Wednesday, February 13, 2008

If time were not a moving thing
And I could make it stay
This hour of love we share
Would always be
There'd be no coming day
To shine a morning light
And make us realize our night is over

That's how the Elvis Presley version of It's Over starts. In case you're wondering, it is not a cover of the Roy Orbison classic which I included in my post celebrating the death of the Patriot dynasty in the Arizona desert. They just share a title. I included it in tonight's post because today's hearings ended as they began, with a whimper.

While they didn't go as well as I would have liked, they certainly did not go as poorly as McNamee apologists will claim. The only real damaging revelation came when Roger Clemens shocked me, and the rest of the world, by throwing his wife Debbie under the bus unceremoniously. It's hard to believe that a team trainer injected a player's wife with HGH for an SI shoot when he wasn't doing the same for the player.

I was livid when I heard that statement from Mrs. Clemens read into the record. I can't remember a time when a guy threw his wife under the bus to try to save himself. It was bold and shocking, like good modern art (to borrow a phrase from Joseph Heller, and if such a thing exists), but shameless, just the same. It makes it hard for me to defend him, but then, half the posts in this space seem to be devoted to defending the indefensible.

The guy I go to for my Red Sox info considered that to be a smoking gun when I spoke to him this afternoon. It does look bad, but all I can say is this - just because your wife runs your life doesn't mean Roger Clemens and his wife can't pursue independent courses of action vis-a-vis growth hormone. But it looks bad, nonetheless.

As for those who regard Andy Pettitte's testimony as ironclad proof of Clemens' dishonesty, I can't see it that way. Yes, Andy Pettitte is a born-again Christian. But when he admitted to using HGH way back in the aftermath of the Mitchell Report, Pettitte was adamant that he'd only used HGH for a very short time in 2002. Now, his deposition tells us that he also injected himself in 2004 with HGH he got from his father. I can't help but wonder where this story will lead us when Andy is done spilling the beans in bits and pieces.

I thought Roger looked convincing under the questioning. He stumbled a bit, and seemed to falter in places. But he looked like a regular guy under intense pressure in an unfamiliar setting. After all, had Clemens ever testified under oath, on camera before a Congressional committee before? Of course McNamee looked more polished, he's had plenty of experience with this sort of thing.

In the glut of after the fact coverage, I noticed that Congressman Watkins of Maryland got rave reviews for his hard-hitting cross examination of Clemens. Personally, I thought Congressman Burton of Indiana stole the show. And the rep from Connecticut, Congressman Shays, did a great deal of damage to McNamee's credibility when he forced McNamee to admit under oath that he was a drug dealer. It wasn't so much the admission, but the way McNamee failed to weasel out by saying that's your opinion a half dozen times.

McNamee, to me at any rate, looked like a small, devious, petty weasel in his good moments. In his bad moments, particularly under Burton's questioning, McNamee looked like a guy who has already admitted to having lied to police and investigators on a few occasions. I am most interested to find out exactly what is in McNamee's service record from his time in the NYPD.

I don't understand why the NYPD denied a Freedom of Information Act request to release the McNamee records. Knowing the mentality of big city police departments, it's clear they are protecting something embarrassing to some one. The question is to whom is it damaging? It's got to be covering a secret in his past because his father was one of their own or it's protecting superior officers who stand to lose their careers or pensions because they swept something under the rug.

What really ought to happen in the wake of this hearing, which was nothing more than a colossal waste of time, is really quite simple. Instead of perjury indictments, we ought to go back to the way the Pilgrims did it. Clemens, McNamee, all the Congressmen and women and every American who watched it ought to be put in the stocks and pelted with rancid produce. Except me, of course, I am far too valuable for that.

For the moment, I'm still on Clemens' side. I think this hearing did more to damage McNamee's credibility than it did to hurt Roger. I think the expanding revelations hurt Pettitte's capacity to hurt Clemens. I think the Debbie Clemens story is the last thing that remains that can kill Clemens on this issue. And I think that if Clemens had signed the prorated $18 million deal with the Red Sox in May, his name stays out of the Mitchell Report (Sen. Mitchell is on the Board of Directors of the Boston Red Sox)

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