Roger Clemens Beats The Rap -- $3 Million (In Taxpayer Coin) Later
Roger Clemens may be 49, but he apparently can still wing it. The federal government took six swings against him and missed on every one. In case you're counting, that means that the federal investigation into performance enhancing drug use in major league baseball now has nothing to show for the - what? $140 million price tag? $150 million? It was $120 at the beginning of this year and good luck finding out what the final price really is.
Actually, it's not fair to say that the government didn't score any runs. They didn't exactly strike out on Barry Bonds, but Bonds' conviction -- for obstructing justice by giving an evasive answer under oath, the only one of four counts he was convicted of -- the sentence was 30 days house arrest and two years probation. If that's not a strike out, it's certainly no better than an infield pop-up.
In Clemens' case, though, you have to wonder how the New York sports press, particularly the Post and Daily News (can't wait to hear Lupica's rage on this one) could have talked themselves into believing there was ever a case here. For a while, they conned themselves into thinking Andy Pettitte was going to help nail his old hunting buddy. For years now Pettitte has been built up by writers who followed the case as the prosecution's big gun, the only first hand witness besides Clemens' former trainer Brian McNamee. In fact, Pettitte never claimed to be any such thing. During the 2008 Congressional hearings he testified in a sworn affidavit that Clemens told him about using human growth hormones, but his statements were found to be confusing, and the Committee decided not to call him as a witness (ESPN concluded that the Committee regarded Pettitte's testimony as inconsistent and ineffective). Pettitte did testify early in the trial, but it was obvious again the prosecution's case was not supported by what he had to say.
So, the Clemens case came down to what it had been all along: Roger Clemens word vs, that of Brian McNamee. Clemens is a former superstar athlete whose often surly manner won him few friends in the New York press. Brian McNamee is a former drug dealer, a convicted felon, who was a suspect in a 2001 Florida rape case, in which the victim was found to have traces of a date rape drug in her bloodstream.
Now, when Clemens took to turning on that L'il Abner charm, which he does so well when the cameras are on him, who do you think the jury was going to believe?
McNamee couldn't even make a case for the flimsy evidence he brought with him: old syringes and cotton pads with traces of Clemens' DNA on them, which he says were stored in a beer can for more than 10 years. It turned out when McNamee's estranged wife testified, she contradicted him on the brand of the beer can.
In his closing statements, prosecutor Gil Guerrero had countered. "Now it's your turn to hold him accountable on every single count. You are the final umpires here."
Well, then, that's it. It ain't over 'til it's over. But the final umpires have spoken. There is evidence that roger Clemens used PEDs or human growth hormones that was not presented in this trial. Let's drop this and move on to something more important.
Will Clemens make it into the Hall of Fame? Of course he will. How are they going to keep him out - on the word of Brian McNamee?
And, by the way, I want my money back.
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