Monday, January 07, 2008

Why I Think Roger Clemens Is Lying (Again)

I have generally stayed away from the steroids/performance-enhancing drug issue in baseball, because quite honestly, I'm still too conflicted over the whole thing. It's not that I support it in any way, because I don't. But, as I imagine many fans do, I go from feeling angry, to betrayed, to fatalistic, to looking forward, to confused, without ever having been able to settle on one rational explanation for myself to figure out how I feel about this whole mess.

However, I really just can't believe Roger Clemens' denials. It isn't just that his denials, including last night's appearance on 60 minutes (with important questions raised and compelling holes punched in his line of reasoning here, here, here, here, and especially here). Rather, it goes back to 2000 for me. That was the year that Clemens nailed Mike Piazza (then with the Mets) in the head for homering off of him in the regular season, leaving the latter with a concussion. Then, in the Subway Series (AKA "Worst World Series EVER"), Piazza hit that nubber that broke his bat, and Clemens threw the bat in Piazza's direction. His defense later? That there was "no history" between him and Piazza, and that he was just trying to get the bat back for the batboy to take off the field.

While the ball was in play. While he could visibly see Piazza running down the line. The guy who he creamed in the head with a fastball a few months earlier because Piazza owned him as a hitter.

I never bought it. The excuse was so lame, and while Piazza may be no saint, it was clear in the way he addressed the issue, and protested his innocence beyond necessary levels, that none of it was true. That he was caught up in the heat of the moment, and while he probably didn't want to hurt Piazza, he did give in to his anger. His insistence never was plausible to me.

And that how it seems to me now. It's the same over-the-top protestations of innocence that often defy any logic even among the most meatheaded human beings (how could he not know that BFF Andy Pettite had used HGH when it was his OWN trainer who gave Pettite the goods?) And his appearance last night, and now this slander suit against former trainer Brian McNamee, it just seems too much. He hasn't legitimately answered the questions, and while his protestations about how it's no longer "innocent until proven guilty" may be true, I suspect he hasn't had a problem finding other high-profile criminals guilty prior to their conviction.

But that is neither here nor there. At the end of it, it seems to me that Clemens' insistence to save face parallels that of 2000, when basically everybody saw he was lying and just chalked it up to a "heat of the moment" thing. Only now, instead of a World Series at-bat, it's his Hall of Fame credentials being questioned. And to me, thus far, he just hasn't come off looking too good.