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The Rocket’s Math

If you get a few minutes, amuse yourself by checking out the 1,800-word, 44-page report released by Roger Clemens’ agent, Randy Hendricks and two associates. First thought that hit me when I saw it: Who was the poor intern that got stuck with binding that thing together? Second thing: Where were these charts when I was failing geometry?

Seriously, though, this report doesn’t change a thing. I’d argue that it only makes Clemens look more guilty. As my geometry teacher once said — and I did ultimately pass that class — mathematics can prove almost anything, but common sense is called common sense for a reason.

Translation in this case: Most innocent men don’t go to such calculating tactics to prove their innocence, because they’re comfortable with the knowledge that they aren’t guilty. And let’s remember something very important here: Clemens is not on trial. So if truly doesn’t care what people think — and that has been the company line, hasn’t it? — then why is he investing so much energy to prove his point? As he told Mike Wallace on “60 Minutes,” it’s near impossible to prove a negative.

Clemens’ attempt to do so is not doing him much good.  In this lates entry into the affair, the charts are supposed to tell us that Clemens did not have any strange spikes in his career performance and that his career was not as astounding as the numbers might indicate.  But like everything in this case, that doesn’t tell the whole story.

Here’s what I’d like to see. I’d like to see video clips of Clemens pitching early in the 1998 season with Toronto side-by-side with clips of Clemens pitching later in the 1998 season.  I want to see what kind of life were on the Rocket’s pitches when he went 5-6 with a 3.50 ERA through the first two months, and what kind of life his pitches had when he went 15-0 with an ERA under two the rest of the way. By life, I mean natural movement — the kind you get from really being able to drive through the ball, and the kind that Clemens was lacking so much two years prior that he was forced to sign with the Toronto Blue Jays of all teams.

Brian McNamee supposedly injected Clemens right about the time Clemens’ 1998 season took off, so that’s why such video footage would be so helpful. Of course, we don’t see that in this report, because that could be damaging evidence for the Clemens camp. Imagine seeing the ball pushed from Clemens’ hand early in 1998, and then imagine it exploding from his hand after the dates McNamee allegedly injected him. I’m guessing Team Roger wouldn’t have a set answer for that one.

The point is, and I’ve said this before, is that Clemens should shut his mouth, and his “team” should fade to the back. As Clemens himself seemed to say on “60 Minutes,” it’s rather impossible to prove a negative. The more his camp tries to prove it, the more they make him look guilty (which, by the way, I think he is. I often wonder if Clemens did shoot up with PED’s and has now lied about it so often that he believes his lies. But that pathological issue is a subject for a psychiatrist, not me).

In the meantime, the game will go on without him. And as he fades from the spotlight, the questions will go to his children, which if you think about it is probably the saddest part of this story. Clemens, on the other hand, told us he couldn’t wait to be out of the public sector, so he could be left alone. Thus, it sure seems sinister that he’s spending so much energy making sure his name stays in the spotlight.

rhurd