(left to right : Roger Clemens, trainer Brian MacNamee)

The New York Times’ Jack Curry
covers the end of Houston’s season, thus passing up a golden opportunity to pick Brian Roberts’ brain about the state of drug testing.

œI just think it™s incredibly dangerous to sit out there and just throw names out there, Roger Clemens said, before the Astros lost to the Braves, 3-1, in Atlanta to end their season. œI haven™t seen it, nor do I need to see it.

Pettitte, who has followed Clemens™s workout routine since they became teammates with the Yankees in 1999, called Grimsley a good friend, but said he never worked out with him. Clemens also said he had never worked out with Grimsley, who played for the Yankees in 1999 and 2000.

œI haven™t done anything, Pettitte said. œI guess reports are saying I™ve used performance-enhancing drugs. I™ve never used any drugs to enhance my performance in baseball before. I don™t know what else to say except to say it™s embarrassing my name would be out there.

œI™ve been tested plenty of times, Clemens said. œMy physicals I™ve taken, they have taken my blood work, I have passed every test. Again, I just find it amazing that you can throw anybody out there.

Pettitte, 34, who won four World Series championships with the Yankees, said that he had œabsolutely killed himself to succeed in the majors and has œdone it natural. He described himself as being œstunned by being named in the affidavit.

The affidavit said Grimsley told investigators that he obtained performance enhancers from someone recommended by a person The Times identified as Brian McNamee, a former strength coach with the Yankees who is Clemens™s longtime personal trainer.

Attempts to reach McNamee by telephone and e-mail were unsuccessful. Clemens and Pettitte spoke glowingly of McNamee, a former New York City police officer who was dismissed from the Yankee staff after the 2001 season. McNamee, a 39-year-old former college catcher, has lived in Clemens™s home in Katy, Tex., while training him. Pettitte said he spoke to McNamee about once a week.

œI™ll continue to use Mac to train me, Clemens said. œHe™s one of a kind.

While the Houston Chronicle’s Jose De Jesus Ortiz insists “not many of the men I have covered stack up with Pettitte in terms of integrity. He is what I view as the anti-Bonds,”, the New York Sun’s Tim Marchman isn’t nearly as starstruck.

Looking at Clemens’s historically unprecedented performance ” at 44 he’s still the best pitcher in baseball ” and assuming he’s on drugs doesn’t make much sense to me. Certainly, just because Pettitte had his best seasons after he started working out with Clemens, “working out” does not necessarily mean he was taking drugs with Clemens. No matter how oddly couched the denials are, both men have denied the charges, so until new evidence presents itself, it’s only fair to take their word over second-hand accounts of what might well be an accusation made by a player in a great deal of trouble and under a great deal of pressure from investigators.

That’s my position, but you’d have to be an idiot to think these accusations have no credibility. In the context of baseball’s drug scandal, Clemens’s performance has been, at the least, incredibly suspicious. There’s no way around it. And it hardly took these accusations for people to think that the vaunted Pettitte-Clemens workout routine might have entailed more than simply running, Steve Carlton-style, in barrels of grain.These new revelations do more to confirm what had been suspected than to shock.

It’s understandable that people are at this point sick of these scandals, but for the game to move on, the truth will have to come out. And the truth is that not every player who uses steroids or hGH is a Bonds-style cartoon villain. Some of them are good, decent men ” good teammates, active in their communities, who play the game admirably and with integrity. They also inject illegal drugs to gain illicit advantage. Similarly, some and perhaps many of the game’s best players have used drugs, a point that seems absurdly obvious post-Bonds, but bears repeating. It wouldn’t surprise me a bit to learn that every MVP and Cy Young Award winner dating back 15 years had been using something. It would sadden me, and I’d be more surprised to learn that, say, Pedro Martinez had used steroids than I was to learn that Bonds had used them, but it’s the reality of the game.