Saturday, February 16, 2008

MLB: The Rites of Spring

Who says Baseball brings us all together?

Having watched just snatches of Thursday's hearings of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, I am confused about some things.

Hall-of-Famer slam-dunk hunk Roger Clemens was testifying one seat away from his ex-trainer, Brian McNamee. McNamee claims he injected Clemens with steroids.

In the first place, as a baseball purist, I could care less about the use of steroids. What I don't like about Major League Baseball are two things: designated hitters and asterisks. So, the use of steroids bothers me only because high school kids will emulate the 'Bigs' if they were made legal.

Two other things - not about MLB - bother me, though. They're not very sophisticated, complicated or subtle. Basically they are two fundamental legal concepts that we live under the rule of laws and not of men, and It's against our laws to lie under oath.

This testimony between Clemens and McNamee is a 'he-said & he-said' situation? Well, if it's true that McNamee has the syringes to prove he juiced Clemens, I certainly think that justifies some kind of indictment. Secondly, if Clemens maintains he did get the right stuff, and he did, that's more serious, legally, than being denied his Hall-of-Fame seat.

But what gets me is how politically partisan these hearings became. Totally polarized, in fact, is my impression. The Republicans on the HCOGR lined up totally in Clemens' corner and the Democrats on McNamee's side.

Why was this?
  • The Republicans are just naturally on the side of the defendants because they are respecting the presumption of innocent?
  • Clemens is a personal friend of George W. Bush, has a standing and open invitation to the White House and is an even closer horseshoe-playing friend of George W. H. Bush?
  • Republicans just have a knee-jerk reaction against Rep. Henry A. Waxman and feel than anything he schedules a hearing about is superfluous or wasteful witch-hunting?
  • Roger Clemens is rich (arrogant and throws right) and the G.O.P. (Greedy Old Party) is genetically pre-disposed in favor of right wings and wealth; Brian McNamee is the underdog, a working stiff, drawing a paycheck from The Rocket, struggling to stay in the middle class?
  • Republicans are Yankee fans and Democrats are for the rest of us?
Before the hearings, Clemens both lawyered-up and lobbied-up, according to ESPN, Clemens went door-to-door chatting up members of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform over the past week, and the effort apparently scored points with many of the committee's Republican members. Richard Emery, a lawyer for trainer Brian McNamee, was amazed at the GOP's lock-stepped stonewall defense arrayed in Clemon's defense:
Clearly, someone OK'd letting the dogs out of the kennel. There was a palpable difference in tone along party lines. I thought it was a disgraceful display.
And, probably uneccessarily so:
It would be the easiest thing in the world for George W. Bush, given the corrupt proclivities of his administration, to say Roger Clemens is an American hero, Roger Clemens helped children.
Get it? The standard ol' Alredo Gonzalez Defense!
It's my belief they have some reason to believe they can get a pardon.
Quite so. It's called the Libby Maneuver.

One can argue, of course whether, with all of the burning and smoking issues lying around for governmental oversight, why pick on baseball? Well, let's not open that can of worms. At the very, very least we can say, in behalf of these pre-spring training hearings: Republican congressmen proved that that their vocabulary includes the L-word. You know, as in the usage,

You're a liar!
The question is, can the Democrats purse their lips and pronounce the same word?

4 Moderated Comments:

Blogger Stella said...

Republicans just have a knee-jerk reaction against Rep. Henry A. Waxman and feel than anything he schedules a hearing about is superfluous or wasteful witch-hunting? Yes, Vig, absolutely true. But, in this instance, I am extremely disappointed in my Congressman staging this debacle.

He refuses to support impeachment, calling such action "further national divisiveness." There are more important issues than steroid use in professional sports. Waxman also held hearings about doping in professional wrestling. Get over it, Henry.

I'm of the mind that drug use should remain an individual choice. If an individual pursues a sports career and uses HGH and steroids, it's their choice. Some people call such actions cheating. But, I would argue that if most athletes are injecting steroids, then those drugs are cheating, steroids merely level the playing field?

Why should this be a big issue when Waxman should return to focusing on Busheney's failure to properly fund social issues, infrastructure, wounded veterans, education, and increased taxes for the working class? This steroid hysteria only serves to take our minds off of important issues.

As concerns sports, give me Sasuke. Wiki gives a good overview of the competitors and obstacle course. Great show.

2/16/2008 04:43:00 PM  
Blogger Boris said...

I don't know, Stella. Maybe steroids should be banned from baseball players, but not from their wives, huh?

2/17/2008 01:13:00 PM  
Blogger Stella said...

Hmm, Boris, you might be on to something here. Certainly, we shouldn't ban steroids from the world's strongest woman, Jill Mills . And what about Gunter?

2/19/2008 08:29:00 PM  
Blogger Emily said...


Back on topic, Bill Dwyre says Roger Clemens can get out of this fix. A fun read.

2/19/2008 08:45:00 PM  

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