So, the Mitchell Report is out and it names a lot of names, apparently. (I haven't read the report myself yet.) One of those named isn't taking this lying down, however. Roger Clemens is pushing back and claiming that this is an egregious assault on his character and that he's never taken any illegal substances and he's shocked, shocked that he was not exempt from such accusations because of the good faith he's built up over the years.
I regret not having spoken of it here on my blog before, but I've wondered about Roger Clemens' obvious increase in bulk over the last few years. And it's not that he looked like he was just getting old and out of shape a la Tony Gwynn and Kirby Puckett, but that he was added a lot of muscle mass much like, oh, I don't know... Barry Bonds?
Andy Petitte, his colleague in both New York and Houston has admitted to taking HGH, though (speaking figuratively) he manages to question what the meaning of "is" is in his "apology". (I couldn't find just his statement online, without any other commentary or surrounding information.) The admission that Petitte consulted McNamee (the source of the allegations about Clemens, a man who was Clemens' personal trainer) about the use of a drug subsequently banned by baseball and that goes hand in hand in the minds of the public (how's that for a metaphor?) with steroids is yet another piece of circumstantial evidence stacked up against Clemens.
And now that Clemens and so many others have been implicated by this testimony and these revelations, a pall of suspicion falls over all the other big name athletes who have continued to have success into the twilight of their careers. This whole period in baseball becomes suspect, and I think there are things that can be done about it. If the weight of evidence is that Bonds, Clemens or whoever did cheat, if they did break the rules in a systematic way in order to try and gain a competitive advantage, then their records should be stripped and the Hall of Fame denied to them. To those who say it's impossible to strip Bonds of, say, his home runs because doing so affects the ERAs of the pitchers who surrendered those home runs, etc., I say that it doesn't have to. We merely do not acknowledge the achievement of Bonds, who cheated, but leave his impact on others present. Why this is a difficult concept to grasp, I don't know.
For JC Bradbury and others who think similarly, I'll put it plainly. The question is not one of whether any advantage was actually gained, it is a question of cheating and the attempt to gain such an advantage through illicit means. Whether it succeeded or not is irrelevant.
Listening to: Gilbert and Sullivan - Mikado - 3 - Wandering Minstrel