Mini ‘sports-purgatory’ is almost over…you know, the “All-Star” break where there is no watchable baseball on and really no other sports to follow either (unless you’re into Women’s Soccer, European Soccer). I mean, hell, until today there wasn’t even any Golf or Auto Racing to pass the time. But I digress. I thought I would throw some gasoline on the fire and write a little about my thoughts on the Roger Clemens case (which has now been declared a mistrial) and, in general, steroids in baseball…here we go!
First of all, Roger Clemens is an idiot. He could have avoided all of this by simply ADMITTING to and APOLOGIZING for his use of PEDs earlier in his career. He wasn’t that polarizing a figure and likely would have had his 15 minutes in the fire and everyone would have forgotten about it…like we did with Andy Pettitte and Jason Giambi. Even Mark McGwire admitted to it and people have pretty much stopped bothering him about it. It’s these few that hang onto false claims of innocence that have really done the most damage to baseball…Clemens, Bonds, etc.
Today the Clemens trial was declared a mistrial because the prosecutor made indirect reference (twice!) to Andy Pettitte’s testimony against Roger Clemens. Not that big of a deal in and of itself except for the fact that the judge EXPRESSLY FORBADE that testimony as evidence… This is hardly the first example of ineptitude on the part of government prosecutors (hello Rod Blagojevich trial, 1st edition), but this has got to be one of the most idiotic moves I’ve ever seen in a case with this much press. No doubt the government will try to save face now by pushing for a retrial, but Clemens stands an equal chance of walking away scot-free if his legal team wins an upcoming double-jeopardy hearing (can’t be tried twice for the same crime).
I guess what really gets me in this whole thing (steroids in baseball, perjury hearings, etc) is that here we are, years past that era in baseball, and yet we still have to had it shoved down our throats. Someone I follow on Twitter (@ChadMoriyama) put it perfectly earlier today when he said, “Drop it already, nobody gives a s*$% about “bringing Roger Clemens to justice”.” Don’t get me wrong, I understand that lying to Congress is serious and that just because it was lying to Congress about something like steroid use doesn’t mean that Clemens should be treated any differently. I get that. But look, the guy’s been labeled a cheater. His name, reputation and entire career have been sullied. His current standing is a mere shadow of his former glory. Isn’t that punishment in and of itself? Do we need to drag this out longer and waste more time and money? I realize that fines and jail sentences are sexy, but the legacy that Clemens has sown for himself will follow him the rest of this life and he will remain ostracized by his own sport. In 20 years, he’ll be Pete Rose…and we have all seen how pathetic that guy is.
I think all of us have arrived at our own conclusions about the ‘steroid era’ and I think everyone except the major media outlets are ready to move on. A lot of the baseball writers will continue to ride their high-horses with regards to steroid-users and the Hall of Fame, but hopefully that discussion will start to fade as well. As for me? I don’t tend to put too much stock into the argument that steroids really affected performance all that much. I think they helped keep players healthier, but I don’t believe they helped guys hit a baseball better. The reason for this is a website called Steroids-And-Baseball. It will take a concerted effort on your part to go to the site and read everything there, but on a basic level this website submits a scientific case (via meta-analysis) that steroids do not affect performance to any degree even close to what ESPN would have you believe. I still believe that steroid use was cheating, but I don’t really believe their use deserves all the hand-wringing and press. Like I said earlier, we’ve all formed our own opinions about it and I’m not trying to change anyone’s mind, I’m just ready to be done with it.