Roger Clemens departs with his wife Debbie Clemens after the first day of his perjury trial, at the federal courthouse in Washington

Clemens to challenge Congress’ authority to question him. Which is pretty darn rich.

31 Comments

A lawyer for Roger Clemens said in court today that part of Clemens’ legal strategy would be to argue that the hearing that the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held three years ago — the hearing in which he allegedly perjured himself —  had nothing to do with Congress’ responsibility for legislation and was therefore invalid.

Just to review, Clemens willingly agreed to testify before Congress. He wasn’t subpoenaed. At the time he and his legal team actually offered a bunch of “we’re happy for the chance to do this” bluster.  One would think that if he believed Congress’ authority wasn’t sufficient to hold such a hearing that he may have mentioned it three years ago.

That aside, Congress’ oversight and investigation powers are ridiculously broad. While not specifically enumerated in the Constitution, tradition and legal precedent has upheld Congress’ right to hold hearings on just about anything you can imagine, as long as the subject is something “on which legislation could be had or would be materially aided by the information which the investigation was calculated to elicit” or in an area that the executive branch regulates somehow. Given that there are tons of federal drug laws and entire federal agencies which deal with drugs and other controlled substances, a steroids investigation — while maybe not something you’d be a fan of — is safely within Congressional power.

So, hey, good luck with that Roger. Just don’t bank on any success there, OK?

Report: Phillies close to signing Joaquin Benoit

ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 15:  Joaquin Benoit #53 of the Toronto Blue Jays pitches during the seventh inning of a game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim  at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 15, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images
1 Comment

Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly reports that the Phillies are close to signing free agent reliever Joaquin Benoit. An announcement is expected before the winter meetings end on Thursday.

Benoit, 39, has quietly been among the better relievers in baseball over the past seven years. This past season with the Mariners and Blue Jays, the right-hander put up an aggregate 2.81 ERA with a 52/24 K/BB ratio in 48 innings. That included a 0.38 ERA in 23 2/3 innings after the Jays acquired him from the Mariners.

Benoit suffered a torn calf muscle during a benches-clearing brawl with the Yankees near the end of the regular season. He’s expected to be healthy for spring training.

The Phillies have now added three relievers this offseason with Benoit, Pat Neshek, and David Rollins.

Report: The new collective bargaining agreement reduces players’ meal money

ADVANCE FOR WEEKEND EDITIONS, JAN. 18-19 - This Jan. 15, 2014 photo showing new baseball union head Tony Clark during an interview at the organization's headquarters, in New York. Clark has big shoes to fill _ and not just as Michael Weiner's replacement as head of the baseball players' union. Moving from Arizona to New Jersey, the former big league All-Star also needed to find size 15 snowshoes.  (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
AP Photo/Richard Drew
13 Comments

ESPN’s Pedro Gomez provides a previously unreported detail of the new collective bargaining agreement, agreed to by the owners and the players’ union last week. Players’ meal money for road games is being reduced from $105 to $30 per day. Teams are providing pre- and post-game meals in the visitors’ clubhouse to offset some of the decrease in meal money.

Gomez quotes an unnamed player who said, “I doubt many guys know about the money going down, nor would they have agreed to it.” All of the players Gomez contacted said they were unaware of and unhappy about the change.

Clubhouse attendants are certainly unhappy about this change, too. As Gomez notes, the attendants previously provided food for visiting teams which earned them tips from the players.

EDIT: It’s worth clarifying that chefs are required in clubhouses now as part of the new CBA, so it’s not a complete loss for the players.