Clemens and clearing one’s name

Now that the verdict is in on the Roger Clemens trial and he was found not guilty on all charges, can we finally put a stop to this ridiculous waste of our American tax dollars? Please!

I am not a law expert. I’m sure those of you that have heard me speak or read what I’ve written before are not shocked to find this out. But just as a person with what I consider pretty good common sense, I knew from Day One that the government had no chance of winning this case.

My law knowledge stems from watching Law & Order, NCIS and pretty much any show that has to do with the law. What I’m saying is that I ain’t no rocket scientist, but common sense told me right away that the prosecution’s physical evidence had been stored in an old beer can. Ryan Braun’s suspension was overturned because the man who collected the sample — which by the way was triple-sealed — took the sample home with him to ship at the next earliest possible opportunity, which to my understanding is following protocol in that situation.

But the government went ahead with this trial anyway, spending no telling how much of our tax money in doing so. On a case that to anyone with common sense at all was unwinnable.

In the case of steroids or PEDs of any kind, Major League Baseball has done a great job of putting the new testing in place and enforcing the penalties that come with testing positive.

The problem as I see it is this: because we had a “Steroid Era” in baseball, anyone who had a long and productive career during that time is guilty until proven innocent. That is the exact opposite of our legal system. In our country, a person is innocent until proven guilty. The problem here is that Roger Clemens should be a first-ballot Hall of Famer, but the people who vote on the Hall of Fame had made up their minds before the trial. If there is any justice in this case, the voters will take into consideration what a jury found after hearing all of the evidence and vote Clemens in on the first ballot. But I promise that won’t happen.

I have stated many times that if you are proven to have used steroids — or if you have admitted to using them – you should not be a Hall of Famer. In this case, Clemens was found not guilty. What he can never get back is his good name. That has been tarnished forever, and it appears the people doing the accusing were wrong.

When we look back at our game, there have been what I call “freaks of nature.” Nolan Ryan was still throwing 95 miles per hour at 46 years old. No one ever questioned Nolan. Nor should they. He had a work ethic second to none. Clemens was cut from that same cloth. When Roger was with Boston, he would not report to Spring Training early, because he worked harder at home than they did in Spring Training. There are and always will be guys who are just superior athletes with superior work ethics.

What will this lead to now? If it were me, I would be filing a suit against the government for defamation of character. And guess what folks, it will be our tax dollars hard at work there, too.

It is time to put all of this Steroid Era garbage behind us. Between MLB and the Players Association, the problem has been resolved. I for one am sick to death of hearing about it. It was a big black eye on our game. It is healed.


Off subject, but I just watched you and Al Leiter discussing the Peralta / pine tar incident. Let me start by saying that I have never thrown a baseball in a situation that would require me having a better grip, nor have I ever used a rosin bag or tar while throwing. My question is regarding your statement that using pine tar would not alter the path of the ball. It seems to me that the added grip would allow the pitcher to generate more spin on the ball, which would then add more break than he would otherwise be able to achieve. Is this not true in your opinion?

I’d like to agree with you, Mitch, on the problem of the Steroid Era garbage being resolved. Unfortunately, until every player becomes enshrined in the Hall who excelled during the “Steroid Era”, I think this will carry on for quite some time yet to come. There are always players on the outside of the Hall of Fame for whom the doors are never opened, at least not in their lifetimes. Ron Santo comes to mind, first and foremost, but there are other guys for whom others can make Hall of Fame arguments, like Jim Kaat, Ken Boyer, John Franco, Jack Morris, among many others. There are players from the “Steroid Era” who will fall short, whether or not they took performance enhancers. Bernie Williams seems to fit in that group. A pitcher like a Mike Mussina, who I think will be there someday.

Was the Clemens trial a waste of taxpayer dollars? To a large extent, certainly, but Clemens would presumably not have been the first to lie to Congress about usage of performance enhancing drugs. See Bonds, Palmeiro. McGwire at least insisted he wasn’t interested in talking about the past, which, in hindsight, was him saying he did not want to incriminate himself.

I’ve just gotta say, Mitch, that watching you and Plesac break down the game we love is awesome, having watched you guys work on the mound. Growing up, some of my buddies and I, playing ball, would deliberately try to mimic your delivery (like we did with so many pitchers of the time), and yours was the most challenging to get right and yet at the same time the most entertaining for all of us. :)

Keep up the good writing, Mitch! It’s always worth a read!

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