Ron Rosenbaum, Writer

February 13, 2008

Clemens vs. McNamee:The Best (Unscripted) Drama On TV

Filed under: Uncategorized — ronrosenbaumwriter @ 3:49 pm

The writer’s strike is over but it will be hard for anyone to match the unscripted drama of the Congressional steroid hearings today. The one on one, side by side (with just one lawyer in between them at the same table) “You lied!” “No, you lied!” confrontation between Roger Clemens and his former trainer Brian McNamee (broadcast live on MSNBC) over whether the trainer injected the star pitcher with steroids and human growth hormone was riveting.

Dramatic in the sense that, although I pride myself (as a sometime investigative reporter) in being able to tell who’s telling the truth and who’s lying to me, I found myself swayed back and forth, unable to decide. Clemens was so forthright. McNamee was less at ease but convincingly earnest.

And to make it perfect it all came down to the question of what caused a boil on Clemens butt: injection of steroids (illegal) or injection of B-12 (legal). Sometimes the truth is elusive. Did anyone else see this? Does anyone else have a strong opinion on who was lying?

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11 Comments »

  1. For years, Clemens put out the story that he would go into the clubhouse between innings, take off his uniform, rub his whole body with Vicks Vaporub, put on a new uniform, then go back out and pitch. This was part of the secret of his stamina. Andy Pettite’s testimony is a big strike against Clemens. Clemens’ stats after age 35 (20-l one year for the Yanks, an ERA under 2 another year for the Astros) is strike 2. His bulk, compared to the wiry look of his youth (a la Bonds) is strike 3. Check the physiques of the players in the Yanks-Red Sox 1978 playoff, then look at any game after 1995. There’s your answer.

    Comment by charlie finch — February 13, 2008 @ 4:56 pm | Reply

  2. Roger was strong and passionate but avoided point blank questions by rambling on and on, reciting off the issue stories. MccNamee was weak and resigned but answered directly and simply. So Rog hurt his case.

    Comment by Mo Cohen — February 13, 2008 @ 5:44 pm | Reply

  3. I live in Houston. I watched the questioning today. Roger has a stellar reputation in this city – even when Astro fans were mad that he went back to the Yankees. I think the trainer is scum. Local opinion is somewhat mixed at this point.

    Comment by Karen — February 14, 2008 @ 12:26 am | Reply

  4. I just want to know why Congress is wasting time and money on this.

    Comment by Ken Hahn — February 14, 2008 @ 1:10 am | Reply

  5. Those 2 deserved each other. Both are liars. Andy Pettite’s wife confirms that Andy told her Roger acknowledged taking performance enhancers. Tim Marchman in today’s NYSun has the best assessment. http://www.nysun.com/article/71292

    Comment by Stephen Rittenberg — February 14, 2008 @ 6:59 am | Reply

  6. I’ve liked Clemens since he pitched in Toronto, so I’ve been hoping this story would simply go away as an untruth, but the more I hear, the more it pains me to think that the man has been cheating. The question that I can’t get past is why would anyone inject B12 in their ass when a pill would do the same thing. Further, what would MccNamee’s motivation be to lie. This isn’t some silly rumor he might be spreading to his buddies over a beer. You’d think a guy like that would be scared out of his knickers to lie with this kind of focus on him. Sorry, Roger. A sad ending to what, otherwise, would have been a magic career.

    Comment by Syd Boyd — February 14, 2008 @ 8:02 am | Reply

  7. Roger should have followed Pettits lead and admitted he used HGH to help heal. There was no rule against it in baseball. Had he done that the whole deal would be over. Hiding behind his wife now makes him really look foolish. If there is a liars hall of fame then Roger and Bonds should have their own wing. GUILTY!

    Comment by Spider79 — February 14, 2008 @ 9:16 am | Reply

  8. McNamee is a sleazy, untrustworthy guy, which is why it was a mistake for Clemens to trust him to inject him with HGH and Steroids. Clemens is similar to Bonds, just slightly more likeable. (For more ruminations, see my piece in the March Commentary Mag.–Thanks also, Ron, for the quote in Slate. I would have written you directly but lost your contact info.)

    Comment by Abe Socher — February 14, 2008 @ 10:13 am | Reply

  9. Fact: Pettite said Clemens told him. Fact: Pettite’s wife said he recounted same story to her back when it occurred. Fact: Clemens’ wife took HGH. =Clemens/guilty

    I don’t think anything that is injected is available without a prescription, be it B12 or a pain killer.

    Ultimately I think Clemens will fess up and say that he was only following his lawyers advice in denying everything. That way it’s not lying right?

    Comment by Ace — February 15, 2008 @ 12:08 pm | Reply

  10. Roger Clemens is lying. He throws everyone under the bus & tries to bully the others. If he had a broken bat he would have hurled them at Waxman. The rebublicans were disgusting; fauning over Clemens & trying to vilify McNamee. This was obviously scripted & partisan politics, WHY? Clemens misremembered that there was a three year difference in what he said Andy Pettite and his wife misremembered . His wife was in 2003. Pettite said it was 2000. I hope McNamee wins a countersuit for Clemens continually calling him a liar. Clemens is the biggest liar of all. Even more I’m SOoooo sick of ESPN vilifying Bonds without taking umbrage at players going back to Fred Lynn, Garvey, Juan Gonzalez & so many others. Sorry to rant , but ESPN’s persecution of Bonds and the hero worship they have given Roger Clemens is beyond slanted.

    Comment by Kelly — February 16, 2008 @ 1:52 am | Reply

  11. I’m not so vain as to think I can tell when someone is lying– there are some pretty talented liars out there. What I can do, through effective cross-examination, is to point out the inconsistencies between what a person says and the circumstances which surround a disputed set of facts.

    Roger Clemens says, essentially, “My wife and my best friend were given drugs by my personal trainer, but I was not.” No jury would believe that, and I don’t either, even though the way he said it sounded convincing.

    Comment by Bill Altreuter — February 19, 2008 @ 5:17 pm | Reply


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