Roger Clemens, the greatest pitcher of our generation, has gone into hiding. His defiance led him there.
This spring, the poster-child for baseball’s steroids era, Mark McGwire, came clean about his drug use, finally admitting to taking steroids for over ten years. The announcement was newsworthy at the time but eventually, we all moved on. McGwire now sits on the St Louis Cardinals bench as their hitting coach, his past now behind him.
McGwire’s confession may exclude him from Cooperstown but at least baseball now has a sense of closure when it comes to his achievements. Clemens, on the other hand, still refuses to come clean, assuming of course, he took anything at all.
Like McGwire, Andy Pettitte and Jason Giambi also admitted guilt and are no longer under the microscope. Clemens has not. His legacy hangs in the balance.
The scenario for Clemens is different from other players for he boldly told a grand jury he never took steroids. Admission now could result in more than just keeping him off a Hall of Fame ballot.
Until Clemens comes clean, baseball’s recent history remains burdened with mistruths and a rocket who has lost his way.
A Kobe vs LeBron Finals
Last year, Nike invested millions of dollars in their Kobe and LeBron Muppets campaign. The 2009 NBA Finals were supposed to have a fairy tale ending with either LeBron or Kobe wearing the crown at season’s end.
One of them ultimately did. The only problem was the other didn’t even make it to the Finals. With another early Cavalier exit in 2010, the NBA Finals will be LeBron-less once again. Nike should probably consider shelving their LeBron muppet and mix in a Dwight Howard model. Unfortunately for Phil Knight, Howard wears Adidas.
Game Five for LeBron against the Celtics was far more pedestrian than MVP-like. Starting the Muppet might have been more productive. Game Six’s loss left the rumblings of his leaving Cleveland louder than ever. The city is in mourning and once again title-less.
Rivalries, however, have to be genuine; they can’t be manufactured. Boston-L.A. is the NBA’s greatest rivalry. Old school basketball fans must be craving that potential match-up. Or what’s wrong with the fledgling Los Angeles-Orlando rivalry? Both towns have Mickey Mouse and both once had Shaquille.
So, once again Nike sits and waits another year for their dream Muppet matchup while LeBron is left to wonder what could have been.
Baseball’s all-time wins record being broken
They don’t call it the Cy Young Award for nothing. That’s because Young is in sole possession of one of baseball’s most untouchable records: 511 career wins.
Tom Glavine recently retired… with 305 wins. Randy Johnson also recently called it a career with 303. Both of them pitched for 22 seasons. 300 has become the new 500, granting almost assured entry into the Hall of Fame to any who reach that number.
The game has changed, however, some feel for the worse. The modern game has become much more reliant on bullpen and closers. With so much emphasis on pitch count and rotation, starting pitchers no longer go the distance. As a result, innings pitched and complete games are all on the decline.
Major League Baseball has given us no indication this will change, meaning Young’s wins record remains among the most unattainable in sports. Year after year, two pitchers win the award in his name but none will ever match his longevity.
The return of the heavyweight division
Muhammad Ali, George Foreman, Larry Holmes, Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield. Remember those guys? A good friend and loyal reader recently asked me what heavyweight fight I last remember anticipating. It was a valid question considering the fight I responded with actually took place thirteen years ago and ended with Mike Tyson biting off a piece of Evander Holyfield’s ear. No WONDER we’re thirsting for Mayweather-Pacquiao!
As great of a champion as Lennox Lewis was (even though he lost to both Hasim Rahman and Oliver McCall), he faced no legitimate competition, the division already watered down by that point. Now we have the Klitschko brothers, Wladimir and Vitali, who share heavyweight titles but who refuse to fight each other. Boxing fans have resorted to watching AMC reruns of Rocky for the eight millionth time to get their fix.
The emergence of MMA, the lack of any structure within the sport and the absence of any charismatic heavyweight champion have led to the decline in professional boxing, meaning the sweet science has left an awfully sour taste in our mouths.
A college football playoff system
When I told a friend, the same one who asked me about the Tyson fight, that I was writing a piece on the ‘Top Ten Things We’d Like to See in Sports, But Won’t Anytime Soon,’ he immediately responded with the need for a college football playoffs. I agreed, as most sports fans probably would.
There’s been talk lately of more conference reshuffling. Where will Rutgers go? Where will Notre Dame land? Which school will become the Big Ten’s twelfth team, if any?
While some schools play musical chairs in the short term, many foresee college football ending up with only a few, multi-school power conferences. The national champion will eventually, and hopefully, be determined in a playoff format, on the field.
Until that day, we’re stuck with computers and coaches’ allegiances telling us which two teams are the best in the land.
How about an Ohio State team that is NOT overrated?
When Balzac rags on Ohio State, we know Petey_Nice can’t be far behind.
My most memorable heavyweight fight was between Muhammad Ali and the “Bayonne Bleeder” Chuck Wepner. Without that fight, there would never have been the “Rocky” movies.
Hey, I remember the Bite that was felt around the world! But I also remember the Thrilla in Manila …ahh, those were the days of heavyweight fights!
I could never tell which puppet was LBJ and which one was Kobe but I loved laughing at Nike’s gaffe!
Hey, Snake…. this one’s for you.
Personally, Elizabeth, I think the Kobe Muppet looks more like Giancarlo Esposito.
I’d love to see Boston sweep Orlando and Shaq retire!
Clemens has always told “the truth” because as we know members of Congress can’t handle the real truth . So Roger has always given them and us his version of it as he recalls it. What’s so difficult about understanding that then ? LOL,LOL,LOL !!!
I mean if Selig himself can see Mark McGwire in a new light and call him a ‘man of integrity ‘ why can’t you be the bigger man and view Roger in a similar vain ?
Your Red Sox seem to be handling the Yankees at the moment .
Unfortunately the same couldn’t be said ’bout the Magic last night against the Celtics.
Dan… hopefully, only one of those things will happen.
Al… the Sox shouldn’t need to rely on their offense to win them ballgames. They can’t average nine runs a night like they are tonight against the Yanks.
Boston has the second highest ERA in the American League. Only Kansas City’s is worse.
Now look what you’ve made me do. You’ve made me click on ESPN’s baseball link and look up stats. Don’t you know I have better things to do?
Wasn’t this supposed to be one of the best rotations in baseball?
Clemens can never say he took steroids after testifying that he didn’t. He has let his ego and pride keep him from Cooperstown. He knew he was doing wrong, but he wanted that edge. He got it, and now he should live in shame. Of course, he knows no shame, though.
The NCAA ramming the BCS down our throats kind of reminds me of a current government trying to ram their agenda down their citizen’s throats. Neither one care what the vast majority want.
You mean Shaq’s gonna play another year?!
Oh, Dan, that’s just not nice to us recovering Magic fans.
Stay tuned. My recap is forthcoming.
Baseball is slowly cleaning up the mess they made concerning steroids. Now I would like to erase all those bogus records and restore Hank Aaron and Roger Maris to their rightful status. Yea, I know, dream on right.
Boxing was filled with stars back in the day and it wasn’t only the heavyweights.
How about guys like Hagler, Leonard, Hearns, and Duran just to name a few. Man those were the days. I’d like to see the sport cleaned up and ran like it should be ran and then we would witness the greatness of the sweet science once again.
As for college football, to quote Jim Mora, “Playoffs? Are you kidding me? Playoffs?”
The Red Sox meltdown last night courtesy of Papelbon was faster than butter off a hot knife. How much worse is it going to get for them ? The likes of Beltre and Scutaro haven’t done a damn thing to improve the team at all !
And I know that as such they’ve been plagued by injuries but even so that’s still no excuse for their poor play in all facets of the game !
So this could be why LeGonad might be unhappy ? Merely rumor mongering no doubt from various areas within the Cleveland area .
So Delonte’ may well have been a little too friendly with LeGonad’s mom ? Well , well !
But it is flying round the airwaves and net faster than a ticker tape indicating share prices.
Associated Content …
Two sources reporting the same thing now let’s see what’s next to drop.
I don’t think Clemens is ever going to admit anything.
It’s funny I was watching Sunday Night baseball this weekend, and Jaime Moyer was pitching. The crew was talking to an old time pitcher (can’t remember who) and he was saying the reason they don’t pitch so many innings is because they were so valuable. He was saying when he pitched they wouldn’t care if it was one or three days rest, becasue his arm was only worth $15K not $15M!
It will be interesting to see what happens with the Big 10. It might make a lot of other confrences change, but they have to be the first domino to fall…
Aer… you’re right. Baseball ‘cleaning up’ its record book is about as likely as seeing a promising return of the heavyweight division.
Sox are in trouble, Al. We both know that. But recently ESPN posted a poll asking if relief pitchers were under the most stress in sports.
Why’s that? Because they pitch for only one inning a game? Spare me. Relievers have ruined the game.
Brotha E told me that news about Delonte and LeBron’s mom while I was on my way to the Magic game. Just weird, man.
I agree, Chap.
If I were a baseball manager, I’d constantly be criticized for leaving my starters in too long.
Then I’d do my best Ozzie Guillen impression.
And it’s getting awfully tough to remember who’s in the Big East these days.
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One minor issue is the distance it can cover – but, when you think it is only used on the farm, it has not been pushed too far over distance.