Tag:Roger Clemens
Posted on: July 23, 2011 2:59 pm
 

Blyleven on K list: "Clemens did it illegally"

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. -- One of the big reasons I've cast an annual Hall of Fame vote for Bert Blyleven for the past decade is because, until a few years ago, the Dutchman ranked third all-time on baseball's strikeouts list and ninth all-time on shutouts.

Chew on that one for awhile. It is beyond impressive.

Anyway, while Blyleven is still ninth in shutouts, he's now fifth in strikeouts after both Roger Clemens and Randy Johnson went around him.

"I look at Johnson, Johnson did it for real," Blyleven told me when we talked recently. "Clemens did it illegally, I think. It is what it is, kind of like Hank Aaron. It's a completely different thing but, you talk about Barry Bonds, to me, Hank Aaron is still the Home Run King. And I think good baseball fans, good baseball people, know that.

"They don't need an asterisk in Cooperstown. People know."

With the piles of circumstantial evidence surrounding Clemens regarding performance-enhancing drugs, and given the trial that was aborted earlier this month and is set to resume this fall, does it anger Blyleven to see Clemens' name now ahead of his on the all-time strikeout list?

"No," Blyleven says. "He had a great career, but it was at the point where Boston was letting him go. To be honest with you, if somebody told me in '92 when I went through my shoulder surgery, if someone told me they could inject something in there to make me continue my career, I may have tried it. Who knows?

"Who knows what an individual goes through? I personally never knew of anybody, even though it was around. You could see it in Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco in the late '80s. They hit all the home runs, the Bash Brothers ... you could see they were getting bigger and stronger, but I never imagined that it could ever help me. I didn't know anything about it.

"But that's also when weights were coming in. Oakland was the first club to put a weight room in their park. We never had weights. We had little five-pound dumbbells."

Likes: The last 10 days leading up to the July 31 trade deadline are always fun, but they're also so out of control. The ratio of bad rumors to stuff that really will happen is somewhere around 50 to 1. And I may be badly underestimating that. ... Hot summer days, but the 100-degree temperatures blanketing the country are out of control. Drink plenty of water, and stay safe.

Dislikes: Border's Books closing for good. I remember spending hours on Saturday afternoons at the original Border's location in Ann Arbor with my family. One of my mom and dad's favorite things to do back in the 1970s, and what a magical place it was. Books everywhere, from floor to ceiling.

 

Posted on: April 11, 2011 11:45 pm
Edited on: April 11, 2011 11:49 pm
 

Love Letters: The Manny Being Juiced Edition

I beat Manny Ramirez like a piñata after the coward retired and disappeared before he could be slapped with a 100-game suspension for violating another performance-enhancing drug test. Now it's your turn. ...

FROM: Court
Re. In final stunning act, Manny is uncovered

Scott,

Thank you again for another slam dunk, take-no-prisoners column on another complete fraud of a baseball player and human being. I remember years ago writing to you about the demise of Barry Bonds' show Bonds on Bonds and getting a very kind and personal e-mail back. You have never been a moral relativist with this issue, or an apologizer for these guys, which I respect enormously.

Look, as fans of sports I take the Charles Barkley approach ... these men and women are human beings and bound to be riddled with faults and insecurities and I expect them to screw up in life every once in awhile. If my life were laid bare for all to see, it wouldn't be pretty. I suspect it wouldn't be pretty for anybody. But these guys are frauds, liars, cheats, ad infinitum.

There is a difference between a grown man who can say, "I screwed up, I'm human, I expect the outrage. But I will do my best to come back and make it right, and I might screw up again, and I'll take what's coming. And I'll treat human beings as equals, everyone."

And then there's Barry Bonds. And Manny Ramirez, and Roger Clemens, universally regarded asses. And that's that. I just wish these guys would all go away, away, away. We all know there will be a jury nullification on the Bonds trial, but I don't care. Just go away. You are a piece of human garbage and now that you've lost about 50 pounds, Barry, you don't look so tough anymore, do you? Again, you stand with dignity and class, Scott. Always enjoy your columns.

Thanks for the kudos, but take no prisoners? Your take on these guys makes me look like Mister Rogers. Nicely done.

FROM: Greg P.

So everything was right with Manny -- and baseball, I guess -- when my Indians were losing him, Albert Belle, Jim Thome, Cliff Lee, CC Sabathia, Victor Martinez and more. So now it's time to be indignant? Yeah, but not for the reasons a big market shill like yourself believes.

Careful, there: If your Indians keep winning, I'm writing about them next.

FROM: Barry W.

All well and good, but the one question that keeps nagging at me is why no one has bothered to out the Red Sox teams Manny played for, including their two championship years. Also, I hear Curt Schilling blather on and on and point fingers at everyone around him ... except his own teammates. How about someone asking him, as he enters the room on his high horse yet again, how he missed guys shooting up around him in his own locker room? Nomar Garciaparra, Kevin Millar, David Ortiz, and Manny ... it's starting to get crowded in here.

Schilling also was very vocal about how many players were using steroids until he was called to testify before Congress. Then he wilted like an overripe banana.

FROM: John D.

Please ... Manny Ramirez is like a Frankenstein monster that didn't know his boundaries. Several organizations -- Boston, too, Miller -- put his ability to hit a baseball above everything else, like acting a fool in several facets of the game that fell under the auspice of Manny being Manny. He probably just figured he could continue to get away with the stuff he did in the past if he could start hitting, again. Speaking of, if anybody doesn't think he was taking while playing for the Red Sox, I've got a bridge in Manhatten I'd like to sell them.

And I'll help you with the paperwork. I think it's clear he was juiced in Boston, and I didn't mean to insinuate otherwise.

FROM: David K.

So does this mean the Mitchell Report is just a piece of fiction? George Mitchell, an exec with the Red Sox, said no Sox were involved. I recall laughing heartily when I learned of the above and was quite astonished that the report was accepted as absolute truth by all on planet earth.

Doesn't mean Mitchell Report is fiction, just grossly incomplete. Though I'm not at all sure everyone on "planet earth" took it as gospel. I know some monkeys who didn't.

FROM: Jack S.

Typical reporter, kicking someone while he's down. I still don't think the performance enhancers can help you hit the ball or there would be a lot more guys hitting 50 home runs in the '80s and '90s. Manny is one of the best pure hitters to play the game -- performance-enhancers or not. Love the time he spent in Boston, thankfully we knew when to get off the roller-coaster. Should show a little respect for Him.

You mean, like Manny has respected the game? Like Manny respected the Rays ... before quitting on them? Like Manny respected the Dodgers ... before quitting on them? Like Manny respected the Red Sox ... before quitting on them? What game are you watching?

FROM: Michael S.

I just wish that one of these bums would have to pay back some of the millions of dollars they got signing contracts that were based on results that were tainted because of steroid use. I know that will never happen, but it should because it's fraud.

I'd pay to see it.

FROM: Stewart D.

Your column hit the Manny nail on the head. Agreed, good riddance.

Now if someone could just hit Manny on the head.

 

Posted on: August 31, 2010 12:06 am
 

Torre on Clemens: "I feel bad"

LOS ANGELES -- Busy trying to get his Dodgers back into contention, manager Joe Torre did not see video footage Monday of Roger Clemens' arraignment in Washington, D.C., earlier in the day on charges of lying to Congress about whether he used steroids or performance-enhancing drugs.

But Torre's heart was with the pitcher who helped him win two World Series titles with the Yankees in 1999 and 2000.

"I feel bad," said Torre, who managed Clemens with the Yankees from 1999-2003 and again in 2007. "I texted him today and said, "I'm thinking about you.' He sent back a text and said thank you.

"Roger's sort of like my son. He certainly wasn't anything like I thought he was when I watched him across the field.

"I really like Roger. I don't know what the right thing is to have happen."

Stubborn to a fault, Clemens entered a not guilty plea and insists he will fight the charges.

"When Roger says something, he believes it," Torre said. "I don't know what it is that causes that. But he's a very proud individual."

Likes: The front three in the Phillies rotation -- Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt -- is worth the price of admission. ... Love the MLB Network when I’m home. They've done a first-rate job. ... Sad, sad story in Detroit, where former Pistons PR man Matt Dobek committed suicide recently. This column from Michael Rosenberg of the Detroit Free Press is heartfelt and outstanding. ... First few listens to John Mellencamp's No Better Than This: Love it. ... Picked up The Morning Miracle, the new Dave Kindred book looking at the Washington Post's struggle for survival. Looks pretty good. ... Tough loss in Friday's opener for my boys from Monroe (Mich.) St. Mary Catholic Central, 43-28 to Detroit Crockett in the high school football opener, but I see a strong bounce-back against Monroe Jefferson this Friday.

Dislikes: Manny, Manny, Manny. He never leaves a situation better than he found it. ... How can school be starting already?

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Save some time to dream
"Save some time for yourself
"Don’t let your time slip away
"Or be stolen by somebody else
"Save some time for those you love
"For they’ll remember what you gave
"Save some time for the songs you sing
"And the music that you’ve made"

-- John Mellencamp, Save Some Time to Dream

Posted on: September 23, 2008 8:06 pm
 

Last word on Yankee Stadium closing

MILWAUKEE -- They did it the way you knew they would, with pomp and ceremony, and by blasting Frank Sinatra's New York, New York 6,000 or so times. That's not a knock. In that city, in that stadium, I could listen to Sinatra's New York, New York 60,000 times.

From what I saw on television, the whole night was nearly perfect.

Except for one thing.

The snubbing of former manager Joe Torre was awfully small for such an outsized organization.

The fact that they blew off Roger Clemens wasn't surprising, because that's apparently the way we're going while emerging from the Steroid Era. You see it in San Francisco with Barry Bonds -- or rather, you don't  see anything in San Francisco with Bonds.

For years, baseball's official position on performance-enhancing drugs was to pretend they didn’t exist.

Now, baseball's official position on players who pumped up and set records and won World Series is to pretend they don't exist.

Is it right?

Of course not.

But is it right when you bump into an ex-girlfriend at a party that you hem and haw and avoid her?

It's just the way it is with awkward circumstances.

Mostly, we just avoid dealing with them.

Clemens helped the Yankees win two World Series, but if there's anybody now who believes some of his career numbers aren't vastly inflated with PEDs, I'm a part-owner of the new Yankee Stadium.

Having Clemens there in person, or even unspooling highlights featuring him on the scoreboard, would have been a huge distraction for an historic evening. Given the way Clemens even threw Andy Pettitte under the bus, I don't blame the Yankees for conveniently forgetting about him.

The snub of Torre, though, was classless.

Esepcially on an evening in which the always classy Derek Jeter delivered an eloquent final address that ranks right up there with some of the great ones in Yankees history.

Likes: Teams that are out of it right now that still play hard. Case in point: Cleveland, which had won seven consecutive games heading into Tuesday night's contest in Boston. I've always thought that's one way you can identify a good manager, if the players keep playing hard when there's nothing to play for. And the Indians' play speaks very well of manager Eric Wedge. ... Same for Trey Hillman, with Kansas City winning eight of 10. ... Maybe it's because I live in Southern California and spend half my life trapped in freeway gridlock, but I always enjoy driving through the Midwest, where traffic generally is light and population bases are few and far between. I also love some of the sights, such as a couple I passed while flying across I-94: Signs for the Paul Bunyan Logging Camp Museum and the Mousehouse Cheesehaus. I only wished I had time to stop. Especially at the cheese shop. ... Really enjoyed the Chrysler Sebring convertible rental and the Sirius satellite radio on the trip, too. It's beautiful right now in this part of the Midwest, right around 75 and no humidity. Crisp, clean days.

Dislikes: Aw, I'm going to be working during the first presidential debate Friday night.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio
"A nation turns its lonely eyes to you"

-- Paul Simon, Mrs. Robinson

 

Posted on: March 5, 2008 6:23 pm
 

Clemens and the Weiner-mobile

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- He may be a candidate for New York mayor in 2009, but Rep. Anthony Weiner should keep his mouth shut.

He wants the FBI to stop investigating Roger Clemens for perjury because the pitcher has been "shamed" enough?

Please. What about Barry Bonds? Hasn't he suffered enough, too? Let's halt that trial.

And Martha Stewart had been humiliated ... why didn't the Feds call things off before going to the mat with her?

I absolutely agree with Weiner on one thing: The FBI has -- or should have -- far more important things to do than spend its hours gumshoeing Clemens.

But here's the deal: Congress got itself into a position where it HAD to ask the Justice Dept. to investigate. Because indications are that Clemens told one bald-faced lie after another to Congress. Under oath. If Congress doesn't follow up, it's a neon invitation for anyone else appearing before Congress to lie.

Look, at this point, we've all got better things to do than continue investing our precious time on megalomaniacal athletes who stick steroids and human growth hormone into themselves. Congress has got a war, looming recession and health care issues to deal with, just for starters. The FBI has national security issues. You and I have cars to wash.

But once we started going down this path, there's no going back. Argue all you want over whether Congress should have held the hearing with Clemens and trainer Brian McNamee. It did.

Now, there is no choice.

Drop things with Clemens, and you're sending a very public signal that oaths are not to be taken seriously, and that Congress can be lied to.

Likes: A biopsy showing no new brain tumors for Yankees broadcaster Bobby Murcer. ... Dalton Cash Wedge, the name of Cleveland manager Eric Wedge's new son. Wedge is an avid Johnny Cash fan, thus Dalton's middle name. ... Houston catcher J.R. Towles' at-bat music last season at Double-A Corpus Christi, Alabama's If You're Gonna Play in Texas (You've Gotta Have a Fiddle in the Band." or at least somebody to pitch behind Roy Oswalt, eh? ... Sunroofs. ... The Drive-By Truckers' Marry Me, with the classic lyric "Rock and roll means well but it can't help telling young boys lies". ... Atlanta manager Bobby Cox. Walking out of Atlanta's clubhouse toward the bus Wednesday morning, he called out to no one in particular, "All right boys, let's go get those Indians." Atlanta was shoving off toward Winter Haven for that afternoon's game.

Dislikes: Tuesday night's election returns coming in so late I was already in Z-land and didn't get them until Wednesday morning. These early morning spring training alarm clocks wreak havoc with late-night television viewing. I haven't seen Letterman, Jon Stewart or Steven Colbert in weeks (and yes, I know Stewart and Colbert are on earlier, too, but I miss those because life on the road means working late and then going out to eat more often than not, too.

Sunblock day? In the morning, yes, as temps soared into the 80s. But overcast skies took hold of Central Florida by Wednesday afternoon. Still, as the legendary Willie Horton was watching Detroit play Philadelphia in Lakeland, dozens of schools were closed because of more snow in Michigan, so nobody's complaining.

Rock-n-Roll lyric of the day:

"I'm goin' to Dallas, see my pony run
"Goin' to Dallas, see my pony run
"I'm goin' to Dallas, just to see my pony run
"She wins every race and I can't see how it's done"

-- Lightnin’ Hopkins, Goin’ to Dallas to See My Pony Run

Posted on: February 15, 2008 3:22 pm
 

The wolves await Pettitte

VERO BEACH, Fla. -- Whoo hoo, spring training at last! Time to break from the storm of steroid disc--

Ah, not so fast. One thread running from the halls of Congress in Washington, D.C., all the way down south to the Yankees' spring base in Tampa, Fla., having to do with the one player not retired who was deposed earlier this month, is extraordinarily interesting and relevant.

What you've probably heard about Andy Pettitte, that he's caring, sensitive and earnest, is true. Which brings up an important question: How will Pettitte, whom the Yankees have given permission to arrive a few days late to camp, handle things once he arrives?

"That's a hell of a question," said Dodgers manager Joe Torre, who remains close to Pettitte after managing him in the Bronx for seven seasons. "I don't think anybody knows what the answer will be."

Even better questions are these: Will the subject dog Pettitte, 35, so badly that it affects his game? Will it haunt him into a premature retirement? He's already pondered retirement in the past, and talk about a sensational story. Not only did he admit using human growth hormone, but he obtained some of it from his father.

Plus, while he may be a good guy, let's not nominate him for sainthood. The guy may have come to the truth, but he arrived slowly and late. Upon release of the Mitchell Report, Pettitte said he used HGH twice. Now, suddenly, it's more than that.

"I feel for Andy," Torre said. "I've been with him for a long time and I still feel close to him. He always enjoyed the fact that there were others there for the press to talk to instead of him.

"I'm sure he'll be uncomfortable. I know he's a professional and he'll get through it, but it won't be comfortable for him."

Another Dodger who came of age in the Yankees' organization when Pettitte and Clemens were there, pitcher Scott Proctor, remains surprised that Pettitte finds himself in this predicament.

"You never expect something like that," Proctor said. "We all have to deal with temptation, and there are many different ones. The decision he made, he has to live with now."

Lots of people thought that Jason Giambi never would be able to play in New York again after he was caught up in the BALCO web because he cares too much about what people think of him, but GIambi hung in there and made it work.

Pettitte now faces the biggest challenge of his career, and who would have ever figured that perhaps Giambi, of all people, would be in position to offer a piece or two of advice?

Likes: Ryan Dempster predicting the Cubs will break their 100-year drought and win the World Series this year. What's he supposed to say? that he came to spring training thinking about a second-place finish? Or getting to the playoffs but getting knocked out in the first round by Arizona, like last year? Maybe Joe Namath's "guarantee" that the Jets would win the Super Bowl was shocking in 1968, but is it so shocking that one of today's players would be so bold as to come out and say something like that? Times have changed. People say all sorts of things today. Sometimes they even believe what they say. ... David Letterman on The Late Show revealing an "incident" related to Roger Clemens' appearance before Congress this week: "Clemens vehemently denied using steroids and at one point got so angry he snapped the Washington Monument in half like a twig." ... XM satellite radio in my rental car this spring. ... Doc's All-American burger joint in Boca Raton. Excellent cheeseburgers, and juicy.

Dislikes: Are we going to have to track down every one of the 89 players fingered as guilty of using performance-enhancing drugs in the Mitchell Report this spring? We are? It's going to be excruciating reading every day over the next three months.

Sunblock day? Absolutely. Strong start to the spring in Vero Beach, where it was a hot sun and about 75 degrees on Friday.

Rock-n-Roll lyric of the day:

For all you people included in the Mitchell Report. ...

"I ain't got the time

"And if my daddy thinks I'm fine

"He's tried to make me go to rehab

"I won't go, go, go"

-- Amy Winehouse, Rehab

 
 
 
 
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