Clemens’ Costanza Impression and Strasburg’s Strike Out
- Updated: September 1, 2010
Two major off field episodes occurred this week that merits comment.
The first is Roger Clemens’ continued denial even in the face of overwhelming evidence that he did not use steroids. When reports surfaced that proved he did indeed use enhancements, he was indicted for perjury before a Congressional committee.
There are two ways to look at this.
The first is that Congress has way too many other critical issues to deal with than going after a professional ballplayer the least of which is cleaning up their own stygian conduct. If they were as intent as they seem to be with hanging Clemens with their own, half of all government officials would be in jail, including Bill Clinton.
Alas, Roger is not an attorney so cannot be disbarred leaving the only other grandstanding alternative – fines and imprisonment.
The second view is that Clemens should be treated no different than anyone who commits perjury. He clearly lied and needs to be held accountable. This is not a good message to send to impressionable kids who looked up to Clemens during his playing days, you can cheat, then lie about it and walk away.
I wrote about the whole sordid affair when the steroids scandal first surfaced. My stance has not changed: if you cheated you do not belong in the Hall of Fame.
Clemens is another former player in the Barry Bonds’ mode: too delusional to understand the consequences of his actions. It seems that Clemens has adopted the George Costanza axiom: “If you believe it to be true, then it must be.”
As for Stephen Strasburg, when agent Scott Boras coerced the Nationals into giving Strasburg a record guaranteed contract for a drafted player of $15 million, I wrote that he will probably break down before his full contract expired. I didn’t realize that it would be in his rookie year. He is facing Tommy John surgery and will miss all of 2011. That means that the Nationals will be out at least $2.9 million — $2.5 million for his 2011 salary and the $400,000 rookie minimum he received last year despite not pitching in the majors.
Now there will be all kinds of speculation on why this happened and who is responsible. He logged 198 1/3 innings in two tears at San Diego State, 11 innings at the World Baseball Classic in 2008 and 55 1/3 innings in the minor leagues. This year his 68 innings over 12 starts for the Nationals projects to 198 innings in a full season. None of this seems to be excessive.
One can only conclude that his mechanics were prone to injury. Even if that were true, why would anyone want to change his delivery? Why mess with success?
It is bewildering why some pitchers can go for years relatively injury free and others face major reconstructive surgery after only a few years. The latter applies to Strasburg.
This is surely a setback to the promising progress the team has made this year. Not only was Strasburg the new anchor of the rotation, his appearances drew sellout crowds and generated much needed revenue.
I hope next time Scott Boras tries to empty the bank to sign a prospect the corresponding General Manager grows a pair and tells him to stick it. Nothing good has come of this. Well, I guess if you don’t include Boras’ cut. How does this man sleep at might?