Most trials never start when they’re supposed to due to all kinds of pretrial wrangling and stuff. But that’s not the case with Roger Clemens. Today the law firm that could have appealed the order granting Clemens access to the Mitchell Report notes decided not to appeal, thereby clearing the way for baseball’s second biggest steroid/perjury/former superstar criminal trial to get underway on July 6th.
We’ll obviously get way more into it as the opening statements draw near, but for those who care and lost track: my view is that Clemens is in way, way, way deeper doo-doo than Bonds was. This is because, unlike Bonds, another witness and possibly multiple witnesses will take the stand in his case and will say, under oath, that Clemens lied. Which kind of matters in a perjury case.
Is it a perfect case? No. Brian McNamee will be subject to a rigorous cross-examination based on the fact that he frequently lied in the past when it suited his interests to do so. But he also can explain why he did that (i.e. to keep his meal ticket, Clemens, out of trouble), and that’s a somewhat understandable reason for lying from his perspective. And it’s counterbalanced, of course, by the fact that Clemens will be portrayed as having ample reason to lie at the time, what with his career and then-good reputation to protect.
The best use of government resources? Nah. But given that Clemens’ own conduct and public relations onslaught — and not a crazy-obsessed government investigation — fomented the proceedings in which the alleged perjury took place, I have way less of a problem with this than I did with the Bonds prosecution.
Oh, and the fact that Clemens is kind of scummy helps my conscience too.
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.