The evidence against Roger Clemens continues to be underwhelming

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The Roger Clemens trial got entertaining yesterday as ex-steroids dealer Kirk Radomski — made famous in the Mitchell Report — took the stand.

He was fun at least. Lively. Animated. Entertaining even, for a jury that has been mostly bored to tears.  The problem, though, is that the big piece of evidence he provided isn’t terribly big:

Radomski’s key piece of evidence is a shipment of HGH he said he sent to Clemens’ house about a decade ago. Radomski showed the jury an old, torn shipping label he found under his television set in his bedroom in June 2008. Federal agents had failed to find the label when they searched his home three years earlier – because they apparently didn’t look under what Radomski called his huge, old-model “dinosaur of a TV.”

The label was addressed to Brian McNamee, Clemens’ former strength coach, at Clemens’ home address in Texas. Radomski said the shipment was for two kits of HGH – “about 50-100 needles” – and estimated it took place in 2002.

It’s not irrelevant. I mean, it meets the definition of evidence that has ” the tendency to make the existence of any fact that is of consequence to the determination of the action more probable or less probable than it would be without the evidence,” as Rule 401 says.  It could, if the jury is otherwise inclined to convict Clemens, support that conviction.

But really: a long lost scrap of paper from underneath a drug dealer’s TV, from a package that was sent to someone who is not the defendant? I can’t say that will have a ton of weight, especially in these post-CSI days when jurors expect a ton more from physical evidence than that which could reasonably be given.

So, fun. Maybe relevant. But this trial still turns 100% on whether the jury will believe Brian McNamee.  That’s all that matters.

Marlins, Giants get into heated beanball war

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You may have heard that Giants closer Hunter Strickland broke his hand punching a door in frustration after Monday night’s subpar performance. He’ll miss six to eight weeks as a result. Strickland came in to protect a 4-2 lead but ended up giving up three runs. The tying run was knocked in by Lewis Brinson on a single to right field. Brinson moved to third base on a go-ahead single by Miguel Rojas, which prompted manager Bruce Bochy to take Strickland out of the game.

On his way to the dugout, Strickland started chirping at Brinson. Much like Bryce Harper and Strickland, Brinson and Strickland have a bit of a history. Last Thursday, Brinson handed Strickland a blown save with a sacrifice fly to deep center field. Brinson was happy to help his team tie the game, pumping his fast and saying, “Let’s go” at no one in particular. That rubbed Strickland the wrong way. Everything seems to rub Strickland the wrong way.

During Tuesday night’s game, Giants starter Dereck Rodriguez threw at Brinson with the first pitch, a 92 MPH fastball. Home plate umpire Andy Fletcher issued warnings to both benches. Manager Don Mattingly came out to argue, suggesting that his team hadn’t done anything wrong so it was unfair to essentially take the inside part of the plate away from his pitchers. On his way back to the dugout, Mattingly could be seen saying, “You’re next” to catcher Buster Posey.

The Giants scored twice in the bottom of the second against Dan Straily to extend their lead to 3-0. Posey came to the plate with a runner on first base and one out. Straily hit Posey with a 91 MPH fastball on the first pitch, prompting ejections of both Straily and Mattingly. Posey was hit on the arm. If the pitch had come in a bit lower and hit Posey on the wrist or hand, Posey might have had to go on the disabled list for a couple months. Or if the pitch had hit Posey a couple of inches higher, in the head, then who knows what would have happened.

Things calmed down from there, thankfully. The two clubs have one more game against each other in San Francisco on Wednesday and that will be the final time they meet this season. If anything further is going to happen — and hopefully, nothing happens — then it will come tomorrow.

Straily will almost certainly be facing a suspension and a fine, as will Mattingly. It’s less clear if Rodriguez and/or Bochy will be reprimanded for throwing at Brinson, even though it was fairly obvious the pitch was intentional. Regardless, the punishments amount to just one missed start for the pitchers, which isn’t nearly enough of a detriment to deter beanball wars.