May 7, 2012, 12:00 PM EST
Last week a lot of people got it totally wrong about Andy Pettitte when they said that he changed his testimony on the stand during the Roger Clemens trial. As I demonstrated with reference to Pettite’s actual 2008 testimony, Andy Pettitte did not change a thing about his testimony. He was entirely consistent.
Jon Heyman was one of the guys who got it wrong then, Tweeting that Pettitte “suddenly” changed his testimony. I guess that’s understandable as a heat of the moment reaction, especially given how it was being played up initially on Twitter and elsewhere. But now Heyman has had a week to actually, you know, look at the facts. And he either hasn’t bothered to or else he has and doesn’t care, because he’s still wrong:
Suddenly on the stand in federal court last week, Pettitte changed his story about Clemens. And remarkably, he changed it from one day to the next. It is fair to assume he wasn’t being completely truthful one of those two days.
Under questioning by government lawyers, Pettitte, who’s trying for a baseball comeback with the Yankees, said Clemens told him about Clemens’ own HGH use while the pair were working out together back in 1999 or 2000. That was a powerful point against Clemens.
Then only one day later, under questioning by Clemens’ lawyers, Pettitte said he may have misunderstood the key HGH conversation. In fact, it’s now 50-50 he misunderstood, he answered to Clemens attorney Michael Attanasio. “I’d say that’s fair,” Pettitte lamely answered to Attanasio.
He goes on to accuse Pettitte of “bending the truth” to help a friend. He calls Pettitte’s testimony a “pathetic change-up,” “sudden amnesia,” and a “lame, less-then-honest performance.” There is something lame, pathetic and less-than-honest here, and it’s Heyman’s approach to this story.
As I demonstrated last week, Pettitte’s answers at trial were entirely consistent with his 2008 testimony. He did not change it. He did not say “50/50″ in 2008 because he was not asked to put a probability on the matter then. Why? Because he wasn’t being cross examined in 2008, he was being deposed. It’s a basic legal point that Heyman would understand if he took a moment to understand basic legal procedure. Not that he has to, of course. But if you’re going to go accusing people of perjury as Heyman clearly does here, you probably should.
The point here is that there is absolutely nothing inconsistent with Pettitte’s 2008 testimony and his “50/50″ testimony last week. In 2008 he said he was uncertain. Last week he said he was uncertain. Last week, however, someone thought to ask him how uncertain. They suggested “50/50″ and Pettitte agreed. If only a government lawyer preparing the witness had thought to ask him that maybe they wouldn’t have called Pettitte to the stand in the first place.
Heyman goes on to say that this is the last straw for Pettitte’s Hall of Fame case in his eyes. That he may have voted for Pettitte despite his win total and his HGH history because the postseason performances were so money that they outweighed it. But now?
Now, though, his own sympathetic HGH story comes into serious question. If he’s willing to suddenly misremember under oath for a good buddy, it’s easy to think now Pettitte only admitted to what he had to admit to. Maybe Pettitte isn’t quite the truthteller we gave him credit for, and maybe there is some other explanation for how his fastball velocity increased to 93/94 mph somewhere in the middle of his career. I’d say the chances are 50-50 (at best) that Pettitte misremembered his own supposedly very limited usage.
Setting the “Pettitte used more steroids than he said he did” accusation aside, this is Jon Heyman, publicly changing his Hall of Fame vote for Andy Pettitte based on something (i.e. a change in sworn testimony) that never happened.
I guess this shouldn’t surprise us coming from a guy who still thinks, evidence be damned, that Jack Morris pitched to the score and that Bert Blyleven wasn’t a very good pitcher.
But it’s certainly a new, unprofessional low. I mean, at least he never accused Blyleven of committing a crime.
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