From the beginning, the Roger Clemens steroid saga was severely short of sympathetic characters. Credit due to The Rocket for his Twitter populism, of course, but describing Clemens as the least sympathetic of any of those involved is both just and impressive as hell, given that his competition for that spot included serial It-Is-What-It-Is abuser and off-the-rack dirtbag Brian McNamee and grandstanding congressmen who somehow brought partisanship to a hearing about a baseball player. But Clemens, champion that he is, managed to pull it off with such aplomb that it’s hard to imagine anyone being terribly distraught at the news that the Feds have decided to indict Clemens on charges of lying to Congress.
As Clemens completes his descent from Greatest Pitcher of His Generation to Non-Position Player Most-Analogous To Oliver North, it’s hard to disagree with Hardball Talk’s Craig Calcaterra when he — after reviewing Clemens’s myriad missteps — directs blame for this state of affairs squarely towards Clemens himself. “You could not have made yourself bigger piece of wriggling Congress bait if you took a year to draw up a plan to do so,” Calcaterra (who has, it should be noted, previously criticized the federal prosecution/New York Times-led persecution of Clemens and other alleged steroid abusers) writes.
[T]he Rocket protested too much, either because he received bad advice or because he was too bullheaded to see the pros and cons of various courses of action. As a result, he was hauled before Congress. As a result, all kinds of seedy muck from his personal life came out into the open. All of this could have been avoided.
“Not giving in” is a mantra you hear from all of the best starting pitchers. And Clemens was certainly one of the best to ever have played the game. But what makes one successful on the baseball diamond does not necessarily make one successful off it. And Clemens is learning this the hard way.