Someone explain the paradoxes embedded in the baseball press. The Cincinnati Enquirer compares Roger Clemens's situation to Pete Rose's predicament. Seems the Clemens imbroglio is not dissimilar to the Rose play. Deny, intimidate, then years later...
The case Roger Clemens is making for his innocence on the accusation of taking steroids beginning in 1998 is eerily similar to the case Pete Rose made against the accusations he bet on Reds games. The vices are widely disparate but equally disconcerting.
Pardon us if we don't have much patience with Clemens. We have a pretty good idea how this one's going to come out in the end...
If Clemens expects to regain his good name - and especially if he wants to be elected to the Hall of Fame in five years - he's going to have to get a lot more convincing than he is right now or than he promises to be on "60 Minutes" Jan. 6.
He's going to have to prove he didn't do it. If he says he didn't know what was in the needle (as in Barry Bonds' flaxseed oil defense on the matter of using steroid cream), Clemens will lose the popular vote.
Fair enough. Good analogy. But then this:
There are plenty of good, smart, honorable people who believe the issue of steroids and HGH shouldn't matter in regards to the Hall. They say both Clemens and Bonds had first-ballot Hall numbers even before they are alleged to have begun juicing. I agree with that.
In track a juicer loses all title to records. Guess baseball doesn't buy what track and field buys: integrity. However:
Recently, I spoke at length with three highly respected Northern Kentucky prep baseball coaches - Bill Krumpelbeck (Covington Catholic), Pat Roesel (Ryle) and Bob Myerhoff (Beechwood). All say they are concerned with what the numbers show about steroid use in high schools, even though they have no reason to suspect their players are juicing. That's enough reason for me to say steroids matter.
As regards the Hall, I'll vote for anyone who has the stats - even the juicers - but only if a new wing, "The Steroid Wing," is set aside in Cooperstown where guys like Clemens and Bonds and McGwire would go. Their numbers would hang in this separate place on plaques larger than ordinary, wide and high enough to house their spacious, pumped-up heads.
Whew, all over the emotional map. From guilty to enshrine the guilty anyway, to concern about high school athletes.
Again, the argument could be made (and will be made here) that if a sport wishes to prevent steroid use, the violators should be crushed without mercy. Allowing dopers who dishonored the sport, a ticket to the greatest honor in the game, simply excuses the behavior. It's called 'enabling'. Honoring the dopers with a shrine reinforces the behavior. That's the fact....just saying...
If the baseball Hall of Fame bans Pete Rose, who did not 'cheat' on a single hit, should baseball allow in a pitcher who cheated on home runs, or a pitcher who cheated on pitches? Place your bets down.