Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
The Boogie Down Book Shelf
2008-02-12 16:19
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

The spring baseball books will start coming out soon. I'd like to try to have more book reviews this year, and not necessarily long ones either. Have you ever read James Agee's movie reviews for Time magazine (collected in the essential Agee on Film)--he'd write these killer little wrap-ups in three or four sentences that are as appealing, in their own way, as a five-page Pauline Kael bender.

I've run book reviews by Chris DeRosa for several years now and he recently sent me a file of his complete book reviews from the past eight years. There are a couple of longer, Yankee-related critiques that I'll post shortly, but for now, check out a DeRosa sampler (again, I found myself drawn to the short reviews).

On the Shelf

by Chris DeRosa.

Roger Angell, Game Time: A Baseball Companion (2003)

Essays from the 60s to now. As Richard Ford says in the introduction, Angell is not a baseball romanticist, and it's true he's too light on his feet to be labeled a sentimentalist, but he does write with great affection for the game, in an adult voice that never takes itself too seriously. This collection features many examples of his strengths: the eye for the telling detail, the felicitous turns of phrase, and the sweet wrap-ups. I read him to remember, rather than to learn, but I learned some things too. Check out this description, from the 1980 essay "Distances."

Gibson's pitch flashed through the strike zone with a unique, upward-moving, right-to-left sail that snatched it away from a right –handed batter or caused it to jump up and in at a left-handed swinger—a natural break of six to eight inches—and hitters who didn't miss the ball altogether usually fouled it off or nudged it harmlessly into the air. The pitch, which was delivered with a driving, downward flick of Gibson's long forefinger and middle finger (what pitchers call "cutting the ball"), very much resembled an inhumanly fast slider, and was often taken as such by batters unfamiliar with his stuff.
Bob Gibson had Mariano's cutter?

Bill James, The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract

You know that great baseball conversation you wish you could have with Bill James? This is it. Nine-hundred player comments provide James a forum for a free-wheeling and fascinating discussion in which he proves himself not only the game's greatest analyst, but its ablest historian and keenest practical observer. Some people assume James knows abstract numbers but they know actual baseball. In fact, James runs rings around his critics as a student of "actual" baseball. No one watches the game like he does, or at least no one watches it like he does and can also connect what he sees to the game's larger contexts. The guy is a genius. Perhaps the best baseball book ever published.

Charles Einstein, Willie's Time: Baseball's Golden Age (1979)

Rob Neyer wrote a glowing review of this book when it was reprinted in 2004. I wanted to check it out, but it was shrink-wrapped and I thought I maybe had read it at the Closter Public Library about (geez) 18 years ago. Finally I saw an unwrapped copy and flipped through. I quickly understood what Neyer and other people thought was so great about it. There's a lot in there about Lyndon Johnson and the war and such. It's not about Willie so much as the times, see? Nah! I mean who would turn to a Willie Mays bio for a history of the Sixties?

Glenn Stout, Yankees Century: 100 Years of New York Yankees Baseball (Houghton-Mifflin, 2002)

The best history of the Yankees ever written, though not necessarily definitive. Stout's writing can be strangely informal, but at times lively. The analysis of the baseball on the field is strictly conventional and not as probing as it should be, but no other book has tried to synthesize the history team in as much detail and on as many levels. Stout is at his best on the politics of the early American League, but he's also interesting when trashing Ralph Houk, profiling Steinbrenner, and enthusing about Torre's Yankees. Good photos, with celebrity pinch-writers contributing essays, including the obligatory Molly O'Neill piece. David Halberstam's essay on George Weiss reiterates the legitimate criticisms, but makes no attempt whatsoever to explain why he was a great GM, nor does Ira Berkow's effort shed much light on Stengel.

Richard J. Tofel, A Legend in the Making: The New York Yankees in 1939 (2002)

The 1939 Yankees get their book. It's too bad they waited so long to make their move on the 1927 Yankees. They might have been top dog for a while if they'd jelled before 1998, before DiMaggio died. Tofel isn't the only one to do this, but he repeats without comment the quotes saying that Lou didn't forgive Babe and didn't hug him back on Lou Gehrig Day in 1939. However, Gehrig's fingers are clearly visible on Ruth's shoulder in the accompanying photograph. Maybe he didn't forgive him anyway.

The analysis of the team is pretty conventional and not deep. But it does provide the definitive account of the demise of Lou Gehrig. Tofel cites medical journal articles that plausibly claim that Gehrig was feeling physical effects of his disease in 1938, even though his stats don't show a tell-tale ski-slope across the season. The portrait of Gehrig, fleshed out by personal correspondence, is the richest part of the book, but it offers other interesting tidbits such as: Art Fletcher led the team in a singing of "Roll Out the Barrel," after every win. The players treated the All Star Game with the utmost seriousness, on par with the World Series. In the summer of 1940, Gehrig sued the Daily News for suggesting that the Yankees' struggles were due to a team-wide ALS infection. He won a settlement.

Mel Stottlemyre, The Pride and the Pinstripes: The Yankees, The Mets, and Surviving Life's Challenges (2007)

The real story of Mel Stottlemyre's career as a pitching coach revolves around his misguided effort to teach Dwight Gooden the cut fastball, and Mariano Rivera's later development of the very same pitch. Of the former, Stottelmyre has nothing to say, and on the latter, he writes: "From the first time I saw him he was throwing his legendary cutter." Most people date the cutter to the 1997 season, as opposed to 1996, Stottlemyre and Rivera's first year together. Either Stottlemyre has it totally wrong, or maybe Rivera was mixing in the cutter more than we thought in 1996. I do have that tape of game 2 of the 1995 ALDS where he throws what the broadcasters describe as a "real good cut fastball."

Don Zimmer, Zim

Don Zimmer, features Gerbil in his Yankee helmet, but the photo I clipped for the baseball annual is a lot more spontaneous. Some might think that Zimmer, part of the Boys of Summer, the '62 Mets, the tragic Red Sox, a Wrigley miracle, and Torre's Yanks, would have a lot of good stories for a book like this. But Don Zimmer isn't an observer type. He's a funny character in other people's stories. A standing-in-the-bookstore review reveals nothing amusing in this one.

Roger Angell, A Pitcher's Story

Roger Angell has written a book about David Cone's 2000 season. Cone is known as a guy who isn't a rube, but he's never been that interesting either. The excerpt in the New Yorker was a bore, with Cone and Angell fretting about his injuries and woes in mundane fashion. A whole book like this would be about as fun as Cone's 4-14 season.

Jonathan Eig, The Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig (2005)

Standing in the bookstore, I see that he doesn't cover Gehrig's demise in as much detail as Tofel did. Plus you have the Ray Robinson bio. If you ask me, Lou Gehrig is borderline biography material to begin with.

Mickey Rivers, Ain't No Sense Worryin'

An important contribution to the 1977-78 New York Yankees' drive to be the first "25 players, 25 books" team in baseball history.

Frank Graham, The New York Yankees: An Informal History

I guess he was a good writer, but all the stories in here are hokey and inaccurate.

Stephen Jay Gould, Triumph and Tragedy in Mudville

I picked up Gould's posthumous baseball collection, flipped it open randomly, landed on an idiotic apology for Joe Jackson, and immediately shut it replaced it on the shelf.

David Maraniss, Clemente: The Passion and Grace of Baseball's Last Hero (2006)

I don't expect a lot of agreement here, but I submit that the more enraptured you are by Roberto Clemente, the less you actually know and care about baseball.

James Sturm, The Golem's Mighty Swing

Stark graphic novel about a House of David team in a bad scrape.

Jane Leavy, Sandy Koufax: A Lefty's Legacy (2002)

I was less impressed than most reviewers. Informative but a little wrapped up in the poetry of it all.

John Gall and Gary Engel, Sayonara Home Run! The Art of the Japanese Baseball Card (2006)

Katie saw this in the art section of a great bookstore in Miami, but I thought it was too expensive. Later I bought it remaindered, and liked it so much I almost feel guilty about not paying the original price. The cards look great and this has to be one of the most beautifully designed baseball books ever published.

Comments (110)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2008-02-13 06:01:41
1.   jonnystrongleg
Thanks Chris! That first bit about Gibson throwing a cutter is fascinating. I would love to know more about that - are there television angles from Gibson's days that would convey the same sense of break that we see on Mariano's cutter? Also I think that would be another way to review the "origin issue" of Mariano's cutter. He may well have been throwing a cut fastball in 1995 and 96, but that he exaggerated something in 1997 to give the ball the trademark movement that makes it so easily identifiable on TV (and so destructive in the batter's box).

If I had a chance to have an at bat against any Yankee pitcher from my lifetime, it would be a very hard choice between Mariano and El Duque. As a lefty, I should probably pick El Duque in the interest of self preservation.

Can't wait to see those longer reviews when Alex posts them.

2008-02-13 07:04:33
2.   williamnyy23
I am in the middle of Eig's Gehrig bio and am enjoying. Regardless, I think Gehrig is far beyond borderline bio material.

I am also wrapping up my winter baseball reading list. October Men was very entertaining and informative about the combatants of the 1978 season. What I really enjoyed, however, was Montville's Big Bam. Ruth is clearly a vibrant topic, but I can't remember reading a biography that I couldn't put down.

2008-02-13 07:47:08
3.   Shaun P
2 I loved Eig's bio on Gehrig. Like anyone who lives baseball history and the Yanks, I knew quite a bit about Gehrig's career, but precious little about his life outside of baseball. Eig's book filled in the gaps and then some.

The best part about anything written by Bill James? You can pick it up any time, even years after its original publication, and its still damn good reading.

Finally, watching these hilarious videos has been a great help in avoiding reading anything about those proceedings I will not name:

. . . even though they are about the Braves.

Alex, any chance we'll ever see you and Cliff do a video blog?

2008-02-13 07:51:18
4.   JL25and3
2 I'm surprised about the Gehrig bio, because my thoughts about it were roughly the same as Chris's. Gehrig always struck me as a nice guy and, obviously, a spectacular player - but never struck me as particularly interesting beyond his stats. I can't think of a single Lou Gehrig anecdote before his parting speech.
2008-02-13 07:51:40
5.   Yankee Fan In Boston
3 i am with you on bill james. the baseball abstract is a tremendous resource.

as for those proceedings, i will offer this link, in hopes that Dead Horse will somehow find it. this is right up his/her alley:

2008-02-13 07:52:02
6.   JL25and3
Pettitte said straight out that Clemens told him of HGH use.
2008-02-13 07:53:43
7.   JL25and3
3 , 6 I read all of the original Abstracts when they came out, and I read them over and over after that. He singlehandedly changed the way I think about baseball.
2008-02-13 07:54:36
8.   Simone
Andy gave up Roger completely. Now Clemens is lying, lying, lying. He is so going to being charged with perjury after this hearing.
2008-02-13 08:00:24
9.   JL25and3
8 And it doesn't sound like Pettitte was a bad witness who contradicted himself. Quite the opposite; he was asked the same thing on several occasions, and gave a clear, unequivocal answer.

Now they produce an affadavit from Pettitte's wife, saying that Andy told her of the conversation at the time.

Clemens: "I think Andy misremembers."

Clemens is being hammered, and very effectively.

2008-02-13 08:05:29
10.   Simone
8 The "Andy was a bad witness" spin came from sources of that Quinn guy who is ESPN's new baseball steroid investigative reporter. Goes to show you that the NY Times and other established NY tabloids are better sources of hard sports news than ESPN.

Clemens has got to stop. He is making up lies as he goes along and they aren't even good lies. Cummings is nailing him to the wall. I'm surprised that Davis is letting Cummings go after Roger after protecting McGwire from Cummings in the last big steroid hearings. All that glad handing didn't help Clemens out much.

2008-02-13 08:17:05
11.   JL25and3
Next questioner is chipping away at McNamee's credibility, challenging him on inconsistencies, contradictions, changes in his story, and so on. He's doing a pretty good job of it. The problem is, McNamee's credibility isn't the issue anymore. Pedttitte's testimony was devastating.

This hearing isn't like the earlier ones at all. The questioners are well-informed, down to the details; the questions are clear, pointed, and relevant.

2008-02-13 08:42:45
12.   Simone
Burton is clearly a Clemens fan. He is making a fool out of himself irrationally attacking McNamee to protect Clemens. I think that Burton posts here under a different name.

11 Don't forget the corroborating afidavit of Pettitte's wife.

2008-02-13 08:44:52
13.   Shaun P
6 7 I've never read any of the original Abstracts, but I did read his "Baseball Book 1990" and "1992". I re-read them every so often - its fascinating to see what he thought of the '91 Yanks* - and its amazing, some of the stuff he was thinking. At the time, I don't think I realized how much it changed how I thought about baseball.

The other thing that stands out now is how wrong some of it was. As late as 1992, Bill James himself was sometimes over-impressed by RBI!

*In the '92 Baseball Book, James's calculations showed Steve Sax had ~35% chance of reaching 3000 hits, which floored him - and me too. Then, of course, Sax got traded, and James didn't have time to re-run the numbers, but he figured moving to a better hitters' park only increased the odds. IIRC, he was so-so on the trade, mostly because I think he saw Sax's bat >>> Pat Kelly's defense, though he (correctly) figured the Yanks needed all the pitching help they could get.

Part of me hopes Bob Wickman signs somewhere, because he's the last guy connected to that deal still playing in the bigs. I would not have expected that back in February 1992.

2008-02-13 09:18:02
14.   williamnyy23
The hearing is playing like a boxing match in which each fighter gets knocked down, but rises to send the other to the mat.

Aside from some of the gleeful interpretations here, I am not sure much has changed. Clearly, the Pettitte avadavat is very damaging to Clemens, but it still isn't conclusive. Even though I think Clemens looked awful in explaining it, it is still possible that Pettitte could have misunderstood him in the original conversation. Also, Pettitte's wife's recollection is irrelevant is because it is filtered through Andy. Having said that, I think there is a good chance that Pettitte did remember the conversation correctly, in which case Clemens would be lying. On that basis, I am more undecided after hearing Pettitte's comments, whereas I was more confident Clemens was telling the truth beforehand.

I think two other undercurrents have also emerged. Clearly, McNamee's credibility is zero. He has been exposed as a liar willing to protect his own interest. His specific memory of events has also seemed very shaky. I think McNamee exits this hearing as a more distasteful figure, and I wouldn't be surprised if he faces criminal charges as a result.

Furthermore, I think the thoroughness of the Mitchell report has now been completely debunked. Regardless of who is telling the truth, Mitchell's investigation was pretty shabby.

Finally, I think the exchange between Clemens and the Mass. Congressman as well as Rep. Tom Davis show how one presentation of evidence can lead to different conclusions from another explanation of the same information. After the Mass. Rep. questioned Clemens, I would have ruled Clemens guilty. However, after Davis cleared up some of the implication, I moved back to the undecided. We'll see what happens with the rest of the hearing…

2008-02-13 09:18:56
15.   Murray
Always a pleasure to read Chris DeRosa's book review. Although I enjoyed Eig's book, the best work in it surrounds the other people in the story, like Gehrig's doctors at Mayo, and Ellie, who is a very different person than the woman portrayed by Theresa Wright in the movie. Gehrig himself is a cypher, or as he is described by one scribe in the movie, "a boob with a batting eye."

It's good to see that when confronted with a difficult ethical dilemma, Andy Pettitte turned to the familiar, and asked himself, "What would Judas do?"

2008-02-13 09:19:49
16.   markp
How is attacking McNamee's credibility irrational? The most striking part of this whole thing is that the guy Mitchell relied on for 50% of his (very expensive) report is someone who has lied as much as he has.
I still wonder what the point of all of this is. If they were really interested in the issue, shouldn't they have done a little investigating on their own? With subpoena power, couldn't they have investigated all of MLB instead of the limited part of it this "investigation" focused on?
Where's the persecution of the NFL players caught with steroids?

My favorite Bill James bit of nonsense (aside from his strange attacks on Rogers Hornsby) is his description of the trade for Paul O'Neill, calling it "a typical Yankee blunder".

2008-02-13 09:25:03
17.   Max
Roger pretty much convicts himself every time he licks his lips and dances around all the things being thrown at him. If he wasn't already dead in the court of public opinion, he's gone now. He's throwing Andy and his wife, his own wife, now his agents under the bus.

However, on the physical evidence regarding the Canseco meeting and the "palpable mass" smoking gun, I was surprised to see it shot down. Mcnamee certainly didn't look very credible botching the date of the injection (supposedly in Tampa) and the supposed abcess, and the ridiculous questioning of Clemens regarding the medical particulars of the abcess led nowhere.

2008-02-13 09:31:36
18.   JL25and3
16 It's not irrational, but it's largely irrelevant in judging Clemens. (It's not irrelevant in judging the Mitchell report.) You can discount everything he says, and you still have to deal with Pettitte's testimony.
2008-02-13 09:31:47
19.   williamnyy23
4 A single Lou Gehrig anecdote? Did you know the Babe and Lou had a falling out after Lou found his slightly inebriated wife chatting up the Bambino in his state room enroot to Japan. Also, Lou met his wife in the Babe's hotel. How well she "knew" the Babe is unknown? Interesting enough for a bio?
2008-02-13 09:33:15
20.   JL25and3
Ah. Now it's "Mama told me not to do drugs."
2008-02-13 09:35:06
21.   JL25and3
Who's this congressman? Could he be a more blatant Clemens toady?
2008-02-13 09:37:48
22.   rbj
There is now one oopsie in Bill James' revised Historical Abstract -- he defended Pete Rose on the gambling thing.

Re: the hearings -- what did Congress do to fix Social Security?

2008-02-13 09:48:09
23.   Simone
16 It is possible to attack someone's credibility rationally using the facts at hand rather than ranting like a fanboy with a man crush. Ummm, clearly a concept not familiar to politicians or the Clemens' fanboys at ESPN and on this blog.
2008-02-13 09:49:46
24.   williamnyy23
16 Because Clemens haters can't see past their venom to question a proven liars credibility.
2008-02-13 09:50:51
25.   Simone
Ahh, Clemens' nanny said that he was at the party and he contacted her when he heard Congress wanted to talk to her. Did he want to pay her to change her testimony?
2008-02-13 09:55:22
26.   Murray
Everything I've read thus far led me to believe that Brian McNamee was Roger Clemens's nanny.
2008-02-13 10:00:25
27.   Knuckles
Of the freakishly huge budget deficit, national debt, healthcare, gun control, car mpg standards, etc.?
How there has not been any backlash against these pandering idiots who waste their time on sports is beyond me. It pretty much proves that the country is full of idiots who can be occupied by whomever dangles the shiniest object in their face.
"Man, these HMO costs are killing me, and I don't think I'm going to make my mortgage this mo- OOH! They might catch Belichick cheating!"

I hate politicians- maybe I shouldn't live in the DC area, huh? My favorite is the congressman on my block who gushes forth about the environment whenever a tape recorder is stuffed in his fat face, and has his personal driver idling his Suburban outside the house for a good half hour every morning and multiple times per weekend.

2008-02-13 10:06:28
28.   williamnyy23
27 Normally, I'd agree with you, but if you take a look at the downright silly things Congress spends time on (like declaring special days such as National Watermelon Month and Beekeepers Appreciation Day), maybe this issue isn't as frivilous as many think.
2008-02-13 10:14:46
29.   Shaun P
22 On James and Rose - the funny part of that was, James spent like 50 pages in the Baseball Book 1990 going through the Dowd Report in great detail, and attempted to tear it to shreds. IMHO, he failed miserably. Of course, he was attacking the methodology more so than the evidence . . .

27 Congress has a lot of explaining to do, and I hope some of these clowns are held accountable come November. Without getting any more political than this - IMO, these are not the heavily-watched televised hearings they ought to be having. There are other, more important fish to fry than Clemens and McNamee - and MLB.

2008-02-13 10:23:43
30.   OldYanksFan
The hearings are going in circles. The format is very bad. Each person gets a certain timeframe to ask questions. Some are Pro-Roger, some are anti-Roger. The questions are all over the place, and there is no way we can get a conhesive story from this.

I wish they would take an issue: The party, Pettitte testimony, the physical evidence, etc., and let all people who have something to say, to say it. Try to reach some kind of conclusion on individual issues. Try to eliminate those things that won't really help to lead to a conclusion.

It is obvious that both are doing some lying and/or some misremembering.

I have to assume that both parties have been HEAVILY counselled and coached.
The things that bother me the most:

About being invited to initially talk to Mitchell:
Clemens had 2 distinctly different and opposite responses on 60 Minutes and then in testifying. I believe Roger is confused. Whatever the truth is, Roger should have been coached, and should have had the same 'story' is both instances. It is too bold a lie to be caught in by a guy who has counselled.

MsNamee first said he shot Knobby up 5-7 times and then recalled it was more like 50. I know you can't remember things exactly but to go from 7 to 50 has to be an outright lie.

Does anyone, ANYONE believe that McNamees 'newer' memories (lies) were because he was trying to 'protect' his 'friends'?

Waxman is the worst. Tom Davis at least seems somewhat level handed.

I believe McNamee (ex narc and rapist) is a practiced, street smart, pathological liar.

I believe Roger is a self important, blowhard, ego maniac.

All things being equal, I expect Roger to come off worse, as he is not practiced at this soft of thing.

I make no judgement as to guilt or innocence. Even if Roger did use, there appears to be many holes in McNamees story.

2008-02-13 10:29:34
31.   OldYanksFan
My ex is a MS, RD. A nutritionist with a Masters degree and a PhD. It took her 4 years (after college), including an intership at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston. I only wish she could give a little feedback on McNamee now.
2008-02-13 10:35:31
32.   OldYanksFan
Duncan wasting time covering the committee's ass.
2008-02-13 10:41:08
33.   OldYanksFan
Good point by Roger on being found, and more important the motivation to get the MR out fast and with impact.

They really need to investigate the MR.

2008-02-13 10:56:41
34.   williamnyy23
We have a new phrase ready to enter the national lexicon: "it is what it is", which apparently means I told the truth. Didn't Knoblauch recently use that phrase on a few occassions?
2008-02-13 11:05:12
35.   JL25and3
24 Really uncalled for.
2008-02-13 11:06:54
36.   williamnyy23
35 What's uncalled for? I think that is a fair assessment of those who refuse to consider the credibility of McNamee. It is what it is.
2008-02-13 11:09:13
37.   JL25and3
19 I didn't mean an anecdote from the book, or even about his personal life. But there are no baseball stories about him, no colorful anecdotes, no wisecracks - none that were in circulation.

And honestly, that story says things about Ruth and Eleanor Gehrig - but Gehrig seems to be almost peripheral.

2008-02-13 11:10:59
38.   JL25and3
36 I don't think anyone's considered McNamee's credibility to be unassailable, and certainly not here.

I also think it's important to note that there's now corroborating evidence as well.

2008-02-13 11:14:48
39.   williamnyy23
37 I think the reason much of Gehrig's personal life was in the shadows is due to the Giant Elm that was Babe Ruth. I am only half way through the Eig book, but so far Gehrig has proven to be a very interesting figure.

Here's another interesting anecdote: Gehrig almost had his college eligibility revoked by playing professional ball under the alias Lou Lewis. It's kind of a humanizing story for a figure whom many have imbued with puritan piety.

2008-02-13 11:17:20
40.   JL25and3
14 Also, Pettitte's wife's recollection is irrelevant is because it is filtered through Andy.

It may not be admissable in court - though I'm not even sure of that, not if it's used simply to establish a timeline.

But here's a more important question: do you believe her? Do you believe Andy?

The other reason I found your earlier comment uncalled for has to do with pots and kettles. I think it's hard to discredit Pettitte's testimony unless you've already got your mind made up.

2008-02-13 11:18:20
41.   williamnyy23
38 Some people have certainly considered McNamee's credibility unassailable. Just as those unwilling to consider corroborating evidence (which is essentially Pettitte's testimony) are blinded by love of Clemens, those unwilling to consider McNamee's credibility are blinded by hate.
2008-02-13 11:19:49
42.   JL25and3
39 I did know that one. It's not real colorful...

I'm not trying to argue about anything. I've just never heard anything about Gehrig that made me want to read a biography about him.

2008-02-13 11:22:05
43.   williamnyy23
40 It's not a matter of believing Pettitte's wife. The reason I said she is irrelevant is because the only thing that matters is what Pettitte says. His wife is merely testifying about what Pettitte told her.

As for Pots and Kettles, well, that's uncalled before because if you read my post in 14 , I stated clearly that Pettitte's testimony is compelling and has swayed me.

2008-02-13 11:24:14
44.   williamnyy23
42 I am not arguing either...just recommending that you pick up Eig's book and see if it holds your interest.
2008-02-13 11:25:15
45.   JL25and3
41 I think McNamee is a dirtbag and a liar.

I also think that Clemens had his credibility irrevocably destroyed in the first 15 minutes - without the slightest reliance on McNamee or his credibility. After that, it didn't much matter to me if McNamee was exposed as even more of a liar.

2008-02-13 11:29:36
46.   williamnyy23
45 I guess where I disagree with you is while Pettitte's rememberance does raise some doubt, it is not conclusive enough to overcome the inherent credibility concerns I have about McNamee. While I think Pettitte may be recalling the conversation clearly, it is also possible he misunderstood what he heard. In fact, Pettitte states Clemens said exactly that five years later. What strikes me as curious is why, if Clemens was freely
willing to admit his HGH use to Pettitte, they wouldn't have talked about it again for 5 years, especially now that we know Pettitte took HGH on two occasions in the interim.
2008-02-13 11:29:54
47.   YankeeInMichigan
The irony is that Pettitte's testimony contradicts McNamee as well. The Mitchell report quoted McNamee as saying that Clemens did not like HGH and never used it again.

At this point, McNamee's account of afairs has almost no corroborating evidence (except for possibly the mass on the tush).

It will be truly tragic if Pettitte's testimony is what brings Clemens down. Had Clemens just admitted to a few doses of HGH, McNamee would eventually been discredited and the storm would have calmed down. Now, since Clemens took the deny-all route and Pettitte was subpeoned, Clemens may be prosecuted for perjury.

2008-02-13 11:30:46
48.   JL25and3
Going back to Alex's original post...I've been a big Roger Angell fan for several decades now. His description of Luis Tiant's various pitching motions is unparalleled - and entirely accurate.

2008-02-13 11:31:33
49.   williamnyy23
McNamee is burying himself trying to contest the fact that he was a drug dealer with Rep. Shays. I honestly think McNamee has put himself in more jeopardy with his testimony than has Clemens, even if the allegations against Clemens are true.
2008-02-13 11:37:33
50.   JL25and3
46 It's possible. But again, it involves going through some contortions, when there's a far easier and more parsimonious explanation.

That's true of almost everything surrounding l'affaire Clemens. It's possible to explain each piece without implicating Clemens. But if he really did used "PEDs," that explains it all.

47 Tragic? I suppose, but only in the classical sense of a hero brought down by his own hubris.

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2008-02-13 11:42:46
51.   weeping for brunnhilde
27 :)

Preach it, brother!

2008-02-13 11:43:14
52.   Shaun P
How much will Barry Bonds laugh if he ends up not being convicted on perjury and obstruction of justice - while Clemens ends up looking like a fraud, thanks to this hearing?

And I'm not saying Bonds will be laughing because he got away with anything, and Clemens did not. I think Bonds will find it very funny because Clemens has had his share of defenders in the mainstream press, and, to the best of my knowledge, Bonds has not.

HOW many days until pitchers and catchers? One? Thank God.

42 I have to say, the fact that there seemed to be no compelling reason to read a Gehrig bio is exactly why I decided to read Eig's Gehrig bio. The basic story about Gehrig - vanilla puritan baseball hero dies young due to horrible disease - was too simple, too un-nuanced, to really be the entire story, to my way of thinking.

And it is more nuanced than that, but not too much so. Gehrig's combination of plainness and competitive drive fascinates me. Jeter and Ripken and countless others try very hard to cultivate that exact same image, but for Gehrig, it wasn't an image - it was reality. That fact, too, was enough to get me to pick up "Luckiest Man".

2008-02-13 11:44:08
53.   williamnyy23
50 True, but when someone is falsely accused of something, the explanation is rarely straight forward. Sometimes, the path of least resistance can lead an innocent man along the road to a conviction.
2008-02-13 11:47:26
54.   williamnyy23
By the way, I wonder if Waxman and Davis agreed ahead of time to take one side over the other because both seemed to be an advocate and even apologist for one man over the other (a degree of sarcastic skepticism included).
2008-02-13 11:50:53
55.   JL25and3
49 This is one of the few times that I'm going to actually stand up for McNamee. I think I know what he means when he says he wasn't a drug dealer.

Here's something that used to happen a lot, back in the day: one person would know where he could get some good hash (or something). His friends would want some as well, so he'd pick it up for them when he bought his own..

An awful lot of us did that at one time or another - and, legally, that made us all drug dealers.

So when McNamee said he wasn't a dealer - and if he was, where was all the money - that was my immediate reaction. I think it's possible that he was acting as the middle man, not as a business and not for profit. He wouldn't think of himself as a dealer, but legally he would be.

I know, this time I'm going through contortions. It just struck me immediately as such a familiar situation that it made sense to me.

2008-02-13 11:51:40
56.   williamnyy23
52 Very well said. Gehrig was unique among his peers, and while that might have made him less exciting than his contemporaries, especially the Babe, his story is still very compelling. I wouldn't recommend a Gehrig bio to a non-sports fan (unlike someone like Ruth, Ali, etc.), but to a Yankee fan, or even a baseball fan, it is a must read.
2008-02-13 11:52:18
57.   JL25and3
54 Always the conspiracy theorist.
2008-02-13 11:53:10
58.   OldYanksFan
My God! Is Waxman being paid by McNamee? His summary includes only a few of dozens of conclusions, that all happen to go against Roger, and then APOLOGIZES to McNamee!!!

SAY SOMETHING! How inappropriate was Waxman's conclusion?

2008-02-13 11:55:49
59.   williamnyy23
55 My only problem with that is McNamee was benefiting from being the "trainer of Roger Clemens" and other pro athletes. So, if he was providing them with PEDs, he was indirectly enhancing his own career. You can't convince me that didn't factor into his thinking. It's not like he always taken the honest approach to boosting his credentials. So, unless the friends in your example had a monetary stake in helping each others find a score, the analogy doesn't really work.
2008-02-13 11:58:30
60.   williamnyy23
58 Are you and Jayson Stark watching a delayed feed? I've been watching it on and seem to be ahead of everyone else.
2008-02-13 12:05:35
61.   williamnyy23
Again, putting the truth of the allegations against Clemens aside, I wonder how Pettitte will come off? While some will see him as an honest man who decided to the truth, other may perceive him as a man who betrayed the trust of his friend. After all, Pettitte could have simply said he never remembered any conversation with Clemens, especially because only his wife could contradict him. Going deeper into conspiracy theories if you think Clemens is guilty, you could also suggest that Pettitte and Clemens may have contrived the testimony on the basis that it's hard to believe that if they talked about it at all, the topic only came up once.

Putting the above aside, I am more than a little concerned about Pettitte. He not only has admitted to using HGH, but now revealed a second time he used it with the aid of his father and essentially provided the most damning testimony against a good friend. I am sorry, but professional or not, that has to weigh on your conscience.

2008-02-13 12:06:49
62.   JL25and3
59 That could be. I'm not suggesting that his role as distributor was a selfless act, just that it's not what he - or most people - mean by "drug dealer."
2008-02-13 12:08:41
63.   JL25and3
61 You're seriously criticizing Pettitte for not committing perjury?
2008-02-13 12:11:07
64.   JL25and3
My bad. I see that you're not criticizing, just concerned that it will weigh on him.

I think it might bother him. But I think his conscience demanded that he tell the truth under oath - as, of course, he should. I suspect he'll do a lot of praying, but I suspect he'll be okay.

2008-02-13 12:11:55
65.   OldYanksFan
My conclusions:
1) Roger was not proven guilty.
2) Roger was not proven innocent.
3) McNamee was proven to be a scumbag. The 'physical evidence' (gause and needles) were saved for no other reason except blackmail.
4) The fact that McNamee IS a scumbag doesn't mean he WAS lying. Even scumbags sometimes have true stories to tell.
5) The format of these hearings is VERY VERY poor to try and really get to the true.
6) Many of the congress-persons (C-P) were obviously either on one side or the other.
7) Waxman was SO against Roger, he should NOT have been chairing this meeting.
8) There were only a very FEW questions that really were telling, and didn't just rehash the already know information.
9) 3 C-P felt the need to rationalize the hearings.
10) 1 C-P was ashamned to be there.
11) Almost NOTHING was said about owners or the MLB system in general.
12) McNamee NOT believing he was a drug dealer was beyond rediculous.
13) McNamee NOT knowing his degree was from a paper mill was beyond rediculous.

My gut feeling is Roger did some PEDS. My gut feeling is McNamee lied on much of what he said.

If Roger is guilty, between all the lawyers and PR help he could hire, he could have put on an effect PR campaigne withOUT going this far. To participate in this and put himself in jeapardy of purjury is stupid beyond even Roger. I can't believe his counsel would allow him to do this if he was guilty.

Was this his strategy? He's innocent because this would be to stupid to do if he was guilty? I can't believe it. It's too risky. Roger put himself out-there, on camera, against everything Congress could throw at him.

2008-02-13 12:12:47
66.   rbj
I don't know what you're talking about. Not me. Never did anything like that. Uh uh.

I've avoided the hearings, but looking at the comments here and at baseball musings, I'm left with one question: What the hell is Congress doing here, besides wasting time and money?

2008-02-13 12:15:57
67.   JL25and3
59 In my analogy, there was frequently a financial incentive as well: a discount for buying in quantity. It still didn't make the guy a dealer. I suspect that the financial incentive came from working with Clemens, and from Clemens's success, and that PEDs might have helped that. But I don't think his role as middleman involved any direct payoff, and most people wouldn't think of that as being "a dealer."
2008-02-13 12:39:35
68.   Shaun P
66 Pardon my cynicism, but I am royally pissed at Congress right now.

This stunt gets the committee members - especially Waxman and Davis* - all over their local media outlets and the national media as well. For free. In an election year. Defending the children against the evils of steroids!

Its a total win-win for them.

*Not that either likely needs the help, or is facing any kind of challenge, in which case, who doesn't like being all over national TV, and the talk of water coolers every where?

2008-02-13 12:41:20
69.   tommyl
I only caught a little bit of the beginning of the hearings while I was working from home this morning, but I've read the comments here and analysis in various places. I have to say, I'm just ashamed of Congress and the committee right now. At this point, I barely even care if Clemens' is guilty of taking some PEDs or not. This has been blown so far out of proportion. The only way a hearing on this could be justified is if Congress did a real investigation and called in owners, Selig, league officials etc. to address their culpability as well. Its also clearly grandstanding when, of the more than 80+ players named in the report they only called in the most famous one (and people to corrobate evidence against him). Where's David Justice? Brian Roberts? Eric Gagne? Why only Clemens? This is pandering at its worst.

There are people in this country who are right now being foreclosed on, or dying because they are unable to afford the medication or care that they need. Middle and lower class workers are being laid off at a frightening rate, this country actually lost net jobs last quarter (not just against inflation), Congress has slashed basic science funding so much that we're pulling out of international collaborations and elite, skilled workers are being laid off, and there's a couple of little wars going on with brave soldiers and innocent civilians dying everyday and this dog and pony show is what my elected representatives are doing?

I'm sorry, I know I'm ranting, but I am very, very upset at this. If I want crap like this I can watch the Real World and True Hollywood Story, the Brian McNamee saga. Henry Waxman and the rest of you, you should be ashamed of yourselves.

2008-02-13 12:46:44
70.   Yankee Fan In Boston
depositions! git yer depositions here!

(via mr. abraham)

2008-02-13 12:52:07
71.   51cq24
i'm sorry but i can't believe you are all still wasting so much time talking about this. especially the people who are criticizing congress for wasting their time on this. why does anyone care at this point? why am i even wasting a minute writing this post? clemens was on steroids. i can't believe people are even debating this. a lot of other players were on steroids too. i know it's the offseason still and there isn't a whole lot to talk about, but this is so tiresome.
2008-02-13 13:14:58
72.   JL25and3
71 Well, here was a whole lot of new info that came out today.
2008-02-13 13:17:39
73.   JL25and3
I agree with william when he said that this is actually better than how they spend most of their time. If they hadn't done this today, it's not like they would have spent the time solving any serious problems.

And, to be fair, it's not the only thing that was going on. A couple of times some of them had to leave for votes.

2008-02-13 13:22:57
74.   OldYanksFan
My question is:
If Roger is 'guilty', isn't he putting his head in the noose? I know he's an egomaniac, but at worst, he would have been a suspected user, but almost definitely goes into the HOF. Now, he had subjected himself to 1000 times the scutiny, perjury charges, and a LOT more venom as more info comes out after his denials.

I just can't make sense of this. It's like bragging you can fly, and then trying to prove it by jumping off a cliff.

2008-02-13 13:26:52
75.   JL25and3
74 Hubris?
2008-02-13 13:49:01
76.   RIYank
Why did the questioning break across party lines? I don't get that. I can't think of any explanation. There must be one.
2008-02-13 13:56:20
77.   Shaun P
76 Were the roles reversed in 2005? I don't remember.
2008-02-13 14:05:19
78.   RIYank
77 No idea.

But is there any obvious reasons that Republicans would like Clemens, like a ball player, be skeptical of Mitchell, etc.? Or that Democrats would dislike Clemens?

2008-02-13 14:55:48
79.   weeping for brunnhilde
69 Hear, hear.
2008-02-13 14:56:35
80.   weeping for brunnhilde
73 Point taken.
2008-02-13 15:37:58
81.   RIYank

My wife says: Roger goes hunting with Dubya.

Congress has certainly acquitted itself admirably today.

2008-02-13 16:05:43
82.   horace-clarke-era
Having been heavily involved in all the Mitchell discussions, I suppose it may seem odd I haven't typed a word through all this. (Oh. Right. Nobody noticed. Not even william? My bad.)

I'm processing, have too many conflicting responses.

I do know that anyone who even mentally took me up on my nickel and dime bets (on Pettitte hurting Roger and Knoblauch enhancing McNamee) owes 15 cents to the Banter Kangaroo Court (we should have one, you know).

If I have a general starting point for my response to the narrow issue here, I think Pettitte AND Knoblauch take it out of mano a mano, in a very substantial way.

I note that Roger's response to the Andy in 2005 'It was my wife I was talking abut' is shameful, given that the first conversation was 3-4 years before the Debbie Clemens incident. I note he elided this later (probably knowing it was toxic) to talk about some show on tv about senior citizens. Too late. Just looks like multiple scrambles, and he ain't Fran Tarkenton (that dates me, I know).

I note that the talking to the nanny Sunday story looks just gawdawful. The Mitchell attorney simply nailed the proper procedure there when asked - and it killed Clemens. WAY too easy to hear 'They are gonna call you. I wasn't there. You say I wasn't there, you get $250,000 in six months.'

william, one does NOT have to be a Roger hater to 'hear' this as the reason why such meetings are improper.

McNamee wasted a lot of time on not being a drug dealer, and hurt himself BUT I agree with william (pause for jaws to drop) on this. One can see what he means - where's the money? Note also, as to 'enhancing his career' ... did he ever GET any more clients? Real question - I don't think so. The fake doctorate ... jeez, the man is so sad. But sad in a classic hanger-on way. Chasing freebies. Probably tried to get laid by claiming he was buds with stars. 'I'm with the bullpen!' You hang with people making 20 million, you want some of what they have.

Two other thoughts. Someone asked 'why did Roger do this?' with an assumption he's lying. JL23 answered 'Hubris' and it is as good a one word answer as there is. But it is (surely) more complex. He had more to lose, by far, than any of the other named people (short of Barry, who is a direct equivalent). He is a fighter, a competitor, knew he could load up a strong legal team. That they could try things like a tapped phone call. He probably thught Pettitte would cover for him (on this analysis of drug use ... if he didn't, it is a non-question!) and it becomes more of a me-him with a genuine lowlife. I found Radomski's interview (Monday?) interesting: basically said he knew why Barry's guy accepted jail time rather than talk ... Barry was - and is - taking care of him.

Finally, maybe this is just me, but something today struck me hard. On 60 Minutes, Alex Rodriguez was asked 'Did you use steroids?' and he said 'Never.' And the follow-up was, 'Why not?' And his answer was: "Because I never felt overmatched on a baseball field." (Possibly the best thing the man has ever said.)

Today, during a softball questioning by someone about something peripheral, Roger said, smiling, 'I always wanted an edge when I was on the mound.'

I keep hearing the two remarks, in opposition to each other.

More to say (surprise!) but enough for the moment.

2008-02-13 16:08:55
83.   YankeeInMichigan
55 I just skimmed through the Knoblauch interview. He pretty much says that McNamee pushed the HGH on him when he was down and vulnerable. That makes him a drug dealer in my book.
2008-02-13 16:46:18
84.   Chyll Will
Why is agreeing with William more cosmically phenomenal or phenomenally cosmic than agreeing with anyone involved in these hearings? I've been agreeing with him for a little while lately, and outside of a little minor surgery today to remove something I would likely get sent to my room for if I described it, I feel okay... (okay, that was a safety question...)

83 That makes him a pusher. He's a dealer for actually selling or arranging to acquire HGH for him. Unfortunately, like it or not it makes Knobby a dope.

2008-02-13 17:03:29
85.   OldYanksFan
84 "Why is agreeing with William more cosmically phenomenal or phenomenally cosmic than agreeing with anyone involved in these hearings? "

Methinks we would need an entire thread to cover this adequately. :-)

Again, I can't help but think of Clinton who almost got impeached, for lying to Congress, about the high crime of getting a blowjob.

Even if Clemens 'used', it seems like such a minor issue, in respect to the history of other MLB players, and the desire/demands of fans for players to always excel.

The crime to me is how Bonds, and now Clemens, are singled out, how decent folk like Andy and Knobby are put through this, and yet Fehn and baseball owners get away without a scratch, and Selig gets a $15m/yr contract renewed.

I don't know why we always have to avoid dealing with real systemic issues by simply scapegoating a select few.

2008-02-13 17:16:11
86.   williamnyy23
83 Whatever you feel about Clemens, I don't think anyone can come away from this feeling McNamee is anything but a reprehensible character. It would be a shame if he doesn't see jail time.

84 85 That same line has been repeated so many times, it almost seems contradictory in its volume (i.e. you can't keep being surprised if you keep agreeing with me). I am sure much of my contrarian reputation stems from my rather strong opinions about Joe Torre (as well as those on other topics), but I'd hate to be posting opinion on a blog in which everyone agrees with each other.

2008-02-13 17:24:00
87.   williamnyy23
Just because I like piling on McNamee, it was interesting to read in his deposition that Pettitte would "give him, slip him, you know, I think I would pay him $1,000, $1,500 here or there."

Isn't Novitsky an IRS agent? I wonder if those payments will be of interest?

2008-02-13 17:35:16
88.   RIYank
Via Pete Abe: Pettitte is excused from reporting to Spring Training until Monday.

Pete also wonders whether Andy might now change his mind and retire. (Doesn't seem in character to me, but what do I know?)

2008-02-13 17:36:07
89.   Chyll Will
86 Above anything else, we're just glad you're not ille >;)
2008-02-13 17:36:31
90.   horace-clarke-era
85 Even if Clemens 'used', it seems like such a minor issue, in respect to the history of other MLB players, and the desire/demands of fans for players to always excel.

The crime to me is how Bonds, and now Clemens, are singled out,


On the whole I agree ... the sad thing is that a culture used and it takes major names being nailed to shape a reform. Not that unusual, but not the less unfortunate. Having said THAT, I'm honestly not sure Roger is being 'singled out'. I mean, Pettitte and Knoblauch are named here (all-stars, remember) and they confirm all that McNamee says (and more). I read Pettitte's deposition (on ... the guy admits a usage in 2004 ONLY HIS FATHER KNEW OF. Yet Roger's angle on the 2005 conversation is that Andy 'misunderstood' him in 1999 or 2000 on hgh, because Roger was talking about Debbie's usage 3 years later! More I think about it, more I stand by my comment: most else is smoke and screen ... Knoblauch hurts Roger, Andy ends it. This is NOT about one 'reprehensible' dude vs one powerful one. And perjury is not trivial. Or shouldn't be. That's why Barry's in trouble, and why Tejada probably is.

Clemens could have come clean, if he wasn't quite such a big fish and he wasn't quite so Roger. He singled himself out?

86 McNamee sounds liable for a maximum of 6 months and as a first offender who cooperated, is almost surely in line for the same sentence Radomski got. Beyond that, since when does being reprehensible=jail?

william ... you didn't like Joe Torre? :) Yeah, funny line on the IRS. Hell, freebies and perks are taxable!

2008-02-13 18:04:47
91.   JL25and3
85 I've been saying since day one that the whole purpose of the report was for Selig and the owners to put all the blame and attention on the bad, bad players and their bad, bad union. After all, the report covers a period when conditions were entirely different, and doesn't really have much bearing on today. The recommendations - better testing, more education and so on - weren't exactly big news. I have to believe that deflecting blame was Selig's basic purpose.

But I try to keep my conspiracy theories limited - otherwise you end up with gunmen popping out from behind every tree and bush in Dealey Plaza. So mine stops there. Among other things, that means I don't think Clemens was "singled out." I think he fell into their laps. As it turned out, Selig's greatest bit of dumb luck was Clemens's decision to mount such an aggressive defense. If he'd 'fessed up as the others did, those would have blown over long ago.

Now, Selig and the owners have already won a decisive victory, regardless of what happens with Clemens or McNamee.

2008-02-13 18:08:41
92.   williamnyy23
90 I've just finished reading the Pettitte deposition and I have to agree that it is very damaging to Clemens. Interestingly, I think you can actually poke holes in the whole 1999/2000 HGH conversation, but there is really a lot more in the deposition that wasn't discussed at the hearing or included in the affidavit. At this point, while I am not ready to state that Clemens definitely did PEDs, I think there is at least an even chance. I just can't fathom how Clemens could be so insistent if everything Pettitte recalled is true. Luckily for Clemens, Pettitte doesn't have anything concrete to make a perjury charge hold up.

I am not resigning from the Clemens defense team just yet, but I have some serious questions about my client! Ironically, I am not concerned at all about the implications of Clemens' PED use on his career performance because I don't believe HGH has any impact on performance. Regardless, if Clemens lied, it would bother me quite a bit.

As for Torre, I thought he had run his course by 2005 and strongly felt he had become more a part of the problem than the solution.

2008-02-13 18:10:24
93.   williamnyy23
91 I am not sure Selig won a decisive victory, especially if Congress decides to revisit McNamee's account of his conversation with David Cone regarding the owners not really being interested in testing.
2008-02-13 18:13:08
94.   williamnyy23
I don't want to beat a dead horse here, but man, I really hope this doesn't sink Pettitte's 2008 season. I am not sure if he intended it to be the case, but his deposition has likely permanently damaged Clemens in the minds of a great majority. I know I wouldn't feel very good if I was in his shoes, even though he didn't doing anything wrong.
2008-02-13 18:14:45
95.   Shaun P
91 I think you're right, and that's sad. Bud and Co shouldn't get away scot-free either.

But let's be honest. Bonds and Clemens* are taking the fall here, for an awful lot of people. Outside of Palmiero and Ryan Franklin, can anyone name 5 guys who have been caught taking steroids by the MLB testing program**, without looking names up? Me neither. (Though more than half of them were pitchers.) In fact, I'll bet more than a few of those guys are in camps soon.

You don't hear anyone claiming they should throw Alex Sanchez's numbers out of the stat books.

*Palmiero and McGuire too, but Raffy's troubles are his own doing. I maintain McGuire said nothing horrible or wrong on 3/17/05, but he's made to suffer as well.

**Turnbow and Sledge don't count - there were caught in the minors, IIRC. Or was it the Olympics?

2008-02-13 18:31:16
96.   horace-clarke-era
92 "I am not resigning from the Clemens defense team just yet, but I have some serious questions about my client! "

william, lad, come over from Darth Roger to the Light! Let AnD2 be your guide. May the fork(ball) be with you! Let us all pursue the evil Emperor PalpaBud and his lackey OrzaFehr!

In passing, it isn't just hgh, of course: there's steroid use alleged here, too. The bulking up ain't hgh.

95 Shaun, again I half agree, but also see JL25's point about messing themselves up. Also, it isn't wrong to note that Bonds and Clemens are massive economic beneficiaries of the drug era if culpable.

I have always argued that it is the lower-end steroid guys who had careers extended, or were turned from borderline to starters or even bench players in the Show who 'cheated' their peers most ... they took jobs from players who might have chosen to stay clean. But that doesn't change that the stars got hundreds of millions during their later 30s and 40s ... when declines set in.

2008-02-13 18:39:24
97.   OldYanksFan
"I've been saying since day one that the whole purpose of the report was for Selig and the owners to put all the blame and attention on the bad, bad players and their bad, bad union."
Indeed, this is the bottom line.
This is what should be investigated.
This is the real crime.
And Bud, and his $15m/yr contract, get renewed.
2008-02-13 18:51:21
98.   williamnyy23
96 The steroid allegations are more serious to me, but it doesn't seem as if Clemens was injected enough to have made that much of a difference. Then again, I am basing that on McNamee's testimony, which leaves open a lot of doubt.
2008-02-13 19:10:24
99.   weeping for brunnhilde
Btw, what do you guys suppose Suzyn's thinking about all this?
2008-02-13 19:12:36
100.   horace-clarke-era
Over at Verducci's lead piece is solid. I entirely agree with his line that the MVP of the day was Elijah Cummings, in fact I'm mad at myself for forgetting to say exactly that in my first (too long anyhow) comment here. Cummings is the one who simply nailed Roger "Why would Brian McNamee tell the truth about Andy Pettitte and Chuck Knoblauch but lie about Clemens, especially when Pettitte, by Clemens' own testimony a honest man, backed McNamee's story?

Clemens whiffed.

"Congressman, I have no idea," he said, before devolving into a rambling discourse on Pettitte's friendship with him.

I also have to say, since no one else has, that the congressman who asked Clemens what hat he'd wear into the HOF is a walking breathing humiliation of a congressman in complete abdication of his duty.


Finally, far be it from me to defend El Selig, but Verducci is also very good on this:

Roger Clemens, the famous competitor, finally cracked. Clemens had kept his emotions in check throughout the day, but finally gave in when he was asked again about turning his back to the Mitchell investigators. Clemens this time didn't put the blame on his agents. No, he blamed Bud Selig for not tracking him down to give him a heads up about the report. "Bud Selig could have found me," said Clemens, who seems to think that pitching in the World Baseball Classic and All-Star Game gives him the benefits of any doubt. 'He could have found me. I'm an easy person to find.' It was the first time Clemens showed real anger. And he is absolutely wrong. There was nothing Selig could have or should have done. A procedure was put in place, via collective bargaining, that Mitchell was obligated to go through the players association if he wanted to contact any of its members. Mitchell was to notify the union of the player he wished to talk to and the appropriate team, based on the years involved in the subject matter. Mitchell had no other avenue. And Selig, by commissioning an independent investigation, was obligated to remain outside of the process. He had no business contacting any player or interjecting himself into Mitchell's activities -- and you can darn well know that the union would have rightly hit the roof if Selig went around the back of the union and Mitchell to contact players. Clemens' anger at Selig is misplaced, and a convenient 180-degree turn from his morning testimony that his agents did him wrong.

Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2008-02-13 19:13:37
101.   williamnyy23
99 weeping for Clemens?
2008-02-13 19:17:26
102.   weeping for brunnhilde
101 Heh he he heheh!


2008-02-13 19:17:31
103.   williamnyy23
100 You can blame Selig for ALOT of things, but no, it wasn't his responsibility to track Roger down.

I am sure that the next week or two, the blood thirsty columnists will have a field day at Clemens expense. I just hope that now that Pettitte's testimony is available, they get around to portraying McNamee in the proper light. It's amazing to me that both McNamee and Radomski are going to wind up not doing any jail time.

2008-02-13 19:19:52
104.   weeping for brunnhilde
I can't wait for them to start playing baseball.
2008-02-13 19:52:37
105.   RIYank
Here's another feel-good story about Joba et al., this one in the Times.

2008-02-13 20:39:14
106.   Knuckles
Of all the dramatic things I've ever seen, the needle labeled 'HGH' sticking out of Roger Clemens's but...
2008-02-13 20:44:57
107.   Chyll Will
99 ,106 FranDog can't wait!
2008-02-13 21:12:10
108.   Shaun P
96 hce, excellent points all around. Too much focus on the big names, though, for my tastes, even if they benefited $$$wise the most. (At least among the players. Its not like the teams didn't reap some big-time profits too.) I just like to see justice, such as it is, meted out equally. If Clemens gets his day to defend himself before Congress, why doesn't Brendon Donnelly? He's denied PED use as strenuously as Clemens, if not as loudly. If Bonds's numbers are to be asterisked, or deleted, or whatever, why aren't Rafael Betancourt's? After all, Betancourt actually failed a drug test; Bonds never did.

The whole damn thing is a mess, and I wonder if MLB isn't worse off due to the Mitchell Report. Bud could have left well enough alone - I have yet to see any calls for the NFL to investigate just how many Pats besides Rodney Harrison might have been using hGH; 18-0 to start a season, talk about your statistical oddity, they must have had help!* - but of course, why do that when you can cover your own ass and assure yourself of your place in the game's hallowed history? And take your old adversary, the players, down quite a few pegs in the process?

*FWIW, I don't know or care if any of the Pats, or any other football players, used hGH or anything else. But the twisted reasoning I sarcastically applied above to the Pats is the exact same reasoning members of the MSM have applied to MLB. (Ex: McGuire had to have used something; no one EVER hit 70 home runs in a season before! He must have had help.)

2008-02-13 23:54:37
109.   Mr OK Jazz TOKYO
I had some amazing fried squid today ("tako-yaki") which is a dish usually associated with the Osaka region, not Tokyo.
Tonight I am going to the Swiss Embassy for a cocktail party, the founder of the Montreaux Jazz festival is promoting his new book about the festival. I plan to schmooze and have as much free beer as possible. I`ll come home and read the first reports about pitchers&catchers. Baseball is back and I can't wait!

So there was something about baseball in Congress today? Yawn....

2008-02-14 00:25:26
110.   Mr OK Jazz TOKYO
But seriously.. this spring I can take my 3-month old son to his first baseball game. Granted, it will be the Yakult Swallows vs the Hanshin Tigers and not Yanks-Sox, and he is obviously way too young to know where he is. But the joy of a spring day at the stadium with my first child, just like my Dad did when he took me to the Stadium to see Reggie Jackson in makes all the bullshit going on in baseball right now fade away. Opening Day can't get here soon enough!

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