Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Roger Clemens Acquitted

Roger Clemens was acquitted of lying about steroid use to a Congressional panel.  From everything I've read it looked as though the government's case was shaky from the start.  The accuser, Brian McNamee, was a disaster waiting to happen.  He was not credible and the evidence he brought to the table was iffy at best.  Clemens' longtime friend Andy Pettite testified "against" Clemens but by saying there was a 50-50 chance he misunderstood Roger Clemens he sunk the prosecution.  The DNA evidence seemed to have issues, not if it was Clemens', but how it was obtained.  Was it from an injection or an infection?  And McNamee really kept this stuff for eight years?  That is downright weird in itself.  In the end the jury didn't believe the evidence was there to convict Roger Clemens.  From an outsider's view I have to agree.  That is not to say he never used steroids just that the jury did not find enough evidence to convict him of the charges of lying. 

As a fan I'm left to wonder where Roger Clemens goes from here.  As a Red Sox fan he'll always have a special place in my heart even if he did play and win two World Series with the New York Yankees.  I blame his leaving the Red Sox on then general manager Dan Duquette.  Not to say Clemens was always the most lovable of fellas.  Still he had a wonderful career spanning 24 seasons with Boston, Toronto, Houston and New York in which he won 354 games, losing 184, while finishing with a career ERA of 3.12.  Wow.  He is likely part of a dying breed of 300 game winners.  The advent of the five man rotations and managers who now seem to want to go to the bullpen at any hint of a problem means we'll see less pitchers reaching this milestone.  Only three pitchers have reached 300 wins since Clemens did so in 2003 (Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Randy Johnson).  Only two active pitchers have over 200 wins and they are both over 40 years of age or older (Jamie Moyer 269 and Andy Pettite 243) with little to no chance of reaching 300.   

So with his wonderful career and the alleged use of steroids, is Roger Clemens a hall of famer?  I'll start with the alleged steroids use.  Steroids, or what it has done to baseball, makes me cringe and I wish it would just go away. But it isn't. I think baseball should address this issue within the hall of fame process.  Maybe by just stating the era for what it is.  Players within this era are all under some suspicion so just put it out there within the hall.  There are other eras - pre-1900,  expansion and the dead ball era to name a few.   Then let everyone make their own judgement.  I also wish this could apply to hall of fame voters but I'm afraid it is going to take quite a bit to get voters to get past their issues with players suspected of using steroids which is a shame.  We need to move on.  I think by trying to ignore those who did use the drug and those suspected of using performance enhancing drugs will mean players who should be in won't be while players like Ken Griffey Jr. will get in with no issues because he is likable and there have been no allegations thrown his way.  But we don't know if he took steroids.  Nor do we know if Jeff Bagwell did but I truly believe voters think he did.  He has also never been accused of any wrongdoing.   

Clemens' stats are slam dunk hall of fame stats in any era.  Given my thoughts I discussed in the previous paragraph I think he should be voted in.  There is no proof he took steroids.  Let the stats stand alone.  If we let what we think to be true cloud our judgement it gets way too complicated.  I would also apply this to other players.  I'm OK if a player admitted using performance enhancement drugs or was caught not making the hall.  But if it isn't definitive then we must ignore the conjecture that springs from stereotypes and our biases.  So let Roger in!

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