Thursday, August 19, 2010


Well, there you go.  The Greatest Postwar Pitcher and the Greatest Postwar Player (don't even think about arguing; it's not close) are now both under federal indictment for the crime of We Want Baseball to Conform to Some Arbitrary Never-Existed Standard of Pure Goodness and Wonderfulness. 

It seems rather unlikely, you know, that Roger Clemens was unusually dishonest in his testimony to Congress.  It's not at all difficult for anyone who has followed politics for some time to come up with a list of people who lied to Congress on far more important matters but were never charged with crimes.  That this anything other than selective prosecution of two gentlemen who are very, very famous (and, perhaps not coincidentally, two guys who were always disliked by reporters) wouldn't pass a giggle test.  In my book, it's a clear abuse, and a shameful disgrace. 

(But political scientists are apparently not monolithic on this one; see Joshua Tucker for a different, albeit totally wrong, view).


  1. Yeah, I particularly like the fact that, even assuming Bonds and Clemens broke federal drug laws, the best anyone seems to be able to do is charge them with some minor form of lying under oath. Think about it. If Bonds/Clemens lied under oath about illegally using a federally-controlled substance, and if you can prove they were lying, shouldn't you also be able to prove that they used the controlled substance? And isn't using the controlled substance worse than lying about it? And if you can't prove that they used the controlled substance, how can you hope to prove they were lying?

    Why do I feel that this use of federal law enforcement resources does almost no one any good...except (in Clemens' case) the members of Congress who get to feel righteous and (in both cases) the prosecutors who get their names in the newspapers?

  2. I didn't say he should be indicted for perjury. I said he should have been thrown out of the game for throwing a bat at Piazza's head. Since that didn't happen, I have to be willing to take whatever I can get!

  3. Tucker isn't totally wrong. Clemens clearly assaulted Piazza with that bat chunk.


  4. It's not how important the subject he lied about. It's that he makes a shitload more money than they do, but hasn't bothered to buy them off.


  5. Pitchers: yes. Despite my love of Nolan Ryan, Clemens was the best postwar pitcher.
    All players? Much tougher case to make. There's a guy named Willie Mays. Granted, he played for an awful team. But there's also this guy named Hank Aaron. I gotta say a person could easily disagree over the relative values of Clemens vs Mays/Aaron, what with the "every 5th game" thing. Personally, I'm with you, but I'm a bigger fan of pitching than of hitting.

  6. I was at Skydome in July 1998 the afternoon Clemens recorded his 3,000th K. My buddy and I are big-time nerds, so we hung around after the game to watch Clemens be interviewed in front of the dugout. There were maybe a dozen or so kids hanging out by the rail, clamoring for an autograph on Clemens' punch-my-ticket-for-the-Hall afternoon. (Toronto has nowhere near the same memorabilia intensity you find in the Acela corridor).

    Anyway, Clemens' interview ended, and the 12 hardy elementary schoolers increased their clamoring, and I kid you not, Clemens sneered at them, spit in their direction, and then bolted for the clubhouse with no further interaction with those dozen or so youthful fans.

    My buddy and I were quite shocked, which looking back was partially a result of being duped by the Clemens narrative (sure, he may not be that friendly, but Big Tex was just intense! And white. Unlike Bonds, FWIW).

    In any event, this is just a long-winded way of confirming the thesis that Clemens is being shaken down because a bunch of well-placed people hate him. Totally buy the theory.

  7. Roger Clemens is rather obviously guilty of lying to Congress. The fact that most people who do that do not get prosecuted does not change that. If you take a look at those who do get prosecuted for lying to Congress, i believe you will find that Clemens should have expected this. Liars who have no political protection get prosecuted and those who do have it do not get prosecuted. It is that simple.

  8. I have already posted elsewhere (not verbatim):
    Every one in New England, fans and media, knew that Roger was a transcendent pitcher and a cement-headed dick.

    But I really don't go along with the purists and pantybunchers on the PED question.

    In every era, the HOF candidates are measured against the other players of the same era. So lets take it as a given that everyone from the mid-80s to, say 2005, was juicing. What they accomplished, they did in comparison to (and playing against) all the other players who juiced. Leave them be. Vote them in, if they deserve it, and put a footnote room in Cooperstown to replace the green St. Patrick's day unis that the Phillies and the Sox wore in spring training, or something. There's room.

  9. Roger Clemens is rather obviously guilty of lying to Congress.

    Rather obvious, if one believes the word of a convicted criminal who admitted lying to federal investigators.


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