Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
The Art of Fiction is Dead
2008-01-07 16:56
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

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.

2008-01-07 17:15:07
1.   hoppystone
Good God!
2008-01-07 17:47:29
2.   Humma Kavula
170 I don't get why McNamee keeps saying, "Brian has nothing to do with this. Tell me what you want me to do."

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.

2008-01-07 17:48:20
3.   Humma Kavula
I should not have linked to 170. That was the comment number for this topic in DT, but I decided that this would be a more appropriate forum.
2008-01-07 17:59:11
4.   JL25and3
3 No problem, as long as you didn't link to 134 . That way madness lies.
2008-01-07 18:03:36
5.   joe in boston
Roger, Roger, Roger ... I want to believe you, I really do ...

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 !

2008-01-07 18:07:06
6.   Chyll Will
1 Wow... I'll say I was shocked... listening to that spins my head around and around... my mouth is literally wide open listening to this. My first reaction is that MacNamee is scared out of his mind and just talking all kinds of s@#&, while Roger is trying hard not to go into shock, but seems really and honestly confused, almost as much as I am. Maybe he's a good actor, maybe not, but something tells me after listening that Roger is either telling the truth or honestly believes he is (good Mamet ref.). You can tell just by listening MacNamee's scared out of his wits and that he believes he did something wrong, but it's not fair for me to say what it is. But again, wow... that was not what I anticipated, to say the least.

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.

2008-01-07 18:15:54
7.   RIYank
Same here, Chyll, general reaction. I was listening on my drive home and I had to pull over. It was the most compelling sports radio I have ever heard live, ever.

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'.

2008-01-07 18:16:03
8.   Sonny Mooks
Something to point out.

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".

2008-01-07 18:17:34
9.   RIYank
McNamee is almost overcome with something like guilt, but I figured it could easily be the 'guilt' of betrayal rather than the guilt of perjury.
And the Mamet reference is amazingly on target, Alex. It didn't occur to me at the time but it's perfect.
2008-01-07 18:23:30
10.   Chyll Will
2 1.) I hope so. If he's referring to himself in the third person, he's really had it 134 ...

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.

2008-01-07 18:27:32
11.   Chyll Will
8 True, anything Roger says to him could be construed as witness tampering, which makes me believe he had a cadre of lawyers sitting around when he taped this conversation to make sure he didn't go overboard.

9 Ditto...

2008-01-07 18:39:59
12.   nemecizer
I don't know, when I first read the Mitchell report I thought Roger did it.

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.

2008-01-07 18:41:07
13.   RIYank
Of course, you're right, Sonny Mooks. His lawyers told him that if he tells McNamee what he wants him to do, it's witness tampering. And Roger has interpreted that a bit too strictly (saying "I want you to tell the truth" isn't witness tampering).
2008-01-07 18:42:18
14.   nemecizer
12 Oh, and the fact that was pointed out in 8 , plus the statement at the beginning Brian made about not knowing who is listening, does sound like McNamee wants to tell Roger what he wants to hear, but feels he can't.

I'm leaning toward Roger on this.

2008-01-07 18:56:44
15.   RIYank
The needle on my Cred-o-meter moved a long way toward Roger too, nemecizer. I wasn't expecting that to happen. And I wouldn't say I'm convinced. But he's a whole lot more credible to me now than he was a few days ago.
2008-01-07 19:15:43
16.   JL25and3
8 To play the contrarian (my favorite role): how would he be fighting it if he weren't innocent, but wanted people to believe he was?
2008-01-07 19:19:50
17.   vockins
12 , 15 I'm not able to determine if Roger Clemens is guilty or innocent, but I think you have to consider the effect of having millions of people blow smoke up your ass for two decades.
2008-01-07 19:43:35
18.   wsporter
This MacNamee cat does not sound well. If I were someone who cared about his well being I would keep a very close eye on him. This could end badly.

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.

2008-01-07 20:25:38
19.   williamnyy23
Me think thou doth protest too much, Roger.

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.

2008-01-07 20:30:44
20.   williamnyy23
16 If he wasn't innocent, you could argue that he would do everything short of going under oath. After all, once he raises his right hand, he now faces the same criminal possibilities for lying as McNamee . So, in that sense, I wonder if the "why would he lie when he could face jail time for doing so" argument will now also apply to Clemens? Or, is McNamee the only person who wouldn't lie in order to save himself even if it meant going to jail if caught?
2008-01-07 20:35:18
21.   williamnyy23
18 I wonder why the Feds are coming down on him so hard for providing HGH/steroids to Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte and Chuck Knoblauch? The more you look at it, this seems like a case of disproportionate justice and overzealous investigation, which creates a fertile opportunity for someone like McNamee to lie in order to escape the heat, especially if it's true that he has a sick son (I know I'd lie through my teeth if I thought I'd do jail time while my son was on borrowed time).

I really hope this isn't a case of Jeff Nowitzsky and Mitchell needing a trophy.

2008-01-07 20:43:47
22.   JL25and3
19 I think you give McNamee credit for putting way too much thought into his conniving. He doesn't sound to me like the kind of guy who would measure how much he had to tell the feds, whether he could protect his friend Roger by withholding some truth while revealing others. He sounded like a guy who felt trapped, and saw his life falling apart - his son is dying and he's facing federal jail time, among other catastrophes. I think what he said torments him, but I don't think he had the wherewithal left to figure the odds as you suggest.
2008-01-07 20:47:35
23.   JL25and3
The newspapers mention that his son has celiac disease, but they seemed to miss that he has diabetes as well. That's the "A1C" that McNamee refers to - roughly, it's a test for blood sugar over time. If the results were bad, as McNamee says, then the diabetes is poorly controlled and the son's health risks multiply.
2008-01-07 20:49:23
24.   JeremyM
21 This might be crazy talk, but when I read that Mitchell reportedly HUGGED McNamee after he confirmed he was implicating Clemens, I can't help but think that the Sox fan in him was coming out in this investigation. I know not everything in the world is Sox vs. Yankees and Mitchell was a "highly respected Senator", but it just seemed downright bizarre to me. Or he was just happy he got a big name, I dunno.

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.

2008-01-07 20:52:16
25.   williamnyy23
SI has an "exclusive" interview with Brian McNamee ( Here are some interesting quotes:

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?

2008-01-07 20:53:47
26.   JeremyM
Pretty sad when Hank sums things up better than anyone:

"I thought that the press conference spoke for itself," he said to an AP reporter at Legends Field. "I thought the media commentary after the press conference was over was a little harsh. Too much rush to judgment in this country. As far as whether he's telling the truth or not, I have no clue. But I'm not going to say, well, he's lying, like everybody on TV did after he was done.

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."

2008-01-07 20:55:19
27.   williamnyy23
22 It sounds to me as if McNamee is the type of guy who would do anything to avoid going to jail, which includes lying about Clemens in order to get that "hug" from Mitchell. McNamee may not be the most savory character, but he doesn't come off as a moron. I am sure he would have been capable of ommitting Clemens if he wasn't under pressure to include him. Once you accept that pressure may have been involved, you have to accept the possible motive.
2008-01-07 20:58:10
28.   williamnyy23
24 By the same token, Buster Olney and Rogger Cossack have given very pro-Roger takes on the day's events. Clemens isn't going to win over the muckracker types, but if he can slowly start to win over more reasonable columnists, then everything he is doing is worthwhile.
2008-01-07 21:51:03
29.   Chyll Will
28 More importantly, he's going to have to win over the editorships of these same news organizations. As I implied in the last thread, many have vested themselves in the outcome of this "showdown".
2008-01-07 22:57:06
30.   Sonny Mooks
At this point and time, no matter what happens, even if, (god forbid), McNamee were to say he lied about Clemens, it would not matter.

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.

2008-01-08 02:57:08
31.   nemecizer
If it is indeed true that Mitchell hugged McNamee, then I am speechless. That goes beyond unprofessional. It would indeed make it sound like Mitchell felt he needed a "scalp". Pettitte, Knoblauch, and the rest of the names in the report are not scalps. One of the best pitchers of all time is.

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.

2008-01-08 03:50:55
32.   RIYank

*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.)

2008-01-08 05:23:20
33.   OldYanksFan
I dont know if it has been posted, but here is the Clemens v McNamee petition filed by Roger's lawyer.
Pay SPECIAL attention to numbers 26 thru 30.

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.

2008-01-08 05:37:39
34.   joejoejoe
When McNamee says 'I didn't want to do it...I knew it was wrong' to describe talking to the Feds I take it to mean 'I didn't want to RAT...I knew it was wrong' not 'I didn't want to LIE'. That's my impression from his McNamee's demeanor. McNamee is shaky now not because he lied himself into trouble, but that he ratted himself out of the world of big time sports and into training kids with free weights in a garage in Nowheresville.
2008-01-08 05:38:02
35.   JeremyM
33 The thing that sticks out to me from reading those points is that McNamee took umbrage from being called, in his words, a "drug pusher" on 60 Minutes. Yet that was exactly what he was being accused of by the federal government, and there must have been some meat to it since either way it caused him to change his prior statements.

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.

2008-01-08 06:10:46
36.   JL25and3
30 Despite how it sounds, I've not prejudged Clemens's guilt. I've long thought it was possible, but that's true of many people. Mostly, I just see why he deserves the benefit of my doubt. As I've said, I'm skeptical of every ballplayer from that era, right down to Frank Thomas and Curt Schilling.

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.

2008-01-08 06:28:34
37.   rbj
Prosecutors all the time pressure suspects into pleading guilty -- even when the suspect is innocent. And there are rogue prosecutors like the McMartin pedophilia trials in Washington in the early 1990s, as well as the recent Duke lacrosse fiasco. I could believe a prosecutor leaning on Brian to finger Roger "relax, we aren't going to prosecute him, just give us the name." Mitchell would be have to have a big white name to go along with a big black name just to blunt charges of racism.

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.

2008-01-08 07:11:04
38.   Sonya Hennys Tutu
I couldn't disagree with you more 30 - if/when Roger testifies under oath before congress I think the court of public opinion will truly swing the other way.

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...

2008-01-08 07:27:17
39.   horace-clarke-era
Yes, it is luridly compelling drama. Depressing, too, really.

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.

2008-01-08 08:54:22
40.   OldYanksFan

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.

2008-01-08 09:32:42
41.   rbj
Last month I had to get a cortisone shot for hip pain (pain in the bursa sack). My shot was right where the pain was, not general.

Was the lidocaine shot to numb the pain of the B-12 shot? I've heard from somewhere that that is a painful shot.

2008-01-08 09:53:42
42.   pistolpete
Is anyone else disturbed that Baseball America projects Bobby Abreu as still being in our lineup come 2011?!!!
2008-01-08 12:50:15
43.   Sonya Hennys Tutu
42 I also like that they list him as "Bob" Abreu. Never heard him called that :)
2008-01-08 18:25:29
44.   BleedingPinstripes
42 Seriously, I guess they assume we are not going to sign any free agents or make any trades in the next 3 years. However, I did laugh when I read about 'Bob' Abreu.

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.