Tuesday, June 19, 2012

9TH INNING HEROICS FOR CLEMENS?


“Life is true to form; records are meant to be broken.”
~ Mark Spitz

It started off with a list. 

A list fans across the country prayed excluded members of their favorite team, as well as the top players in the game.  Having nothing to do with an actual game; baseball fans held their breath in anticipation.  Knowing that the last 8-10 years of monster baseball statistics couldn’t just be a fluke.

Next was the utter backlash across the league from fans.  Individual records and feats are quite serious to baseball fans.  Mix that with sport fans working in newsrooms, and it was a hot topic going into 2008.

Everything was going to be okay though.  Why? Because Washington became involved, and it’s well known that when Washington gets involved, everything is going to be A-Okay. (Sorry there’s no font for sarcasm)

Congress spent an absorbent amount of our tax dollars to do what…that’s right…convict baseball players guilty of performance enhancing drugs.  As an added bonus, the money spent on the hearing makes the Yankees payroll look like a small budget. Least we got to laugh at Rafael Palmeiro’s finger wag, and Sammy Sosa’s ability to completely forget how to speak English. 

Dumb and Dumber
 Many players went into hiding to never mention it again or dodge the questions…
Very few actually admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs of some type (eventually)…
Some, well one really, suited up for round one of his reputation…

After a 10-week period, Roger Clemens has been acquitted on charges of obstructing and lying to Congress in denying his use for performance enhancing drugs.  All that being said, yes it’s a victory for Clemens, but what does it really mean in the long run?
First off, the better question to ask is why did he go to such lengths to clear his name?  Failing to do so would mean jail time.  So with so much money in the bank ($150M from just his baseball salary alone) why does he care so much?

He does seem like a man who takes pride in his reputation.  Fellow newscasters would almost brag about his constant work ethic.  So now that he doesn’t have the daily grind of a Major League Baseball player, is he filing a void? Is he defending all the hours of just blood sweat and tears he poured onto the ball field? Or perhaps, he’s trying his best to secure a spot into Baseball’s Hall of Fame?
True poster boy of the steroid era.

Let’s point out the facts, or in this case, statistics. 
Taking the stats for what they are (PEDs aside), Rodger Clemens is one of the greatest pitchers ever.  (Personally, I would put him in a tie with Greg Maddux for the greatest pitchers of my generation.)

Sadly though, there’s a judgment that goes much further than statistics on paper.  It’s a ‘he said, she said’ scenario.  Something that Clemens will NEVER be able to eliminate or overcome for that matter.  Hell, all this trial means is that he didn’t lie in front of Congress.  He still could’ve used PEDs. 

Next year is his first year of eligibility to be inducted into Baseball’s Hall of Fame.  Do I think he’ll make it in as a first ballot hall of famer?  Absolutely not.  Do I think he deserves to go in as a first ballot hall of famer? Eh, I’d have to say no unfortunately.
 
Players, staff/coaches and executives turned a blind eye for far too long.  So stories and debates like these will be talked about for years to come.  While guys like Clemens may never see the steroid error from our eyes, most fans have made up their mind already.

Some of my earliest memories are about baseball.  I’m a grown man now, and I’ll never earn the type of money in a lifetime, what they’ll earn in a season.  That being said, erase all the stats.  If you’ve used performance enhancing drugs, and been caught red handed, get out of the record books.  You can keep your money, but you don’t deserve to have anything else.  The fans give you all that cash.  Why don’t you give them back the respect they deserve?

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