Not guilty? You gotta be kidding me.
That was my first reaction when I heard that a jury in Washington, D.C., had acquitted Roger Clemens on the six charges he faced for, among other things, lying to Congress.
First of all, I have wondered for a long time why it is OK for Congress to lie to the people, but not OK for the people to lie to Congress. But I regress.
Anyway,I was not totally surprised because the government’s lawyers already had botched the case so badly that anything but acquittal would be stunning. If the feds couldn’t prove that Barry Bonds was a PED cheater, then how in the heck would they prove Clemens was a cheater?
I think the Congress should concentrate on far more important things, such as the economy, than spending millions of dollars on trying to prosecute athletes.
Now that The Rocket has been found “not guilty” by a jury that probably wants his autograph, it’s time to move on and the next phase of this story occurs later this year when the Baseball Writers Association of America sends ballots to the 700-plus Hall of Fame voters.
I am one of the fortunate ones that get to vote and my decision has not yet been made on whether or not I will vote for Clemens – or any of the others associated by the PED issue. That includes the likes of Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro and Jeff Bagwell. I have not yet voted for any of them.
A court of law has ruled that Clemens did not lie. If that’s the case, the Mitchell Report is totally bogus and MLB should apologize to each and every person mentioned in the report – except for those who already have admitted that they used PED, i.e. Alex Rodriguez and Andy Pettitte.
But even that wouldn’t help me all that much in deciding who deserves my HOF vote.
Clemens clearly was the best right-handed pitcher I saw during my 40 years as a sportswriter. (Randy Johnson is the best left-hander I saw). The Big Unit is a shoo-in for the HOF. A first ballot selection for sure.
What to do about Clemens – and the others PEDers.
Right now, I am leaning against voting for any of them – unless the HOF decides that any elected player that played during the so-called “steroid era” would have that included on his HOF plaque. That would clear the way for me to vote for the likes of Clemens, Bonds, McGwire, Palmeiro, Sammy Sosa and eventually A-Rod, just to mention a few.
Another approach would be to attend the HOF induction ceremonies in Cooperstown next month and take a poll of the already-inducted Hall of Famers on whether they would vote for anyone associated with PEDs.
Regardless, it will be a tough call and not one I am looking forward to making.