Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
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I'm Serious
2008-01-05 06:04
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

Are the Yankees really interested in making a deal for Johan Santana? According to the New York Post:

"I'm still leaning towards doing it," Hank Steinbrenner told the Associated Press.

"There's others leaning not to do it. There are some others that are leaning to do it also. Disagreements within the organization. Nothing major, but just different opinions. I've changed my opinion a couple times."

..."I always told [Cashman], 'I'm going to make the final decisions because when you're the owner you should,' " Steinbrenner said. "He is the general manager, and he has the right to talk me out of it."

Tyler Kepner had a good piece on the power structure of the organization in the Times yesterday:

Hank's brother, Hal Steinbrenner, is just as powerful as a successor to their father, the principal owner George Steinbrenner, who is essentially retired. Hal Steinbrenner's primary responsibility is to oversee the Yankees' finances, and he is reluctant to add another huge contract.

According to several people who have spoken to the brothers recently, that is the crux of the debate in the organization over whether to trade for Johan Santana of the Minnesota Twins. Both Steinbrenners want the team to keep winning. Hal Steinbrenner would try to do it with the existing payroll of roughly $200 million. Hank is more inclined to add Santana, largely to keep him away from the rival Boston Red Sox.

Meanwhile, in super serious business, Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, and Chuck Knoblauch have all been asked to testify in front of a congressional committee on January 16th. This renders tomorrow's 60 Minutes Wallace-Clemens interview virtually meaningless. The stage is now set for the big boys. And, behind-the-scenes, this must be a real pickle for pals Clemens and Pettitte. It's one thing for Clemens to stick to his story, even in front of congress, but under oath, after having sworn on a bible, will Pettitte tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?

Yeesh. Is it hot in here or is it just me?

Comments
2008-01-05 06:24:26
1.   rbj
That is super duper serious. Don't commit perjury in front of Congress. Especially if the DoJ wants an example to show it isn't going after Bonds because of race.

The thing is, if it is only Roger's word vs. Brian's word, then it is going to be hard to prove perjury beyond a reasonable doubt.

Roger's other option is to take the Fifth, which basically is tantamount to a confession; just not something you can use in a courtroom.

Rocket's got some heavy thinking to do here.

2008-01-05 07:26:39
2.   liam
this is very serious.. and unfortunately, is completely outside the bounds of what congress should be using their time for.

our economy is going to the shitter, we're still occupying iraq, and oh yea, one sport out of the five major sports is testifying in congress (again). you dont think they use drugs in football? hockey? fuck it, they even use it to win RACES.

it sucks because baseball was the only one to 'play ball' with congress, so it is the only sport that will continue to be held under the microscope. its like the snitch from a mob movie, the one that was promised immunity, and is constantly badgered for information every time a crime is brought to the police.

the criticism that they should have answered mitchell the first time around is obviously now a moot point, because this would have been a subsequent activity no matter what they did. why aren't they asking anyone else to come in?

will they use the fifth? i would. i would if i was andy, and i would if i was roger. especially after they go after bonds and try to send him to jail. i dont agree that this is "tantamount to a confession", because that is why the 5th amendment was created.

as we enter the playoffs in football, it just reminds me that the level this has reached is absurd. i read somewhere (here i believe), that football players are regarded as warriors, while baseball players are supposed to represent the everyday man, doing things we all can or have done on a sandlot- which is why the steroid problem strikes us so dearly. but federal prosecution for the use of steroids is an embarrassment, THE PUNISHMENT DOESN'T FIT THE CRIME. would the players have used steroids if they knew congress would prosecute them? i bet they wouldn't have.

the mitchell report failed to answer the questions that we all wanted to know, and instead went the route of naming who might have known someone who's roommate may have tested positive for pot oops i mean steroids.

think im mad about this? :)

2008-01-05 07:31:17
3.   JL25and3
1 I would expect Congress to offer him transactional immunity, in which case he won't be able to take the Fifth.

Perhaps it will be hard to prove perjury beyond a reasonable doubt. But it would be incredibly stupid for Roger to perjure himself under that assumption. He's got an enormous amount to lose and relatively little to gain - a HOF plaque, perhaps, though just being prosecuted might well put that at risk. If people believe he's a liar, it may not matter if he's convicted of it (cf. Mark McGwire).

Among other things, he'd better hope that he never said a word about it to anyone else, like Andy Pettitte. Again, maybe it wouldn't be enough to convict Clemens - but no one would believe Clemens over Pettitte, certainly not under oath. There's zero chance that Andy will swear to God and then lie.

2008-01-05 07:43:13
4.   Yu-Hsing Chen
Hank is eithe a moron (if he really is telling every truth about the team) or a genius (if he's actually mixing in a good deal of half -truth / lies in all those gibberish) i'm not sure which yet, let's wait and see i guess.

still though, he's not really as nutty as George in the early days were... yet.

2008-01-05 07:43:37
5.   JL25and3
2 it sucks because baseball was the only one to 'play ball' with congress, so it is the only sport that will continue to be held under the microscope.

No. Baseball is held under the microscope because it's the only sport that has antitrust immunity. Congress can decide to take that away, as they should have done decades ago.

the criticism that they should have answered mitchell the first time around is obviously now a moot point, because this would have been a subsequent activity no matter what they did.

I agree, that criticism has been poorly thought out to begin with. Let's say Clemens had spoken to Mitchell; what would have happened? The report would read exactly the same way, with one sentence added: "Clemens spoke to our investigators and categorically denied the allegations." Like that would help?

i dont agree that this is "tantamount to a confession", because that is why the 5th amendment was created.

In legal terms, that's true. But in terms of public opinion, 1 is correct. Outside a courtroom, we're not bound by the Fifth Amendment - and people will indeed see it as tantamount to a confession.

Besides, as I said, I would expect them to receive transactional immunity, so they can't take the Fifth.

federal prosecution for the use of steroids is an embarrassment, THE PUNISHMENT DOESN'T FIT THE CRIME. would the players have used steroids if they knew congress would prosecute them?

They're not being prosecuted, and I don't expect that they will be (unless they perjure themselves). As far as I know, there's been no federal prosecution for simple steroid possession and use. Congress certainly isn't prosecuting anyone because, other than impeachment, they can't. They're being called to testify, and if they're offered immunity, the testimony can't be used against them.

2008-01-05 07:44:29
6.   JL25and3
4 Give him time. It took George a few years to hit his stride.
2008-01-05 08:35:05
7.   markp
Baseball being under the microscope has zero to do with anti-trust. All of the major sports leagues do business exactly the same way. The NFL has a lot more power over its players than MLB does, and none of the communities any pro sports teams are have any say over what any of them do. MLB is under the microscope because nobody's willing to go after the NFL, where HGH et al are the lay of the land.

The punishment is that being called before the idiots in congress is punishment because everyone assumes anyone called is guilty. If you watched the previous "hearings" you saw a bunch of really ignorant congressmen make completely irrelevant speeches condemning MLB and especially Fehr, the players, and the union while giving Selig and the owners a pass.

This shows what a joke the "investigation" was: no Red Sox, lots of Yankees, a couple of guys making a deal being the key (only?) sources. It was a witch hunt to discredit the union, and congress is following suit.

2008-01-05 09:15:12
8.   JL25and3
7 No, baseball does business differently from any other sport, and antitrust has everything to do with it. They're granted a monopoly - there's no possibility of another major league going up against it, like the ABA or the AFL. Teams in football can up and move as the owner sees fit; they can also move into each other's territories as they like. Just ask Al Davis about that. But "restraint of trade" doesn't exist in MLB, because they're fully allowed restrain it.

That's why baseball is constantly bowing and scraping whenever Congress says boo.

2008-01-05 09:52:58
9.   The Mick 536
Watching the players testify will be as exciting as seeing them perform in the post-season. Their appearances before Congress should not be confused with the Casey/Mickey inquiries concerning anti-trust exemptions. "I second whatever Casey said."

This is real serious business and the people who ask the questions are usually far better prepared than the people who are answering them. While allowed to speak with counsel, every consultation will be scrutinized, especially since the taking of five (not to be confused with an intentional walk) will be considered by our Bill of Rights skeptical public as a tacit admission. Remember, too, how well Markie, Sammie and Raffie did?

2008-01-05 10:19:29
10.   Comrade Al
So, when is Ortiz testifying?
2008-01-05 11:07:29
11.   RIYank
JL, baseball is most definitely not the only sport with an antitrust exemption! I guess you weren't following a couple of weeks ago when Leahy and Specter flexed some judiciary committee muscle in their letter to the NFL over the NFL Network.

"Now that the NFL is adopting strategies to limit distribution of game programming to their own networks, Congress may need to reexamine the need and desirability of their continued exemption from the Nation's antitrust laws."

That got the NFL's attention, no doubt about it.

2008-01-05 11:24:55
12.   OldYanksFan
Clemens was with the Red Sox for 12 years, a 'hired gun' for the Yankees for 5 1/2 years, and 'other' for 5 years. Yet people seem to consider him a Yankee. Does this seem strange to anyone else? I have always considered Clemens a Red Sox (Red Sock?).

I really hope Roger is telling the truth. I have to think his lawyers told him that opening this can of worms MIGHT lead to congressional testimony. His lawyer DID warn him of this, right? He knew this might happen, right?

Is his ego that big that he would go this distance even if he was guilty? Would he risk his entire rep and possibly purgery charges out of 'false indignation'?

Honestly, early in his career I thought he (and Boggs) were 2 of the biggest redneck assholes in baseball. As Yankees, I gained some respect for both, especially Clemens for his work ethic. But if he IS guilty, then this truly puts him on Keith Olbermann's list of 'worst persons in the world'.

I mean this gives 'Hot Stove' a whole other meaning.

2008-01-05 11:40:14
13.   KJC
7 "This shows what a joke the "investigation" was: no Red Sox, lots of Yankees"

I assume you mean "no big name Red Sox" (besides Mo Vaughn, Clemens, and Canseco) -- IIRC, weren't there nearly as many Sox players as Yanks?

2008-01-05 11:50:27
14.   bob34957
3 Roger is more than just a ball player: He possesses physical tools plus discretion to make appropriate choices. I believe before making a public statement regarding the accusations of steroids that he carefully measured his words, with counsel, and comprehended the legal ramifications. In the end, Roger will be legally vindicated, but will have tarnished his baseball reputation.
2008-01-05 12:09:20
15.   williamnyy23
Hank is killing me...just when I finally convince myself that holding onto Hughes is the best move, know he is leaning toward Santana. Why couldn't they have done this when I was in favor of the deal!

On a more serious note, it does concern me that the final decision rests with Hank. I realize that the Yankees have been very successful with an all powerful owner overriding his GM, but in this case, I think Hank is far less seasonsed than his dad had become and may be more apt to make an impulse decision. It also concerns me that Cashman may get fed up with this arrangement and the team will wind up with a merry-go-round of YES men GMs as in the 1980s.

As for Clemens and Congress, if he testifies that he didnot do what is alleged, I think he should be given the benefit of the doubt until proven otherwise. If he declines, well, then whether he is innocent or not, he can't complain about how he is judged.

2008-01-05 12:35:40
16.   rbj
Maybe we should cut to the chase and have Bud suspend Hank for a couple of years; it really helped the Yankees lay the foundation of the current dynasty.
2008-01-05 13:08:42
17.   JL25and3
11 Other sports may have limited antitrust exemptions, but baseball - and only baseball - is more or less completely exempt. It's been that way since 1922, when the Supreme Court ruled that it wasn't really interstate commerce; that decision's been upheld for baseball, but uncomfortably, and nothing like the same protection exists in other sports.

http://tinyurl.com/3cn3ce
http://tinyurl.com/37x8rm

among others.

2008-01-05 14:09:17
18.   JL25and3
15 I'm not sure I see a good reason to believe Clemens under oath any more or less than McNamee under oath.
2008-01-05 14:34:29
19.   JL25and3
19 William, as a quick response to yesterday's horse, dead as it may be:

You were dead-on balls accurate about lidocaine and B12. Thanks for the info. Man, that B12 shot must hurt like hell.

If you're not concerned with the recovery aspects of banned substances, OK. But it seems to me that recovery time would be essential for an aging athlete. Also keep in mind that the testing program had Swiss-cheese holes.

Finally: yeah, that is a pretty complicated story. It's not a straightforward account of a guy with incentive to lie, because you have to make up the incentive. Maybe they said this, and maybe he thought they said that, and that they really meant the other, so there's his incentive. Lots of inference with no real basis.

But if you look at it the other way, it really is easy. We know that McNamee had an incentive to tell the truth - that's not guesswork - and that Clemens would have an incentive to lie. Everything falls into place.

2008-01-05 14:53:50
20.   markp
in re no Red Sox: no player is listed as having done anything while they were with that club. It's only after they leave or before they got there.
2008-01-05 18:57:25
21.   OldYanksFan
19 I think it just pure guesswork as to whether McNamee had motivation to lie, or to tell the truth.

Here's my take. He was motivated to save his ass and stay out of jail, or get the most lenient time/conditions he could. Whether that amounted to telling the truth or lying is anyone's guess.

The guy is no saint, and has been shady a lot of his life. I think giving someone enough date-rape drug to almost kill them, with the intent of molesting their unconscious body, tells us a great deal about this guy's true character.

2008-01-05 19:04:35
22.   JL25and3
21 Not entirely. It may be guesswork as to whether he actually is telling the truth or lying. But his motivation not to lie is entirely transparent, and requires no suppositions. His motivation to lie involves a lot of ifs.
2008-01-05 19:06:21
23.   JL25and3
21 And: he is a dirtbag, no question. Btuu I have no particular reason to believe Clemens, either.

I view every player who was active at that time with skepticism. A lot of them were clearly using. What reason do I have to believe that Clemens wasn't?

2008-01-05 19:06:49
24.   JL25and3
23 Btuu???? Wtf????
2008-01-05 19:34:32
25.   Bama Yankee
24 British Thermal Unit University. It's where people go to study about heating and air conditioning. ;-)
2008-01-05 20:34:40
26.   OldYanksFan
From The Bronx Block: "Andy Phillips and Matt DeSalvo signed with other teams, the Reds and Braves. I really liked both of those guys and wish them the best."

22 So if it turned out (and I'm not saying it did) that lying would ultimtely put him in a better place in terms of lesser punishment, that he would be truthful anyway?

This guy was a cop for 3 years and all but raped a female Yankee employee. He is not dumb and no virgin. I believe he would say whatever gets him out from under.

2008-01-05 21:12:20
27.   Chyll Will
25 Located in the ctneer of the btuufiul Bataan Pnnesinula. >;)
2008-01-05 21:15:06
28.   Chyll Will
24 A bronx cheer or the school's rally call?
2008-01-05 23:09:15
29.   williamnyy23
19 I think what I meant to imply is that I do not really care much about HGH because there really is no evidence that it either supports muscle build-up or acts like a fatigue cure-all. If anything, HGH might help in the healing of more serious injuries, but Clemens really never had one.

As for the Swiss cheese holes in the testing program, I think that's not really accurate. Sure, there was 24 hours notice and other small loopholes, but there's no way one could take the anabolic Clemens was accused of and hope to avoid detection unless you wanted to play Russian roulette.

As for McNamee's motive, well, I disagree with your take. I happen to think he was assuming ZERO risk by lying about Clemens. Because there is no way Clemens can prove he is lying, it makes perfect sense that he would offer up Clemens with the expectation that such a big fish will ensure he does not do jail time. In my opinion, that doesn't require any assumptions other than McNamee decided to do whatever it takes to avoid going to jail.

It seems as if you have a predisposition to believe that Clemens took steroids. That's fine. You're entitled to an opinion. My only point is that if one truly tries to be objective, the evidence against Clemens isn't very compelling, especially when there is a lot of evidence suggesting McNamee is not the most trust worthy witness (i.e., he was accused of rape, he lied about his involvement with steroids in the past and both David Justice and Canseco have claimed portions of his testimony is untrue).

2008-01-05 23:13:29
30.   williamnyy23
23 I guess you can take that tact, but where do you draw the line. Even though I might have nagging suspicions, I would still want to see convincing evidence that a player was juiced before trying to discount any of his accomplishments.
2008-01-06 04:58:03
31.   JL25and3
29 Sigh. Again, the "zero risk" argument involves assumptions, on your part and on McNamee's. It's a daring supposition, because you just don't know what might come up. As with Clemens, there may not be absolute proof, but there may be strong suggestions that McNamee's lying, and then he's screwed. We have the benefit of hindsight; we know Clemens doesn't have a shred of supporting evidence. How cold McNamee be sure of that?

30 Why do I need to draw the line? I know for certain that a lot of players were using. I see all of them as equally likely, or unlikely.

And seriously - when you heard the news, did you think, "Roger Clemens? Steroids? That's unpossible!" Pettitte surprised me, but was anyone really surprised by Clemens? Not just "presumption of innocence," but genuine surprise that it could be Clemens?

2008-01-06 05:03:09
32.   JL25and3
29 Also, in terms of the testing program: you're assuming that Clemens didn't become any more sophisticated in his steroid use.
2008-01-06 06:13:52
33.   Bama Yankee
27 Founded by former NH Gov. John Sununu after a failed continuum of years as a vacuum cleaner salesman...

28 That's just BTUU trash talk, it stands for: "Where's the freon?" and naturally it means that you're not cool... ;-)

2008-01-06 07:08:26
34.   Raf
30 It's sooo obvious! Look at pictures of Clemens when he was in high school, and look at him now! He's much bigger! He threw a bat a Piazza! Clearly roid rage!

Anyway, it doesn't matter; in the court of public opinion, he's a juicer, and even if he provides evidence to the contrary, it won't mean anything.

33 Sir, I applaud you. Thanks for the laugh :)

2008-01-06 08:03:06
35.   JL25and3
26 That's not what I said at all.

34 That's not what I said at all.

2008-01-06 08:08:16
36.   Raf
35 I know; williamnyy23 said it :). It was a sarcastic take on what some have deemed "convincing evidence"
2008-01-06 09:36:44
37.   Chyll Will
35 I know who you are now! ...Raymond Babbitt?
2008-01-06 15:18:40
38.   JL25and3
37 Or J. Alfred Prufrock.

T - 42 and counting.

2008-01-06 16:18:54
39.   Chyll Will
38 Hmmph... where's yankz when you need him? He got the W.S. Porter reference right from the get-go... now if you had stuttered and referenced T.S Monk, I'd've been satisfied >;)
2008-01-06 16:21:01
40.   Chyll Will
38 (C'mon... it's not that bad...)

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