Mr. Clemens Goes to Washington

Those of you who drop by here for Yankees-related coverage — not that I’ve had much this winter — have probably noticed that I’ve had little to say on the Roger Clemens/Mitchell Report story in this forum. I haven’t been entirely silent on the issue, however. I was part of Fox News Radio’s in-studio anchored coverage of the Mitchell Report’s release back in December and did two sets of Fox affiliate hits straddling the report’s release. I did another series of affiliate hits regarding Clemens the day after his 60 Minutes appearance in January, and I’ve just found out I’ll be part of Fox’s in-studio coverage of Clemens’ Congressional testimony on Wednesday beginning at 10 AM Eastern. See here to find the affiliate in your area or to listen to streaming coverage over the Internet.

As for writing about the Rocket’s ‘roids-related revelations, I covered the pinstriped angle of the Mitchell Report for Bombers Broadside 2008, a forthcoming book on the Yankees from Maple Street Press. This is the second year in a row I’ve contributed to Bombers Broadside. In this edition’s 112 pages of glossy, full color goodness you’ll also find editor Cecilia Tan and such familiar names as Mike Carminati, Vince Genarro, Dan Graziano, Derek Jacques, Tara Krieger, Dan McCourt, Sweeney Murti and Pete Palmer. The book will be available on newsstands in the Tri-State area on March 4, and can be ordered directly from the publisher now.

As for what I actually think about whether Clemens used? As skeptical as I am of the Mitchell Report and of Brian McNamee’s character, I’ve had a hard time believing the Clemens camp’s protestations from the beginning. Furthermore, every weird turn this case has taken — from the Mike Wallace softball interview to the taped phone call to Andy Pettitte’s admission and testimony to the needles and gauze to the naming of Debbie Clemens to the Rocket’s glad-handing up on Capitol Hill to Rusty Hardin’s down-home machismo — has further eroded my confidence in Clemens’ version of events. The only major point scored in Clemens’ favor since the report’s release was the revelation that he was not in fact named in the Jason Grimsley affidavit, contrary to the Los Angeles Times‘ previous reports.

Which isn’t to say that I particularly care whether Clemens used or not. Though his late-career accomplishments certainly fit a pattern not unlike that of America’s previous Public Enemy #1, Barry Bonds, I’m more skeptical than ever about what the drugs he allegedly took may have done to his performance. In the context of the hundreds of other players who allegedly used PEDs prior to baseball’s beefed-up policy, his case isn’t especially remarkable; it’s the denials which have amplified the coverage and given the story legs. What’s certain is that the public persona of Clemens that has emerged through this saga is even less charming than the one on display throughout his career. And while I have to admit that I’m not really prone to sympathizing with right-wing, redneck bullies, I fear that the cover-up — if this flurry of activity is indeed covering up for Clemens’ misdeeds — is worse than the crime.

That said, I doubt there will be enough evidence to convict Clemens of perjury, and I find the whole notion that Congress should be involved in this dispute to be patently ridiculous. Henry Waxman, Tom Davis and their colleagues — particularly my old nemesis Christopher Shays, America’s expert at Not Knowing Anything About Anything — are a bipartisan bunch of camera-hogging assclowns who ought to be doing something more important, like begging their constituents for forgiveness for wasting their time and taxpayer dollars on such relatively trivial matters.

Anyway, as ever I’ll try to impart a modicum of reason into the reportage.

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