Time, and the long arm of the law, may have finally caught up with former baseball pitching ace Roger Clemens. And he’s about to find out something that Pete Rose and Bill Clinton learned long before him. The strategy of “Deny, deny, deny” does not work. Telling a bare-faced lie to Jim Gray on television, as Pete Rose did during the 1999 World Series, will keep you out of the National Baseball Hall-of-Fame. Telling a bare-faced lie to Congress, as Clemens appears to have done, will keep you out of something else. Society. Lying to Congress is how you acquire a ticket to jail. When will people in positions of influence ever learn?
Roger Clemens’ major-league career began on May 15, 1984 with the Boston Red Sox. Just two years later, he racked up 24 wins and led the perennially sad-sack Sox to the World Series against the New York Mets. He also won the AL MVP award that year. Baseball legend Hank Aaron commented that he didn’t think pitchers should be eligible to be league MVPs. Clemens replied, “I wish (Aaron) was still playing. I’d probably crack his head open to show him how valuable I was.” Hmmm, anyone else find that comment disturbingly over the line? Making an on-the-record comment about smashing open the skull of baseball’s home run king? I’m gonna go ahead and raise my red flag here.
Over his career, Clemens’ head has swollen bit-by-bit…both literally and figuratively. In the 2000 World Series, Clemens decided that throwing a piece of broken bat at Mets’ catcher Mike Piazza would be a good idea. And up goes the red flag again. During the 2006 World Baseball Classic, he made a comment that slurred people of both Japanese and Korean decent. Red flag. Clearly, Clemens does what he wants when he wants. He has never, ever shied away from throwing at a batter’s head to get his message across. And he says what he wants when he wants to say it. But that little joyride appears to be coming to an end.
Defiance, when you are caught red-handed, gets you nowhere. President Bill Clinton has hopefully now come to terms with the fact that had he simply confessed honestly and openly about his extra-marital relationship with 22-year old White House intern Monica Lewinsky, his second term in the Oval Office may have been more pleasant. Looking back, it’s an absolute miracle his presidency survived the scandal.
Watch Pete Rose with Jim Gray. Gray gave him a golden opportunity to right the past. Rose blew it big time.
But Roger Clemens’ opportunity has passed. That opp presented itself in front of Congress, when his former trainer and buddy, Brian McNamee, was sitting feet away. Before Congress in 2008, McNamee and Clemens testified about the truthfulness of the George J. Mitchell Report, an independent investigation into the use of illegal steroids and PEDs by Major League Baseball players. Now, Clemens has been indicted regarding the statements he made in that testimony to Congress.
But it’s too late, Rog. Too late to tell the truth. Once you take the oath, the smart course is to tell it like it is – no matter how it will affect you personally. But Clemens, it appears, couldn’t do that. No control over his mouth. The same problem he had during his baseball career. Good luck, Roger – you’re going to need it.