I will say this about Roger Clemens, he isn’t taking the typical route of a guilty man. He is going to Congress, he has sued Brian McNamee and he held a press conference. So far, he is miles ahead of anyone else accused of using PED’s. (Anyone else still wondering where Rafael Palmeiro went)
So why can’t most of us give this guy the benefit of the doubt? Making it more personal, why am I willing to excuse Pettitte, who has admitted to cheating, and not believe Clemens’ claims? After all, Roger should be innocent until proven guilty.
Well, there are two things which stick out in my mind which bias me against Clemens. One is stupid, one is a little deeper than that.
For the stupid one, it boils down to the fact that Clemens will always be a Red Sox in my mind. I was very unhappy when the Yankees sent David Wells to Toronto as part of the Clemens trade. Like Boggs before him, Clemens was a player I didn’t like at all. If I ever update my archives (I will, I will) you could read what I wrote when Clemens signed with Houston. Scratch that, I found the entry and updated things. So, as you can see, I don’t like him and never will, but it’s a stupid reason to think he is guilty.
And that brings me to my second reason for not buying Clemens’ story, Barry Bonds. I will also admit that I stood up and cheered Bonds in 2001 because I naively believed he was hitting home runs “cleanly”. Chastise me if you will because I didn’t stop and ask questions about Bonds’ sudden power explosion, but I looked at a player I considered one of the best in baseball for many years have a career year and I applauded. My subsequent realization that Bonds was crooked turned me into a HUGE skeptic about all of the performances on the baseball diamond. It isn’t fair, but Clemens is found guilty by me, and I imagine a lot of people, because he is just another athlete from the “steroids era”. And, I extend my skepticism to all of baseball. The only reason in my mind that the Mitchell Report didn’t name more names is because Senator Mitchell couldn’t find a guy similar to McNamee in Boston or Chicago or St. Louis.
So, what do I (and perhaps you) do now? That is the question I keep wrestling with. Palmeiro lied to Congress without any adverse consequences, so why should we believe anything Clemens says next week? But, again why don’t we give him the benefit of the doubt? If any of you have answers, I am all ears.