January 30, 2008

More Possible Trouble For Clemens

Earl Ward, one of Brian McNamee's lawyers, believes that Andy Pettitte "will tell Congress he discussed human growth hormone with Roger Clemens between the 2001 and 2002 seasons".

Pettitte is scheduled to be deposed next Monday, February 4. Clemens will answer questions the following day, with McNamee appearing on February 7. According to Ward, this is how Pettitte came to briefly use HGH in 2002:
[T]here was a situation where Andy was speaking to Roger in Brian's presence, then Andy came over to Brian and essentially said, 'Why didn't you tell me about this stuff?' He referred to HGH. Brian discouraged him and then several months later, when he [Pettitte] got injured, he came back and asked Brian about it, and that's when Brian injected him. We believe that based on the fact that Andy came to Brian and asked him about HGH, it was Roger who told Andy about HGH and that's why he asked Brian about it.
Richard Emery, another lawyer for McNamee: "There are a number of conversations where Pettitte and Brian talked about Clemens' use. I think there is everything to believe Pettitte is not a liar."

Jay Reisinger, Pettitte's lawyer, had no comment.

Cakey (who runs the ThreadSox board) tipped me off that the producers of Fox's "The Moment of Truth" are offering Roger Clemens a spot on the show. He would take a polygraph test and answer questions about possible steroid use.

In the letter to Billy, Howard Schultz, the show's creator writes: "People have stood in awe at your incredible accomplishments in baseball. This show could let the world know that you are an incredibly courageous person, as well as to clear your name in front of a nationwide audience, all in the name of charity."

Schultz says he will donate $500,000 to the charity of Clemens's choice if the portly pitcher participates.

A Reminder

(Image from Soxaholix)

This is your last day to vote for Joy of Sox as Canada's Best Sports Blog.

Also, vote for we move to canada as Best Progressive Blog.

January 29, 2008

USAToday: Santana Dealt To Mets

New York Post webpage:

New York Daily News webpage:


Bob Nightengale:
The New York Mets have agreed to a trade for two-time Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana, giving up four prospects to acquire the left-handed ace of the Minnesota Twins, according to two high-ranking Twins officials with knowledge of the talks and a person close to Santana.

The deal is pending the Mets and Santana reaching agreement on a six- or seven-year contract extension and that Santana passes a physical; they have been granted a 48 to-72-hour window to do so. Santana has a no-trade clause that he will waive if agreement is reached on a contract extension.

The Mets paid a high price in prospects to land Santana, agreeing to send the Twins outfielder Carlos Gomez and pitchers Phil Humber, Deolis Guerra and Kevin Mulvey.
Works for me.


I don't know anything about the Mets system, but several SoSHers disagree with Nightengale's claim that the Mets dealt top prospects.
templeUsox: "Wow. That's an awful return for Johan Santana. You really can't understate how poorly of a job Bill Smith played his hand here. They ended up getting no premium prospects for the best pitcher in baseball. Only the most ardent optimist can tell me that Carlos Gomez, who has tools but no polish, qualifies as a premium prospect. Truly an awful deal for the Twins.

Paradigm: "Phil Hughes > this entire package. The same is true for Ellsbury, and possibly even Lester and Lowrie. I still think the best deal the Twins could have received was Santana for Hughes, and any other players from the Yankees would have been icing on top."

DieHardSoxFan1: "If the deal being reported by USA Today is indeed accurate -- Humber, Mulvey, Guerra and Gomez for Johan Santana -- then the New York Mets just absolutely stole the best pitcher in baseball."

January 28, 2008

Hank Steinbrenner Admits Yankees Steroid Use

Daily News:
"Don't make any mistake about it, our teams in the late '90s beat everybody, and we beat everybody because we were that much better than everybody. And they had just as many players doing stuff -- all the teams. I guarantee you, go through every team in baseball and they all have the same basic percentage of players doing stuff. They just weren't as good as us. You think the Red Sox didn't have players doing stuff back then? Give me a break. They just weren't as good as us, and neither was anybody else."
So Hank admits that a certain number of Yankees were doing "stuff", but so were players on the other teams -- but Mom, everyone was doing it, even Boston!1!!11 -- so the playing field was level, and the Yankees were better.

Clemens Releases 18,000-Word Statistical Rebuttal

Unfortunately, for those of us who enjoy a good laugh, he did not write it himself.

Roger Clemens' agent released an 18,000-word statistical report Monday to refute allegations that the pitcher's career rebounded around the time period he was accused of using performance-enhancing drugs.

"Clemens' longevity was due to his ability to adjust his style of pitching as he got older, incorporating his very effective split-finger fastball to offset the decrease in the speed of his regular fastball caused by aging," said the report, created by Randy Hendricks and two associates at his firm. ...

"Of the six years that feature Clemens' best ERA margins, two occurred in Boston, after he had been in the major leagues for several years; two occurred in his two years in Toronto; and two occurred after he switched leagues and pitched for the Houston Astros," the report said. ...

Clemens went 40-39 in his last four seasons with the Red Sox, and when the pitcher left Boston's general manager at the time, Dan Duquette, said Clemens was in the "twilight" of his career. Clemens was 192-111 with the Red Sox and won three Cy Young Awards and an MVP, then went 162-73 with Toronto, the New York Yankees and Houston, winning four Cy Youngs.
Ummm, that's exactly what people who believe Billy did PEDs point to -- his unprecedented ability to improve his performance in his thirties and put up the best seasons of his entire career after age 40. (And for the 39,765,187,603rd time, Duquette never claimed Clemens was in the twilight of his career.)

Fat Billy's age during his best ERA+ seasons: 42, 34, 27, 43, 31, 29, 35. Two of the best four ERA+ seasons of his career came at ages 42 and 43.

Could a decreased workload have helped? He did pitch only 113.1 innings in 2006, his age 43 season. But in 2005, at age 42, he threw 211.1 innings in 32 starts and turned in what could arguably be called the finest performance of his 24-year career.

Is something like that possible without any illegal enhancement? Yes, it probably is. Still, it's one of bigger oddities in baseball history.

You can read the report here.

January 27, 2008

Snyder Avoids Arb, Signs For $835,000

Kyle Synder avoided salary arbitration, agreeing to a one-year, non-guaranteed contract for $835,000.

According to the Globe, Synder "will get an additional $5,000 if he makes 50 appearances and $10,000 more for 60 games". Synder, 30, made 46 apparances last season (54.1 innings) and had a 3.81 ERA.

Nick Cafardo has a quick Q&A with free agent Trot Nixon. ... Tony Massarotti thinks the Blue Jays could be a dark horse contender in the AL in 2008.

A previously confidential list of the 104 players who tested positive for steroids in 2003 is likely to be made public. The SoSH discussion (which is centered on Fat Billy) begins here.

January 25, 2008

11 Questions For 2008

A handful of Red Sox fans -- Tom and Mike from the Bottom Line, Red from Surviving Grady and the guys from Firebrand of the AL -- answers 11 questions about the 2008 season. Part 1 is here.

I was emailed the questions, but got busy, it slipped my mind and I missed the deadline. Here are the Q:
1. Will the Red Sox win the AL East? Will they go on to win the World Series... again?

2. With 99% of the Championship roster returning, the Red Sox are likely to be a favorite to repeat. So what will be their biggest challenge?

3. Who will be the star of the '08 season?

4. Who will play center field?

5. Who is more likely to improve on a lack-luster '07 season: Julio Lugo or J.D. Drew?

6. Do you think Schilling and/or Wakefield will last the entire season?

7. Mike Lowell has had two solid years in Boston, most notably last season. Will he have a third or did he peak in 2007?

8. Should the Red Sox make a trade for Johan Santana?

9. The Sox have a few rookies that could make an impact in 2008. Which rookie do you expect to make the biggest splash?

10. 2008 will bring us one more year of Tek and Mirabelli behind the plate, but both players have struggled with the bat as of late and there's no solid back-up on the horizon. Is 2008 the year the catching situation catches up with the Sox or am I making a mountain out of a mole hill?

11. The winter months helped us forget about Barry Bonds and the steroid issue, but the Mithcell Report and Roger Clemens have rekindled the flame just weeks before Spring Training... How do you think it will effect the 2008 season?
Red echoes my hunch that Matsuzaka will be the star of '08!

Check out Parts 2 and 3 at The Bottom Line in a few days and feel free to blab here.

Red Sox Blogwatch

Surviving Grady has two clips from the 1986 post-season (including the pennant-winning celebration) and what was, perhaps, the greatest moment of the 2003 season. What. a. nasty. pitch!

Out In Center Field is run by Melissa, the Queen of Red Sox Video. Recent posts include Jerry Remy's hilarious "Homer Inning", a David Ortiz spit take from last June and -- how about this! -- video of 17-year-old high school junior Josh Beckett pitching in the 1997 Grand Forks International Baseball Tournament.

Jere's long-standing question of whether Carl Yastrzemski hit a mammoth home run off Fenway's right-field facade in 1977 has apparently been answered.

If you're in need of some serious Fat Billy Hate, you can always count on Chad Finn:
Let's put it this way: If Roger Clemens goes before Congress willingly, I'll eat his lawyer's hairpiece. In the biggest moments, he's always shriveled and tried to find the coward's way out. Why should that change now? I fully expect that if he does end up having to testify, he'll pull out his old standby and try to limp out of the proceedings halfway through with the trusty "tweaked" groin excuse. Desperate man, desperate measures.
Jose Melendez weeps for Roger Clemens:
The United States of America is now a place where a man, a great man, a man who stood face to face with Jeff Suppan and almost won ... where a man who has several times almost made it through the first few innings of critical ALCS games can be given an opportunity to refute accusations, decline that opportunity, and then complain that there has never been an opportunity to dispute the story. If this continues rest assured that the disappearance of habeas corpus is next. Or possibly, before. Jose gets confused.
Evan at Firebrand looks at the Sox' 2008 ZiPS projections. ... If you don't know what WARP, BABIP and FIP are, Fragile Freddy can help you.

Kelly O'Connor has lots of photos from various Sox events this winter at Sitting Still (see also here).

Over The Monster is counting down the Top 10 Moments of 2007 (here are 10, 9 and 8).

Who is the one player on every team whose jersey you would buy? Vince, a MFY fan at Sox and Pinstripes, offers his picks here and here.

Thanks to Soxaholix for its amusing endorsement of me in the Canadian Blog Awards (vote here before next Wednesday). Now if you'll excuse me, the roof on my igloo needs some repairs.

January 23, 2008

Manny Training With Pedroia, Yook

Manny Ramirez is working out with Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis at the Athletes' Performance Institute in Tempe, Arizona.

Pedroia says Manny "talks about going to Fort Myers every day. I've never seen him in this good a shape. He's on a mission."

Ramirez posted a .493 slugging percentage last year -- easily the lowest mark of his career and 126 points lower than his 2006 mark of .619. If Manny (who turns 36 at the end of May) doesn't rebound, it's questionable whether the team will pick up his option for 2009.

DP says his left wrist is fine -- after surgery to remove a cracked hamate bone. "I'm good, I'm fine. A week after I got my cast off, it felt fine. I did all the rehab and I've been hitting since the first of the year."

Youkilis and Kyle Snyder submitted figures for their arbitration hearings next month. The numbers: Youkilis $3.7 million/Red Sox $2.525 million. Snyder $1.025 million/ Red Sox $725,000.

Javier Lopez signed a $840,000 contract for 2008. ... The Red Sox agreed to minor league contracts with two right-handed relievers: Dan Kolb and Dan Miceli. ... Catcher Dusty Brown was added to the 40-man roster.

Gordon Edes chats with Bill Werber, who broke in with the Yankees in 1930 and later played for the Red Sox (1933-36). Werber turns 100 years old on June 20.

Canadian Blog Awards: Finals

The Joy of Sox has advanced to the Final Round of the 2007 Canadian Blog Awards!

All you have to do is click here and cast your vote for JoS. As I said before Round 1, there aren't many visitors to a baseball blog in late January, so I need every vote.

Also: please vote for we move to canada as Best Progressive Blog -- because (1) it is and (2) it's written by my best friend, L-girl.

... and Truck Day is only three weeks away!

January 22, 2008

The Wonderful, Despicable Life of Roger Clemens

Nothing major, just a couple of links.

Esquire's Sean Cunningham has a timeline of Billy's goodest moments and Keith Olbermann presents "The Case Against Roger Clemens".

The Olbermann piece is from 2005, but hating Fat Billy never goes out of style.

CBA Finals

Round 1 of the 2007 Canadian Blog Awards is over and JoS is moving on to the final round in Best Sports Blog. Woo-hoo!

Laura's we move to canada is one of the five finalists for Best Progressive Blog.

Voting in the finals begins Wednesday.

January 20, 2008

Something Else #3 - What's All This?

As long as Led Zeppelin didn't wander off into 30-minute "improvisations" or (ugh) drum solos, their live stuff was often fantastic. Here's two songs in under five minutes from a January 9, 1970 show at the Royal Albert Hall: covers of Eddie Cochran's "C'mon Everybody" and "Somethin' Else".

This was going to be the first post in this non-baseball series (hence the name) before I wised up and rightly went with some '72 Stones. This clip (and much more from the 1970 gig) is on the 3-DVD LZ set released in 2003.

Here's Cochran himself doing both songs. He died in a traffic accident in 1960 at age 21.

Two more versions of "Somethin' Else": Keith Richards & Sid Vicious. Warning: Sid is wearing only a jockstrap.

Here's the "C'mon Everybody" Zep audio with Peanuts characters dancing -- is that a young Manny at the top of the screen doing the Mummy? ... Does the shrugging shoulders kid have a name?

January 19, 2008

Geffner Leaves Sox Radio Booth

Glenn Geffner will be broadcasting baseball games for the Marlins this season.

I know many Red Sox fans will be rejoicing at this news. I listened to the radio broadcasts only a few times last year -- late September, when we were up in cottage country -- and didn't hear anything approaching the train wreck some people described.

His voice sounded like he was doing college radio, and he was a bit verbose, but I didn't mind it, since I was beyond thrilled to not have to subject my ears to Trupe.


Also, if you have not yet voted for Joy of Sox in Round 1 of the Canadian Blog Awards, click here. Round 1 ends Monday night.

Library Of Congress Photos On Flickr

The Library of Congress has begun putting thousands of photos on the Flickr website (tags). There are currently about 120 baseball shots, mostly from the early 1910s.

Here are two players from the 1912 World Series:

Red Sox pitcher Smoky Joe Wood

New York Giants outfielder Fred Snodgrass

Snodgrass was forever blamed for the Giants losing the eight-game series to Boston (Game 2 was a tie).

Wood pitched complete game victories in Games 1 and 4. He was shelled after only one inning in Game 7, then came out of the bullpen to get the win in Game 8.

January 17, 2008

Japan Game Times

Date     Teams       Times:     Japan   Boston


Sat 0322 Red Sox/Hanshin Tigers Noon 11 PM
Sun 0323 Red Sox/Yomiuri Giants 7 PM 6 AM

Regular Season
Tue 0325 Red Sox/Athletics 7 PM 6 AM
Wed 0326 Red Sox/Athletics 7 PM 6 AM
All four games will be played at the Tokyo Dome.

Don't forget to vote in the CBAs!

January 16, 2008

Buchholz, Other Prospects Training at BC

With Truck Day about one month away, a dozen Red Sox prospects -- including Clay Buchholz, Jed Lowrie and Justin Masterson -- are taking part in a two-week program at Boston College.

Buchholz also spent two months at the Athlete's Performance Institute in Florida. He has put on about 13 pounds in his shoulders and chest, bumping his weight from 178 to 191, and is determined to stay strong through the long season. Clay: "I've actually been throwing a lot since the first of the year. Everything is going as planned so far."

The Red Sox would like Buchholz to pitch 180-190 innings in 2008. Last year, at Portland, Pawtucket and Boston, he threw a total of 148 innings.

Hideki Okajima is in Tokyo promoting the season-opening series with Oakland on March 25-26: "It's great that Japanese fans will get to see the No. 1 team in the world." Jeemer said the biggest issues for him last season were "the communication problems and getting used to the food".

Bud Selig and Donald Fehr testified before a Congress committee investigating performance-enhancing drugs. George Mitchell stated that he believed Brian McNamee "had an overwhelming incentive to tell the truth". MLB.com writer Mike Bauman thought that the session was "less contentious, combative and argumentative" than the previous session, on March 17, 2005.

There's also a call for the Department of Justice to investigate whether Miguel Tejada gave false statements to a House committee in 2005 about his use of PEDs.

January 14, 2008

Canadian Blog Awards: Round 1

The 2007 Canadian Blog Awards get underway today. Much like the 2008 Red Sox, JoS is defending its title.

The CBAs have two rounds of voting. And the rules have changed this year.

Instead of voting once per day, you can vote only once per round. So click here and vote for Joy of Sox as Best Sports Blog. The top (five?) vote-getters will advance to the Final Round.

Mid-January is probably the worst time for traffic to a baseball blog, so I really need your support. Go vote now, then tell your friends and family. Thanks.

(Also, please vote for we move to canada, written by my partner L-girl, in the following categories: Best Blog, Best Political Blog and Best Progressive Blog.)

January 13, 2008

You Didn't See This Coming, Did You?

T.J. Quinn, ESPN.com:
After saying repeatedly that Roger Clemens will answer any questions Congress wants to ask him, a source familiar with the inquiry said Saturday night that attorney Rusty Hardin is hedging over the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee's request to depose Clemens under oath next week because it might interfere with his defamation lawsuit against personal trainer Brian McNamee.
If Billy backs down, then it's Subpoena Time!

Alan Schwarz has a good piece in the Times about the strategy Clemens and Hardin are taking. Marina Ein, a crisis-management consultant based in Washington, DC, on Clemens's 60 Minutes appearance:
He fell into a trap he didn't see. Early in the interview, he said about steroids, "Where would I get the needles?" But later, talking about how McNamee's injections were only lidocaine and vitamin B12, apparently needles were no problem. I guarantee you that the authorities are going to jump all over that. He did exactly what you should fear would happen.

January 12, 2008

Twice In A Lifetime

Henry Cook, 8, of West Hartford, was among the hundreds
who came to see the team's 2004 and 2007 World Series trophies.
(Bob MacDonnell,
Hartford Courant / January 11, 2008)

January 11, 2008

Mets Back In Santana Hunt

The Mets are making some noise regarding Johan Santana. The Red Sox and Yankees remain quiet, although Mr. Hankee is still running his mouth.

Santana says he would like his whereabouts for 2008 to be settled by the start of spring training. The Chokers are expressing an interest in Mike Cameron.

Brian McNamee met with federal prosecutors for about three hours Thursday, talking about the events that led to his phone call with Roger Clemens last week. McNamee spoke with Assistant US Attorney Matthew Parrella and IRS Special Agent Jeff Novitzky, both of whom were part of the BALCO prosecution team.

Jacobs Field in Cleveland will be renamed Progressive Field for the 2008 season. Despite the word "progressive", the Spiders (remember?) will continue using one of the most racist logos in professional sports.

January 10, 2008

Mirabelli Will Return

According to sources, Mirabelli is close to accepting a one-year deal from the team that will pay him in the range of a guaranteed $550,000 to serve as backup to Jason Varitek. The guaranteed portion of the deal is down from the $750,000 Mirabelli earned last season, but incentives allow the catcher to reach an approximate $1 million ceiling that he had last year. ...

With Varitek entering the final year of his contract, the Sox have serious long-term catching concerns beyond this season.
That's for damn sure.

It's a fact: back-up catchers cannot hit. In the last two seasons, Mirabelli, 37, has had OPS+s of 51 and 63 -- which is actually pretty much middle of the pack. By comparison, last year's two MFY back-ups were Jose Molina (61 OPS+, career 64 OPS+) and Wil Nieves (10 OPS+). Still, I was hoping we'd seen the last of the Stud Who Formerly Hit Bombs.

A SoSH exchange:
DJnVa: Maybe he'll get lucky and the balls will find gaps this year.

HighHeat: Well, a ball needs to be put in play before it can find a gap, but I like your optimism.

Why We Need Stats, Part 6,904

A sportswriter named Ted Robinson thinks Jack Morris belongs in baseball's Hall of Fame.

FJM's Ken Tremendous has fun with Robinson's column. This is one of Robinson's main points:
Here's what I know. In 1980, I stood just outside the Oakland dugout as Gossage entered in the ninth inning with a one-run lead. Billy Martin, the A's manager, turned to summon pinch-hitters but he couldn't find any. The lefty hitters, most likely to be drafted, had scattered. No one wanted to face Gossage in his prime. Not one batter was anywhere near the bat rack. Martin's coaches had to round up the available men. I have never seen a similar moment.
Unfortunately for Robinson, some people enjoy keeping track of things that have happened in baseball games. And because they like sharing that information, other people, such as blogger Steven Rubio, can look at that archived data and show that a sportswriter's subjective memory (or the memory of anyone else, for that matter) is extremely faulty.

Something Else #2 - Howlin' Wolf

Bluesman Howlin' Wolf, one of the giants of 20th century American music, died 32 years ago today, January 10, 1976.

Wolf was born Chester Arthur Burnett in Mississippi in June 1910. As a young man, Wolf played harmonica and guitar and was influenced by both black (Charley Patton) and white (Jimmie Rodgers) musicians. After a stint in the Army during World War II, Wolf moved to West Memphis, Arkansas, in 1948 to try his luck at a full-time music career. At age 40, he made his first recordings with Sam Phillips, who later founded Sun Records. Near the end of 1952, Wolf moved to Chicago, teamed up with guitarist Hubert Sumlin, and became a star for Chess Records.

To get a sense of why Wolf was considered one of the most electrifying performers in blues history, here's Robert Palmer, from his book Deep Blues:
The MC announced Wolf, and the curtains opened to reveal his band pumping out a decidedly down-home shuffle. The rest of the bands on the show were playing jump and soul-influenced blues, but this was the hard stuff. Where was Wolf? Suddenly he sprang out onto the stage from the wings. He was a huge hulk of a man [6-4, 250+], but he advanced across the stage in sudden bursts of speed, his head pivoting from side to side, eyes huge and white, eyeballs rotating wildly. He seemed to be having an epileptic seizure, but no, he suddenly lunged for the microphone, blew a chorus of raw, heavily rhythmic harmonica, and began moaning. He had the hugest voice I have ever heard -- it seemed to fill the hall and get right inside your ears, and when he hummed and moaned in falsetto, every hair on your neck crackled with electricity. The thirty-minute set went by like an express train, with Wolf switching from harp to guitar (which he played while rolling around on his back and, at one point, doing somersaults) and then leaping up to prowl the lip of the stage. He was The Mighty Wolf, no doubt about it. Finally, an impatient signal from the wings let him know that his portion of the show was over. Defiantly, Wolf counted off a bone-crushing rocker, began singing rhythmically, feigned an exit, and suddenly made a flying leap for the curtain at the side of the stage. Holding the microphone under his beefy right arm and singing into it all the while, he began climbing up the curtain, going higher and higher until he was perched far above the stage, the thick curtain threatening to rip, the audience screaming with delight. Then he loosened his grip and, in a single easy motion, slid right back down the curtain, hit the stage, cut off the tune, and stalked away, to the most ecstatic cheers of the evening. He was then fifty-five years old.
Here are several clips of Wolf, from the same time period (mid-1960s):

How Many More Years

Fuckin' A! ... Also: see the man wearing the hat to the left of the sax player when Wolf starts singing at 1:09? It's legendary Delta bluesman Son House.

Here's Dust My Broom from the same gig; also Shake It For Me, I'll Be Back Someday and Smokestack Lightning.

Moanin' At Midnight (May 1951)
The Wolf Is At Your Door (December 1951)
I Asked For Water (She Gave Me Gasoline) (July 1956)
Who's Been Talking (June 1957)
Howlin' For My Baby (Late 1959)
Hidden Charms (August 1963)
The best starting point for new Wolf fans would be His Best, a single CD released as part of Chess' 50th Anniversary Collection. Many of the same songs can be found on Howlin' Wolf/Moanin' In The Moonlight, which combines two albums (including the famous "rockin' chair" album) onto one CD.

Howlin' Wolf: The Chess Box (three discs) is an excellent career overview, while completists should track down The Complete Recordings 1951-1969, a 7-CD box released by the UK label Charly in 1993. A biography of Wolf -- Moanin' At Midnight by James Segrest and Mark Hoffman -- was published by 2004.

January 9, 2008

Congressional Hearing on TCM Moved to Feb. 13

You might this JoS has morphed into a FBfO/Roids blog, but I swear it's not true.

Congress wants to be prepared when Roger Clemens and his former trainer, Brian McNamee, head to Capitol Hill.

The House hearing involving Clemens, McNamee and Andy Pettitte was postponed Wednesday from Jan. 16 until Feb. 13, giving lawmakers more time to gather evidence and to coordinate their investigation with the Justice Department. ...

A congressional source familiar with the investigation told ESPN.com on Wednesday night that the committee is working to have Clemens deposed in Washington Jan. 16. ... A lawyer for McNamee said Wednesday his client wants immunity from the House committee. Hardin said Clemens will not request immunity.

Rice's Hall Bid Falls Short Again

Jim Rice needed to be named on 75% of the 543 Hall of Fame ballots yesterday. He fell short by 16 votes (72.2%).

Goose Gossage was the sole player to gain induction. After appearing on 71.2% (388) of the ballots last year, he was named on 85.8% (466) on Tuesday. That means 78 writers who felt Goosage was not one of the top 10 eligible players last year suddenly decided that he did deserve induction after all. WTF? (While voters can choose 10 players, the average ballot in 2008 had 5.45 names.)

I don't have an definitive opinion on Rice and the Hall, but I lean towards NO, considering his career stats away from Fenway were a meager .277/.330/.459 (Coco Crisp had a .330 OBP last year). However, I do want to learn who the writer is who believes Chuck Knoblauch is a Hall of Famer.

The Herald reports that Daisuke Matsuzaka began preparing for the upcoming season with a five-hour workout in Tokorozawa, Japan on Sunday. Matsuzaka will work out in Japan for the next month before heading to Fort Myers.

Buddy LeRoux, part owner of the Red Sox in the 1970s and 1980s, died Monday night at age 77. I wonder if there is any Sox fan who has a kind word to say about LeRoux.

I forgot to include the Herald's back page the other day:

Earl Ward, a lawyer for Brian McNamee, wants Congress to demand and make public the recording of a December interview between McNamee and two private investigators hired by Roger Clemens's attorneys. "According to Brian, they tried to get him to recant. Brian said, look, what I told the investigators was the truth."

Clemens's lawsuit includes information on McNamee's possible involvement in a Florida rape case in 2001. TCM's lawyers believe McNamee misled detectives during their investigation and that may cast doubt on the credibility of his steroid claims. Rusty Hardin: "The significant thing is, when this guy's rear end is in trouble, does he lie?"

Considering where McNamee says he injected Clemens, we could ask the same question of Billy.

January 8, 2008

Yankee-Giuliani Fans Somewhat Clueless

Kenneth Lovett, New York Post:
BOW, NH - Some Rudy Giuliani volunteers bused here from New York City struck out as they went door to door in advance of Tuesday's Granite State primary while wearing caps or jackets of the hated New York Yankees.

"Some people really don't think," said a person with knowledge of the situation.

"You're in the middle of Red Sox Nation wearing stuff from their enemy. It's absolutely ridiculous.

"Can you image if people were running around The Bronx in Red Sox hats?" he added.

Giuliani reps didn't immediately return calls for comment.

Giuliani, a longtime Yankee fan, raised eyebrows in his home state this fall, after the Bronx Bombers were eliminated from the playoffs, when he said he would root for the hated Red Sox to win the World Series because they are an American League team.

After Clemens Press Conference, McNamee's Lawyer: "This Is War"

After watching Roger Clemens's Monday press conference (video here), I don't think it did him much good -- admitting his disgust at the media, sarcastically asking if he could drink some water, swearing several times and stomping off the podium -- but it was not the total disaster I was expecting.

The conference began with the playing of a phone conversation between Clemens and his former trainer Brian McNamee that Clemens recorded on Friday night. During the 17-minute conversation McNamee asks Clemens 21 times: "What do you want me to do?"
Clemens (who ignores most of the 21 questions): "I just need someone to tell the truth, Mac. ... For the life of me I'm trying to figure out why you told guys I did steroids."

McNamee: "I understand that. ... It is what it is, and it's not good. ... I don't want this to happen. But I'd also like not to go to jail, too. ... All I did was what I thought was right -- I never thought it was right, but I thought that I had no other choice, put it that way."
This sound more like McNamee saying he's sorry for exposing Roger after getting squeezed by the feds, not lying about him. As Earl Ward, one of McNamee's attorneys, said: "All Brian says on the tape is that he didn't want to hurt Clemens and felt bad about what he was obligated to do."

Clemens's lawyer, Rusty Hardin, said that it was his decision to not have Clemens ask McNamee to admit he was lying.
Brian is a federal witness. I told [Roger], the last thing in the world you want to do is sound like you're trying to persuade him into anything [or] trying to interfere or coerce a federal witness. So he kept saying nothing. Except you'll hear throughout him saying, 'Tell the truth.'
Yet Clemens also never says anything definitive about his innocence, such as "You know damn well I've never done steroids" or "We never even talked about steroids, Brian. I was shocked to read all those lies in the Mitchell report." For his part, McNamee never insists "I was telling the truth" or "You know you did it, Roger. It all happened, I shot you up."

McNamee now tells SI:
Roger was in no way an abuser of steroids. He never took them through our tough winter workouts. And he never took them in spring training, when the days are longest. He took them in late July, August, and never for more than four to six weeks, max. ... It wasn't that frequent. Within the culture of what was going on, he was just a small part of it. A lot of guys did it. You can't take away the work Roger did. You can't take away the fact that he worked out as hard as anybody.
Why didn't McNamee say any of that when he was on the phone with Clemens?

One interest bit from the conference is that McNamee spoken to Clemens's representatives earlier -- and that conversation was taped. Hardin implies that McNamee was considering recanting what he told the feds. I'd like to hear that recording.

Here is a PDF of a press release from McNamee's lawyers, contradicitng several of Clemens's claims, including the fact that he was in the dark about the contents of the Mitchell report.

Earl Ward, one of McNamee's attorneys, says his client is
angry that the information about his son was manipulated in that fashion. The original text message to Roger said, 'My son is sick, can you call him at home?' Brian was not even living there. He had no intention of talking to Clemens. [Clemens] never did call his son. ... The tape added nothing. All Brian says on the tape is that he didn't want to hurt Clemens and felt bad about what he was obligated to do.
Richard Emery, McNamee's attorney, added:
What does [Clemens] do, he calls him back with his lawyer in the room and a tape recorder going. He wants to play that game, he's going to get buried. I have no compunction about putting him in jail. This is war.

January 7, 2008

Clemens Files Defamation Suit

Roger Clemens has filed a defamation suit against Brian McNamee in Harris County District Court (Texas). The 14-page document can be found here.

McNamee will likely be filing a counter lawsuit.

The AP reports that the suit states (pages 10-11):
[W]hen McNamee told others that when he first was interviewed by federal law enforcement last June, he denied Clemens had used steroids or human growth hormone. The suit quotes McNamee as saying he was pressured by Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Parrella and IRS Special Agent Jeff Novitzky -- key members of the BALCO prosecution -- to implicate Clemens. The suit did not attribute where the quote from McNamee was obtained.

"After this exchange, and for the first time in his life, McNamee stated that he had injected Clemens with steroids in 1998, 2000 and 2001," the suit said. "Following his recantation, McNamee has relayed that he magically went from a 'target' in a federal criminal drug investigation to a mere 'witness,' so long as he continued to 'toe the line.'"
Clemens will hold a press conference today at 5 PM.

January 6, 2008

Clemens Video - Two Remixes


Clemens, McNamee Have "Emotional" Phone Call

David Lennon, Newsday:
In a surprising twist to their public war of words, Roger Clemens and his former trainer, Brian McNamee, spoke by telephone Friday night, Newsday has learned. It was their first contact since the Mitchell Report was released Dec. 13, and a person close to the situation described the hourlong conversation between the longtime friends as "emotional."

It is unclear whether Clemens or McNamee initiated the call, and attempts to reach representatives for both of them Saturday night were unsuccessful.
Coming on the heels of both men being requested to testify before a congressional committee in 10 days, does this phone call seem odd? The claims of both men are diametrically opposed to one another -- what could they have talked about for an hour?

I'm at work and the home VCR is set, but for anyone watching tonight -- 60 Minutes Game Thread? Or some post-segment comments?

January 4, 2008

60 Minutes: Clemens Changes Story On Injections


AP: "Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte were asked Friday to testify before a congressional committee on Jan. 16, along with their former trainer, Brian McNamee."


Roger Clemens's decision to issue a complete and utter denial of having used steroids or PEDs has always seemed like a failed strategy, not only because I think he's lying, but because it offers no wiggle room.

He is now unable to admit to a little wrong-doing, cry some fake tears, and beg for forgiveness. And now Fat Billy seems unable to keeping his story straight.

Roger Clemens, December 23, 2007:
I did not provide Brian McNamee with any drugs to inject into my body.
Roger Clemens told Mike Wallace of "60 Minutes" that ... his former trainer, Brian McNamee, only injected him with the painkiller lidocaine and the vitamin B-12.

Lidocaine is a drug, isn't it? And why didn't Clemens mention these vitamins during his video apology?

Does Wallace ask Billy about this obvious contradiction? I don't know, but according to this advance report,
Clemens calls the accusation "ridiculous" and says he "never" used any banned substances. "Swear?" Wallace asked. "[I] swear," Clemens said.
Jeez, let's hope that's not Wallace's toughest follow-up question.

One of McNamee's lawyers, Earl Ward, says McNamee stands by what he told Senator George Mitchell and federal investigators.
Brian has a master's degree in sports medicine. He knows the difference between Lidocaine, B-12 and testosterone. What he injected into Roger Clemens wasn't Lidocaine or B-12. It was testosterone.
Another lawyer for McNamee, Richard Emery, says that Clemens will be facing a lawsuit if he claims that McNamee was not truthful. Emery also says he's mystified as to why Clemens's lawyers would allow him to do this interview.

So either Clemens will continue to say that McNamee is a bald-faced liar -- in which case, libel suit here we come! -- or he's planning on saying that McNamee was shooting him up with steroids and Honest Rog assumed they were harmless vitamins. (It's the ol' "OMG!!! They were steroids?!?!?" defense.)

This is going to be must-see TV this Sunday. I'm also hoping that some unbroadcasted parts slip out and hit the internet.

January 1, 2008

The Upcoming Election

No, not that quadrennial silliness in the US. I'm talking about something important:

The Canadian Blog Awards!

JoS won Best Sports Blog last time out and I'll be needing all of your votes in both rounds to defend my title. As you may recall, it was quite a squeaker last time.

More info as I get it.

Sustained Success

In a brief 2008 preview, Ian Browne quotes Theo Epstein:
The goal is to build something that can be sustained -- to not just have success, but sustained success over a long period of time. It's hard to do because you have to win at the Major League level while also cultivating a future through the Minor League system. That's our toughest challenge year in and year out.
Opening Day is on the schedule (5:05 AM!):

Greg Rybarczyk, whose Hit Tracker calculates the precise trajectory of every major league home run, is the main subject of Gordon Edes's Notes column. Three quick snips from the 2007 data:
Mike Lowell hit his 21 home runs last season in only four AL East parks: Fenway (14), Skydome (4), Tropicana Field (2) and Yankee Stadium (1).

Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz combined for only two homers at Tropicana Field, after hitting a total of 11 there in both 2005 and 2006.

Ten of the 21 home runs allowed by Curt Schilling were hit by the Yankees.
Edes also has 10 questions for Mike Wallace's 60 Minutes interview with Roger Clemens and he explains why the World Series trophy will be in Nova Scotia on January 7.

The Herald's Rob Bradford praises five "sites that saved sports writers' bacon on a daily basis in 2007 (and maybe can help your inner baseball fan in '08": Baseball Musings, Baseball Reference, Baseball Think Factory, MLB Trade Rumors and MLB's Gameday.

Jose Canseco's sequel to his 2005 book "Juiced" will be on shelves by Opening Day.