Softballs for Pettitte; Beanballs for Clemens

When are journalists (and baseball) going to ask Andy tougher questions?

Predictably enough, those local sportswriters who have long since declared Clemens guilty haven't gone back to Pettitte's deposition, though it is now on the public record. If they did, they might agree with Will Carroll of Baseball Prospectus, who, in a thoughtful February 14 piece on the BP website, found that "Pettitte's testimony is hardly the slam-dunk takedown of Clemens that it was made out to be. Pettitte, in many places, actually corroborates Clemens's version. . . . What is interesting is that the differences between Pettitte's statement and Clemens's statement are so easily reconciled."

Clemens probably won't, as many are speculating, be indicted for perjury. For one thing, his deposition, whatever lies it may contain, has nothing to do with a public-health issue, only whether he or Brian McNamee is telling the truth. The real issue, as Clemens pursues his defamation lawsuit against McNamee, is whether Pettitte will be called in to testify.

Clemens is an arrogant asshole with high-ranking Republican friends, and thus it's not surprising that he has no support in the New York media. Andy Pettitte, humble and earthy, is the guy who just made a mistake and has repented his sins—an older version of Opie Taylor caught smoking behind the barbershop. But this story is far from over, and before it is, Cossack's point may well be reversed: Clemens may turn out to be Andy Pettitte's biggest problem.

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