Sammy Sosa will not be prosecuted for perjury. Not that this is news.

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The New York Times’ Michael S. Schmidt reports that the Congressional committee that Sammy Sosa testified before in 2005 — famously speaking in Spanish, rather than English — has decided not to charge Sammy Sosa with perjury despite the fact that he was later revealed to have tested positive for PEDs prior to his testimony.

A couple of things here:

1. I’m not quite sure how this is news. The hearing took place in March 2005. It is now May 2010. The statute of limitations for perjury is five years, so I’m struggling to see how charges could be filed even if they tried. I guess Schmidt is just trying to get back in steroids-writing practice in anticipating of the Roger Clemens business coming soon.

2. Even if the statute hadn’t run, it seems very clear to me that Sosa didn’t lie to the committee despite the fact that he apparently took PEDs of some kind before 2005.

As I wrote last year, it’s not true that Sosa denied taking steroids before Congress. He said
“To be clear, I have never taken illegal
performance-enhancing drugs.” He said “I have not broken the laws of
the United States or the laws of the Dominican Republic.” He said “I
have been
tested as recently as 2004, and I am clean.” Those statements all allow for the possibility
that he used substances that were legal in the Dominican Republic that
would have been illegal to use in the United States, such as steroids or HGH.

We don’t know for sure, though, because neither the members of that Congressional committee nor the multiple lawyers they had on staff, sitting there in the room bothered to ask the basic sorts of
followup questions when faced with obvious qualifications like Sosa was offering. If they had pressed them on it — say, asked him whether he took PEDs, whether legally or illegally, in the United States or at home in the D.R. — he could have been in a serious jam.

But they didn’t. My theory as to why? They didn’t really care.  As is the case with every other bit of congressional involvement in steroids, the 2005 hearings were designed for P.R. purposes and to show voters that Congressman Whoever knew how to stick it to those cheating ballplayers who defied God, mugged Hank Aaron and pooped in Mom’s apple pie or whatever. It wasn’t a serious legal proceeding and never was meant to be.

Still, Roger Clemens could get charged with perjury sometime soon. But then again, he’s always done things more audaciously than anyone. Including, we may find out, lying.

Biden praises Braves’ ‘unstoppable, joyful run’ to 2021 win

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
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WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden said the Atlanta Braves will be “forever known as the upset kings of October” for their improbable 2021 World Series win, as he welcomed the team to the White House for a victory celebration.

Biden called the Braves’ drive an “unstoppable, joyful run.” The team got its White House visit in with just over a week left before the 2022 regular season wraps up and the Major League Baseball playoffs begin again. The Braves trail the New York Mets by 1.5 games in the National League East but have clinched a wildcard spot for the MLB playoffs that begin Oct. 7. Chief Executive Officer Terry McGuirk said he hoped they’d be back to the White House again soon.

In August 2021, the Braves were a mess, playing barely at .500. But then they started winning. And they kept it up, taking the World Series in six games over the Houston Astros.

Biden called their performance of “history’s greatest turnarounds.”

“This team has literally been part of American history for over 150 years,” said Biden. “But none of it came easy … people counting you out. Heck, I know something about being counted out.”

Players lined up on risers behind Biden, grinning and waving to the crowd, but the player most discussed was one who hasn’t been on the team in nearly 50 years and who died last year: Hall of Famer Hank Aaron.

Hammerin’ Hank was the home run king for 33 years, dethroning Babe Ruth with a shot to left field on April 8, 1974. He was one of the most famous players for Atlanta and in baseball history, a clear-eyed chronicler of the hardships thrown his way – from the poverty and segregation of his Alabama youth to the racist threats he faced during his pursuit of one of America’s most hallowed records. He died in January at 86.

“This is team is defined by the courage of Hank Aaron,” Biden said.

McGuirk said Aaron, who held front office positions with the team and was one of Major League Baseball’s few Black executives, was watching over them.

“He’d have been there every step of the way with us if he was here,” McGuirk added.

The president often honors major league and some college sports champions with a White House ceremony, typically a nonpartisan affair in which the commander in chief pays tribute to the champs’ prowess, poses for photos and comes away with a team jersey.

Those visits were highly charged in the previous administration. Many athletes took issue with President Donald Trump’s policies and rhetoric on policing, immigration and more. Trump, for his part, didn’t take kindly to criticism from athletes or their on-field expressions of political opinions.

Under Biden, the tradition appears to be back. He’s hosted the NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks and Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the White House. On Monday he joked about first lady Jill Biden’s Philadelphia allegiances.

“Like every Philly fan, she’s convinced she knows more about everything in sports than anybody else,” he said. He added that he couldn’t be too nice to the Atlanta team because it had just beaten the Phillies the previous night in extra innings.

Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was later questioned about the team’s name, particularly as other professional sports teams have moved away from names – like the Cleveland Indians, now the Guardians, and the Washington Redskins, now the Commanders – following years of complaints from Native American groups over the images and symbols.

She said it was important for the country to have the conversation. “And Native American and Indigenous voices – they should be at the center of this conversation,” she said.

Biden supported MLB’s decision to pull the 2021 All-Star Game from Atlanta to protest Georgia’s sweeping new voting law, which critics contend is too restrictive.