I think, perhaps, the reason nobody cares is because Clemens shouldn’t even be back in a courtroom. And we, as savvy connoisseurs of the media, shouldn’t be here, either. Clemens should have been taken care of a year ago in his first trial but that was severely botched by the prosecution when they entered impermissible evidence to the court causing the judge to call a mistrial. It was a media circus with no real ending.
So here we all sit, almost a year since that mistrial was declared, wondering if a well-known professional baseball player, maybe one of the best pitchers in the game, will get away with lying to Congress in 2008. Because that’s what it’s about, right? Nobody can lie to Congress, under oath, and get away with it. If you do and get caught…well then, buddy, go straight to jail. And don’t pass “Go” on your way there. We, as Americans, should firmly believe in this notion and I certainly do. But, let me say, there are more important reasons why I believe Clemens should spend the better part of a summer behind bars.
For one, the guy has no humility. I’ve said this time and time again. If Clemens was like any one of the steroid users of the past who admitted to using, I’d have no problem with ol’ Rog. Admit it and move on in life. I think everyone understands the pressures of using steroids/PHDs that went on during the so-called steroid era. Everyone was using. But for whatever reason, his head grew too big for reality, (maybe it was the ’roids), and he just doesn’t want to admit what we all know. Not only does he think we are all stupid enough to believe him but he keeps pushing it further and further.
But I’ve said this all before. This column is about new beginnings.
The seventh week of Clemens federal perjury trial began earlier this week, and it sounds like the prosecution is ready to rest its case and hand it over to the defense. As I’ve said, this trial has not been a media-frenzied circus in comparison to Part I, but it seems to contain all the same players and arguments. Over the course of the first 19 days of the trial, according to MLB.com, the prosecution has called 21 witnesses, who have offered tedious testimony to prove Clemens lied before Congress in 2008.
Of course, at the heart of the trial is Clemens’ statement at that congressional hearing when he said, “Let me be clear: I have never used steroids or HGH.”
Brian McNamee, Clemens’s onetime strength and conditioning trainer, said on the stand that he injected Clemens with PHDs numerous times. McNamee even kept a needle and two cotton balls (in a beer can) from when he injected Clemens, for a situation like the one he’s in now. (Makes me wonder what brand of beer they were drinking at the time. Clemens sounds like a Coors Light kind of guy, if you ask me.)
Forensic science identified Clemens’ DNA on the needle and the two cotton balls McNamee kept over the years, although there is no proven link so far between the needle and any steroids.
Since this is round two in trying to prove to a jury that Clemens lied to members of Congress, the judge wants to keep things moving at a decent pace and has imposed time limits for direct and cross examinations. This trial is so exciting that two jurors were excused from their job for falling asleep, and as of Tuesday, a third juror may not be able to return because her mother has died. If that’s the case, there will be 12 jurors and one alternate left.
In a perfect world, the jury, when they reach their guilty verdict, would stand up and tell Mr. Clemens that the reason they found him guilty was simply because he was able to play so well for so long and that his midlife growth spurt was obviously connected to steroid use. Case closed. They don’t need McNamee’s dirty needle. They don’t need forensic scientists. The jury needs to open its eyes and say yes, you were an aging baseball player in the steroid era and your chest grew six inches thicker during the twilight of your career. Steroids. Plain and simple.
“We the jury are not idiots, and we find the accused, Roger Clemens, not only guilty of perjury but guilty of wasting our time, our government’s time and just being an overall jackass,” the jury should say after a mere 60 seconds of deliberating. “We herby sentence you to six years of hard labor as pitching coach for the Seattle Mariners – without pay.”
OK, so I am dreaming with that scenario but I honestly can’t imagine what would be worse. Prison or the Seattle Mariners? (By the way, jurors, if you read this, you may take that statement at no cost.)
I honestly have no hope that Clemens will be found guilty. There will be some weird twist, and he will be let go. He will remain innocent. If this is the case, I’d like Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig to take this in his own hands and do us fans some justice. (Commissioners have the leeway to do these things, I guess.) If Clemens somehow finds his way off the hook this time, Selig should make an immediate statement saying Clemens will never be allowed to become a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame. This penalty may actually hurt Clemens more than a year of prison would.
Selig could be a bit lenient though and say Clemens will be eligible for Cooperstown as soon as Pete Rose is inducted.
Once again, I’m dreaming.
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