February 13, 2008

Clemens/McNamee Hearing


***

Just watched the final two hours.

Clemens came off as an inarticulate, poorly-prepared, question-dodging, excuse-making dolt. He said the only one in his family who has used HGH was his wife. When asked about excessive B-12 injections, he blamed his mother.

He rambled through some patriotic pap about the WBC, said a former president had tracked him down in a Texas duck blind, and otherwise gave answers that bore no relation to the questions being asked. He said that Andy Pettitte and his wife has "misremembered" various conversations about Clemens and steroid use. He also admitted he has no idea what a "vegan" is.

For the most part, the Republicans attacked McNamee and were ultra-soft on Clemens, indulging in copious amounts of praise, though it was Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-District of Columbia) who assured Billy that "I'm sure you're going to heaven". Several of the more sycophantic Clemens admirers, including Virginia Foxx (R-North Carolina), came down for hugs from the pitcher after the hearing was over.

Many Democrats pushed Clemens on his dubious claims that his honest and God-fearing best friend Andy would repeatedly lie about him and his alleged steroid use.

Elijah Cummings (D-Maryland) was the hero of the day: "Mr. Pettitte said he had 'no doubt' about his recollection. ... Why would he tell Congress that one of his closest friends was taking an illegal performance-enhancing drug if there was any doubt in his mind? ... What possible reason would Mr. Pettitte have to fabricate a statement about you, his friend?"

Clemens: "Andy would have no reason to."

Most of Cummings's questions were along this line. He destroyed Billy.

McNamee's answers, for the most part, were short and to the point. He stumbled when he took offense to being called a "drug dealer"; he should have been contrite and added that if so, then Clemens was a "drug user".

Jayson Stark blogged the hearing.

New possible nickname for Clemens? The "palpable mass".

39 comments:

redsock said...

Mike & the Mad Dog ripping the Republicans for their complete lack of objectivity. And Dog is a Repub.

redsock said...

Waxman wrapping up at the end, FB interrupts to bitch about some point and Waxman pounds his gavel: "Now is NOT your time to argue with me".

Beautiful.

s1c said...

Good Cop / Bad Cop. Up to you to figure out which was which.

Amy said...

I got to watch large chunks of this as well (I was home "working"), and my impressions are similar to Allan's. Since when is baseball/steroid use a partisan issue with Republicans siding with Clemens and Democrats opposed? How odd. I found the idol worship sickening, especially from the NY rep (a woman, name is escaping me) who played on Roger's service to NY. And was Norton being facetious?? Her questions seemed pretty tough, but then she ended with the "heaven" remark.

I felt sorry for McNamee---he was being painted as the bad guy for lying and giving out drugs with Clemens being treated as the dumb but heroic victim. For the most part. And his lawyers made me ashamed to call myself a lawyer. Clemens' answers were so evasive and so obviously "prepared" by his lawyers.

I did love that he didn't know what a vegan is, and I also loved the whole dialogue about the expression, "It is what it is." It is one of Harvey's expressions---one that drives me crazy!

redsock said...

Many PDFs of the interviews, depositions and affidavits here.

redsock said...

I'm totally biased against Fathead, but it was also pretty obvious. And for prepared answers, he was pretty bad at repeating them back. He's also not much of a reader, is he!

I did not hear Norton's comment, I only read it, so I don't know how she meant it. It could have been wildly sarcastic, I guess.

Nice to see Clemens leave the hearing practically arm-in-arm with (no, not his wife or his attorney), but one of the top Republicans on the committee. Campaign contributions clearly have their perks.

redsock said...

Also, Pettitte admitted to injecting himself with HGH at other times (2004) in addition to the two times he had previously stated.

Amy said...

I was perplexed by Norton's comment. It certainly was not clear she was being facetious, but given her general reputation and her questions, I cannot believe she was sincere.

redsock said...

News story: "Pettitte said in the affidavit that he asked Clemens in 2005 what he would do if asked about performance-enhancing substances. Pettitte said Clemens responded by saying Pettitte misunderstood the previous exchange in 1999 or 2000 and that, in fact, Clemens had been talking about HGH use by his wife in the original conversation."

IT WAS MY WIFE! Right up there with I THOUGHT IT WAS THE BALL.

So Roger agrees that McNamee shot up Pettitte with HGH. Roger agrees McNamee shot up Knoblauch with HGH. Roger agrees McNamee shot up Debbie Clemens with HGH.

But when McNamee says he shot up Roger with HGH, well, he's lying.

Jack Marshall said...

I too am completely biased against Roger, a.k.a.Sluggo, and more so because his Texas lawyer orchestrated such ethically dubious stunts as the taped phone call with McNamee (an ethics violation in DC; only OK in Texas since 2006) and the ex parte lobbying of the committee members (outrageous, but not prohibited). Randy gave a post-hearing statement in which he actually said that the fact Sluggo was willing to testify before Congress under oath and risk perjury charges proved he was telling the truth. Of course, McNamee can say exactly the same thing.

I see Sluggo's defense as essentially the Jimmy Durante defense from "Jumbo" when he's caught trying to steal an elephant: "Elephant? What elephant?" If you just keep denying what is obvious, some people will end up believing you.

Why the Republicans were supporting Roger is a complete mystery to me. And the suck-ups from New york humiliated themselves.

Isn't this depressing?

redsock said...

If you just keep denying what is obvious, some people will end up believing you.

About 30%, if certain poll numbers are to be trusted.

Woti-woti said...

I listened to the whole thing over the 'net. I'm not going to bother with a politically correct preamble about objectivity etc. Some things just make me shoot from the hip. Here's what I left with:

1. Clemens is still an over-bearing bully who thinks that his stature, money, star-power and hitching his wagon to "family values" party line will permit him to spin his way out of anything.

2. His friend Pettitte didn't back him up.

3. His family values were ok with taping a phone call with his accuser, lobbying with members of the committee, allowing his wife to be injected with HGH in his bedroom by his accuser and inviting a witness (the nanny) over to his house for a 'talk' a few days before the hearing (but he was just "Helpin' y'all out.").

4. The only quandry for me is deciding where more horse-shit came from, Fat Billy or certain members of Congress.

Daniel said...

Norton's "heaven" comment was meant to be sarcastic. She had just finished a line of questioning as to why Clemens would stick with McNamee knowing he was dirty, offering amphetamines and HGH, etc. Clemens responded that he's a very trusting and forgiving person. That's why she said "you're going to heaven," if he is indeed that implausibly naive and innocent. Most commentators were puzzled by this statement, which is why legislators should not try to be comedians.

Ajax said...

His God-fearing best friend Andy.. haha!

The whole thing is big news around the world, even here in The Netherlands. Too bad they hardly pay any attention to MLB during the actual season.

Jack Marshall said...

Just spoke with an attorney friend who agrees that Clemens has been advised that none of the evidence against him is conclusive enough to convict him of anything, including perjury, and that his best bet is just to deny, deny, deny.

Agreed, but if sportswriters can conclude McGwire was a steroid user from his evasive act before Congress, surely Clemens earned at least as much contempt by his performance today. Pettite's deposition---the fact that Knobloch and FB's pal confirmed all of McNamee's alegations about them---the slimy phone call gambit---the dishonest answers about discussing HGH---Clemens hates drugs but keeps a guy who surrepticiously (he says) injected his wife with HGH in his employment for years after---tampering with the nanny's testimony---the way Clemens moved his trainer from Toronto to NY---and especially the fact that Clemens has no explanation for why McNamee would lie just about him, while it is obvious why Clemens would lie to preserve his own reputation; all that PLUS what we already know about the character of the arrogant bully who has such "integrity" that he'd accept thousands of dollars worth of retirement gifts, including a car, while having no intention of really retiring; who dogged it, fat and out of shape, through a four year contract with the Sox, and then still insisted on being the highest paid pitcher in the game to stay with the team (which he said he aspired to stay with for his entire career, like "Ted Williams and Yaz"---right!); who claimed that he would only play in Boston or near his kids, and then signed with TORONTO...BAH!

There's no smoking gun and there's nothing that would get him convicted in court. But the hearing just confirmed everything I've thought about Roger Clemens for more than a decade. Thug. Creep. Liar.

thatdietcokegirl said...

lie detector test time ;)

The Omnipotent Q said...

Somewhere, Dan Duquette is laughing.

Amy said...

Daniel, I agree that Norton must have meant to be sarcastic, but boy, it was sure subtle. And from Roger's reaction---a grin---he certainly did not catch the sarcasm. What an idiot.

Amy said...

Hi, Dietcokegirl! Long time no see. We must be getting close to season; people are coming out of hibernation.

9casey said...

Jack Marshall said...
Just spoke with an attorney friend who agrees that Clemens has been advised that none of the evidence against him is conclusive enough to convict him of anything, including perjury, and that his best bet is just to deny, deny, deny.

Wow.......that seems highly unethical.......it begs to ask, are they telling him to lie or deny....? Because today was for real, he was under oath and if his attorneys advised him to deny, in this case lie, can't they be disbarred?

Or does it all just go away now, or do they build a case against him?

tim said...

Was following this via the globe today at work...and what a load of crap this partisanship is on the issue. It's a non-partisan issue, why bring partisanship into it? I think Ds and Rs are so scared of going against the grain, and automatically do the opposite of what their counterparts do. As well, my general theory that the general population in this world perpetually getting stupider and stupider as each day goes by comes into play here.

But as for this case...I personally think that it's pretty clear that he has done steroids and is just trying to cover up. Of course, there isn't that "beyond a reasonable doubt" evidence and I doubt there ever will be.

But really, in the midst of all this malarky, I think we just need to sit back and think about how meaningless this is to the world. With everything going on, who cares if some fat bastard took needles in his bum? It's not like it's going to effect much, if anything, at least I don't think...oh well, it just makes for good entertainment.

And the hope of watching a con artist burn at the stake will always draw my attention....

Andy said...

I really enjoyed the Mass Reps ripping clemens apart. Still mad at him.

thatdietcokegirl said...

Hi, Dietcokegirl! Long time no see. We must be getting close to season; people are coming out of hibernation.

hello amy! *long stretch*
yep it's almost time for the boys of summer to play the best sport on earth again (sorry futbol) ;D
either that or i'm just enjoying all die Schadenfreude!

which i'm confused by. i mean, the fuck. he uh, what about the dna and syringes and yukky gauze pads. and that beer can?? what happened to that?! ;/

SoSock said...

Are we having fun now, or WHAT?!
Josh Levin from Slate on-line mag has a nice piece on this also - he was there, and just blown away that there seemed to be a party split on an issue like this - steroid use of all things.
These freaking politicians would argue 2 + 2 = 3 if the other side said 4. (Let's leave quantum physics out of the picture for now)
So the repugs side with the self-righteous, party supporting, grandoise, Texas good ol' boy.
Guess it's Gomer Pyle time again, Redsock.
(Note to self - when the HELL are you going to learn to link to other places yourself?)

SoSock said...

Oh, by the way - Hi Ajax.
Good to see yet another country represented on JoS.
World domination soon to come!

Jack Marshall said...

Tim's comment is more than cynical; it's dangerous and wrong. Small corruptions clear the way for large ones; high-profile cheats in any sphere, but especially one as well-rewarded and and well-publicized as major league baseball,build support for cheating all the way down generational lines. Read the SI story about the father who started forcing his 12 year-old athlete son to take steroids. You really think the Clemens fiasco is irrelevant to that? Clemens achieving success by getting steroids shot into him affected other players' careers and income, pennant races and the world series.He was given money that would have gone to other people, that would have sent someone's kids to better colleges, or perhaps been given to important charities. Who succeeds and how affects many, many lives in micro, and societal values in macro.

The old "in the vast scheme of things, what difference does it make?" has been used to rationalize wrong and hurtful conduct for eons, but one would think its intellectual bankruptcy would be pretty obvious by now. Cultural values like honesty, integrity and trustworthiness die by inches, not yards, and guys like Clemens, gifted people who achieve success legitimately but are just greedy for more and who don't care who they step on, are like dry rot.

Go to Africa, where everybody cheats everyone and bribes are a way of life. The lawyers there (I was just at a conference) say that's the Number #1 reason why, despite human and natural resources galore, children are starving and the entire continent is stuck in a cycle of violence and stagnation.

This story isn't meaningless by a long-shot. In reality, its about as important as anything I can think of. Shrug off cheats and liars if you like, but you just make it harder for the rest of us to try to make society work fairly.

L-girl said...

This story isn't meaningless by a long-shot. In reality, its about as important as anything I can think of.

I disagree. I don't comment in the steroids threads because I think the issue is meaningless.

But guess what? I'm not going to argue about it! Ha ha! :)

Jere said...

I was watching it live and saw the "heaven" comment, and agree with the other two comments that she was indeed being sarcastic. Like, "if you could forgive that, you're definitely going to heaven."

And in regards to the Tim/Jack marshall/ NOT Laura argument, like I've said before, if this Clemens thing is "silly and meaningless," why is the entire game of baseball, and us spending so much time talking about it--again, a bunch of people spending countless hours not running around after a little ball but TALKING about OTHER people who do--so meaningful.

I see what people like Tim mean, and I wouldn't vote for Congress to become a 24-hour baseball watchdog agency, but, still...

Jack Marshall said...

I remember that, Laura. Some day I'd really like the chance to discuss it in detail with you---something I that can't be done well in type---because I hear that frequently and can't understand how people reach such a conclusion. Until that happy day, I'm not going to debate it with you, either. Just everyone else...

L-girl said...

Jere, I don't think baseball is meaningless. I don't think any human pursuit is meaningless. I just don't care about steroid use. I accept its existence and it doesn't bother me.

redsock said...

Read the SI story about the father who started forcing his 12 year-old athlete son to take steroids. You really think the Clemens fiasco is irrelevant to that?

Irrelevant? Pretty much. It's far too reductionist to draw such a distinct connection. That's the black & white crap the Repubs on the committee were blabbing about when they went after McNamee while wringing their hands about "the children".

What got the blame when parents did bad things to their children before there were handy, public scapegoats to point accusingly at?

Jack Marshall said...

Big distinction between being relevant and being a "distinct connection," don't you think? I think it's pretty much beyond argument that the perception created by successful athletes like Bonds and Armstrong that steroids are the road to sports riches have something to do with encouraging young athletes to use them. That doesn't mean their parents can "blame" Clemens for their own bad conduct. It does mean that Clemens et al. share responsibility for creating an environment in which those decisions become more common.

Gareth said...

Go to Africa, where everybody cheats everyone and bribes are a way of life.

Thank you for that ill-informed primer on life in Africa.

L-girl said...

the Number #1 reason why, despite human and natural resources galore, children are starving

Too bad there's no corruption or bribery in North America. We'd have something to blame for our own starving children.

Jere said...

"Go to Africa, where everybody cheats everyone and bribes are a way of life.

Thank you for that ill-informed primer on life in Africa."

Good point. Maybe jack meant at least a specific country in the gigantic continent of Africa? Care to expound, jack?

L-girl said...

Wait, I know the difference. Here, we call bribery "campaign contributions".

redsock said...

Big distinction between being relevant and being a "distinct connection," don't you think?

Not really. You are talking about "the perception created by successful athletes like Bonds and Armstrong [and Clemens, I assume] that steroids are the road to sports riches", so there is an obvious connection/inference.

However, Clemens has never said that steroids helped him -- indeed, his comments (while we might think them silly and hypocritical) are that steroids ruin your body -- thus he has not given kids the idea of taking them and being successful.

tim said...

I suppose I could take my regular course of action and respond to jack's argument point by point....as I already have mentally. But in my several years of intertubes travel, I've learned that no debate ever results in anything at all and it usually accumulates to a shitload of wasted time and energy for everyone involved.

So, I'm out of this thread. I've said my 0.02 and really don't feel like pissing away my long-weekend arguing on here. Spring training is finally here so we can focus on the important issues in baseball...such as, BASEBALL!!!!!

andrew123 said...

I suppose I could take my regular course of action and respond to jack's argument point by point....as I already have mentally. But in my several years of intertubes travel, I've learned that no debate ever results in anything at all and it usually accumulates to a shitload of wasted time and energy for everyone involved.
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