Look, I don’t want someone coming into my mother’s basement to tell me how to do my job, so I’m sure the prosecutors in the Roger Clemens case don’t want to hear my armchair litigating either. But, hey, it’s kinda my thing, so I’m gonna do it anyway. And today’s theme: dudes, what are you thinking?
Yesterday the prosecutors brought forth yet another witness who harms their own case. The witness was Yankees GM Brian Cashman. The upshot of Cashman’s testimony: Roger Clemens was an amazing athlete with drive and determination, Brian McNamee was someone the New York Yankees did not like and did not trust and, oh, we have no evidence whatsoever that Roger Clemens ever did steroids of any kind.
Cashman specifically noted that, yes, players often got B-vitamin injections that the club didn’t know about or document, which comports totally with Clemens’ defense that any DNA of his on Brian McNamee’s syringes was the result of such vitamin injections. He also talked about how no one got along with Brian McNamee, how McNamee overstepped his bounds all the time and made allusions to unsavory incidents in which McNamee was involved, though he couldn’t elaborate on them due to the judge barring such testimony. Things like that Florida date rape drug incident and some other unseemliness.
The net effect: Roger Clemens is awesome — at the end he even jovially took Rusty Hardin’s bait when asked if the Yankees could use “a 50 year-old pitcher who can still throw 90” by smiling and saying “maybe” — and Brian McNamee is an unstrustworthy nogoodnik. This is NOT what you do when your entire case depends on (a) the jury hearing and believing Brian McNamee; and (b) believing that Roger Clemens is a liar.
Though I suppose there was one instance in which Cashman’s own reliability came into play, which could mitigate all of this. When asked how many world championships the Yankees have won during his tenure as general manager, Cashman said five when, in reality, it’s just four. Bob Watson was the GM for the 1996 title.
Gonna guess that doesn’t help the prosecution that much.
As I note every spring, “Best Shape of His Life” stories aren’t really about players being in The Best Shape of Their Lives. They’re about players and agents seeking to create positive stories.
We know this because the vast majority of Best Shape of His Life claims are about guys who were either injured the season before, guys who had subpar years the season before or players whose conditioning was a point of controversy the season before. These folks, or their agents + reporters who have little if nothing to write about in the offseason = BSOHL.
James McCann hurt his ankle last season and had a subpar year at the plate. So not only is he a perfect BSOHL candidate, he went old school with the claim and hit it right on the money, verbatim:
Spring training is less than a month away, folks!
Last week Bo Jackson said that, if he had it to do all over again, he would have never played professional football and that he would never let his kids play. The sport is too violent, he said. “I’d tell them, ‘Play baseball, basketball, soccer, golf, just anything but football.’”
Fair enough. Thom Loverro of the Washington Times, however, thinks that Bo could do more than simply give his opinion on the matter. He thinks Bo should become an official ambassador for Major League Baseball:
Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred, pick up the phone right now and call Bo Jackson. Tell him you have a job for him — vice president of something, whatever you would call the man in charge of converting a generation of young athletes to baseball. And pay him what he wants.
You won’t find a better symbol of the differences between the two sports than Bo Jackson. After all, he was an All-Star in both. Bo knows football. Bo knows baseball.
Bo, tell the children — baseball over football.
The Children: “Who is Bo Jackson?”
Yeah, I’m being a bit flip here, but dude: Jackson is 54 years-old. He last played baseball 23 years ago. I’d personally run through a wall for Bo Jackson, but I’m 43. I was 12 when he won the Heisman trophy. While he may loom large to middle aged sports writers, a teenager contemplating what sport to play is not going to listen to someone a decade or more older than his parents.
This isn’t terribly important in the grand scheme of things, but it’s indicative of how most columnists process the world through their own experiences and assume they apply universally. It’s probably the biggest trap most sports opinion folks fall into.