Rocket Past the Details

How about some Sports-related lies, for a change of pace.

Former BFF’s Brian McNamee and Roger Clemens aired their tiff on Capital Hill yesterday. Now, this circus has plenty of good sideshows, such as the creation of new words (misremembers), and a race to see who has the dumbest attorneys (i.e., allowing Clemens and his legal team to talk to a witness before giving access to the government investigators; suggesting that President Bush will pardon Clemens, despite not being charged with anything (yet), due to “the corrupt proclivities of his (Bush’s) administration.”). With lawyers like that, I might opt for self-representation.

I prefer to focus on a couple of other things. The media is getting a lot of play with their take on the deposition by Roger’s buddy, Andy Pettitte. The message seems to be that Andy really hung Roger out to dry with some very damming statements. ‘Pettitte confirms that Roger used HGH’ and so on. The problem is, it’s not true.

Note to the media: let’s do something creative, like, for example, actually read Pettitte’s deposition! Yes, Andy says that he recalled back in 1999 that Roger mentioned using HGH. He also very clearly said he doesn’t remember anything specific about the conversation itself, other than taking away the idea that Roger said he used HGH. In 2005, during the Congressional investigations about steroids in baseball, he asked Roger what he would do if reporters asked Roger about drug use. When Roger acted puzzled, Andy relayed his prior conversation with Roger about HGH. Roger said that he wasn’t talking about himself during that earlier conversation, he was referring to his wife. Andy stated that from that point on he “kinda felt that I might have misunderstood him.” When the deposition questioner asked, “Do you think its likely that you did misunderstand?”, Andy said that he “was under the impression” that Roger had told him that he had used HGH, but after the 2005 conversation, “I took it for that, that I misunderstood him”. Even Roger’s half-witted lawyers could take that tentative “accusation” and make it worthless. And yet, the media would have you believe that Pettitte hammered his buddy with a devastating accusation. Please.

Next, many talking heads in the media are at a loss for just why McNamee would want to discredit Clemens. Again, the deposition provides at least one possible scenario. Pettitte talks about a time in 2003 or 2004 when he was working out with Brian and he seemed very angry. It seems that Brian was trying to work out a deal with a vitamin company and get Roger and Andy to endorse the product, since they both used it. Brian was in line to get some money for arranging this deal, but Roger wanted too much compensation for his endorsement and it appeared to block the deal from happening. It was in this agitated state that Brian told Andy that Roger had used steroids. Now, you could say that Brian was going to use some dirt on Clemens to get back at him. Or, you could say the Brian was going to create some dirt on Clemons to get back at him. But at least there appears to be a vendetta angle that could be at work here.

Also, there appears to be a couple of other stories in which Brian dropped Andy’s name, and Andy could not confirm their accuracy. Both were alleged conversations that involved Roger and steroid talk. Brian said Andy was present for the conversations but Andy had no recollection of them. Bad memory or overreaching storytelling?

Finally, some people were questioning why Pettitte got a pass on appearing at this dog and pony show. My guess, as Pettitte alluded to in his deposition, was that he doesn’t want an aspect of his family’s personal life (i.e. his father’s series of medical and mental issues) to be potentially discussed on a national stage. Andy had mentioned, during the questioning, that his father provided him with some HGH in 2004.

In summary, someone is lying, and neither one of the main players came out looking very clean. But let’s hope the media can at least provide a depth of information beyond the type of reporting that is equivalent to backyard gossiping.

15 Responses to “Rocket Past the Details”

  1. ymatt Says:

    You know, there are few things in the news that interest me less than this baseball nonsense that Congress is wasting its time on (time which, I might point out, Reid claims there’s not enough of to spend on impeachment), but having been submitted to some CNN coverage of it and now reading your analysis, I can’t believe how shallow the coverage is. Well okay, I can believe it, but you’d think something as safely trivial as baseball would be open season for biting analysis. Really pathetic all around.

  2. ymatt Says:

    Also, to use a quote I read elsewhere:

    “Why don’t we just waterboard Roger Clemens?”

  3. shcb Says:

    This is somewhere between an 8.8 to 9.3 on my don’t give a shit scale, but I have a question from my libertarian side (about 2.3 on my philosophy scale). Why do we care what these professional athletes pump into their bodies, I’m not talking about high school or college athletes, but isn’t it a wink and a nod that they don’t all do something slightly unethical with these performance enhancing drugs and such? If these guys started dropping like flies a 32 wouldn’t that be a message to an 18 year old?

  4. shcb Says:

    Rush said once that when congress is screwing with this kind of thing at least they aren’t screwing with our lives.

  5. jbc Says:

    Thanks for posting that, Craig. I could tell there were some prominent falsehoods there, but (for once) I have to agree with shcb, in the sense that I can’t even remotely begin to care about the issue. At least with your posting, I can be happy that has officially weighed in on the matter.

  6. knarlyknight Says:

    jbc, I concur, except that there has been waaaay too much agreeing with shcb lately. I can fix that.


    There, that’s better: you gave me something to work with.

    First, I think Rush stole that quote from Mark Twain.

    Second, you probably agree that the past has shown that allowing a little performance enhancing drug use in sports is impossible, because the extreme competition prompts each athlete to use a little more than the other guy.

    Finally, why should we care if pro athletes use dangerous performance enhancing drugs, perhaps it doesn’t matter. But perhaps it is a HUGE issue that defines who we are as a civilization. I’ll get to that through the answer to your question.

    You ask “What is the message to the 18 year old if these guys start dropping like flies at 32?” I bet you thought the answer is that the message is: “steroid use is dumb”, or that “there are serious choices and sacrifices to make in life and it takes dedication and commitment to get where you want to go.”

    I wish it were that simple. This is another example of the big mistakes that we make when we assume that such questions can be adequately answered in such a black and white manner.

    I think the real answer(s) about what message is sent to kids depend on what 18 year old kid we are talking about.

    If it’s kid A who has tons of athletic talent and an average or sub average intellect without money or family connections, the message is that as an 18 year old you live in a mean, predatory society where you have a few choices to make: (1) Take the steroids and probably suffer early degenerative sicknesses and die early but you’ll have a *chance* to compete with everyone else to play in the big leagues for big bucks and glory, or (2) Do not take the steroids and live long enough to eventually become a Wal Mart greater, cuz you sure ain’t got much of a chance playing in the big leagues if you don’t take the drugs that make you as competitive as the rest of the jocks, or (3) forget about sports and choose a different career such as flippin burgers or go join the army so maybe you can kill people and blow things up for real instead of on xBox.

    For Kid B with athletic and other talents who comes from a family where character and good morals are maintained, the message may be that professional sports is not a smart career choice because it conflicts with respecting ones self. Hopefully that kid is not too discouraged and still finds a good path into the future, but it would probably have been better for all concerned if he had been striving to fulfill his dreams to play in the big leagues and learned some good life lessons about competitiveness and dedication along the way.

    For Kid C who has some athletic talent, intelligence, family connections and money, the message is that professional athletes are fools, simple pawns who have sold their souls for a chance in the spolight. The obvious career path might be something like investing in a baseball team to determine if you like being the Boss and if you like “owning” other people. If you do, then perhaps someday you will be president of the USA and you can make decisions to send hundreds of thousands of poor souls (mostly kids of type A who failed to make it into the big leagues) to kill and blow things up in foreign lands.

    For Kid D, and all the other kids that come afterwards in the alphabet the message is that their Daddy (Kid A, B, or C) was playing in a rigged game and the example of his life shows that it’s a nasty, unjust world therefore cheating and other imioral acts are not that big a deal relative to the big picture.

  7. knarlyknight Says:

    Then, pretty soon people start getting so degenerate that they begin to make glaring spelling mistakes, such as spelling “immoral” in ridiculous ways.

  8. shcb Says:


    I agree with you, (this is getting scary). I guess that is why my libertarian side is such a small portion of my philosophy, but every now and then it rises to the surface like that little devil sitting on Pinto’s shoulder in Animal House looking at the passed out girl saying “… her”. I guess in all sports people are constantly pushing the limits of the rules, it is in their nature to push themselves to the limit so the rules are just another limit at some point.

    Craig, thanks for bringing this up, there are a lot of parallels in life to sports even for people how don’t play them anymore or who never played them. Knarly touched on the fact that in cases like steroids, honor and integrity often are the more important that trying to micromanage the sport (or congress) with rules.

  9. NorthernLite Says:

    That is a good write-up, Craig. I have to say I haven’t been paying attention to it much and I was falling for the media reports that weren’t giving me the whole picture.

    I can’t believe that with all the problems to discuss/investigate that this is at the top of the agenda. I can’t do anything but shake my head.

  10. leftbehind Says:

    People get so degenerate they start spelling “moron” in ridiculous ways? hey – let’s not get THAT started again…

  11. enkidu Says:

    hey look lefty, you are in the news!

  12. TeacherVet Says:

    Is the guy in the photo advertising?

    Don’t fly off, Inky, I’m just kidding

  13. TeacherVet Says:

    Or, is the guy boasting of his ancestor’s title (on his shirt).

    Or, can I buy a vowel?

  14. TeacherVet Says:

    After all, he does look a bit like a monk(ey).

  15. shcb Says:

    number seven

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