Roger Clemens has been the subject of two books in the last month and a half: Jeff Pearlman’s biography The Rocket Who Fell to Earth and the Daily News’ “i-team” takedown American Icon. This week, Clemens decided to throw a few brushback pitches against the accusations that he has used performance-enhancing drugs. Which is all fine and good, except the only person who seems convinced of his innocence is Roger Clemens himself.
The Roger Clemens Defense Tour of 2009 began Tuesday on ESPN’s Mike and Mike in the Morning, and will continue with his taking questions at the blog Houstonist.com. Clemens could have gone the A-Rod route with his denials, shifting perspectives and remaining vague enough about timelines to maintain some sort of plausible deniability, even if no one believes you. But there’s nothing vague about Roger Clemens: He’s throwing fastballs at everyone.
Brian McNamee, his trainer who has detailed years of allegedly enabling HGH use for Clemens? “Pitiful.” Andy Pettitte, the guy who says he did HGH with Clemens? “Misremembering.” The notion that Clemens ever took steroids at all? “Impossible!” Clemens might be insistent in fighting back, but he’s not particularly good at it: He stutters, stammers, talks about “trying to remain positive,” and backs himself into corners. (Like when he said he couldn’t have taken steroids because his family has a history of heart problems — and he used his stepfather as an example.) Even Joe Torre seems to be having a hard time believing him anymore, implying that Clemens has convinced himself he’s telling the truth — the implication being, of course, that he’s doing anything but.
Clemens’ media blitz will not change the fact that federal authorities are pursuing perjury charges for him lying in front of Congress. Sports Illustrated’s Jon Heyman claims that the Feds are slowly closing in on Clemens, compiling their evidence to make sure he serves prison time. Jail might seem a bit extreme for lying about steroids — especially considering how exhausted fans are over the issue — but Congress really doesn’t like it when you, apparently, lie to them. Especially when you seem to do it so badly.