Andy Pettitte testifies that Clemens spoke of his drug use

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UPDATE:  Well, it was nice while it lasted, but Pettitte’s testimony just became pretty useless.

9:12 AM: There were no surprises in Andy Pettitte’s testimony at the Roger Clemens trial yesterday. Now it’s just a matter of whether the jury believes the 1999 Roger Clemens or the 2005 Roger Clemens to whom Pettitte spoke:

Without emotion, as if he were facing a particularly tough batter, Pettitte said that Clemens admitted to him in 1999 or 2000 that he had used human growth hormone, which is now banned by baseball.

“Roger had mentioned to me that he had taken H.G.H. and that it could help with recovery,” Pettitte said. “You know, that’s all I really remember about the conversation.”

And, Pettitte said without flinching, that Clemens accused him in 2005 of remembering that conversation inaccurately. Clemens said it was his wife, not him, who had used H.G.H.

“Obviously, I was a little flustered because I thought that he had told me he did,” Pettitte said. “My reaction after that was, well, no good asking him or talking to him about this now, and I just walked out, end of the conversation.” …

That’s basically the crux of it all. That and a little bit of Pettitte’s own history with HGH and whether the jury will assume that, due to their closeness and the company they kept, they were both doing the same stuff.

It’s easy to convince yourself, based on what we all know what was going on in 2005, that Clemens changed his story to Pettitte because he was aware — based on the famous Rafael Palmiero/Mark McGwire hearings — that others would be called on to talk about drug use and he wanted to start laying the groundwork for denials.  It’s just as easy to say “man, how dumb would Clemens be to change his story in 2005 when, if he was really using, others would be in a position to say so.” Now, I think Clemens is dumb, actually, but the jury isn’t gonna get to hear about a lot of that stuff, so it may not matter here.

Which is another way to say that it’s hard to say what the jury will take away from Pettitte’s testimony.  And makes me continue to believe that the only thing that matters in this case is what Brian McNamee says, how he says it and what the jury thinks of it.

Bartolo Colon Watching the Eclipse Is Your Moment of Zen

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A Solar Eclipse

by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

In that great journey of the stars through space
About the mighty, all-directing Sun,
The pallid, faithful Moon, has been the one
Companion of the Earth. Her tender face,
Pale with the swift, keen purpose of that race,
Which at Time’s natal hour was first begun,
Shines ever on her lover as they run
And lights his orbit with her silvery smile.

Sometimes such passionate love doth in her rise,
Down from her beaten path she softly slips,
And with her mantle veils the Sun’s bold eyes,
Then in the gloaming finds her lover’s lips.
While far and near the men our world call wise
See only that the Sun is in eclipse.

The umps have dropped their Ian Kinsler protest

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Over the weekend the World Umpires Association — the umpire’s union —  launched a protest in response to what it feels is Major League Baseball’s failure to adequately address the “escalating attacks” on the men in blue. They were specifically upset that Ian Kinsler didn’t get suspended for his remarks in which he said that Angel Hernandez should get out of the umpiring business because he’s terrible. Apparently to umpires truth is no defense. In any event, they wore white wristbands Saturday night as a sign of solidarity or whatever.

Now that’s over, it seems. At least for the time being. The Association released this statement yesterday afternoon:

“Today, WUA members agreed to the Commissioner’s proposal to meet with the Union’s Governing Board to discuss the concerns on which our white wristband protest is based. We appreciate the Commissioner’s willingness to engage seriously on verbal attacks and other important issues that must be addressed. To demonstrate our good faith, MLB Umpires will remove the protest white wristbands pending the requested meeting.”

As many noted over the weekend — most notably Emma Span of Sports Illustrated — this protest was, at best, tone deaf. While officials are, obviously, due proper respect, a player jawing at an umpire is neither unprecedented nor very serious compared to, well, almost anything that goes on in the game or in society. At a time when people are literally taking to the streets to protest white supremacy, Neo-Nazis and the KKK, asking folks to spare thoughts for some people who sometimes have to take guff over ball and strike calls is not exactly a cause that is going to draw a ton of sympathy. And that’s before you address the fact that the umpires are not innocent when it comes to stoking the animosity between themselves and the players.

I wouldn’t expect to hear too much more out of this other than, perhaps, a relatively non-committal statement from Major League Baseball and a relatively detail-free declaration of victory by the umpires after their meeting.