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Posts Tagged ‘steroids’

 

Roger Clemens: One More Chapter

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

On July 18, Roger Clemens was found not guilty on six counts of lying to Congress about his alleged use of performance-enhancing drugs during his time as a MLB pitcher. This jury decision put to end a long and litigious saga that for years cast a dark shadow on Clemens’ illustrious baseball career. After playing baseball at the highest level for 23 years and spending the better part of 5 years embroiled in lawsuits about steroids in baseball, what does a newly-acquitted Roger Clemens want to do?

 

Play baseball, of course.

 

On August 20, it came out that Clemens would return to baseball as a pitcher for the Sugar Land Skeeters, part of the independent Atlantic League of Professional Baseball. He will pitch in a game for the first time since his retirement in 2007 on August 25.

 

Inevitably, speculation has already started as to whether this could evolve into a return to the Major Leagues. “I think anything is possible, if you have the mindset and the will and desire to do it and put the time in,” said Clemens in an interview with CBS This Morning. Clemens continued to say, however, that it would be difficult and that he is determined to balance time spent with his family.

 

At 50 years old, many say that Clemens’ return is a pipe dream. It’s easy to see the perspective of this being Clemens’ attempt to put one more chapter in the story of his career – that his exit from the public eye comes not from Clemens in a courtroom but on a pitching mound. Clemens himself has disputed that narrative, saying to Sports Illustrated “As far as all that stuff going on in D.C., it had no bearing on me needing to play baseball. I just want to play and have fun.”

 

But let’s remember what made the Roger Clemens controversy so compelling – this isn’t an average baseball player. Clemens’ stat line currently reads at 354 wins, 3.12 ERA, and 4,672 strikeouts (3rd all time). He won 2 World Series, was named to the All-Star team 11 times, and received the Cy Young Award a dominating 7 times (most all time). Clemens made a career out of unprecedented achievements – which was why when he became linked to the divisive PED debate it was such a flashpoint issue. If nothing else, it will be interesting to see his performance in 2012.

Barry Bonds is a Character

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

We like personality in our sports stars. We like them to have a good story behind them, or some unique characteristic, and a well-defined reputation. We thrive on exploring those personalities in a very public way – look no further than LeBron James.

But we’re also undeniably interested as a culture in the dark side of personalities. We, the media and the people who consume it, can’t help but pay lots of attention to the bad-mouthers and the negative aspects of sports figures. Even if those aspects are only a small part of that person, possibly based on very specific situations.  Look no further than LeBron James.

Sometimes a reputation can follow you forever. Look at Barry Bonds.  His legacy is forever defined by his conviction for obstruction of justice over lying about taking steroids. But his reputation was less than stellar before that – despite his legendary career, he was known as a braggart and a poor teammate. This left him with few defenders by the time of his exit from baseball and subsequent steroids controversy.

So it is with a certain degree of wonder that we now take the news that he wants to come back to the San Francisco Giants as an instructor. Perhaps even more mysterious, though, is his assertion that he “created that guy out there” for entertainment purposes. The larger-than-life, spoiled celebrity image was then presumably not only a persona but an intentionally created one.

What we see here is a man looking to redefine his legacy. One wonders if this approach – calling it all an act, essentially – is the way to win back the hearts of baseball fans and the minds of the Giants office.