Picture Perfect: Another Strike Against Roger Clemens

KP WeeSenior Writer IFebruary 23, 2008

Roger Clemens' credibility took another hit this week.

For those who don't like or can't stand the Rocket, the past few months must have been enjoyable.

Personally, I hadn't made any comments on Clemens' role in the so-called Steroid Era because it has already been talked about so much by the media and fans alike.

It seems that everyone at some point or another was implicated in some way. Rick Ankiel, Troy Glaus, Jason Grimsley, Eric Gagne, Greg Zaun, and a host of others have all been in the news.

Do I personally care if athletes—or anyone, for that matter—choose to inject themselves with drugs?


And many fans out there feel the same way.

Look at the healthy attendance figures from the 2007 season and you will realize that this supposed dark cloud hanging over the game of baseball hasn't turned fans away.

However, the problem with baseball, the media, and fans was that they all were picking on Barry Bonds—that is, until Clemens became the new scapegoat.

People didn't want to see Barry break Hank Aaron's career home run record. Bonds eventually eclipsed Aaron's mark, but still fans didn't want to acknowledge him as the legitimate home run king.

"Let Pujols or A-Rod break that record," they all said.

Those same media members and fans, though, worshipped Clemens as he continued to move up baseball's career wins list.



Despite Clemens' suspicious success in his mid-30s and into his 40s, everyone seemed to think he was legit. Newspaper headlines and sportscaster commentaries were all positive.

His contemporaries, the Dwight Goodens and Bret Saberhagens of the world, were long gone, but the Rocket was still pitching at a high level for the Yankees and Astros.

The media tried to portray Bonds as the bad guy. Clemens, on the other hand, was above reproach.

Part of it was that there was no evidence to link the Rocket to performance-enhancing drugs. The so-called "greatest living pitcher"—a label given to Clemens by ESPN analysts two years ago—didn't hang out with any buddies like Greg Anderson, Bonds' imprisoned trainer.

And then came the Mitchell Report.

The fact that Clemens has taken over the spotlight in this steroid scandal is proof positive of one thing: If you have skeletons in your closet, they will be revealed eventually.

And slowly but surely, the American public is starting to see Clemens' legacy unravel.

This week, it was reported that Jose Canseco's former neighbor has come forward claiming to have photographs showing Clemens was at a party at Canseco's house in June 1998.

Clemens had denied attending that party—under oath—in a Congressional deposition earlier this month, before changing his story slightly in the nationally-televised Congressional hearings days later.

(I guess he "misremembered" that, huh?)

Clemens' initial denials were supposedly a strategy to discredit the accuracy of the Mitchell Report, which stated—according to Clemens' ex-trainer Brian McNamee—that the Rocket was at the party.

It was part of the Rocket's defense to show that McNamee's testimony couldn't be trusted and that the ex-trainer was a liar. The idea was to make the Mitchell Report and its claims against Clemens less credible.

There was even an affidavit from Canseco himself saying that Clemens wasn't at that party. Debbie Clemens claimed her husband wasn't there.

But the tables have now turned. If the photographs do indeed exist and are proven to be authentic, Clemens will be finished.

As if he isn't already, at least in the court of public opinion.

Clemens has already said he doesn't care about the Hall of Fame.

But that's not going to be his main concern now—federal prosecutors could go after the Rocket for perjury.

As this Clemens soap opera continues, let's not forget that Spring Training has begun. The first spring game will take place in two days. Hopefully when the action begins, we'll get some baseball coverage that isn't tied to the steroid nonsense.

Time to enjoy real baseball in the upcoming 2008 season—without Clemens in uniform.