No, Not Andy!

Photo: Bob Leverone/Sporting News/Getty Images


“I know that once I have this press conference, and talk to everybody about this and share everything with you, I think the truth will set you free,” said the baseball player from Texas, standing in the tent in Florida, about as unlikely a tableau for a New York scandal as you will find. It wasn’t like revelations of performance-enhancing drugs in sports, at this point, came as a shock. Our blinders were fully off. But Andy Pettitte? Getting busted for using HGH? He was our rock. He was the nice guy, the honest and humble guy, the guy who’d been raised right and talked openly of missing his kids and wore his faith in a way that never came off as righteous or judging. He was also, most crucially, the pitcher whose absurdly clutch, 8 1/3-inning, 1-0 game-five performance against the Atlanta Braves in the 1996 World Series lifted the Yankees out of the fifteen years of blustery, overspending mediocrity—I know, I know, try being a Cubs fan—that had defined my life, so far, as a fan. Whenever grown humans talk about their feelings for professional athletes in this way, it can veer quickly into stupidity and creepiness, but I liked Pettitte, admired his whole deal. I felt like, had I been born with some rare athletic talent, too, we could have hung out, maybe trained bird dogs together in the off-season or something. So when the Mitchell report came out in December 2007, naming Pettitte—along with his teammate, Roger Clemens—as a user of HGH, I thought, No way. Pettitte, a cheater? Never. But then here he was, two months later, in his goofy golf shirt, gripping the lectern nervously, owning up to his lies, apologizing for having used HGH—twice, he said—to speed his recovery from an injury. A funny thing happened in the course of this admission, though: Andy Pettitte emerged from the crucible of his public humiliation as somehow more likable, more real, more … honest. I realize how that sounds: You’re not honest if you are cheating to get ahead. Which is true. He wasn’t honest. And then he was. He surrendered to the truth, and owned up to his flaws, and the world related, and the world moved on. andy ward

From the Archives: ‘Andy Pettitte Is Delightful, Doomed,’ (Daily Intel, February 19, 2008)

Download the Complete History of Scandals [PDF]

No, Not Andy!