Wednesday, December 19, 2007

"Straw Man" says Clemens isn't a juicer.... My thoughts??

I just got done watching Darryl Strawberry on "The O'Reilly Factor" on FOX NEWS. The "Straw Man" says Roger Clemens is innocent and Bill O'Reilly(surprisingly or not so surprisingly) agrees with Strawberry but it seems they agree for different reasons. Strawberry is basing his opinion on the fact that he played against Clemens on the same field and feels he is a guy of integrity. O'Reilly took the perspective of "Innocent until proven guilty."

I'd hate to ever agree with O'Reilly, but he make a good point. Clemens has been convicted in the media. Lets take a moment to think about why this is happening. You have this cloud that's been hanging over the game for the past few years thanks in large part to Barry Bonds and his continued denials on whats been documented as pretty lengthy performance-enhancing drug use. You combine that with the collective holding of one's breath that was forced on us by the 20 month investigation which culminated in the releasing of the Mitchell Report and you have a media that's out for blood.

I was one of the members of the media who received the long-awaited report just seconds before Senator George Mitchell stated his findings. And the goal of the media was clear: FIND NAMES

Nothing else mattered. The impact on kids, the impact on players and the impact on the game and its history were an afterthought. All we did was scan for the names. And when we found the big ones, we immediately started texting our respective media bases to tell them which ones we found. Forget what it said in terms of the evidence against the players listed. All we wanted were the names. That's what was sensational and that's what would grab headlines.

Who knows what kind of pressure was put on the two trainers that served as the major source for the Mitchell Report. In some cases we have cancelled checks. In others we have packing slips. In the case of Clemens we have one persons word versus another. And the last time I checked, it would take a lot more than that to convict someone in a court of law. Now granted, this is not a court of law and its largely a court of public opinion and when all is said and done, peoples careers and their legacies will be based on the opinions of a selected few in the form of the Baseball Writers Association.

I do not have a HOF vote. Maybe someday I will but its unlikely. Based on the information I have in front of me, Roger Clemens is still going to the Hall of Fame. I don't have a single positive steroid test or any test for that matter that shows he had an illegal substance in his system. The same cannot be said for Barry Bonds. So before you start to say it's a "white and black thing," take that into consideration for moment. All I have is one trainers word. From accounts I have read on the Mitchell Report, trainers were the most vulnerable to brow-beating from the staff put together to investigate on behalf of Senator Mitchell. The trainers unlike players(who have the MLBPA) were often questioned for lengthy periods of time and forced to sometimes guess whether or not they thought a player used steroids. How admissible would that be in a court of law??

Just because I believe Roger Clemens is a Hall of Famer doesn't mean I believe he is absolved. It just means that as of today, I don't have enough evidence(circumstantial or otherwise) to say a guys whole body of work should be thrown out the door because of the word of one person. But I will say this: Should further evidence come out(circumstantial or otherwise) that proves "The Rocket" did indeed use the juice, I will use my bully pulpit(the airwaves at ESPN Radio) to ensure he never gain acceptance into Cooperstown......... That is unless he buys a ticket like the rest of us.

You've Been Paged.


dasnootz said...

Having never met the man, personally I believe he's been enhanced by something. That skeptisism is what keeps people from thinking that Chris Angel is Jesus Christ.... or atheists from believing in a higher power all together.

It just doesn't make sense that a 41 year old can pitch 214 innings and have an ERA 1.5 runs under league average. I'd love to see a statistical break down of how many standard deviations Clemens is from the 40+ norm of MLB pitchers.

Why does the court of public opinion have to be held to Criminal Court standards? Civil Court requires only the preponderance of proof. Even at the highest Civil Court standards, the bar is only set at "clear and convincing evidence"... which is far below "beyond a reasonable doubt."

dasnootz said...

A second name that wouldn't suprise me..... Brett Favre.

Jason Page said...

Just to play devil's advocate as I have already laid out my position. There are more than a few guys over 40 who are still viable pitchers. Randy Johnson and Jamie Moyer in the current era. Nolan Ryan long before steroids was a topic is another one that came to mind.

There are guys who buck the 40+ trends. Think of how few of them are out there. If you do it by percentages, they make up a tiny minority. Why couldn't they exist?

Satchell Page was another back in his day as well.

Michael in New York said...

The men you describe as "brow-beaten" are in legal jeopardy IF THEY LIE. That includes lying tht claims someone used steroids just as much as it includes lying and claiming someone didn't. Just like Barry Bonds, they were safe to TELL THE TRUTH under oath and if they didn't they can go to jail. They have no incentive to make up stories about ballplayers they worked with for decades and lie about illegal usage. They have every incentive to tell the truth. We've seen a number of players already confirm details in the report. Most tellingly, Andy pettitte has completely confirmed all the details about himself. If these guys had lied about Andy and claimed he did HGH when he didnt, they could go to jail. You think you would throw in some juicy made-up tales and risk going to jail, knowing on the other side that if you made up those tales they could throw you in jail AND millionaires like Clemens and Pettitte would sue your ass so fast it would make your head spin. I would; wouldn't you? So to act like these guys were rubberhosed into lying is simply a complete lack of understanding of the legal system. Those guys are in serious legal jeopardy if they lied. And the federal people do NOT like being lied to. Their stories were consistent and convincing all the way through andthey never wavered on the details. Andy pettitte confirmed everything about him. And I'm sorry, if you're willing to believe a guy told the complete truth about Andy pettitte but lied about a person he worked with for decades who he liked and who praised him to high heaven and mae him rich EVEN THOUGH DOING SO WOULD VERY LIKELY LAND YOU IN JAIL AND FACING CIVIL LAWSUITS BY THAT ONE TIME FRIEND, I'm sorry. That is ridiculous. Don't confuse the media's desire to get the names i the first five minutes after the report came out with the serious work that needs to be done to clean up the sport. But it will never be cleaned up if apologists insist it's no big deal, barely counted as cheating, was all in the past and bend over backwards to give people like Bonds and Clemens the benefit of the doubt. The circumstantial evidence and legal testimony against Clemens is very strong and the witness against him has been proven to be scrupulous and accurate in other cases. Clemens doped up. He cheated. I'm not throwing him in jail; I'm reacting to years of rumors, evidence, corrobrating evidence and legal testimony that has proven accurate. I;m sorry, but if you refuse to accept that Clemens (the one with more damning evidence against him than anyone else in the report) then you have to say Bonds is innocent too because you refuse to accept overwhelming facts facing you.

Michael in New York said...

Oh and to quote Daryl Strawberry as a character witness and good judge of anyone just shows how twisted the values of baseball and sports have become. Daryl Strawberry? God bless him, but please. You've got to be kidding me. Daryl Strawberry is the one trying to convince people Clemens didn't use illegal drugs?

Michael in New York said...

Oh, and I do like the tagline "You've been paged." Very nice. I'll bet you say that to all the interns, too.

dasnootz said...

Theres a difference between being a viable pitcher and throwing 211 innings of 1.87 ERA when you're 42. That's 2.5 runs below league average.

Jason Page said...

Dasnootz, then you must believe Nolan Ryan used the juice too. He was throwing no-hitters well into his 40's. And like I said, pitchers in the old days used to be solid in their 40's as well. Its more about continuing to throw and not babying these guys. Jim Kaat had a great saying:

"It'll rust off before it wears off."

Pitchers today don't pitch as well in their older years because they are coddled.

As for Michaels continue bloviating and moral stance, I'm done arguing with him. He has his high and mighty point of view and thats totally his perogative. But the fact of the matter is, trainers had no protection(a la the MLBPA) and like I said in many cases, they were forced to give educated guesses on what some players may or may not have done.

I'm glad your willing to convict Roger Clemens on the word of one person(a law-breaking person at that) without a single positive drug test and without a single piece of paper evidence against Clemens. I will say yet again, that if more evidence comes forward, I will hear it and make my own determinations. But the word of one guy against another is not going to be that overwhelming evidence that you want it to be.

Now this goes to your newest blog entry. Your blanket staement that anyone who used isn't going to the Hall of Fame while not surprising to me, isn't neccesarily the way to go. If thats the case, we should take out Gaylord Perry, who used everything but a sander on the baseball to make it dance around the strike zone. And what does it mean for guys like Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire. Guys who have allegedly used but haven't tested positive and aren't named in any report?? You start mandating that anyone who is named in the report no matter how much or how little they used isn't going into the Hall of Fame and you are headed down a slippery slope.

Lets take Willie Mayes out of the Hall of Fame too. Everyone knows the players of that generation including Willie, used amphetamines. Might as well take them out of the Hall of Fame too.

Slippery slope indeed........

Jason Page said...

BTW, that's Mays, not Mayes.....


dasnootz said...

I can choose to believe that Nolan Ryan was clean, but it wouldn't shock me to find a source that said something negative.

I don't need a 100% or even 95% confidence level to believe that Roger Clemens used something.

Fact - He's a meat-head douche bag.
Fact - He's been freakishly good at an old age.
Fact - His trusted trainer says he used. You can argue that his trainer was a dirt bag, but Roger trusted him enough to keep him on staff. Now suddenly because he's pointing his finger at Roger the Bully, he can't be trusted?
Fact - Roger's good friend Andy has admitted to using at least twice. Seriously... if you had to pick between the two guys, which would you have guessed could have used something?

To me saying that you believe he didn't use is just a form of holding onto plausible deniability so that you can justify your fan hood during his pinstripe tenure.

Paging Doctor Obvious

dasnootz said...

For the record, I think both Clemens and Bonds belong in the Hall of Fame.

The Hall of Fame is filled with flawed characters, including character flaws that spilled onto the field.

Jason Page said...


Fact - He's a meat-head douche bag.

No, that would be your opinion. Thats not a fact.

I am not saying he didn't use. I am just saying that I want to hear more than one "water-boarded" trainer before I say he did for sure.

If I saw cancelled checks and packing slips or one positive test for something(a la Bonds) then I would have no problem feeling comfortable saying he used. But thats not the case. I am setting the burden of proof at a higher standard than you and Michael are.

Both of you have had axes to grins with Clemens. I can look at things objectively. I am not a Clemens fan. First and foremost, I am a baseball fan. Yankees come 2nd in that equation.

dasnootz said...

A fact is anything known to be true by experience or observation. I've observed Clemens via the media for most of my life and know him to be an asshole by my definitions.

I don't have any axes to grind with Clemens. He's a hired gun, and I was happy both times that the Yankees signed him. I was at his 300th win and 4,000th strikeout game, and I have a copy of the scorecard framed in my office.

Jason Page said...

I think earlier in his career he was a bit surly. Later in his career he has been much more open to the media. Thats a fact. I observe it and experience it as one who works in the field and is in the clubhouse with these guys.

Calling someone a "meat-head douche bag" means you have an axe to grind. Sounds like a pre-disposed opinion on a guy.

dasnootz said...

"Calling someone a "meat-head douche bag" means you have an axe to grind. Sounds like a pre-disposed opinion on a guy."

Stating what I mean, without justifying the statement as merely your opinion, is presenting the arguement that calling someone a meat-head douche bag FACTUALLY proves me to have a pre-disposed opinion of the guy.

You have no tangible evidence of my inner soul's biased or unbiased opinion of Roger Clemens. What you do have is your limited observations of my statements on this blog. Through those limited observations alone you have decided that I have an axe to grind. This is the same thought process that allows me to believe that he has been chemically aided.

dasnootz said...

The above arguement implies that having a pre-disposed opinion of Roger Clemens is directly caused by me having an axe to grind.

If P > Q
With the variable P = axe to grind, and Q = pre-disposed opinion.

Jason Page said...

All I can do is laugh at the above statements.

If you need to go those lengths to prove something your typing in a blog, then its better to leave well-enough alone.


dasnootz said...

Game, Set, Match - DasNootz

Now it's back to conquering the wonderful world of beer-pong.

BTW... getting to see Michael's picture set me back. I had envisioned him as the character Vizzini from the Princess Bride yelling, "Inconceivable!"

Michael in New York said...

God forbid, but I probably will resemble Wallace Shawn more and more as the years go on.

I've never been a fan of Roger Clemens and believing he's been a low-down dirty cheat for the last decade has confirmed my feelings but it doesn't give me any pleasure. it bums me out. Noam said if A-Rod was guilty )as Canseco keeps alledging) how sweet that would be -- I said, no that would really depress me. I'd HATE to find out A-Rod was cheating and the bigger the scandal grows the worse I feel.

None of the people interviewed by the Feds or Mitchell were tortured or waterboarded in order to force them into false confessions that we would have to take with a giant grain of salt. In fact they are now and will forever be in legal jeopardy -- if they lied in any way, they can go to jail. Further, the testimony of "one guy" -- who just happens to be Clemens' right hand man and personal trainer and highly praised by him for many years even though he is apparently pond scum -- has proven accurate in other cases, namely Pettitte. Mitchell and the feds don't have axes to grind. Mitchell helped broker peace in Northern Ireland for god's sake. He would NOT risk a lifetime of admirable public service to get a scalp. He wanted the truth, virtually no one cooperated and he still felt he had enough evidence to name 80+ people (an increasing number of which are panning out as accurate and when there are denials (like Justice's) they seem awfully wobbly. And of all the people named, there was more damning, first-hand evidence against Clemens. My mind is not shut. If he sues his beloved trainer I will listen again and if he prevails or just makes his case in a way that I feel he deserves the benefit of the doubt despite all this, I will try and do it. But it ain't gonna happen.

As for the Hall, I insist again that we don't judge people's off field behavior (they might beat their wives) but we do judge them on how they played the game and people you have a strong reason to suspect cheated shouldn't be put in. It's not a birthright of anyone, no matter how many home runs they hit. It's to HONOR the game's best. You can't erase the record books, so Bonds will always be in there. Clemens will always have his Rings and MVPs (despite what Schilling suggested). Once someone's in, they're in forever (I never suggested retroactively going into the past and removing people we know cheated in other ways throughout their career). but yes, today, if you offered up a Hall nominee who aggressively cheated in the "cute" ways of the past, I'd take a pass. Cheaters don't belong in the Hall; they're already well represented so why add more?

And I really did like your tag.

Jason Page said...

For the same reason that I wouldn't rush to judgement in the Duke Lacrosse scandal, I won't rush to judgement on Roger Clemens. These things take time to play out.

Today, Clemens attorney Rusty Hardin has been quoted as saying ""When this grossly inaccurate story broke in October 2006, Roger said it was untrue and the Los Angeles Times chose not to believe him. As the record now clearly proves, Roger was telling the truth then, just as he continues to tell the truth today. Roger Clemens did not take steroids, and anybody who says he did had better start looking for a hell of a good lawyer."

Everyone always says "that if your innocent then sue." Well ROger Clemens appears poised to do just that. I will wait and see what information that yields if any. Unlike others on this blog, I wait to see ALL the evidence before making determinations. But I guess in this "gotta have it now" society we live in, thats simply too hard for some of you to comprehend. Thank God your not on any jury given the task of determining my guilt or innocence on any sort of legal front. And I hope you never have to be in any sort of legal jeopardy with people who rush to judgement as quickly as all of you do.

dasnootz said...

Did you notice that all of the other names listed in 2006 have turned out to be true?

I got to thinking about your "pre-disposed opinion" comment last night. Then I thought, who would benefit from having a pre-disposed opinion? Certainly not me. I have no stake in the outcome of Roger Clemen's drama.

However, I imagine that a reporter such as yourself may want to stay as player friendly as possible. There are enough others already sensationalizing the Mitchell Report, eagerly tossing Holy Water at all accused. It would make sense that a cunning reporter may want to side with the player so that he/she can form a stronger bond with athletes, in the unlikely event that Clemens didn't use.

It's like Pascal's Wager for living a pious life.

If you're right and Clemens didn't use then you come out looking like a saint for not rushing to judgement... a real friend of the athletes.

If you're wrong and Clemens did use, then you're simply lost in the backwash. After adequate evidence is unearthed you can still jump on the bandwagon later and lose nothing.

Well played my friend.

Michael in New York said...

Dasnootz, Jason isn't being that cynical about Clemens. he calls out plenty of athletes on the air that it would be smarter to treat with kid gloves. But you are right that reporters who have to talk to players in the locker room after every game have an awkward dance that they often don't perform well -- asking tough questions without pissing off the guy who can freeze you out tomorrow. But while Jason has been in many locker rooms, that isn't the case here. He gives his pointed opinion on the air all the tme about players and coaches. It's just that this time we disagree with him.

Michael in New York said...

Jason, the Duke lacrosse players were jumped on as the epitome of evil BEFORE any investigation had begun. That's a rush to judgment. I've waited years with my suspicions about Clemens, waited while baseball dragged its feet and waited through a 20 month investigation by Mitchell and then read everything in the report related to Clemens. I think after years of waiting and holding off until I read a report that was incredibly damning on Clemens that I can be excused from a "rush to judgment." That's silly. If I'd screamed blue murder at Clemens the first time any rumor came up years ago, THAT would be a rush to judgment Not proferring an opinion after a lengthy investigation in which Clemens was repeatedly offered the opportunity to defend himself but refused. (If I was clean and some bum accused me of doping, I sure as hell wouldn't stay away.) Despite my prudent caution, I would STILL change my mind if new evidence came up that I felt exonerated him via a civil trial or whatever. Nonetheless, after years of speculation and careful consideration, I won't ignore the mountain of evidence against him. The only person with more evidence against him is Bonds. And saying someone is a cheat is a far cry from convicting them of a crime and putting them in jail. The burden of a jury (and I've served on juries, as I'm sure you have) is a very serious one. But I wouldn't use the fact that I'm not on a jury to throw around baseless accusations that defame someone. I don't lightly call someone a cheat. Clemens is a cheat.

Jason Page said...

I think thats the difference between you and I. I don't deny the evidence thats on the table when it comes to Clemens. I just think that its premature to definitively say he cheated and thats it. Because once you make that claim as YOU have, you can't take that back. You lose all credibility once you publicly state that. Because then the next time you state your opinion on something like this, you look like a fool. Your credibility would be shot on the issue with the way you are throwing Clemens under the bus.

Let the Grimsley document serve a purpose. I believe it was the L.A. Times that leaked Clemens name as being part of the Grimsley document. Well, when the Grimsley document came out last night, he was nowhere to be found.

Again, slow down with the "Clemens is definitely a cheat" line of thinking.

As for Dasnootz's comments I can only laugh. I have never been afraid to bash someone on the air. I am simply waiting to hear all the facts on this stuff before I make a determination on what I believed happened. Thats part of what journalism is.