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Once again, Clemens is in the spotlight

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  July 7, 2011 10:42 AM

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Just curious, but how do you feel about the Roger Clemens perjury trial that started yesterday?

Here are two thoughts I had:

1. People should not lie before Congress and if that is what Clemens did, he should be punished. But shouldn't Congress and the federal government have better things to do than investigating baseball and chasing down old ballplayers who may have lied to them?

I guess I'm naive. But I'd rather my tax dollars help a homeless guy outside a baseball stadium than figure out what Clemens did inside the park.

2. Then comes Roger. If you followed the Red Sox from 1984-96, you know how big the Rocket was. In what was often a frustrating and fruitless era of baseball in Boston, Clemens was a superstar. It was the same in Toronto, New York and Houston.

Clemens started with the Yankees in 1999, the same year I started working in New York and covering baseball. Looking back at my old scorebooks, I covered 50 or so of his starts. As somebody who enjoys baseball history, it was fun to be there watching a player who was clearly headed to the Hall of Fame.

At the old Yankee Stadium, the players and the writers used the same parking lot and Roger had a Hummer in burnt orange. It was such a silly vehicle to drive around Manhattan, but that was Roger. He was a character.

Looking back, however, I feel like a fool. Like so many other writers, I believed the narrative that Clemens was successful because he worked so hard. Like a sheep, I followed along and wrote about what a big hero he was. You suspected certain guys were using PEDS. But Roger? Roger was out there doing sit-ups at 7 a.m. He just worked hard.

Now this whole sordid drama has played out and we've found out that Roger was apparently not much different than the other players who were caught up in that era. It doesn't make him a bad guy. It sort of feels like the day you figured out there was no Santa Claus. Christmas is still fun, but some of the wonder is gone.

There's no rooting interest in this trial for me. If Roger wins, what does he win? His reputation is already ruined. If the feds win, it's not like they're taking a dangerous criminal off the streets. Heck, Roger would probably like prison. Three squares, a cot and all the weights you can lift. He'll organize the softball team.

Many of you probably cheered for Clemens at some point then booed him once he went to New York. Any thoughts on what is happening now?

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