Given that the Roger Clemens case is one in which a syringe-hording drug dealer who once lied to the police about an alleged sexual assault is accusing a philanderer with anger-management issues of illegal drug use, we probably shouldn’t be surprised when things get even more seedy. But they have gotten more seedy: McNamee now says that Clemens used his charity foundation to pay for his performance enhancing drugs.
That’s interesting and all, but I find the context and the reportage of this story far more interesting. For example, despite the big headline — “Clemens’ Foundation Comes Under Scrutiny” — the fact that McNamee could produce no documentary proof of his allegation when asked to by investigators is not mentioned until the seventh paragraph. Given that McNamee is a guy who actually wrote a 100% fraudulent editorial in the New York Times defending Clemens against drug use several years ago, I am shocked that the Times would bury this little fact as deeply as they do. The Times has first hand experience being burned by McNamee’s lack of credibility, and yet they are not at all critical of this allegation.
It’s also worth noting that the anonymous source of this story is almost certainly a federal agent or attorney (i.e. a person “briefed on the investigation” who can’t be seen as the one revealing the information). In light of the fact that Clemens can be convicted of perjury based merely on proof of drug use irrespective of the source of payment, what’s the purpose of this new information being leaked? To make Clemens look like a bad, bad man who would use a children’s charity to pay for dirty, dirty steroids. Or at least it would if there was actually any evidence that he did so, which there appears to be none.
I’m not exactly Roger Clemens’ biggest fan, and I think there’s a pretty decent chance his butt is going to be in a sling over his Congressional testimony and probably should be, but this story strikes me as a hit job. McNamee is offering unsubstantiated garbage to the feds, the feds are leaking it to the press in order to make Clemens look like more of a slimeball than he is, and the reporter is, at best, being far too credulous in passing it all along.
At the risk of hyperbole, allow me to say that I can’t point to a single person involved with this investigation who has behaved decently.
MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki reports that starter Clay Buchholz is at Citizens Bank Park for Wednesday night’s game against the Marlins. The right-hander recently underwent surgery to repair a partial tear of his flexor pronator mass. The timetable for his recovery is three to five months, but most are expecting him to miss the rest of the season since the Phillies aren’t legitimate contenders.
According to Zolecki, Buchholz apologized to GM Matt Klentak “and others” — presumably other front office staff and/or his teammates — for getting injured. Buchholz hopes to return to pitch in September.
It’s saddening to me, and indicative of the general anti-labor culture in sports, that a player feels obligated to apologize for getting injured on the job. Injuries are nothing new for Buchholz, which might have factored into his decision to apologize. Red Sox fans got on his case quite a bit over the years for his propensity to land on the disabled list. But it wasn’t like Buchholz was taking unnecessary risks; he simply did his job, which entails doing a lot of unhealthy movement with his arm. Buchholz owes no one an apology.
Buchholz isn’t the only player to have apologized for getting injured. Outfielder Hideki Matsui apologized to the Yankees in 2006. Starter Masahiro Tanaka apologized in 2014. Twins reliever Glen Perkins apologized last year. Even Madison Bumgarner sort of apologized for suffering injuries riding a dirt bike on an off-day, saying “It’s definitely not the most responsible decision I’ve made.” Because god forbid an athlete has interests and hobbies outside of his vocation.
Players are brought up in a sports culture that allows exorbitantly wealthy owners to bilk the players — laborers — at every possible turn. They’re mostly underpaid and poorly taken care of in the minors. If and when they reach the major leagues, their salaries are intentionally depressed for six years and their service time is toyed with (just ask Kris Bryant). Buchholz endured that and then endured the criticism that comes with having been a hyped prospect who mostly failed to live up to expectations. He’s gone above and beyond what he needed to do to have a successful career as a professional baseball player, even if it wasn’t as much as fans or front office personnel would have liked.
Update (5:22 PM ET): Thames is dealing with left hamstring tightness. Manager Craig Counsell says it’s “not a big deal,” Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.
Brewers first baseman Eric Thames left Wednesday afternoon’s game against the Reds in the top of the eighth inning with an apparent injury. Thames took his position to start the inning, but was replaced by Jesus Aguilar. Thames had flied out weakly to center field to end the previous inning, so perhaps something happened while he ran that out.
The Brewers should provide an update shortly on the exact nature of Thames’ early exit. Needless to say, losing Thames to the disabled list would be a huge blow to the 11-11 Brewers, as he entered Wednesday leading all of baseball in runs (25), home runs (11), slugging percentage (.929), and OPS (1.411). Thames was 1-for-3 with a single, a pair of walks, and two runs scored before leaving.