Brian McNamee’s estranged wife contradicts his testimony

22 Comments

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.

Mariano Rivera elected to Baseball Hall of Fame unanimously

Elsa/Getty Images
18 Comments

Former Yankees closer Mariano Rivera deservingly became the first player ever inducted into the Hall of Fame unanimously, receiving votes from all 425 writers who submitted ballots. Previously, the closest players to unanimous induction were Ken Griffey, Jr. (99.32% in 2016), Tom Seaver (98.84% in 1992), Nolan Ryan (98.79% in 1999), Cal Ripken, Jr. (98.53%), Ty Cobb (98.23% in 1936), and George Brett (98.19% in 1999).

Because so many greats were not enshrined in Cooperstown unanimously, many voters in the past argued against other players getting inducted unanimously, withholding their votes for otherwise deserving players. That Griffey — both one of the greatest outfielders of all time and one of the most popular players of all time — wasn’t voted in unanimously in 2016, for example, seemed to signal that no player ever would. Now that Rivera has been, this tired argument about voting unanimity can be laid to rest.

Derek Jeter will appear on the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time next year. He may become the second player ever to be elected unanimously. David Ortiz appears on the 2022 ballot and could be No. 3. Now that Rivera has broken through, these are possibilities whereas before they might not have been.

Another tired argument around Hall of Fame voting concerns whether or not a player is a “first ballot” Hall of Famer. Some voters think getting enshrined in a player’s first year of eligibility is a greater honor than getting in any subsequent year. I’m not sure what it will take to get rid of this argument — other than the electorate getting younger and more open-minded — but at least we have made progress on at least one bad Hall of Fame take.