This morning we ran down Andy Pettitte’s testimony on direct examination in the Roger Clemens case. The upshot: (1) Clemens told him he did HGH back in 1999; but (b) Clemens said he did NOT do HGH in 2005, and that Pettitte was wrong about the 1999 conversation.
Fine, as far as that goes. The prosecution is implying strongly that, when the PED heat started to get ratcheted up, Clemens began to lie about it, and that the 1999 conversation was the truth. The only problem: Andy Pettitte, on cross examination this morning, admitted that he may actually have been wrong about that 1999 conversation. “Attanasio” is the Clemens defense lawyer cross-examining Pettitte:
Obviously Brian McNamee still has to testify and his testimony is key, but Pettitte’s testimony creates way more than reasonable doubt about whether Clemens ever said that did PEDs of any kind.
This, in my mind, renders Andy Pettitte’s testimony completely useless for the prosecution, because really, all that he was there for was to testify that Clemens admitted to PED use. And now that’s blown away.
Infielder Javier Baez is back in camp with the Cubs after helping Puerto Rico to a second-place finish in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. He was the focal point of what was, to many, the most memorable play of the entire tournament: Baez pointed at catcher Yadier Molina, who was attempting to throw out a would-be base-stealer, before applying the tag for the final out of the eighth inning.
While Baez didn’t receive much criticism for his theatrics, aside from an insignificant handful of spoilsports, he is one of the players who most exemplifies the emotional, celebratory culture that foreign players bring to Major League Baseball. U.S. (and Tigers) second baseman Ian Kinsler is on the other side of that spectrum, as he said prior to the WBC final that he hopes kids mimic the solemn way U.S. players play the game rather than the emotional, passionate way players from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic play the game.
Baez isn’t about to apologize for the way he and his teammates play the game. Via CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney, Baez said, “We do a great job playing and having fun out there. That’s what it’s all about. This is a game. It’s not as serious as a lot of people take it. but, you know, everybody’s got their style and their talent. I have a lot of fun.”
He continued, “It’s their choice to look at how we play, how excited we get. To us, it’s really huge what we did, even though we didn’t win. All of Puerto Rico got really together. We were going through a hard time over there and everything got fixed up for at least three weeks. Hopefully, they keep it like that.”
Angels outfielder Mike Trout came up with an idea that would allow less experienced umpires an opportunity to call some major league spring training action. As ESPN’s Buster Olney reports, Trout thinks the veteran umpires should only call five or six innings as they get back into regular season shape. The rest of the innings could be called by minor league umpires.
According to Olney, baseball officials loved Trout’s idea when they heard about it last week. One official said, “It makes a lot of sense for a lot of different reasons.” Another said, “That’s Trout — he’s always paying attention to stuff beyond what he’s doing.”
Of course, I have to agree that the suggestion is a great one. As Olney notes, the turnover rate for umpires every year is relatively low, so younger, less-experienced umpires have few opportunities to get a feel for what it’s like calling major league action. Even beyond the actual interpretation of the rules, interacting with big league personalities would also be helpful for minor league umpires.