Friday, January 11, 2008

Rocket's Red Glare

Jan. 11, 2008
By Anthony Tripicchio

Roger Clemens’ act is wearing thin. If you believe he is innocent and never used steroids or HGH, give me a call to have dinner with you, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny sometime.

Clemens’ public relations circus continued Monday with his own press conference which featured a taped personal phone conversation between himself and his infamous former trainer Brian McNamee.

The tape was intended to publicly clear Clemens of any wrongdoing. Obviously, that was not the result. For a man that has allegedly been falsely accused and watched his reputation tarnished beyond repair, he sure maintained a mild tone with McNamee throughout the tape. Not once did we hear Clemens say anything resembling ‘Why would you ever make up this insane story about me? You know I never did steroids or HGH.’

He didn’t tell McNamee that because Clemens knew he would get called on it. The closest phrase we heard from Rocket was “I just don’t understand why you would tell those guys I did steroids.”

That statement implies that Clemens is distraught with the fact that McNamee turned him in, not that he is irate for being wronged. McNamee had no alternative, but to tell the truth about Clemens. If he refused to talk, McNamee would have become the next Greg Anderson, who wasted away for years in federal prison for his unappreciative client, Barry Bonds.

At the same time, McNamee sounded weak and vulnerable on the tape and confided in Clemens that his son is terminally ill. Clemens and his supporters would like to use that excuse as to why he wasn’t more forceful on the phone with him, but one has nothing to do with the other. The seven-time Cy Young Award winner had abundant opportunities throughout the 17-minute phone conversation to express both his deepest sympathies for McNamee’s son and outrage for his own situation.

Certainly, outrage was notably absent from the tape, but lies began to surface during Clemens’ network television appearance with Mike Wallace.

On his highly anticipated interview on 60 Minutes, Clemens said he was shocked when his name was listed in the Mitchell Report and that McNamee had given him no advanced notice of what was to appear in the long-awaited report.

It was later revealed, however, that McNamee’s representatives had provided Clemens’ team of agents and lawyers the information McNamee divulged for the report eight days prior to its release.

Oops, there is lie number one.

During the interview, Clemens also said he was stunned to hear of Andy Pettitte’s admission of HGH usage. Pettitte confirmed he did, in fact, take HGH injections on two separate occasions administered by McNamee.

Do you really believe that Pettitte took it upon himself to do HGH? If you do, do not pull the wool any further over your eyes to hide the fact that Pettitte would have at least consulted Clemens before taking a leap of that magnitude.

Pettitte and Clemens were inseparable for years since Rocket first became a Yankee in 1999. Clemens lured Pettitte into his intensive workout regimen and McNamee trained both stud pitchers simultaneously. Not to mention that it was Clemens who brought McNamee from Toronto to New York to continue to act as his personal trainer.

Although Clemens’ testimony in Congress has been pushed back to mid-February, it will still be fascinating to see if Andy Pettitte accepts his invitation to testify. Pettitte’s religious identity points to him telling the truth if he does materialize at the dog and pony show, but a no-show would perhaps be even more telling.

Pettitte has already admitted his own guilt so he has no reason not to show, unless he does not want to implicate his former teammate in this mess.

We have just scratched the surface of this He Said vs. He Said circus and we may never have definitive evidence to declare who is telling the truth.

This is one game the 354-game-winner might go the distance, but record a loss in the box score.