The defamation case against Roger Clemens is still going on


Former trainer Brian McNamee sued Roger Clemens for defamation in December 2008. He did out of sheer defense. He had been pressured into cooperating with the Mitchell Report people and told them that Roger Clemens, and others, had taken PEDs he supplied. Rather than let it all die down, Clemens came out with both barrels blazing in a silly, self-defeating P.R. offensive in which, among many other things, Clemens sued McNamee for defamation. McNamee’s suit came next, and probably wouldn’t have been filed if Clemens hadn’t filed his.

That whole series of events put Clemens in front of Congress and eventually landed him in the role of criminal defendant. That’s all in the past now, but the lawsuit, somehow, still lingers on. The New York Times reports today that Clemens was recently deposed in the case. It has his whole transcript there. The upshot: Clemens still maintains that he never took PEDs.

This all seems like the stuff of ancient history. Frankly, given how McNamee has consistently (and quite convincingly) portrayed as destitute, Clemens made over $150 million playing baseball and the existence of this suit does no good for him at all, I’m shocked Clemens hasn’t thrown a small-for-him but life-changing-for-McNamee amount of money at McNamee and made it all go away. And not just because of the nuisance of it all. Even if a celebrity wins a defamation case, their reputation normally suffers as a result of its continued existence, be it as a plaintiff or a defendant.

But that’s just not how Clemens rolls. I’ve been writing about this case for nearly six years now, and not much has happened to change my opinion about him in all of this. Here’s what I said about it back then:

. . . he would be well-advised to cut his losses and quit now. He’s Roger Clemens though, so he’ll probably just rub some Icy Hot somewhere, bark at his lawyers and continue fighting on. We need people like that in this country — you never know when we may be invaded by the Martians or something — but it won’t be a good thing for him personally.

Still pretty much holds.

Braves ace Mike Soroka out for year with torn Achilles

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Atlanta Braves ace Mike Soroka is out for the season after tearing his right Achilles tendon Monday night against the New York Mets.

Soroka was hurt in the third inning after delivering a pitch to J.D. Davis, who grounded the ball toward first baseman Freddie Freeman.

Soroka broke toward first to cover the bag, only to go down on his first step off the mound. The right-hander knew right away it was a devastating injury, one that ensures he won’t be back on the mound until 2021.

“It’s a freak thing that happened,” manager Brian Snitker said, delivering the grim news after the Braves lost 7-2 to the Mets. “I’m sorry it did.”

Soroka yelled in obvious pain and tried to walk gingerly for a couple of steps before dropping to his knees. He couldn’t put any weight on the leg as he was helped toward the clubhouse with the assistance of Snitker and a trainer.

It was a major blow to the two-time defending NL East champion Braves, who had won five straight despite struggling to put together an effective rotation.

“Somebody else is going to get an opportunity,” Snitker said. “Things like that happen. These guys will regroup. Somebody is going to get an opportunity to do something really good. Our young guys are going to continue to get better. We’re going to be fine.”

Soroka, who turns 23 on Tuesday, made his first opening day start last month after going 13-4 with a dazzling 2.68 ERA in 2019 to finish second in NL Rookie of the Year balloting and sixth for the Cy Young Award.

Soroka was making his third start of the season. He came in having allowed just two earned runs over 11 1/3 innings but struggled against the Mets, giving up three hits and four walks. He was charged with four earned runs in 2 1/3 innings, the second-shortest outing of his career.

Unfortunately for Soroka, he won’t get a chance to make up for it this season.