Baseball Toaster was unplugged on February 4, 2009.
All due respect to Red Smith, of course. It's hard to be shocked these days, so I won't say that I was shocked exactly listening to the audio of a 17-minute conversation between Roger Clemens and Brian McNamee recorded last Friday night, but my mouth was agape, I'll tell you that. You can't make this stuff up. And it's all out in the open for everyone to hear and see. David Mamet, eat your heart out. Man, this is pathetic. McNamee sounds like a broken man and Clemens sounds positively deluded. Me think thou doest protest too much, Roger.
(shaking my head)...whoa...
In other news, here's hoping our man Goose Gossage gets the call tomorrow.
Finally, Baseball America lists the Yankees top ten prospects.
1) Is Brian his son?
2) That seems to be the expression of a man who wants to protect his family from forces out of his control. Let me put it this way: if my daughter were the subject of scrutiny in the international press, and if I could protect her from that by going to jail on false charges, that's what I'd say.
3) Clemens played this before his news conference? That is odd. I don't think Clemens comes off especially great in this conversation. When McNamee says, "Tell me what you want me to do," the correct answer is, "I want you to tell the truth" -- if Clemens is in fact innocent of the charges. Staying silent does him no favors.
Of course, as I said, I don't really understand the conversation. If somebody has better insight, please give me a clue.
what a strange tape recording / press conference.
I was trying to watch it - while playing with my 5 year old son and his Hot Wheels cars... try explaining it to a 5 year old - not easy.
Some day I can explain 134 to him though !
My further thinking is that regardless of who is saying what, and regardless of how this turns out, MacNamee is a done deal. This is beyond a disgraced name, this is a man running for his life right now. If he's not acting, if he believes he's lost everything at this point, he's got another think coming. Roger is coming at him with high heat and the feds will obliterate him if he backs down from what he's already said. This is worse than Greg Anderson going to jail instead of testifying, the cat's out the bag and wow... a real, honest-to-goodness shame, especially that their families have to suffer for this.
2 Yeah, Brian is Brian's son. A huge percentage of the tape is the two of them talking about their sons and each others'.
Clemens could not actually tell McNamee to do anything, otherwise its a felony of witness tampering.
That said, Clemens is definatly fighting this like he is innocent.
I'm going to wait for the reporters who will soon start with the whole "the nerve of that clemens, acting like he is an innocent man".
Also, early on, there was something really weird, where Clemens says something about reading and hearing stuff that isn't true and McNamee responds back with "Yea, I know man".
2.) I would do the same thing if I wanted the first impression to be that my accuser is a rat caught on a big glue trap. MacNamee also gives the impression of someone willing to lie if that will save him, and if Roger tells him too. Of course, that can work for and against the impression Roger's trying to make, which seems to be that MacNamee's got serious credibility issues to begin with.
3.) I did hear Roger say, "I want someone to tell the truth" a few times, which is odd in that if I knew someone lied, I'd be demanding (as loud as possible) that they simply tell the truth. The long pauses imply that Roger may be shaking his head in disbelief (I know I was), if that's what he's trying to get across. But you're right, staying silent does no favors in the long run. It is interesting that Canseco's defending him, if you put any stock into that.
Now I am not so sure. Unless Roger were absolutely 100% sure that there was no proof, or corroborating witnesses whatsoever, that he did steroids, it seems pretty foolish to pursue things to the extent that he is.
If Roger testifies under oath in front of Congress that he did not do steroids or HGH then I have to believe him. If not for the presumption of innocence, then for the logic of it: wealthy people with good lawyers generally don't dig deeper holes for themselves.
I'm leaning toward Roger on this.
Talk about being stuck between a rock and a hard place: he's got the Feds breathing down his neck on one side and an angry multimillionaire out for his scalp on the other. Not a good place to be. It must be hard to suddenly understand that you have turned your life into irretrievable and absolute excrement.
The guy sounds like a Conney Island White Fish but there is part of me that can't help feeling sorry for him. He seems pretty defenseless now. The completion of his destruction is not going to be a pretty thing to watch.
Is that a serious comment? Can one protest too much when his integrty has been trashed and most in the media have rushed to judgment? Besides, isn't that the opposite what all his detractors were saying earlier...that he wasn't protesting too much. It seems as if no matter what Clemens does, people will criticize.
9 Here's the problem I've had from the beginning. If it's guilt of betryal, that means McNamee felt very close to Clemens. In fact, the recorded conversation makes it seem as if McNamee regarded Clemens as an idol. Well, if that was the case, then why would McNamee have given up Clemens in the first place. If, as many have argued, McNamee was not compelled to give up Clemens, then he very easily could have offered up Knoblauch and Pettitte and left Clemens out of it. Based on the strong affection McNamee seems to have for Clemens, the only reasonable reason why he would include Clemens in the conversation is because he felt he had to in order to gain leniency. Now, that doesn't mean the allegations were false, but it does provide a very strong motive for why they might be.
I really hope this isn't a case of Jeff Nowitzsky and Mitchell needing a trophy.
Anyway, after the events of the last two days, while I lean more towards Clemens, we're no closer to resolution and I feel dirtier for following it all so closely.
And the editorializing in the mainstream media is downright brutal. ESPN has a series of poorly written articles up, one constantly calling him "Fraud-ger"- hilarious.
1) Many people have been incredulous as to how Clemens could not know about Pettitte. Here is McNamee's response:
When Clemens claims to have no knowledge that Andy Pettitte -- Clemens' close friend and training partner, and another former client of McNamee -- had twice taken HGH, thus corroborating McNamee's testimony in the Mitchell Report, the trainer interjects, "I believe that."
2) McNamee on the extent to which he accusses Clemens of taking steroids.
"He was a mentor to me. Roger is an unbelievable family man. I learned how to treat my kids from Roger. And Roger was in no way an abuser of steroids. He never took them through our tough winter workouts. And he never took them in spring training, when the days are longest. He took them in late July, August, and never for more than four to six weeks max ... it wasn't that frequent.'
3) McNamee on Mitchell's reaction to his testimony (which consisted of nods).
Three months later, in August, he was called before Mitchell, and asked to nod to what he told the feds the month before. When he was done nodding, he says Mitchell hugged him. But he claims he took no pride in it.
Mitchell hugged him? Is that usual prosecutorial protocol? I would love for Congress to ask Mitchell about that. Maybe Mitchell was hugging McNamee for saving his $20mn report that was quickly going down the drain?
Everybody, the media, all said, 'Oh, he's got to sue.' (Barry) Bonds never sued. Everybody said, 'Why not?' Well, this guy is suing and now they still don't believe him. You've got to start to wonder at some point. I don't rush to judgment. That's the big thing with me. I don't do that, and that's the exact term for it, rush to judgment."
This is about faith, not facts anymore.
The folks who believe Clemens is innocent/guilty will do so, no matter what evidence, facts, or testimony comes up and contradicts them.
There will be explanations, or theories or something else to explain why people believed what they always wanted to believe and why nothing will change that.
For both McNamee and Clemens, no facts, proof, evidence, or confessions, or anything else, will change the minds of the reporters, media members, or even fans who have already made their minds up.
Anything to the contrary, will be explained away.
This is getting stranger and stranger. But it's also typical of government investigations: eat your way up the food chain to get to the big cheese.
I guess we have to see what Clemens says under oath, but I now feel I rushed to judgment.
*Me think thou doth protest too much, Roger.*
Is that a serious comment?
I don't know if it was serious, but it was definitely not grammatical.
(Thou doest; she doth.)
Obviously, this is not a document of fact, but one drawn up to support/defend Clemens. However, if there is truth in some form to 26-30, then I think the explaination for most of this show is clear. I believe William has been pointing this out as a possibility for some time.
I said before, with all Roger has now done, if he IS guilty, this may be the biggest baseball scandal in history. The press will crucify him. Pete Rose will look like a choirboy in comparison.
There are 4 lawyers on the Lohud blog (of the last 2 days) who have pointed out a few things that may very well be true.
1) Yes, during that call, Roger was surrounded by his counsel, and was heavily coached, knew they were recording the call, and was SUPER careful in what he said... and was very careful to sidestep anything that could be construed as witness tampering.
2) McNamee initialited the call with an EMail to Roger, and was (hopefully) expecting this call. While he appealed to Clemens based on his son's ill-health, for McNamee, this was probably
a) being recorded by McNamee's people as well (this call was leaked to the press, and Rogers people deny they leaked it)
b) like Roger, McNamee was coached and prepared
c) a fact finding mission
d) a chance to see IF he could get Roger in a 'tampering' situation (on tape... 'What do you want me to do Roger... tell me what to do!')
There is no doubt from everything written over the years, that McNamee has great respect for Roger, and Roger considered McNamee both a friend and an excellent trainer.
In terms of trying to 'interpret' the meaning of what was said, we should bear in mind that everything is HIGHLY scripted and discussed with counsel before it is said. Both guys are in a serious fight, and everything we hear will have been composed to support the perspective party. We will not hear dialog, but very a carefully scripted play. Pretend that both Roger and McNamee are just puppets, and their lawyers are really doing all the talking.
This is why the phone call seems odd in many ways. Both parties were walking on thin ice and were aware they were producing evidence. Both had an adjenda. Both were feeling the other out.
While I believe McNamee is very unhappy, and concerned about his family, and he certainly sounded pathetic and on the verge of breakdown, we need to remember that this guy:
1) has been embroiled in a very dangerous legal situation for sometime now, and has been carefully weighing what he needs to do to survive his mess.
2) aside from his odious date-rape routine, the guy was a Narc for 3 years, and is a PROFESSIONAL at understanding the the dance between the law and a criminal, the deals, the manipulations, and the whole dirty mess that is his current situation.
3) While Rogers reputation is on the line, McNamee has a much harder row to hoe, and with congress getting involved, could be looking at some serious bad news. I don't know if he faces jail time IF he is lying, but this guy is in a very serious fight... and this guy understands the fight and has experience with it.
This is somewhat virgin territory for Roger but old news for McNamee. I can't really feel sorry for this guy.
IF Roger IS telling the truth, will Bud and Mitchell (and THEIR legal representation) just sit around? The Mitchell Report stank before all this came up. If McNamee WAS coerced. Mitchell and MLB will look VERY bad, and while MLB assumed legal liability for the report, it will show Mitchell in a very damning light, and depending on how deep this goes, ruin his reputation and career.
Maybe a big truth will pop up and this thing will settle shortly, but it looks like this is snowballing into a very complex and dirty situation.
There are a lot of things not adding up with this guy. His lawyer said they were going to sue Clemens if he called McNamee a liar on 60 Minutes or denied using steroids. Afterwards, he said they wouldn't because everyone could tell Clemens was full of it. Huh? Would rather be called a liar then a drug pusher, yet it's clear that he's both to some extent.
McNamee is not a great guy, and he might be lying. But the scenarios presented don't convince me unless I work from the assumption that he's lying. 19 , if I read you correctly, you're saying that because McNamee didn't lie to protect Clemens, that supports the idea that he lied to implicate him.
I seriously doubt anyone in Congress would do more than kiss a respected former senator's butt.
Roger is either innocent or really giving himself a lot of rope. I hope it is the former.
Personally I'm 50/50 right now. I was 75 guilty before hearing the phone call and learning that Roger filed suit, understanding what cans of worms that opened for Roger.
If Roger does anything but take the 5th I will be 90 innocent. WAY too much at stake. No way Roger could've paid off/silenced every possible person in the food chain who could out him. Too much investigative resources will be expended trying to disprove whatever testimony he gives. No way the truth doesn't come to light.
IF he testifies under oath...
12 "Now I am not so sure. Unless Roger were absolutely 100% sure that there was no proof, or corroborating witnesses whatsoever, that he did steroids, it seems pretty foolish to pursue things to the extent that he is.
If Roger testifies under oath in front of Congress that he did not do steroids or HGH then I have to believe him. If not for the presumption of innocence, then for the logic of it: wealthy people with good lawyers generally don't dig deeper holes for themselves."
Two comments. One, Marion Jones sued, too. Lawsuits by a wealthy person are easy to launch, take forever to play out, can be settled later, and look good. They also act (many libel suits work this way) to put great financial pressure on the other figure if they have lesser resources.
Secondly, Barry testified under oath, too. Did people thereupon believe him? (And yes, Roger can now look carefully at consequences ... But I think there's a likely lawyers' calculation possible as to the difference between a mano a mano with McNamee and Barry's facing possible written records from Balco.)
One more question: has anyone checked out the allegation that's surfaced that B12 is NOT a butt shot anyhow? I have to believe it is at least occasionally done that way, or Roger is being very dumb here, and too easily refuted.
6. Can you get pain relief in your joints by injecting lidocaine into your, well, buttocks?
Dr. Dombrowski: No. Never. Unless Clemens was limited by hip pain or whatever in his buttocks, then no, that's not what you do. You use big deep muscles for injecting steroids. But you would never treat shoulder or elbow pain in that way. If what he was injected with was truly lidocaine, his butt cheek would be numb. And that's it.
Dr. Dretchen: Just a blind injection into the gluteus area, that would be a strange usage of the drug. When you go to the dentist, would you get an injection into your arm? Of course not.
Was the lidocaine shot to numb the pain of the B-12 shot? I've heard from somewhere that that is a painful shot.
As for Clemens, I am so sick of this already. I was sick of the Mitchell Report before it came out. It's out of hand now. I just assume innocent until proven guilty, and if there is proof then so be it. To stay consistent I have to say the same for Bonds et al.
Comment status: comments have been closed. Baseball Toaster is now out of business.