Thursday, February 14, 2008

Congressional Charade

As I was tootling down the road yesterday, I caught a couple of minutes of the hearings in Washington regarding steroid use in baseball. Apparently for about 3-4 hours, the big tough-guy, holier-than-thou congress members tortured baseball legend Roger Clemens. Their goal: to make a point that they are powerful. To get him to admit he lied about steroid use.


Everyone looked bad. Clemens was babbling, his accusers full of shit, doing this for a few minutes of fame and power. The spectacle of former friends publically betraying each other was pathetic. The congress members, as puffed up and pretentiously serious as they were during the Clinton impeachment charade, acted like this was a monumental problem, needing their full attention. I for one, do not believe this is anything congress needs to be involved in. Isn't there just something very wrong with all of that?

Meanwhile, oil prices are causing inflation, job loss, economic stagnation and poverty. Education is a joke, the stupid war in Iraq goes on and on and on and on and on and on. Recession, global warming, lack of healthcare, poor public policy... not important. Making sure "the national pastime" is pure, that is meaningful.

Why is the Senate afraid of grilling Cheney, Bush, Ashcroft and all those liars and pushing charges against them? Why was Clemens, et. al. in front of congress at all?

Simple, self important congress people who masterminded this charade are using this non-issue to divert attention away from the simple fact they are powerless to do anything about anything important and would likely make things worse if they tried. They simply can't do what they were sent to Washington to do in the first place.

What a joke.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

While I'll agree with your larger point of Congress is too afraid to investigate anything or anyone of the Bush administration, I will disagree with your specific point.

>Why was Clemens, et. al. in front of congress at all?

Because over a half dozen witness accounts, he lied to federal investigators during his deposition. His accusers are witnesses to his drug use: (1) McNamee has DNA evidence against Roger; (2) His best friend Andy Pettite said Roger's been on HGH at least ten years and on steroids since the 80s; (3) Like Barry Bonds, Roger got better as he got older, and acquired Cy Young awards that he didn't deserve; (4) even Roger's own wife testified that McNamee injected her with HGH in her own bedroom; (5) fellow Yankee pitcher Chuck Knoblauch shared McNamee for drug injections; (6) Roger's excuse of "I take B-12 injections because my Mom told me to" is silly. Besides, "B-12" is code for PED (performance-enhancing drugs); also, steroids are a Class III narcotic, and has been illegal to use without a doctor's prescription since 1990; (7) if Roger need B-12 or anything else he claims, such as lidocaine, why not have the team doctor administer it instead some shady, former cop trainer?

All sports have been drowning in PEDs for the last twenty years. From the East Germans in the 70s Olympics to Canseco and MacGwire in 1986 to Bonds who are breaking records that have stood for 130 years to Ben Johnson to Marion Jones in Track & Field to figure skating judging scandals to cycling where Lance Armstrong is considered the most successful user of all to the NBA's referee/gambling scandal that fixed games for the past three years to the NFL, where it's a given you take drugs, but the league office nor its Players' Union will not lend a hand to provide even a minimal amount of healthcare for all their steroid-related problems that are catching up to them and killing them in their 50s.

The problem with PEDs is its ripple effect. You're a 16-year old kid who is playing for your high school baseball team and you see that not even the GREAT Roger himself can't compete in the Major Leagues unless he's juiced. Nor can Bonds, and nor can hundreds of other ballplayers. Every trainer that talked to the Mitchell Commission said there were more players on PEDs than not on any given team. So you're that 16-year old kid and you see that Roger gets paid a million dollars to pitch one game, win or lose. That's far better than the lottery, so as those who are on PEDs have a enormous and obvious — at least by the statistics — advantage over those not on them, you're going to tell yourself that well, hell, I'll take them for 3-4 years, get established and get off.

But it doesn't work that way. You can cycle the drugs, but you can never get off them. If your numbers and performance sag, you're either cut, traded, or not re-signed. The GREAT Roger was a sub-.500 pitcher when he left the Red Sox in 1990. Like Bonds, he racked up MVPs, Cy Youngs, World Series' wins, top strikeout numbers, and the richest contracts ever given in Baseball.

Major League Baseball could have nipped this in the bud back in 1990 when Congress declared them illegal under Federal Law. They could have fashioned a credible, working policy. It would not have been a perfect policy — none is — but it would have saved the avalanche of shame being rained down on guys like Roger and Barry and MacGwire. Now Roger won't make it to the Hall of Fame, which is his biggest desire in life. Instead, he will have to slink away and hide like MacGwire has done.

I do wish that commissioners would take action and erase all wins and awards from those teams, players, and coaches. We learn this week that by NFL New England Patriot coach Bill Belicheck that he thought it was legal to tape other teams' practices and their signals during games, and that's why he's been doing it since he's been in the league. Bullcrap! In every one of their Super Bowl wins they came from behind in the second half and won each game by 3 points.

The reason it's a big deal is that fans have a right to know that everyone is playing with the same chemical aids... or lack thereof.