So here we are. I didn't think we'd ever get to this point, in part because Lanny Breuer, one of Roger Clemens' attorneys, now works for the government. That proved, apparently, not to be a significant obstacle.
I've read the indictment, and there's nothing earth-shattering in there. Accusations that Clemens lied about his alleged usage of steroids and HGH, and also about Brian McNamee injecting him with B12.
Only the Feds know what they've dug up over the past two-plus years. But if this is simply a matter of "He said, he said," with McNamee on one side and Clemens on the other, is that enough to procure a conviction? What if you throw in Andy Pettitte's testimony?
My guess, based on the history of these cases, is no. But that's really nothing more than a guess. Common sense tells me that the physical evidence won't withstand scrutiny, due to chain of custody issues.
My greater hope is that Clemens and his attorneys use this development to indict _ in the public sense _ Major League Baseball, and expose The Mitchell Report for what it was: Not a bona fide investigation of baseball's past, but rather a "Get off our backs!" bouquet to Congress. Call up the esteemed Senator Mitchell and ask him why he hugged McNamee, after McNamee confirmed his testimony, as reported in this Jon Heyman story. Is it because Mitchell felt pressured to produce a big name?
If Clemens is going to go down, he should try to take everyone else down with him. He helped prop up baseball for many years, hardly the only one to break a few laws along the way. And when baseball needed a scapegoat, some fresh meat to feed Congress, it turned on him.
We know that this will likely take a long time; seriously, by the time this comes to be, Pettitte might have actually retired, rather than just threatening to do so. Regardless, I still say kudos to Clemens for fighting the charges. Even if he's guilty - and sure, I believe he is - there's no law in this country that guilty people aren't allowed to proclaim innocence. And Clemens has provided us some serious entertainment, on top of a brilliant career.
--On a completely different note, I was heartbroken to read this story by Mike Celizic. When I started at The Record in 1994, Mike was my designated mentor. He offered feedback on stories plus general encouragement. Now, he has but a few weeks to live. Godspeed, Mike, and thanks for everything.