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Roger Clemens speaks

Mar 2, 2010, 5:00 PM EDT

Roger Clemens doesn’t give too many interviews these days, but he spoke with Jon Pessah of True/Slant recently, and the results are here.

You may or may not be shocked to learn that the Rocket has sympathy for Mark McGwire and Tiger Woods. You probably will be a bit surprised to hear that Clemens’ flushed, lip-licking appearance before Congress — which some pseudo-science peddling body language experts claimed to be evidence of lying* — was due him taking a three mile run that morning. Not saying you’ll believe it, just saying you might be surprised to hear it.

*why we need to resort to pseudo-science to determine that Clemens was lying that day when so much of what he said was manifestly ridiculous is a question for another day.

But nothing Clemens says is terribly provocative. At least not as provocative as something Pessah said in the editorial portion of the interview:

If I’m concerned about how the steroid era played out — and I am — I’m
far more concerned with those in charge who threw Barry Bonds, Clemens
and a handful of others under the bus to save themselves. No one has
profited more from steroids in baseball than Selig, who sold his team
for a fortune just before the steroid bubble burst and rode the
popularity of a game built on PEDs to an $18 million yearly salary.
Then he gave George Mitchell $20 million to pin the blame
for steroids on an angry black man and an arrogant white Texan. Anyone
who believes Selig’s spiel that he’s cleaned up baseball is both naive
and foolish. As Victor Conte continually tells me, drug tests are
little more than IQ tests–you really have to be dumb to flunk one. And
there is still no proven test for HgH.

I was highly critical of the Mitchell Report when it came out and believe to this day that it was designed to create scapegoats and to try and end the steroid conversation as opposed to truly investigating the totality of performance enhancing drugs in baseball.  I don’t think, however, that anyone went out to set up Bonds or Clemens specifically, especially based on some half-baked cultural stereotypes.  If anything, I think Selig and Mitchell wanted to make Kirk Radomski and Brian McNamee the fall guys.  To the extent Clemens has become a pariah it’s largely of his own doing (see, post-report behavior; Mindy McCreedy ugliness, etc.). If anyone set out to make Bonds a fall guy or a poster boy or whatever it was Jeff Novitzsky and whatever supervisors he had who were asleep at the switch.

But there’s some truth in that blockquote, mostly with the notion that everyone in baseball — players, owners, agents, executives, advertisers, lawyers and, yes, people in the media — profited from steroids, and yet only one subset of one class of people — superstar players — get any scorn.  There’s something wrong with that.

  1. D-Luxxx - Mar 2, 2010 at 5:08 PM

    Yeah, where is everyone screaming for Juan Rincon’s head?

  2. Phil - Mar 2, 2010 at 5:34 PM

    and an arrogant white Texan
    George W Bush was named in the Mitchell Report?

  3. yankeh8r - Mar 2, 2010 at 5:43 PM

    I would guess they are now googling his name to find out who the hell he is. People don’t scream about people they haven’t heard of.

  4. r - Mar 2, 2010 at 5:45 PM

    Roger wasn’t sweating because his tie was too tight?

  5. ssweeps - Mar 2, 2010 at 6:02 PM

    Barry HOF? No. Not now. He was a HOF before the PED’s, but his character and respect is tarnished beyond repair.
    Same for Palmeiro, Clemens, A-Rod, Manny, Ortiz and anyone else we know who has taken PED’s and lied about it. GO BE IN YOUR OWN HOF!
    Shoeless Joe and Pete are not in, so why should these guys get in?
    Just ask Johnny Bench who should be in. I admire him because he worked his ass off to make himself be a GREAT CATCHER! And he is NEVER in the paper or on the news getting into trouble!
    BTW–I want that full list of 103 positive tests revealed so that we can erase those that were on it from EVER being in the HOF.

  6. WmB - Mar 2, 2010 at 6:08 PM

    Baseball needs a complete overhaul. Selig should go- now! My team, the Dodgers, need responsible ownership to begin the new era- post Vin Scully. The Dodgers will have a hard time holding on to fans with no Scully. There has to be sensible drug testing for all big leaguers. Maybe they can start an “all druggie” league as a test of the worthiness of steriods, etc. Matbe everyone should take them?

  7. WmB - Mar 2, 2010 at 6:09 PM

    Baseball needs a complete overhaul. Selig should go- now! My team, the Dodgers, need responsible ownership to begin the new era- post Vin Scully. The Dodgers will have a hard time holding on to fans with no Scully. There has to be sensible drug testing for all big leaguers. Maybe they can start an “all druggie” league as a test of the worthiness of steriods, etc. Matbe everyone should take them?

  8. Evan - Hartford - Mar 2, 2010 at 6:34 PM

    “But there’s some truth in that blockquote, mostly with the notion that everyone in baseball — players, owners, agents, executives, advertisers, lawyers and, yes, people in the media — profited from steroids, and yet only one subset of one class of people — superstar players — get any scorn. There’s something wrong with that.” – Craig
    Craig, every single mistake/accident/crime/tragedy in the history of the world can be blamed on multiple things. The murderer wasn’t coddled when he was a child, therefore blame his parents. The thief fell on hard times, therefore blame the economy. The baseball player wasn’t properly monitored, therefore blame the exectuive.
    The problem is that our sociey does not function in this way. We as humans take a given mistake/accident/crime/tragedy and 9 times out of 10 we come up with one person/thing to blame. Take the financial crisis of the last couple of years. The issue has enough considerations to make your head spin and yet in the mind of nearly everyone, Wall Street is the culprit.
    With baseball it is no different. Normal people don’t divide up blame like you (and other lawyers). They don’t look at a problem and say, 15% players fault, 10% fans, 20% baseball executuives, 30% owners, 10% media, 5% agents. They keep it simple. A + B = C. Anabolic steroids + Baseball player = Cheater.

  9. Craig Calcaterra - Mar 2, 2010 at 6:44 PM

    Evan, it’s sad that you blithely accept such oversimplifications simply because most of society does.
    I’m not going to suggest that all of society should be convicted when someone commits a crime — laws are laws — but we should all think, as a society about what led to the crime and try to craft social and legal norms to better account for it going forward. Likewise, I don’t expect Bud Selig or the media to be suspended when someone tests positive for steroids, but we as baseball fans and commentators should think about what it means and decide who’s culpable in a larger sense.
    Observing inequities, shrugging your shoulders and simply saying “that’s just how it is” is unacceptable to me.

  10. scatterbrian - Mar 2, 2010 at 6:53 PM

    Phil FTW

  11. tim - Mar 2, 2010 at 7:49 PM

    Yo, Rocket, you RETIRED, remember?
    SHUT UP, GO AWAY, and go fishing. you are stealing some other jackasses 15 minutes of fame.
    oops, gotta go now, American Idol is on.

  12. Anon - Mar 2, 2010 at 7:54 PM

    Phil wrote:
    and an arrogant white Texan
    George W Bush was named in the Mitchell Report?
    Zing!

  13. CharlieH - Mar 3, 2010 at 10:33 PM

    Everyone profitted? Maybe. However, it seems to me that those that profitted most were those players that took heavy doses of PEDs over many years. I don’t know how much baseball players get for making advertisements and endorsments, but if these players had kept their reputations intact they would be raking in endorsment fees. If they had it to do over again with the same outcome I would bet that most of these players would still take PEDs.

  14. JudyJ - Mar 4, 2010 at 9:05 AM

    I still can’t get past the fact that the owners are more than 90% responsible for all of the steroid crap. I suppose if they owned up their insurance premiums would increase with all of the illnesses that are sure to evolve from the juice. I can’t help but wonder what the public reaction would be if one of the juicers was to announce a terminal illness directly related to steroids? Does anyone think this would finally end the discussion of this subject which is soooooooo boring to say the least.

  15. Dalton - Apr 17, 2010 at 8:31 AM

    I feel very sad about the whole sordid thing. I was a grad student at Texas A&M when Clemens dominated the college circuit. Since he rose to be so dominant in the majors, it felt better that the guy who beat us went on to be the best ever, someone who rose above the rest in a very difficult profession.
    Now all we have is a pile of incriminating stories and imagining what could have been.

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