Friday, January 4, 2008

Aw Roger, c'mon

Once the Mitchell report came out, the baseball players named soon fell into three camps: they were either quiet as church mice, they admitted their misdeeds, or they vociferously pleaded their case in the media, and complained they had been unjustly accused.

Former Yankees trainer Brian McNamee said he had supplied steroids to both Andy Pettitte and Roger Clemens. Soon after the report came out, Pettitte confirmed that he had indeed used steroids, though only a couple times. And he was sorry, of course. Clemens, as we’ve all been hearing, first denied having done ANYTHING. Now, he admits the McNamee injected him (the trainer’s testimony was that he had started injecting Clemens in the butt with testosterone while Clemens was a member of the Blue Jays, and that the “treatments” took place in Roger’s hotel room at SkyDome.), but that all McNamee had administered was lidocaine and Vitamin B-12. Jesus Christ, Roger, how dumb do you think everyone is? Lidocaine is an anesthetic, and a topical one at that. Your dentist puts lidocaine on your gums to numb them up a bit before he injects the gum with novocaine. Why on earth would ANYONE have a topical anesthetic injected into their buttocks, unless they had recently taken a line drive off that particular part of the anatomy? Were you about to have surgery on your butt, and McNamee wanted to make sure that while he was in your hotel room at the stadium, before he sliced into your ass with a scalpel, he wanted to make sure you didn’t feel it? And B-12? Are you anemic? B-12 is dandy, if you have pernicious anemia. For an otherwise healthy athlete, it doesn’t do a helluva lot. And you had to have that injected, too? Any particular reason you couldn’t take it sublingually (under the tongue), which is most common for B-12?

Roger, why would McNamee be telling the truth about Andy Pettitte but lying about you? What would he have to gain by doing that? The lidocaine-B12 story is exactly as believable as Benazir Bhutto dying as a result of hitting her head on the sunroof latch of her car. Since you’re now admitting that you *were* injected, perhaps you could go all the way, and take the Pettitte route. Admit what everyone already knows happened: you juiced. You cheated. You hoped that since you were Roger Clemens, you’d be safe. Your career was indeed entering its twilight in Boston, as Dan Duquette so famously said at the time, and once you headed to Toronto, you decided to forestall the twilight for as long as you could by doing whatever it took to stay on top. And you did just that. The performance boost you got from the steroids, testosterone, HGH, or whatever it was you rubbed, shot or squirted, bought you more strikeouts, Cy Young awards, and eventually World Series championships. Everything from the time you went to Toronto is now being questioned as to how “real” it is, but that was the deal you made with the pharmacological devil. You made that bargain long ago when you were in Toronto, and now it’s time to pay up.

The pervasive disappointment, hurt and sadness over what has transpired in the Steroid Era stretches from Boston to San Francisco, from New York and Washington, DC to the home of every kid who had a Barry Bonds or Mark McGwire or Ken Caminiti or, yes, Roger Clemens poster on his bedroom walls. The best any athlete can do now is fess up. “Yes, I’m sorry, I gave into the irresistible temptation to stay at the pinnacle of the sport I’ve loved since I was old enough to love anything. I’m sorry I did this. I’m sorry that I’ve let down countless fans, teammates and family members. I know now that it was a mistake, and I wish I could take it all back, but I can’t. All I can do is beg forgiveness”.

But please, Roger, stop the foolishness. You were NOT injected with lidocaine and vitamin B-12. No intelligent person believes that horseshit story. You lied to Mike Wallace and to anyone who would listen, but to save your reputation, which is still formidable in many circles, tell the truth. Just get it over with, and let the chips fall where they may. Who knows, you may still be forgiven. Before this all happened, before you left Boston, you were one of the greatest pitchers I’ve ever seen. Get another win by being a standup guy, once and for all. Please, Roger.