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…. Seventh Heaven

Two seven timers are in the Mitchell Report, seven-time MVP Barry Bonds, and seven-time Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens. One has already been given the whitewash, and the other has been the target of sports media vitriol and government investigation for four years. Now, why is that?

I’m watching ESPN, and we got Tim Kurkjian, Peter Gammons, John Kruk and Steve Phillips. All of them are saying the same thing, Clemens has denied it, there’s no proof, McNamee has an agenda, I want to believe him, we have to wait and see….

Unbelievably, they have already confirmed my worst suspicions, that they are ready, willing and able to come up with any reason to excuse Clemens, to defend him, defend his right to due process, and immediately impugn the character of McNamee. The first time they have a chance, they all said that McNamee had an agenda, that he was naming names to avoid jail.

OK, so how come Greg Anderson and Victor Conte, who had plenty of reasons to testify against Bonds, plenty of reasons to detail all of the ways Bonds used illegal performance-enhancing drugs; did not? How come those questions aren’t being asked, and haven’t been? Because Bonds is black? An asshole? Clemens is a hero?

Hypocrites, every one of them. The report isn’t 24 hours old, and we’re already being treated to sob stories about how Clemens and Pettitte are being slimed by a scumbag trying to protect his own ass. Bonds wasn’t slimed by scumbags who could’ve, but that’s not worth talking about.

Just so we’re clear what we’re talking about, here’s what the report says about Clemens:

…. Toward the end of the road trip which included the Marlins series, or shortly after the Blue Jays returned home to Toronto, Clemens approached McNamee and, for the first time, brought up the subject of using steroids. Clemens said that he was not able to inject himself, and he asked for McNamee’s help.

Later that summer, Clemens asked McNamee to inject him with Winstrol, which Clemens supplied. McNamee knew the substance was Winstrol because the vials Clemens gave him were so labeled. McNamee injected Clemens approximately four times in the buttocks over a several-week period with needles that Clemens provided.

…. According to McNamee, during the middle of the 2000 season Clemens made it clear that he was ready to use steroids again. During the latter part of the regular season, McNamee injected Clemens in the buttocks four to six times with testosterone from a bottle labeled either Sustanon 250 or Deca-Durabolin that McNamee had obtained from Radomski.

McNamee stated that during this same time period he also injected Clemens four to six times with human growth hormone he received from Radomski, after explaining to Clemens the potential benefits and risks of use.

Mitchell is on ESPN defending the testimony of McNamee right now. Schapp asks him how credible the evidence against Clemens is, and he says, “It is the testimony of his personal trainer.” Exactly.

There has never been one, single, credible report, statement or piece of evidence about Bonds that is anything at all like that. Not. One. In fact, there’s nothing in the Mitchell Report that is even close to being as damning. All the Mitchell Report has is a conversation with Peter Magowan. Here’s what there is about Bonds:

…. Peter Magowan told me in an interview that he was in San Diego in February 2004 when he received a telephone call from Bonds to discuss ways to improve the team for the coming season. Magowan said that at the conclusion of the phone call he said to Bonds “I’ve really got to know, did you take steroids?” According to Magowan, Bonds responded that when he took the substances he did not know they were steroids but he later learned they were. Bonds said that he took these substances for a period of time to help with his arthritis, as well as sleeping problems he attributed to concern about his father’s failing health.

To emphasize that he was not hiding anything Bonds added that he used these substances in the clubhouse in the plain view of others. Bonds told Magowan he used these substances for only a short period of time and that they “didn’t work.” Magowan recalled asking Bonds whether this was what he had told the grand jury. Bonds replied yes. Magowan also asked Bonds if he was telling the truth, and Bonds said he was.

Two days after Magowan’s interview, lawyers for Magowan and the Giants calle a member of my investigative staff. Magowan’s lawyer explained that his client misspoke whe he said that Bonds had said, during their February 2004 telephone call, that he later learned the substances he had taken were steroids. According to his lawyer, Magowan could only recall with certainty that (1) Bonds had said he did not knowingly take steroids, and (2) what Bonds said to Magowan during the call was consistent with what Magowan later read in the San Francisco Chronicle about Bonds’s reported grand jury testimony.

Bonds has been investigated for four years, and all we have is his ex-girlfriend telling us he told her he did steroids, and Game of Shadows explaining to us that all of the paperwork obtained at BALCO is, in fact, a list of what Bonds did, in fact, take, even though his name wasn’t on it, neither Victor Conte nor Greg Anderson says that it does, and Bonds denied it, again and again. Just like, by the way, Clemens just did.

The only difference is that the national sports media are falling all over themselves in their efforts to give Clemens the benefit of the doubt; after four years of fucking Bonds over to get back at him for being an asshole.

And as for the report being definitive, Jayson Stark has a number for you to consider:

…. according to Sean Forman, of baseball-reference.com’s amazing play index, 5,148 players have made it into at least one major league box score since 1985, the year Radomski went to work for the Mets.

So that means that precisely 1.67 percent of them made it into this report. Shockingly exclusive group, wouldn’t you say?

Yeah, I’d say that’s a bit thin. The Sports Law Blog is pretty disappointed in the report as well:

….Why does the public and the media continue to impose standards and rules on professional and college athletes no one else would stand for?

The hypocrisy is deafening.

Between innings, we listen to advertisements selling drugs to help us sleep, be less depressed, concentrate in school, have better sex, and degrunge our toe nails.

Colleges make millions off the sweat and hard work of their athletes in an archaic system that makes the Confederacy look like the beacon of free enterprise, all on the overstated promise that if they improve their performance they have a good shot at making millions themselves.

And now we are to be shocked and up in arms that a small minority of professional baseball players may have used artificial means to perform better.


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