Roger Clemens made his first public comments since being indicted on federal charges for perjury during an appearance on the WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Telethon yesterday.
“I’m not going to get into details. All I’m going to say is that I
learned a lot. My eyes were opened by some of the things that happened
and did not happen,” Clemens said. “We’re going to deal with it, guys, I
don’t really know what else to say. We’re going to deal with it and
have our day.”
“It really wasn’t a surprise. I mean, I got my eyes opened up quite a
bit when we went in there an the things that we went through before.
… I sent it out in a tweet [denying the charges]. I thought that was
the best way to go about it.”
Clemens also told WEEI that he no longer talks to Andy Pettitte and that he didn’t play baseball in order to go into the Hall of Fame.
On a related note, according to Mike Fish of ESPN.com, attorney Rusty Hardin said Clemens turned down a “very fair offer” from the government in return for pleading guilty several months ago.
“The government made a recommendation [for a plea agreement] and we
declined,” Hardin said. “I will tell you the recommendation they made
was a very good one if he was guilty. And if he was guilty we would have
jumped on it. Everybody has all this great solicitous advice, all the
media and you guys — ESPN. Nobody is answering the question: What if he
didn’t do it, what should he have done? And everybody wants him to
“I have even heard people suggest that even if he didn’t do it he
should have said he did so that everybody will move on. That is a
Stunningly enough, the offer reportedly included no jail time. It’s a bold move by Clemens, but a calculated one. We’re probably still a long way from this actually going to trial, but a conviction isn’t a sure thing, especially with Brian McNamee as a key — and rather shady — witness.
Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant was one of the most prominent examples of service time manipulation in recent memory. He was ranked as the No. 1 prospect in baseball going into the 2015 season by Baseball America. He then had an incredible spring, batting .425 with a spring-high nine home runs and 15 RBI. The Cubs, however, didn’t add him to the Opening Day roster, instead keeping him in Triple-A for the first two weeks of the season, ensuring the club would get another year of control over Bryant because he wouldn’t accrue enough service time. He made his debut on April 17 and the rest was history. Bryant won the 2015 NL Rookie of the Year Award.
While the MLB Players Association filed a grievance on his behalf, Bryant didn’t say anything. But it was a learning moment for him. The same is true of the past offseason, which Bryant says “opened my eyes,” as Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reports. He now considers labor issues a priority, saying, “I need to study up, have my voice heard, continue to learn, because this is going to affect us for years to come. And I’d be foolish not to kind of offer myself out there.”
As Wittenmyer notes, Bryant hopes to replace Jake Arrieta as the Cubs’ player reprensentative. The players make that decision later this month. Bryant also vowed to fight for the next collective bargaining agreement. He said, “Maybe the focus was on other things rather than some of the more important things. But I think with this next one things are definitely going to change, and there’ll definitely be more fight on our side just because we’re going to get the chance to experience the effects of some of the things we agreed to. The only way to get what you want here is to fight for it. And I think you’re going to see a lot of that.”
It’s good to see Bryant motivated by recent economic developments in baseball. Hopefully more players take his lead and become more informed, arming themselves with all of the tools they need to create a better situation for themselves when the current CBA expires.