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Yankee Panky # 41: Weird, Wild Stuff
2008-02-06 07:54
by Will Weiss
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

What a strange week. New York over Boston in the Super Bowl. The Mets get Johan Santana. Chuck Knoblauch clamps up in front of congressional attorneys, Andy Pettitte and Roger Clemens maintained their respective stories for the same panel, and Kim Mattingly is in jail.

* * *

The Giants’ win has a similar feel to when the Red Sox beat the Yankees in the 2004 ALCS. Not as great of an underdog story, to be sure, but the Big, Evil, Untouchable Team was toppled, and in dramatic fashion. I’m not even a Giants fan, but I’m gloating, sort of.

It was also a strange week in baseball, when there was baseball news. The Cute Franchise in Queens pulled a major coup with the Santana acquisition. It was odd to read stories, like Ken Davidoff’s giving the Yankees an assist to the Mets. It was even odder to read reactions in both the mainstream and the non-traditional outlets providing an effective, “Well at least he didn’t go to the Red Sox,” vibe. RealGM graded the trade an A for the Mets and a C for the Twins.

HAVE YOU HAD YOUR B-12 TODAY?
Roger Clemens gave a five-hour, 15 minutes deposition Tuesday in Washington Tuesday, and maintained his innocence regarding his alleged steroid and HGH use in the Mitchell Report. Coverage, so far, has been pretty dry, with all the mainstreamers highlighting the denial and the length of the deposition.

I especially loved how the Daily News made it a point to mention the color combination of Clemens’ wardrobe, how he held a “hot beverage cup” and threw a curveball for photographers before heading into the Rayburn Building.

Exhibitions like that are exactly why news people should not deal with sports stories. Cue the circus calliope music.

We’ll see if any curveballs are thrown next Wednesday, when both Pettitte and Clemens give their testimony in front of Congress.

The saddest part of the recent proceedings may be Chuck Knoblauch. When asked about his alleged use of HGH, he said, “It is what it is.” As Emma Span beautifully encapsulated in this space, Bad Luck Chuck’s statement was not as convincing as DeNiro’s “This is this” mantra from “The Deer Hunter.”

LEGENDS OF THE FALL, AND BY FALL, I MEAN PERSONAL DECLINE
Based on the Kim Mattingly story, or the way it’s been presented, it’s easy to draw conclusions why a) Donnie Baseball went to LA; b) why he left his post beside Joe Torre. The mugshot shown on Deadspin typifies the “Picture’s worth 1,000 words” cliché.

IN OTHER NEWS…
Brian Bruney and his outstanding K/BB ratio (yes, that was sarcastic), are back for 2008. A trend to watch this year – and this is a slam-dunk Spring Training feature – is the effect Dave Eiland could have on this pitching staff, as so many of the young arms worked with him either at Trenton or in Columbus/Scranton-Wilkes Barre.

Next week … recap of the fun times at our nation’s capital, and insight of what it’s like for a beat reporter at Spring Training.

Comments (54)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2008-02-06 08:53:51
1.   Raf
Steve @ WW had an entry on Bruney yesterday;
http://www.waswatching.com/archives/2008/02/bruney_wild_but.html

Interesting study he pulled up, which can be found at the link.

Mitch Williams, there's a name I hadn't heard in a while... Also, whatever became of Billy Koch?

2008-02-06 08:57:19
2.   RIYank
Wow, I was about to post that link, Raf. (I even made a Tinyurl for it.)

Here's the gist of the article:

"In the entire history of the Yankees – yes, all their seasons – there's only been one man to pitch a season exclusively out of the Yankees bullpen and have a Runs Saved Above Average (RSAA) total of zero or better, while pitching at least 20 innings in a season, and also posting a BB/9IP mark that was at least "3" BELOW the league average. It's Brian Bruney – who has done it twice for the Yankees."

2008-02-06 09:00:14
3.   williamnyy23
I am not sure the whole revenge for 2004 holds any weight. New York and Boston are both baseball towns first, so, in general, I don't think an NFL (or NBA, NHL, etc.) team can fight the baseball team's battles.

I am sure the biggest Giants fan yesterday was Clemens. If not for all the attention, Clemens would have faced more scrutiny before his deposition. At least he was able to breath a little easier.

The Kim Mattingly story is very sad. I thought all the outlets that printed the mug shot did so in poor taste. That picture had no relevance to the new story, other than to add a touch of sensationalism to what is very unfortunate story.

2008-02-06 09:21:45
4.   horace-clarke-era
I actually agree (jeez, I'm softening here) with William again: the Kim Mattingly photo can only serve to humiliate someone obviously under great stress. Mugshots of celebs following their DUI arrests (LaRussa's?) have become a cottage industry but this is hardly an exoneration.

But really ... today's media? Poor taste? Sensationalism?

Nah.

2008-02-06 09:31:58
5.   Bags
I wish people would stop linking to the photo of Kim Mattingly. I just don't see the purpose. And, for that matter, she's not even a celebrity. She's the wife of a celebrity. Let's give her a break.
2008-02-06 09:56:55
6.   standuptriple
I see a purpose. Public humiliation. The best way to avoid that is to conduct yourself like a normal person.
2008-02-06 10:12:46
7.   horace-clarke-era
6 Right. Let's BRAND her (the forehead? Letter 'A'?) so everyone will always know she deserves to live with humiliation.

And let's go get Dany Heatley and the other athletes who killed people from behind the wheel while drunk and brand them, too.

Humiliation should be forever, right? For the failure to be normal, if nothing else. Figure 'hgh' can fit on a forehead?

2008-02-06 10:27:05
8.   standuptriple
7 I didn't say brand her, but being held accountable for your actions shouldn't be considered a bad thing. I love how everybody rushes to make excuses for people who act like idiots.
Let's get all the murderer/rapists/molesters etc publicly labeled.
2008-02-06 10:32:54
9.   Sliced Bread
Lotta BIG smiles at the Santana press conf.
Willie's so happy looks like he could cry.
Gotta admit lefty looks mighty fine in the Met pinstripes.
New York baseball! clap, clap, clap-clap-clap
2008-02-06 10:42:12
10.   Schteeve
6 "Normal" people have problems with mental illness and alcoholism.
2008-02-06 10:42:38
11.   Schteeve
8 That's a ridiculous strawman.
2008-02-06 11:01:55
12.   JL25and3
If the distinction is beween "normal people" and "people who act like idiots" - sometimes - I guess there aren't a whole lot of normal people around.
2008-02-06 11:09:21
13.   standuptriple
Thanks Dr. Phil(s). Every think that the negative publicity might actually get her to seek some actual help or make some lifestyle changes?
2008-02-06 11:49:33
14.   Raf
9 Of course there are a lot of smiles; Santana's getting a few dump trucks worth of cash & Willie has replaced Tom Glavine's spot in the rotation with Johan Santana.

I'd be estatic myself... Metsies are going into ST with rotation consisting of Santana, Pedro, Oliver Perez, Duque & John Maine.

2008-02-06 11:57:29
15.   Chyll Will
13 Maybe it does, but that's almost certainly not the intent from a paper's point of view. It's very likely sensationalism for the sake of driving up interest for further info, which they hope to provide. If there's a presumption that the papers' intent is innocent, then there also must be a presumption that she's innocent of certain charges as well.

The problem most people here have with it is that we often object to the intent with which the media covers it's info. What's left unsaid and unreported is Don's entire role in this situation.

That said, most of the comments emanating from the section attached to the article are sadly juvenile, and aside from creating embarrassment, I can't see how helpful they could be to Mr. or Mrs. Mattingly. If they're going to say anything at all, why don't they encourage her to get help or offer some assistance of their own? After all, we are getting into their business.

2008-02-06 12:12:25
16.   dianagramr
Ruh-roh ... looks like Rocket may be facing the smoking gun ...

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/07/sports/baseball/07mcnamee.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

"Brian McNamee's lawyers are promising to deliver a bombshell Thursday against Roger Clemens.

McNamee, Clemens's former trainer, will produce "corroborative physical evidence" for congressional investigators that he injected Clemens with performance-enhancing drugs, the trainer's lawyers said Wednesday.

According to a lawyer familiar with the matter, McNamee had syringes used to inject Clemens with steroids and human growth hormone that still had traces of Clemens's blood. McNamee gave those syringes to federal prosecutors last month when they came to New York to meet with McNamee and his lawyer, Earl Ward.

(snip)

The lawyer said McNamee would sometimes inject Clemens at the pitcher's apartment in New York and would then take the syringes with him because he had a hazardous waste disposal at his own home in Queens. The lawyer said McNamee still had some of those syringes even after the Mitchell report was released last December and that he gave them to Internal Revenue Service special agent Jeff Novitzky. The lawyer said McNamee also had gauze pads used to remove blood from Clemens's skin after injections from 1998-2001. Those gauze pads have also been turned over to federal investigators."

2008-02-06 12:33:10
17.   Max
16 The guy kept the evidence for eight years, because he anticipated that one day he would encounter a situation where he would have to rat out his close friend? This whole thing keeps getting stranger by the minute...
2008-02-06 12:46:51
18.   weeping for brunnhilde
3 Agree wholeheartedly, william. Why disgrace the woman further? Whose interests does it serve to publish such a picture?
2008-02-06 12:48:36
19.   weeping for brunnhilde
8 Accountable to whom?

To me?

To you?

She was held accountable, for Christ's sake, she was incarcerated!

2008-02-06 12:50:44
20.   Chyll Will
16 , 17 To personally add to the strangeness, just yesterday I thought of the same exact thing if I were ever in that situation. Why wouldn't you keep that stuff if you knew it was illegal and could possibly come back to haunt you, as most crimes do sooner or later... very smart of MacNamee if it's true and conclusive, but bad if not (and far worse if purposely false).
2008-02-06 12:51:42
21.   rbj
17 Yeah, that does sound real fishy to me. Almost as though Brian was planning on setting Roger up.
2008-02-06 12:58:09
22.   Sliced Bread
I'm no Johnnie Cochran.. but even if such evidence exists, gause pads and syringes with Clemens' blood do not necessarily prove that Clemens asked for PEDs.
Clemens could still claim he thought he was getting B12 -- and how could he possibly know exactly what his trusted friend was actually injecting him with?

Sure it's a stretch, but anybody who wants to believe Clemens might buy that.

McNamee looks like even more of a shady character if he really stashed evidence against his friend. Unfortunately for Clemens, I don't think that scumbaggery does much to discredit McNamee's claims.

(Unless they already have - I honestly haven't been paying attention) Clemens' lawyers now have to offer a reason why McNamee would inject him with the bad stuff without Roger's knowledge or permission. Was McNamee, in an attempt to advance his career as a trainer, being surreptitiously overzealous in his treatment of Clemens, slipping him PEDs? Or was he setting up the pitcher for some reason?

Whatever. This nonsense, and the Kim Mattingly stuff is killing my warm & fuzzy NY Giants/Santana arrival buzz.

2008-02-06 13:18:22
23.   RIYank
Will there really be conclusive DNA evidence after 8 years? I would have thought it would degrade too much, unless MacN. froze the stuff or something.

But I'm not exactly a biochemist.

2008-02-06 13:25:54
24.   Yankee Fan In Boston
9 indeed. willie looks so happy you'd think he was the one who's getting $150M. can't say that i blame him.
2008-02-06 13:33:50
25.   tommyl
23 I think depending on the type of sample it can last awhile. You read all the time about people being cleared for some murder 20 years before. I'm not an expert though.

I'm sorry, but, McNamee just happened to save used syringes for eight years? What credible doctor/nurse/trainer hangs on to biohazard material for eight years? That's beyond weird.

2008-02-06 13:43:15
26.   Max
26 None of us are experts, obviously. However, whenever you read about stories where someone is cleared due to DNA testing, the samples have been collected by police and maintained in a controlled environment.

I'll let the lawyers tackle this one, but physical evidence from a shady guy that suddenly surfaces seven or eight years later seems like it could be attacked by opposing lawyers pretty easily.

So many questions, so few answers.

2008-02-06 13:43:55
27.   Max
26 Oops, meant to refer to 25 in the last post.
2008-02-06 13:44:21
28.   OldYanksFan
8 Possibly the most insensitive post I have ever read here. There are millions of divorces every year, leading to lost homes, broken families and lost dreams. I guess it's OK to go out and get drunks with some friends for fun, but being anguished over losing a 25 year relationship? Yeah, she's a real cunt.
2008-02-06 13:47:25
29.   tommyl
26 For example, Roger has already admitted to receiving B-12 and painkiller shots. How can McNamee prove that he didn't take the needles and dip them in steroids last week? or after the fact?

Also, who the eff saves gauze pads for eight years and puts them in a safe enough place to know they were Roger Clemens' used gauze pads? I mean the guy has kids, does he know which of the pads are his kids and which are Rogers? How? why?

2008-02-06 13:48:45
30.   OldYanksFan
Jeez, is it possible Clemens will go to jail, but McNamee will NOT? Clemens might be a big 'ol redneck, but a big Fish? In the MLB steroids pond? I don't know how this whole affair can be rationalized and then confirmed by Congress.
2008-02-06 13:49:00
31.   tommyl
28 Agreed. The drinking is a symptom, doubtful the cause. I don't think her or Donnie are evil, sometimes things just don't work out. I have nothing but sympathy for the both of them.
2008-02-06 13:58:30
32.   ms october
this really is strange.
guess we sorta got our stained dress.

29 agree fully on both counts - how do we know it isn't b-12 or lidocaine (or whatver painkille roger said was injected into him) and who the hell saves gauze pads?

the boston radio assholes are having a field day with this.

31 and their kids. isn't one still in high school - which is hard enough without having your mom's mug shot posted all over the place.

2008-02-06 14:05:02
33.   tommyl
32 I think sometimes we forget that these guys are actual people. I was reminded of that when reading about Melky this morning. He was so happy to not be traded, and it wasn't about money or being on a contender, he just wanted to stay with his teammates and friends.

I work in academia and at times that can require a lot of moving around. Talking about how elite School A is over B sometimes blurs the fact that you have to pick up and move your whole life there.

Our culture seems riveted by these celebrity meltdowns, and it seems people become more famous for throwing their life down the drain than actually doing anything positive. Its sad, these people, are people and I don't want to revel or be entertained by their pain.

2008-02-06 14:06:19
34.   horace-clarke-era
Well, others have made any point I'd make about 8 following on my own 7 and I won't pile on though it is seriously tempting. It is surely worth at least noting that 'making excuses' was not the issue in play AT ALL. The issue was exploitative humiliation. To denounce the latter is NOT to do the former. Jeez.

OYF, I thought I was being cute awhile back when I asked if 5 years from now Roger might be heading for the HOF or parole. As to your question: once this enters perjury territory, betting is a real mug's game. Yes, Roger could easily, if convicted of that, do more time than a plea-bargainer convicted of administering steroids. (Or not convicted at all on an immunity deal, sometimes.)

I was also more sure than I should have been that Clemens and his lawyers had to have been positive there were no guns/syringes or cancelled cheques lying around before he was deposed.

The timing's interesting in another way: Roger now has a 'fix-it' chance with his real testimony ... in theory. With the info out there, and DNA or blood match (it lasts a LONG time, but yes, tracing the continuity of possession CAN undermine evidence based on it) about to be requested, he may have to have a long think in his thoughtful spot before testimony day.

Having said that, can one even imagine him reversing ground now after all the stuff trotted out? Personally I find nothing surprising about someone keeping records, evidence of various kinds for a whole variety of possible reasons ... some of which are surfacing now. Hell, blackmail's another.

2008-02-06 14:07:19
35.   Max
32 the boston radio assholes are having a field day with this

Anything to take their mind off 18-1*

2008-02-06 14:12:16
36.   wsporter
29 It's called 'the Chain of Evidence'. Independent and verifiable information about where it came from, where has it been and who has handled it. In this case it simply doesn't exist. The monkeys in congress ought are fully aware of that and should be fully aware that the 'Physical' evidence adduced by Mr McNamee is not credible and what ever probative value it holds is completely outweighed by that fact. This is purely and simply a dog and pony show. It makes me sick that our elected representatives, whom we pay, are wasting our money on this crap when there are still Weapons of Mass Destruction to be found in Iraq. Ooops that's right, that's why they're doing this; to help us forget about that. Sorry!
2008-02-06 14:16:26
37.   Chyll Will
35 ,36 hmmm... interesting how this all relates to Boston in one way or another. Where's Kevin Bacon when you need him?
2008-02-06 14:18:00
38.   tommyl
36 Maybe Brian McNamee has those WMDs in his basement somewhere. Well its not like the stock market is plumetting, unemployment is rising, people are losing their homes and soldiers are dying overseas. Without those things to worry about, why shouldn't Congress entertain us by playing pin the syringe on the pitcher?
2008-02-06 14:46:09
39.   williamnyy23
35 It's funny...those same radio geniuses stated that until they see definitive evidence of a taped walk through, Walsh's claims couldn't be considered credible. Of course, they'll take McNamee's claims at face value.

36 The unverifiable chain of evidence would completely invalidate its value. Of course, even if McNamee does have authentic items, it proves nothing that we don't know. If he has syringes with steroids, what does that prove? Well, it proves McNamee has access to steroids. We already know that. If he has gauze pads with Clemens blood, what does the prove (besides McNamee is a sicko)? Well, it proves that McNamee gave Clemens injections. Again, we already know that.

This seems like a highly dubious claim to me. If McNamee was so concerned about backing up his claim at some point in the future (even though there wasn't much concern about PEDs in 2000/2001), wouldn't something simpler like a taped conversation have made more sense? If anything, these claims make me more suspicious of McNamee. It's almost as if he is trying to contoct evidence and latched onto our culture's fascination with DNA.

2008-02-06 14:55:51
40.   Emma Span
Re: the Kim Mattingly story...

In half-hearted defense of the media (hey, someone's got to do it!), arrests and mugshots are, for better or worse, in the public domain; I totally agree that the Mattinglys' marital issues are generally none of our business, and I don't like the tone of some of the coverage either, but it's not as if paparazzi were staking out their home. It would be very hard for any newspaper to ignore the story knowing that its competitors (on and offline) would be covering it, and printing the mugshot, and that readers would be interested. And if we're being honest here, as much as I do honestly feel the incident was a private family matter... well, it's not like I didn't read the story.

Obviously, I'm not saying it's not a lousy situation or that I don't feel for the Mattinglys -- I grew up in the 80s and so this is sort of like reading about Mary Magdalene getting busted -- but I don't think the press was out of line in covering it, even if their tone may have left a lot to be desired.

Whether mug shots should be made public in the first place is another issue ...

2008-02-06 15:04:14
41.   williamnyy23
40 I have no problem with covering the story. It's the mug shot that bothered me. What about the story is advanced by printing that picture? It's way too easy to argue that "everyone is doing it". It would have been very easy for a media outlet to excercise a little journalistic integrity by not printing the mug shot, but so many failed to do, which is sad.
2008-02-06 15:30:37
42.   horace-clarke-era
40 Emma, if your point is that WE as readers, viewers, surfers get the media we deserve ... I entirely agree. Actually I made this point (getting us back to baseball, almost!) when many here and everywhere in sight were dumping all over owners, union bosses and Bud notWeiser for the steroid story ... my point there being that we, as fans, gave clear signals we wanted big homers from big bruisers ... and were happy to ignore accumulating data that the game was rife with steroids.

This doesn't exonerate the game's hierarchy (nor, flipping it back, someone caught drunk at the wheel of a car!) but I do agree that when we quickly flip to the mugshot to see HOW messed-up that movie star or baseball manager (or separated wife of an ex-player) looks ... we feed the media's inclination to feed us back. We're part of this, in other words.

William's essentially right to my mind: when 'everyone's doing it' is the name of the game, then integrity or judgment are abandoned.

As for Roger and McNamee'e evidence, if it doesn't hold up by rules of evidence it won't hold up. Roger is not short of legal talent, you know. The panic among some feels like a fear it DOES hold up.

As for Congress with better things to do? Well hell, yeah. No-brainer but this one started a long way back, before the game made even the slightest effort (Mitchell=slightest effort) to sort itself out, and it would be irresponsible in a different way to drop it now, in progress.

I'm aware that some thought it was wrong at the outset, so this reply would be irrelevant, but anti-trust debates get started up again, if so and those are even more boring than the rest of this!

2008-02-06 15:39:56
43.   Sliced Bread
Many of the media outlets that covered the Mattingly story probably would not have -- if not for the mugshot. My guess is the "hey, lookit this!" visual generated much of the coverage. The picture certainly pushed it to the front-end of the rags.
Makes the whole thing even sadder.
Mattingly's family didn't deserve that shit.
2008-02-06 15:53:52
44.   RIYank
Hey, on a much lighter note:
Have you all seen that the Fire Joe Morgan team has broken anonymity? Jon Weisman has an entry on it, or you can just pop over there and look.

In brief: they are television writers. So I guess they're all on strike -- no wonder they have time to blog so much. Ken Tremendous, in particular, is pretty famous, and in fact I've seen him on tv. But I'll let you read the rest yourselves...

2008-02-06 16:22:58
45.   The Mick 536
40 I feel sorry for her, because she has a problem, the origins of which I don't know, but if they were disclosed, I would read them, like they were a novel, which they would probably be like, since nothing is really totally objective, and, then, I would, as non-judgmentally as I could, say that I feel for both of them.

And, I feel sorry for all of us for the loss of your voice in the big arena.

2008-02-06 17:01:37
46.   OldYanksFan
44 Got a Link? I'd like to read about FJM.
2008-02-06 17:23:10
47.   RIYank
46 Well, just look near the top of this page in the right column to see the Dodger Thoughts link (that's Jon Weisman).

Or go to firejoemorgan.com, it's now the second post from the top (or just click ABOUT US at the top of the page).

2008-02-06 18:04:17
48.   OldYanksFan
Wow - always thought FJM was a cut (or 2) above the rest, and now I now why. Ken Tremendous: He wrote for six seasons on NBC's Saturday Night Live until 2004. Soon after, he became producer and writer for The Office on NBC.
That's impressive.
2008-02-06 18:16:57
49.   Bags
My point wasn't really about the paid media. I understand the pressures they are faced with and why they publish this sort of thing.

My point was that i wish those of us in the social media (e.g. bloggers, commenters) wouldn't exacerbate the situation by linking to the mug shot. We aren't constrained by the same rules.

2008-02-06 23:55:07
50.   weeping for brunnhilde
42 Just ftr, I never intimated to anyone anywhere that I wanted big homers from big bruisers.

Not a single time, ever.

Just saying. :)

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2008-02-07 04:58:46
51.   horace-clarke-era
50 'k everyone, the opera-lover's off the hook for McGwire-Sosa post-strike. All clear? :)
2008-02-07 08:07:29
52.   weeping for brunnhilde
51 :)
2008-02-07 09:20:12
53.   wsporter
51 Clear. or Cream?
2008-02-07 18:53:14
54.   weeping for brunnhilde
53 Cream. Always cream.

In Vermont one time I ordered a milkshake and the girl behind the counter asked me if I wanted that with milk or half-and-half.

Guess which one I chose.

Yum.

Mmmm.

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