By Jose M. Romero /@RomeroJoseM
For FOX Deportes
Levanten las manos if you’re sick and tired of steroids and performance-enhancing drug talk in baseball.
That would be me, out here in too-hot Arizona, raising my hand.
So Roger Clemens was acquitted of all charges that he lied to Congress about using PEDs. This clears the way for him to enter the Baseball Hall of Fame, and it clears his name, officially.
Maybe not in the eyes of a lot of fans, though, who are probably skeptical about Clemens given how many other former big-leaguers used performance enhancers and the fact that players still do. Perception is a big deal, and there will be HOF voters who don’t vote for Clemens simply because of the idea that Clemens could have cheated, even if the district court’s jurors proclaimed him innocent.
Great for The Rocket and his family. They have closure. Their name is not totally besmirched, even if it was during the trial and Clemens’ testimony before it, and by the allegations of former strength coach Brian McNamee.
But should we really be surprised? Did we fans really think that Clemens would be found guilty of perjury in a court that was not the Supreme Court?
Money buys good lawyers, and Clemens’ attorney was able to turn the trial into a ‘whose word do you believe – Clemens or McNamee?’ contest.
The U.S. Justice Department came out looking silly for spending so much money to try and catch Clemens in a lie. And now, only Clemens has to know if he is lying or not.
Personally, I don’t believe him. He might as well just come out and admit that he needed PEDs to allow him to keep pitching for 24 seasons, even if it was only infrequently. Others have done so and have gone on to do just fine, like Mark McGwire and Alex Rodriguez. A-Rod is still playing.
Admission of steroid or human growth hormone use in baseball is just like being linked to such use. Whether a player used doesn’t matter, it seems, because so many others are named as possible cheaters that the whole Hall of Fame player pool is diluted.
Unless a guy was a total jerk, like say, Barry Bonds has been described, if he has the Hall of Fame numbers, he has a chance to get in. Voters aren’t beyond considering how media-friendly a player was during his career as criteria to get into the HOF.
Fans are always going to remember the championships, the no-hitters, the strikeouts, the moments. More so than the drugs. They will remember when Clemens K’d 20 guys on the other team. They will remember when he was spotted in George Steinbrenner’s box at Yankee Stadium and the radio announcer nearly lost her mind describing it.
“Of all the dramatic things!…”
The whole illegal drugs thing will be mentioned in passing. Imagine yourself looking at the Clemens display in Cooperstown one day, saying to yourself or someone nearby, “Hey, didn’t Clemens use ‘roids? Whatever, a lot of these other guys (in the 90s and 2000s) did, too.”
It is what it is. It’s all part of the game now. Fans like big power hitters and pitchers and long home runs and mitt-popping 100 mph fastballs. Let’s just accept that players used, continue to discourage such use and raise awareness about what PEDs can do to ravage a healthy human body, and ultimately, keep watching baseball.