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Pants On Fire

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I think you know the rest of that childhood phrase.

The only real news to come out of Roger Clemens' interview last night on "60 Minutes" (since the content of the interview was leaked several days beforehand) was the announcement, made just before the show aired, that Clemens was going to beat Brian McNamee to a year filled with legal fees by suing him for defamation first, before McNamee could file. Incidentally, Rusty Hardin, the lawyer Clemens has hired for this lawsuit, is apparently quite a character in Texas; among other things, he's trying to tar McNamee as a liar for what he told Sen. Mitchell because:

the federal authorities and Mitchell investigators did not even interview the police officers who handled a 2001 sexual-assault case in Florida in which McNamee was a suspect. McNamee was not charged in that case, but the officers, who have now been interviewed by Hardin’s own investigators, feel he was not entirely truthful, Hardin contended.
What a six-year-old sexual assault case has to do with McNamee's testimony about PED use, I have no idea. (Hat tip for the Hardin article link: Crawfish Boxes)

Thanks to the Boston Globe, we have a complete transcript of the Clemens interview.Let's deconstruct, shall we?

CLEMENS I'm angry that that what I've done for the game of baseball and the personal, in my private life, what I've done that I don't get the benefit of the doubt.
Right, Roger. What YOU have done for baseball? Without baseball, you're probably driving a UPS truck in Houston. Gimme a break.
WALLACE Mitchell Report, quote: "According to McNamee, from the time McNamee injected Clemens with Winstrol, a steroid, through the end of the '98 season, Clemens performance showed remarkable improvement. Clemens told McNamee that the steroids, quote, had a pretty good effect on him. McNamee said Clemens was also training harder and dieting better during this time."

CLEMENS Never. I trained hard my entire career. It just didn't happen.

Notice there's no denial here.
WALLACE Again, from the Mitchell Report, quote, "According to McNamee, during the middle of the 2000 season, Clemens made it clear he was ready to use steroids again. And during the latter part of the season, McNamee injected Clemens in the buttocks four to six times with testosterone. Also injected Clemens four to six times with Human growth hormone.

CLEMENS My body never changed. If he's putting that stuff up in my body, if what he's saying which is totally false, if he's doing that to me, I should have a third ear coming out of my forehead. I should be pulling tractors with my teeth.

Classic distraction. "A third ear coming out of my forehead"? No one's ever said that about PED's. What PED's are supposed to help you do is train harder, so you can get and stay stronger. "Pulling tractors with my teeth"? Hardly. What they apparently allowed Clemens to do was to pitch at a high level for several years after what would have been a normal rate of decline for a professional athlete.
WALLACE Why didn't you speak to George Mitchell's investigators?

CLEMENS I listened to my counsel. I was advised not to. A lot of the players didn't go down and talk to him.


CLEMENS But if I would've known what this man, Brian McNamee had said in this report, I would have been down there in a heartbeat to take care of it.

Anyone believe that last statement? If Clemens had in fact "been down there in a heartbeat", Don Fehr and Gene Orza would likely have hired people to stop him.
WALLACE Did your former trainer, Brian McNamee ever inject you with anything?

CLEMENS Yes he did.


CLEMENS Lidocaine, and B12. It's for my joints and and B12 I take still today. A lot of trainers—

WALLACE And that's all.?

CLEMENS That's it.

WALLACE Never, never a human growth hormone?


WALLACE Never testosterone?

CLEMENS Never. Never.

WALLACE And never anabolic steroids?




Like "Swear" makes it right? "Swear" makes it all go away, right, Roger? Just like it would in fourth grade? Gimme yet another break. (The Lidocaine and B-12 mentions are beyond ridiculous. If you've had a root canal, you've likely had Lidocaine injected into your mouth. Clemens says it was injected into his butt. Well, maybe it was to stop him from saying stupid stuff like this. In that case, it didn't work.)
CLEMENS Joe Torre and I were in the the trainers room and he basically shut the door and said, I don't need any damn heroes here. You didn't tell me how bad you're hurtin. I notice you're hurtin'. And I told Joe Torre that I'll be damned if 15 minutes before I'm gonna start a World Series game I'm gonna go out there and look my teammates in the eye and tell ‘em I can't go. I said, as long as the other team doesn't know that I'm hurting, I can get people out throwin' 85 without using my leg. And get you six innings under my belt. I'm gonna take this Torodol shot and hope it works. And mask some of this pain so I can get out there and do my job. That's the things I put my body through And I'm not ashamed of that because I get paid a lotta money to go out and perform. And I appreciate that they put that kind of trust in me.


This, interestingly enough, appears to be true. The game Clemens (and the announcer track) are discussing is likely Game Three of the 2001 World Series; it's the only World Series game in which Clemens appeared in which he gave up three hits (in seven innings) and won.
CLEMENS I didn't play my career to get fame or go to the Hall of Fame or worry about all that. That's nice. That, all that's nice. Again, it's not who I am. I've worked my tail off to get where I'm at. I'm not gonna put something in my body for a quick fix that's gonna tear me down.
So what did you play for, Roger? The money? That's OK -- it's your job, your profession, you're supposed to do that. But this isn't supposed to be a "quick fix that's gonna tear me down". Instead, most who have done PED's have done it to extend their careers when they appeared to be in decline -- and this seems to be the case for Clemens, too.
CLEMENS And that's our country, isn't it? Guilty before innocent. That's the way our country works now. And then everybody's talking about sue, sue sue. Should I sue? Well, let me exhaust. Let me, let me just spend. How about, let's keep spending. But I'm gonna explore what I can do and then I want to see if it's gonna be worth it, worth all the headache.
Guess he decided it was. The interview was recorded on December 28. A week later he decided to "sue, sue, sue".
WALLACE You're not going to pitch again?

CLEMENS You'll never see me pitch again.


So which is it? The Q & A appears to say he's retired, but the announcer track says he said he could un-retire again. I'm guessing, that with Clemens turning 46 in August (and not pitching particularly well on his last unretirement last year), he's done anyway.

Maybe I've been too hard here, but I just don't believe Clemens. Andy Pettitte, who was a teammate of Clemens for eight seasons, admitted to HGH use and seems to have been forgiven in the court of public opinion. The fact that Clemens hasn't done so indicates one of two things: either he's a stubborn cuss who just can't bring himself to do this, or he's guilty as charged. He's right when he said in the interview:

CLEMENS I think the people that know me believe me and understand what I'm about. And I can't—the, the people that are out there that have been saying the things that they've been sayin', I don't know if I'll ever swing their opinion, These accusations are not gonna change me as a person. I'll, I'll do everything I can to prove ‘em wrong. And and I still don't know if that's good enough.
I doubt that it will be. We'll see what happens when he testifies before Congress next week -- if he shows up:
"Roger is willing to answer questions, including those under oath," said Clemens' attorney, Rusty Hardin. "We hope to determine shortly if schedules and other commitments can accommodate the committee on that date."

A committee spokesman told The Washington Post the panel could issue subpoenas if any witnessess decline the invitation.

"Schedules and commitments"? I'm thinking if you get called to Congress, you go. Let 'em subpoena him. We deserve to hear the truth.

I won't hold my breath thinking we're going to get it, though.

Finally, a little humor on the subject (hat tip to Pinstripe Alley):