Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Friends (How Many of us Have Them?)
2008-01-06 09:51
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

The ones you can depend on.

Pat Jordan has a column on friendship, Mike Wallace, Roger Clemens, Brain McNamee, Tom Seaver, and, of course, himself, over at The Baseball Analysts today:

I had a chance to become friends with Mr. Clemens in 2001, when I interviewed him for a profile in the New York Times Sunday magazine. But, alas, our friendship did not take. Despite the fact that I, like Mr. Wallace, felt I too had been objective in my profile, Mr. Clemens did not concur. In fact, he called me up after the story appeared and berated me over the telephone. When I asked him what he didn't like about the story, he said, "I didn't read it." I responded, "Then how do you know you don't like it?" He said he was told by his "friend," and the co-author of one of Mr. Clemens' books, Peter Gammons, the ESPN-TV analyst, that he should hate it. In fact, Mr. Clemens hated my profile so fervently that he had me banned from the Yankees' clubhouse during the years he remained with the team.

I would later learn that one of the many things Mr. Clemens hated about my profile of him was my description of his fawning relationship at the time with his friend Mr. McNamee, who lived in the pool house of Mr. Clemens' Houston estate. On the first day I interviewed Mr. Clemens in Houston I had dinner with him and Mr. McNamee at the most exclusive steak house in Houston. The bill was for over $400, which I paid. Mr. Clemens said, "I'll get you tomorrow." The next day he bought me a taco at a Mexican Restaurant. But the point of my profile of Mr. Clemens was less about his parsimoniousness than it was his strange relationship with Mr. McNamee. During the dinner at the steakhouse Mr. Clemens asked Mr. McNamee for his permission to have a steak (McNamee nodded) and a baked potato (McNamee nodded again, but added a caveat, "Only dry."). The same scenario played itself out at the Mexican Restaurant. Clemens pointed to an item on the menu and Mr. McNamee either nodded, or shook his head, no.

During the three days I followed Mr. Clemens around Houston, he seemed like a child beholden to the whims of the sour, suspicious, and taciturn McNamee. It seemed as if Mr. Clemens would not do anything to his body, or ingest anything into it that Mr. McNamee hadn't approved. I found it strange that, at 38, Mr. Clemens still had to have someone dictate his diet and workout regimen down to the minutest detail at this late stage of his illustrious career. In fact, Mr. Clemens' devotion to Mr. McNamee's diet and workout routine seemed almost like a spiritual quest that must not be impeded. When Mr. Clemens and Mr. McNamee went on a long run one day and they came across another runner, lying on the ground, in the throes of a heart attack, they called for help. When Mr. Clemens related that story to me, he ended it by saying, "We were having a good run, too."

I also found it strange that, at 38, Clemens had the energy of a teenager. Clemens' workouts lasted 10 hours a day with only breaks for lunch and dinner. They began at 9 a.m. under McNamee's watchful eyes, with light weight-lifting for an hour, then an hour run, then a trip into Clemens' own personal gym, where he did a few hours of calisthenics, wind sprints, and throwing before going to lunch. After lunch, Clemens and McNamee went to an exclusive Houston men's gym (Clemens told me that President Bush worked out there), where Clemens pedaled a stationary bike for an hour and then performed a heavy weight-lifting routine for another hour. Then after dinner at home, Clemens worked out again until 9 or 10 in the evening.

Just watching Clemens work out over a day exhausted me. I wondered where he found the energy to sustain such a maniacal pace when I, at a similar age 20 years before, had been unable to work out for more than a few hours a day without being drained. At the time I interviewed Clemens, I was training for an amateur body building contest and, like Clemens, I adhered to a strict diet and a strenuous weight-lifting and calisthenics routine. But nothing I did at 41 compared to the 10 hours-a-day routine McNamee put Clemens through.

Jordan's New York Times magazine piece on Clemens, "Roger Clemens Refuses to Grow Up" is featured in The Best Sports Writing of Pat Jordan. The Mike Wallace-Clemens interview will appear tonight on "60 Minutes."

2008-01-06 11:03:34
1.   Sonny Mooks
Something to consider, if Clemens (under oath) testifies that he never took PED's, and McNamee, refuses to state what he has said in the report under oath.....does that make a difference?

I.E. under penalty of purgery Clemens makes his statements, while his accuser refuses to, and in addition, doesn't sue, what kind of impact does that have?

2008-01-06 11:33:54
2.   The Mick 536
I have concerns about the objectivity of the interviewer. There is a relationship between Mike and Roger. Mike also has long standing ties to the Yankees which put his fanny in the owner's box while the rest of us ride the pines. He might even have worked for CBS when they owned the team and Mike Burke ran it. And we shouldn't forget that he is old and not on his game, anymore. Hope he didn't forget to drink his juice before the interview.
2008-01-06 14:43:10
3.   rbj
I don't know about the "fawningness" of the relationship, but if you're paying bucko bucks to someone to train you, you sure will ask their permission for a steak. It's kinda weird to me, but then again I'm not looking for 350 career ML wins.
2008-01-06 15:21:48
4.   JL25and3
1 If, if, and if - sure that would make a difference. But McNamee better say the same thing under oath - true or not - or he'll be immediately charged with a felony for providing a false statement.
2008-01-06 16:18:27
5.   OldYanksFan
Gee.. How many years does Roger have to be on a specific diet before he KNOWS that a baked potato can NOT have butter or sour cream? He needs McNamee's oversight on that?

I myself would be a little embarassed to be that dependent on someone else on everyday decisions I should already be in sinc with.

From what I've read, McNamee did have an excellent reputation as a trainer from those that have worked with him. I did also read a few articles about the 'date rape' accusations that absolutely tuned my stomach.

10 hours of working out in a day? That is simply sick.

2008-01-06 16:24:23
6.   OldYanksFan
500 votes on a Poll on
Santana-mania: Are You In or Out?

Selection............................................... Votes
IN - Get That Dude At Any Cost -- 14% -- (69)
Eh.... Not Sold On The Idea Yet -- 42% -- (209)
OUT - Not Worth It ................ -- 44% -- (222)

My, how times have changed.

2008-01-06 16:30:29
7.   Bruce Markusen
Mick, you're absolutely right about Wallace and Clemens. Wallace has already stated that he considers Clemens a friend. He did an interview with Clemens several years ago that some critics called "fawning;" it lacked the usual toughness of a Wallace interview. Given their friendship, Wallace should have excluded himself from this interview, unless, of course, Clemens insisted on Wallace.

Mushnick had a good point in today's Post. Why would Clemens, or anyone else for that matter, have his TRAINER inject him with B-12? Isn't that something that you would prefer that your DOCTOR do? Especially someone like Clemens, who can afford the best health care and physicians in the world. I don't think I'd be trusting some trainer to inject me with anyone, unless of course, I was doing something that I didn't want my doctor to know about...

2008-01-06 16:45:38
8.   rbj
Hot diggity, the Giants finally won a playoff game this millennium. Now just go the Dallas and kick the Cowboys' asses.
2008-01-06 16:58:01
9.   OldYanksFan
7 You want Roger (and every other player) to make an appmt. and drive to the Doc's office every time he/they need a shot? My feeling is that Clem is dirty but I can understand getting shots 'at home'.

Maybe he doesn't like showing his tushy to the Doctor.

2008-01-06 17:36:58
10.   Eirias
I'm watching the 60 Minutes interview and I am having a significant amount of difficulty believing anything Clemens is saying. Every word he says is dubious, every argument he makes is dissembling. Vioxx? While something to be investigated, it is not within the proper scope of the interview and it certainly has nothing to do with steroids. The only argument in the entire interview that isn't specious is the fact that Clemens succeeded both before and after he allegedly stopped taking steroids. It is telling that it was Wallace who mentions this argument, not Roger.
2008-01-06 17:39:10
11.   RIYank
6 And has everyone heard that the Twins have apparently dropped their demand from IPK to one Kei Igawa? Has someone already mentioned that in an earlier thread?
2008-01-06 17:51:12
12.   JeremyM
10 Clemens appeared to be making that argument before choppy editing cut him off. I'd have to watch it again to make sure. The editing on that thing was terrible. That said, I tend to believe him a little less than I did before now. Something just didn't feel right to me, can't put my finger on it, and I've been one of his biggest defenders.
2008-01-06 18:14:17
13.   Sarasota
What didn't "feel" or "sound" right was Clemens' answering questions with a question, his repeated claims of being a "victim" and his ridiculous argument re: Vioxx. Just my take........
2008-01-06 19:16:16
14.   JL25and3
7 To be fair, anyone with a little experience can give an intramuscular injection. People give B12 injections to themselves, as with insulin.

I have more of a problem with his taking it solely on the advice of a trainer, without any input from a doctor, than with his receiving the actual injection that way.

2008-01-06 19:19:09
15.   Raf
Looks like Cone's back in the Yankees' good graces; his Yankeeography is on YES :)
2008-01-06 20:14:37
16.   Chyll Will
15 I wonder why they never found a way to keep Jimmy Key around, unless i missed a page on his character or something...
2008-01-07 04:19:16
17.   Mr OK Jazz TOKYO
I used to like Gammons but reading the above and then also about him slagging Rob Neyer makes me think he really is nothing but a Boston homer. And co-writing a book with Clemens?? Had no idea...

Am going to try and get tix for when the Red Sox open 2008 here in Tokyo so I can root against them...

2008-01-07 04:23:55
18.   OldYanksFan
HOUSTON -- Roger Clemens filed a defamation lawsuit Sunday night against Brian McNamee, claiming his longtime trainer was threatened with jail if he didn't connect the seven-time Cy Young winner with steroids.

• The lawsuit includes a quote from a conversation Hardin's private investigators had with McNamee after the Mitchell Report was made public. The lengthy McNamee quote indicates he was persuaded to talk about Clemens after a federal prosecutor and agent threatened him.

• According to the lawsuit, McNamee told Hardin's investigators a federal prosecutor and federal agent talked about how he already had two strikes against him for possessing and delivering steroids and could get a third -- lying to a federal agent -- and go to jail. He said it was soon after that he was asked, "So what about Clemens?"

2008-01-07 05:55:43
19.   williamnyy23
The Jordan article was pretty weak. It seems like he is still upset about having to pick up the steak dinner tab. Talk about needing to grow up. The more and more I think about it, sportwriters have essentially become paparazzi.

The funniest part of the article was when Jordan attributes Ryan's success to being blessed by God, but then can't seem to understand Clemens' late career success...even though he witnessed Clemens rigorous workouts. Then, Jordan waxes poetic about Seaver, which makes me think tearing down Clemens is a way to make Seaver look better. Pathetic.

2 Good point...but how do you feel about the author of the Mitchell Report being a Director of the Red Sox? It's funny how people concern themselves about conflict when it's convenient (that's a general observation, and not attrubuted to your views).

5 Something tells me that was a show for the reporter.

7 In an interview on WEEI, Jose Canseco gave a very credible reason: not wanting the team to know your body was aching for fear it would be used against you. For what it's worth, Canseco also said he believed Clemens was clean and that McNamee lied about the party at his house.

12 Your reaction shows why Clemens is in a no-win situation. No matter what he does, people will read deeper into it...and even accuse him of being spoiled or grandstanding for insisting upon his innocence. I think Clemens main point was the most credible...he should be given the benefit of the doubt when the only evidence is the testimony of an accused rapist, proven liar and steroid pusher.

2008-01-07 06:02:49
20.   Sliced Bread
Regardless of his friendship with Wallace, Clemens should have insisted on Lara Logan. I always do.
2008-01-07 06:56:52
21.   Raf
16 Good question. I don't think he's involved with baseball at all.
2008-01-07 06:58:38
22.   JL25and3
19 I think it was obviously wrong for Mitchell to lead the investigation while retaining his position with the Sox. I don't think the report was actually fixed - as many seem to - but the appearance of impropriety was clear, which makes that sort of conjecture possible.

But, by the same token, you can't talk about presumption of innocence and then say "accused rapist." And, of course, every steroid user got his 'roids from a criminal.

2008-01-07 07:03:50
23.   OldYanksFan
The following is from a commentor on the Lohud blog. While I can't say for sure if this applies to Clemens, I thought it was a great statement about how a specific individual's values and thought process effects what they choose to say and emphasize, and how someone with different values might misinterpret it.

I think it points out that we should be very slow to judge someone on their 'performance' and should be more concerned with facts, and TRY to understand the true nature of the situation.

I personally have no idea about Roger, but my main impression from the interview was he was REALLY angry. Not selfrighteous anger, but true betrayal anger.

January 7th, 2008 at 9:03 am
I find it revealing that you brought up the cost of a law suit; that is, a man's willingness to spend money as the true measurement of his sincerity to clear his name. Unlike yourself, Clemens is from the traditional south (Houston is considered more Southern than Western) and, as such would have a different viewpoint of matters such as this.

1. First of all, it is obvious that he is deeply offended and dismayed that his word was questioned at all, especially without a modicum of proof and on the word of a convicted felon.

2. To sue someone in the south is considered bad form, as in a self-imposed act of dragging one's family name through the street of public opinion. His stance would be he should not have to go to court to defend his word; the old southern adage that one's word is one's bond is in play here.

3. Lastly, his seemingly beside-the-point story concerning pitching injured, and even going so far as to take legal pain substances that could now possibly be harmful to his health is telling; it reveals the full magnitude of his sense of anger and betrayal after giving years and years of loyal support.

The truth is, you are dealing with a cross-cultural response that you do not understand or, I suspect, even wish to understand. You are out for blood or submission, possibly both, and for you folks north of the Potomac River that is always the bottom line.

2008-01-07 07:07:55
24.   williamnyy23
22 McNamee was accused of rape...that doesn't deny his presumption of innocence. At this point, I think Clemens would gladly sign up for only being an "accused steroid user".

Having said that, there was more credible testimony in the McNamee case. Here is an excerpt from the NYTimes article:

According to police and hotel reports, a security guard saw Mr. McNamee and a 40-year-old woman, both of whom were naked, in the hotel pool at about 3:45 a.m. on Oct. 6 during a regular baseball season that had been extended because of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11. The security guard said that Mr. McNamee appeared to be having sex with the woman while another naked man was standing off to the side.

Eventually, after everyone exited the pool, "the woman was like jelly and could not stand on her own," the hotel incident report stated.

Sure, the charges were dropped "due to the insufficient physical and cooperative evidence", but if the standard of the Mitchell report was used, McNamee would be a convicted rapist.

2008-01-07 07:11:48
25.   Raf
19 Jose Canseco gave a very credible reason: not wanting the team to know your body was aching for fear it would be used against you.

It's a good thing Mr. Pavano doesn't subscribe to this theory :)

2008-01-07 09:24:14
26.   bob34957
22 thanks , capt. obvious!
2008-01-07 10:33:51
27.   Eirias
20 Logan was busy with Pervez Musharraf.
2008-01-08 13:03:30
28.   David Rabinowitz
This article is interesting, but the story seems a bit illogical. I can't believe that a grown man would ask another man if he can have a taco after working with him for so many years. I mean look at Clemens' size ... ... I don't see an ounce of difference on this guy other than the fact that it's he got older.

Comment status: comments have been closed. Baseball Toaster is now out of business.