Here’s Roger Clemens’ ace lawyer, Rusty Hardin, speaking about his client’s indictment:
He’s right about reason being thrown out the window when it comes to baseball. People freak the hell out about steroids and have been doing so since at least 2002, when Jose Canseco and Ken Caminiti began to speak up about it all.
I wish some perspective was maintained, but I know that’s a vain wish.
But you know what? It was Rusty Hardin’s job to assess all of this in late 2007 and early 2008. To realize how combustible the Mitchell Report and its fallout was and would continue to be and to advise his client to proceed in a manner which limited his legal risk. It may not be fair that Congress and the press and the public was going crazy, but it wasn’t Hardin’s job to change their minds about the fairness of it all. It was his job to keep his client out of legal trouble and he failed miserably in that regard.
At some point — a point before Clemens went on 60 Minutes and sued Brian McNamee and held a big silly press conference — Hardin should have realized that playing PR like Clemens was doing was a dangerous, dangerous game. This is not hindsight. I don’t have the fraction of the legal skills or experience of Rusty Hardin and I saw it and was talking about it at the time (see here, here and here). Hardin should have seen it too and should have impressed upon Clemens that discretion, in this instance, was the better part of valor. This he did not do.
At the end of the above video, Hardin talks about convincing the public or public opinion or whatever. Even now, more than two years later, he doesn’t seem to understand that shaping what the public thinks is not his job. That’s a job for publicists. Hardin was and his Clemens’ lawyer, and he should have done everything he could have to avoid his client getting hauled before a Congressional committee in the first place. He failed at that job, and in this regard he’s continuing to fail.
The Cubs had a nice night last night. Javier Baez finally broke his hitless streak with not one but two homers. Willson Contreras hit a nearly 500-foot homer. Jake Arrieta, possibly pitching for the last time as a Cub, dug down for a gutsy performance, pitching into the seventh inning, working around some walks to allow only one run while striking out nine.
After the game, Cubs players sounded hopeful notes about believing in themselves, taking them one game at a time, getting the series back to L.A. for a Game 6 and Game 7. They’re professional athletes who know better than any of us that to achieve a thing you have to believe you can achieve that thing, so it’d be dumb to expect anything else from them in this situation. Ballplayers, quite admirably, don’t sound a note of defeat until they are actually defeated.
But let’s be realistic there: they’re still a dead team walking.
- They’re dead because, as we have been reminded oh so many times, only once in 35 tries has a team come back to win a seven game series in which they’ve found themselves down 0-3. That team did so because Dave Roberts worked some magic. Dave Roberts is working for the other team now.
- They’re dead because their biggest weakness this postseason — their bullpen — is not going to have its best pitcher, Wade Davis, available today in Game 5 after throwing 48 pitches in Game 4.
- They’re dead because while the Dodgers used five relievers last night, none of them were worked particularly hard and neither Brandon Morrow nor Kenley Jansen were used at all, allowing them to come in and work hard and heavy tonight if need be.
- They’re dead because the man on the mound to start tonight’s game is Clayton Edward Kershaw. Yes, he has had some less-than-glory-filled moments in the postseason in recent years, but all of those have come at the tail end of starts, when his managers have left him in perhaps an inning too long. See the above bullet point — and Dave Roberts’ early hook in Game 1 — if you think that’ll be a problem tonight.
The Dodgers lost last night, yes, but it was their first loss in the postseason. All teams have lost at least one postseason game since it went to the three-round format, so it was likely inevitable that L.A. would drop one. Heck, maybe they’ll drop two before the NLCS is over, but they’re not going to drop the next three in a row.
Last night’s Cubs win was nice for them, but it only delayed the inevitable.