

Why is Clemens stridently maintaining his innocence?  He must be very confident that more physical evidence won't come out.  So far, no one has been able to show how Clemens obtained steroids or HGH (even MacNamee said he didn't know where it came from).  And, if there is a confirmed source of HGH, Roger has admitted that his wife took that.  Absent that source, Clemens has plausible deniability.  But, I don't think that he has saved his reputation.

Look at Andy Pettitte.  He admitted HGH use and comes out of this looking like the good guy.  I think that right after the Mitchell Report came out, Clemens had a chance to admit very limited use of performance enhancing drugs without jeopardizing his chance for the Hall of Fame.  That time has now past.  If he admits it now, he lied to Congress.  I think that Roger is hoping that the big lie will hold up.

If somehow Roger really is innocent, I feel very badly for him.  There is no way to prove a negative, and he has pretty much lost the battle for public support.  The only way he can prove that he is innocent is to get MacNamee and Pettitte to admit that they were wrong and/or lying.  I don't know why either one of them would do that.

Too bad, Roger.  In light of the environment in baseball at the time, I don't really begrudge you for using performance enhancing drugs a few times (although I think that all sports need to work hard to eliminate these from use).  But, you missed your chance for forgiveness by telling the big lie and hoping this would go away.


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