Brian McNamee

Brian McNamee’s estranged wife contradicts his testimony

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As we’ve said over and over again, the only thing that truly matters in the Roger Clemens case is whether the jury believes Brian McNamee. For all of the other weeks and weeks of testimony, if they believe what he says, Clemens’ goose is cooked. If they don’t believe him, Clemens walks.

So it’s kind of a big deal that Brian McNamee’s soon-to-be ex-wife came in to court yesterday and contradicted a key part of his testimony. Specifically, the testimony in which he explained why he took the unusual step of saving the syringes that he allegedly used to shoot-up Roger Clemens. The reason he gave: his wife pestered him, saying that he needed to protect himself.  Yesterday Eileen McNamee said that wasn’t so:

Wearing a blue floral print dress, Eileen McNamee presented herself as a soft-spoken first-grade schoolteacher who never nagged her now-estranged husband about Roger Clemens. She went on to contradict the government’s key witness many times … She says she never said anything of the sort. She said McNamee didn’t tell her back then that he was injecting Clemens …

This matters because, if there was no self-preservation motive for keeping the syringes like McNamee says there, what was the reason? Was it a more sinister motive? Or, for that matter, were they truly preserved in the first place? The defense is saying McNamee made all this evidence up. That’s a hard sell, but it’s made easier if it sounds like McNamee was lying about the stuff to begin with.

Eileen McNamee went on to contradict McNamee regarding the now-famous FedEx box in which McNamee stored the evidence which implicates Clemens. She said that their marriage broke down, not because, as McNamee said, he had to travel all the time, but due to the date-rape drug incident down in Florida, which the jury doesn’t know much about, but which is being referred to as McNamee being involved in a “serious criminal incident.”

Obviously she will be cross-examined and the prosecutors will say that, due to contentious divorce proceedings, she has a reason to sink Brian McNamee.  But it’s hard to see what she gains by doing it here as opposed to in divorce court.  And that aside, the sight of a witnesses wife coming in to court and essentially saying he lied is the sort of thing that has to stick in a jury’s head.

Coco Crisp traded to the Indians for a minor league reliever

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JUNE 27:  Coco Crisp #4 of the Oakland Athletics rounds third base to score against the San Francisco Giants in the top of the seventh inning at AT&T Park on June 27, 2016 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
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UPDATE: (11:36 AM EDT, Wednesday): The deal has been announced by both clubs. The A’s will be receiving left-handed pitcher Colt Hynes. Hynes is 31. He’s pitches seven games in the big leagues and has spent ten years in the minors with a 3.62 ERA in 456 games, almost all in relief.

Update (7:49 AM EDT, Wednesday): Susan Slusser hears word that, yes, the deal is official.

Update (7:20 PM EDT): John Hickey of the Bay Area News Group reports that Crisp has indeed been traded, but there won’t be an official announcement until Wednesday. Crisp has already left the Athletics’ clubhouse.

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Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors is reporting that the Athletics and Indians are making progress on a trade that would send outfielder Coco Crisp to Cleveland. Jon Morosi of FOX Sports confirms Adams’ report. Crisp, who has 10-and-5 rights, has waived them in order to facilitate a deal.

Crisp, 36, is owed the remainder of his $11 million salary for the 2016 season and has a $13 million option for the 2017 season that vests if he reaches 550 plate appearances or plays in 130 games this season. He has already played in 102 games and logged 434 PA, batting .234/.299/.399 with 11 home runs and 47 RBI.

The Indians are still looking to bolster the outfield. Michael Brantley is expected to miss the rest of the season, Bradley Zimmer may not yet be ready for the majors, and Abraham Almonte is not eligible to play in the postseason after testing positive for boldenone in February.

Wow! Zach McAllister kicks a line drive into the air, catches it

Screen Shot 2016-08-31 at 10.58.31 AM
MLB.com
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I met some guy on a hike a couple of months ago who used to be married to a close friend or a cousin or something of Indians pitcher Zach McAllister. I forget the details but it was some tenuous relationship like that. No different than a lot of brush-with-fame stories you get from Triple-A towns like Columbus, where McAllister spent some time.

Anyway, the guy met McAllister a couple of times. They didn’t really talk about much but the guy said he remembers McAllister talking about just how hard baseball was. In terms of the skills required and the mastery of it even if you are blessed with those skills. And, of course, the mental strain of it all when you’re at that place, as McAllister was at the time, when your career can either be made or broken by what the big club thinks of you. He was 22 or 23 then, and if he hadn’t been called up soon, he might’ve gone from prospect to organizational guy and that’s a lot of money left on the table.

Anyway, the point of it all was that this guy I was hiking with — not a big baseball fan — was super impressed with McAllister and said he hadn’t thought about just how hard professional sports were to even the guys who are insanely gifted at playing professional sports. I don’t think most of us think about that as much as we probably should.

Then again, sometimes players make it look easy. Like McAllister did last night when he threw a pitch to Kurt Suzuki, kicked the line drive that was hit back to him into the air and caught it on the fly: