I fucking hate Roger Clemons. In 1986, it was difficult being both a Mets and Red Sox fan. The real reason I followed both teams was because I grew up hating the New York Yankees. The only cool one on the team was Thurman Munson, and Fate took him away. But, when push came to shove, I went with the Mets, and when the ball rolled under Buckner's glove, I was thrilled (actually, I was camping, and was asleep by the time it happened, so I even missed it on the radio, but it still thrills me).
I guess I kinda liked Clemons then, but then he went to Toronto, and that whole thing got under my skin. Then he went to the Yankees, and became a true villain.
Then he threw a bat at Mike Piazza, and any conflict between my Mets brain and Red Sox brain joined together in full communion.
So, really, I have Roger Clemons to thank for reconciling things in my head and giving me a common enemy. I would love nothing more than to see him do time, but only for attempted assault and general douchiness, not for lying before Congress. But with Clemons finally dealing with the aftermath of his own lies, what better time to look back on those hearings with a page from "It's Not Just a Ballgame Anymore," which is suddenly now available for your e-reading device of choice.
Back in the summer of 2007, it was another juiced-up liar who was in the spotlight—Barry Bonds. The real villain, of course, is Bud Selig, who has been trying to avoid this whole mess since he tacitly approved of it earlier in his career. Punishing Clemons on a technicality would be nice, but in the end, he's nothing but a particularly successful hitman in a crime family operated by very powerful businessmen who know how to keep their hands clean and their voices away from hidden microphones.
Barry Bonds might not be the nicest player about to break a chilling record in the sport of baseball. But he’s probably not the meanest, either, and he’s probably not the least law-abiding of the bunch, if you want to go in that direction. What is Bud Selig so afraid of? The remnants of implied approval of steroid use are there regardless of Bonds’ record-breaking stats—they are there absent of grand juries, imprisoned sports enthusiasts, or attentive children.
Eventually, Selig is going to have to face the demon. It doesn’t matter when and it doesn’t matter where. The demon is already standing there. He’s been standing there for years now, just waiting. Demons are like that. They are like monkeys on your shoulder, laughing at you. At night, Bud Selig may be able to drown the demon monkeys with booze or pills—performance enhancing substances just the same. But during the day, or under the lights of American baseball stadiums, there is nothing you can do to hide from them, or to keep them from laughing, or to make them go away. The decision to play with demon monkeys on the field was made a long time ago, and the day that approaches, the day that Barry Bonds passes Hank Aaron on the home run list, has been on the calendar, locked and loaded, ever since that demon monkey draft.
But I’m not all that concerned about those monkeys. In fact, I’d really like them to mob together and leap into angry frightful action down in DC. Screw baseball. Baseball doesn’t need demon monkeys haunting fans and authorities. Baseball needs more popcorn. The demon monkeys belong where the real living demons are—Congress and the White House and all their associated crew. Dick Cheney makes Greg Anderson look like a munchkin bouncing meaninglessly along the yellow brick road. We’re arguing about whether or not Bonds’ home run record should require an asterisk. But Dick Cheney is adding his own asterisk to the whole show: “Constitution Does Not Apply.” Nobody seems to have a problem with that, but the morning sports radio shows are filled with almost intelligent debate about home runs and Babe Ruth.
So, yeah—I fucking hate Roger Clemons, but not as a person, just as a New York Yankee with some chemically-inspired rage issues, just like I hated Barry Bonds. But those are silly, stupid hatreds—they arent real or meaningful. What is real and meaningful is the economic situation this country is facing, and the blatant disregard for freedom and the Constitution being violently expressed and exposed in cities and small towns from sea to shining sea. And until our federal courts are done dealing with real problems, anyone who wears spikes and striped pajamas to work should be left to their own devices.
The only reason Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, George W. Bush and Karl Rove arent behind bars is because they were given special exemptions for lying. Bush was even allowed to testify about 9/11 without taking an oath, and he got to have his ideological sugar-daddy sit beside him for comfort during the closed-door circle-jerk. So, while I respect the shit out of moral decency and honesty, using federal resources to harass baseball players in this time of national decay is just another way to avoid doing the right thing, even as it's staring at us right in the face. If we want to stop making it seem like we advocate what MLB has done with steroids, we should probably stop following their examples.