…. My Darling Clemens-tine

Timothy has a bone to pick:

…. (A)fter Clemens turned thirty, he had four very, very mediocre seasons in Boston. It looked like him, Doc and Brett had all burnt themselves out early in their careers. So he goes to Toronto, and boom, like magic, he throws on thirty pounds and starts popping the mitt at 96-97 again. Gimme a friggin break.

Then earlier this year it gets leaked that he, along with fellow Yankee schmuck Andy Pettitte, had been using HGH for years. Now if this was Barry Bonds, USA Today would have carried the story on the front page, SI would have Rick Reilly rip into Barry some more, and more fans would throw syringes at him whenever he went to any park. But this wasn’t Barry, it was the great Rocket and his sidekick Andy Pettitte, a true Yankee if there ever was one, so obviously this couldn’t be true. So what does MLB do, they retract the fuckin’ press release, like it never happened.

Andy Pettitte said he was gonna retire, probably because he figured he couldn’t cheat anymore, but his beloved Yankees threw $16 million his way so he’s coming back. And why not? If you can cheat anywhere in this country, its gotta be in the Bronx. Jason Giambi got through all of last year without anyone noticing. Supposedly drug testers, showed up in spring training and took samples from Mike Mussina and chien Ming Wang. Way to go testers– go right after the real suspicious guys.

So let’s ignore what we know and run with what we can speculate, is that what you want to do?

Here’s what we know: Clemens, like Bonds in or around ’97, made a serious shift in the intensity and commitment to his workout regimen after two and a half, injury plagued seasons, something that was well-documented at the time. In ’96, still with Boston, he won only 10 games, but was clearly back to form at 33 years old, pitching 242 innings, allowing 216 hits, 257 SO, 106 BB, and a 3.53 ERA in a year in which the AL posted a 5.15 ERA. Is it possible that he used PED’s? Sure. Do we “know” that he did? No, we don’t. And as for the Grimsley affadavit, after the first irresponsible leaks surrounding the blacked-out names, we found out that the “names” were simply thrown out for Grimsley to answer yes or no regards his knowledge of their PED use:

…. Grimsley, however, told Segui and his agent, Joe Bick, that federal agents asked him for names. He told Segui and others he never volunteered names.

Of course, this little fact has been all but ignored by virtually everyone in the media. In a quick Google of Grimsley, I wasn’t able to find a reference to it until the fourth page of links. But, hey, who cares about facts, or misleading, crusading Federal Agents, like Jeff -I hate Barry Bonds- Novitzky? Get those cheaters, right, Timothy? Everyone who has had late-career success must be using PED’s, right? I mean, you just wrote that Clemens followed four crappy years with two Cy Youngs, but, really, it was only two and a half years, and he was in and out of the lineup, so it wasn’t really that he was crappy so much as he was injured; but, again, those are just facts in the way of your beliefs, right? And it wasn’t really leaked that he had been using HGH for years, it was leaked that he was identified by Grimsley as having used PED’s in an interview with federal agents, a “fact” that was later disputed by the federal agents who were supposedly interviewing him; but, hey, now I’m just splitting hairs, right? Why bother with details like statistics and facts, when guys like you just “know” these scumbags are cheaters?

Who cares about, you know, what’s really going on? I mean, why worry about how one IRS agent (IRS agent???), who just happens to think Barry Bonds is an asshole, wakes up one day and decides to try and ruin him, wasting tens of millions of taxpayer’ dollars and utilizing dozens of federal agents in a seemingly endless, Kenneth Starr-esque parody of jurisprudent misconduct in a five-year vendetta against Bonds? Why worry that, even after all of this, the hundreds of courtroom hours, the thousands of hours of lawyers billed time, and the multitudes of witnesses and slanderous, libelous leaks and misrepresentations; Novitzky has been unable to bring one single criminal charge against Bonds, nor aid MLB in finding one single, credible account or instance of Bonds using PED’s in violation of baseball’s rules. Why worry that Grimsley says that it was only after he refused to help Novitzky get Bonds that his name was leaked? I mean, even though Grimsley readily admits his own PED use, he must be lying when he says that he doesn’t know if Bonds did, right?

No, instead of wanting to know the truth, or learn about what’s really going on in the world; let’s just embrace the party-line:

Only the new PED’s are bad, and the shit that went on in the clubhouse for most of the last 40 years, (in full view of the media and team management, by the way) was just boys being boys. Let’s get that prick Bonds and that jerk-off Canseco, and that one-dimensional asshole McGwire (we never really liked that fucking guy anyway) and that Sammy Sosa, (why wouldn’t he pee in a cup for Reilly?). Guys like Mantle and Mays and Aaron and Ripken, those are the kind of guys that are real heroes. Today’s baseball players are a bunch of rich, spoiled pricks.

I’m not interested in being told what’s right and what’s wrong. I’m not interested in agreeing with Mike Lupica, or Tom Verducci, or Seligula. I’m interested in forming my own opinion, based on what I’ve read, seen and learned in my life. Painting Bonds or Clemens or McGwire as cheaters is the real crime. Fans stood and cheered as they made history. Sportswriters and television analysts and play by play announcers fawned and worshiped them, and THEY WERE RIGHT THERE. For them to come forth now, and tell us to forget about how awesome it was, it was bad, that these guys somehow cheated us, well, no. I’m not interested.

Again, PED’s are here to stay. Banning them does little to prevent their use, and the reasons for doing so are questionable on their face. Condeming one group of players, while lionizing another, based on this kind of horsehit is disgraceful. Spending all of your time telling us that these guys are bad, but these guys aren’t? Calling me an apologist for Bonds? Please. You should be apologizing for the blind, sanctimonious piety you so blithely toss about.

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All commentary is the opinion of John J Perricone unless otherwise noted.
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