The oddity of the Roger Clemens case

By Tom Quiner

Roger Clemens testifies before Congress

Roger Clemens testifies before Congress

I’ve got mixed feelings about Roger Clemens.

On the one hand, he was a sensational pitcher with the Boston Red Sox, my team.

On the other hand, he was a sensational pitcher for the New York Yankees, avowed enemy of the Red Sox Nation.

Mr. Clemens’ career achievements were staggering …

7 time Cy Young Award winner (a record) for being the best pitcher in his league.

1 MVP award.

354 career wins.

Only guy to strike out 20 batters in a game twice.

Third most strikeouts thrown in history.

This is but a small sample of “The Rocket’s” accomplishments on the diamond.

All of this has been tainted by suggestions that he took steroids. For some reason, Congress got involved in the mess, and along the way, Roger Clemens volunteered to testify before a Congressional panel.

Congress thought he lied to them and charged him with perjury.

Here’s where the case got odd: it devolved into partisan wrangling. Democrats thought Clemens was guilty of perjury. Republicans believed he was innocent.

The jury agreed with Republican sentiments and quickly found him innocent on all 6 counts.

How in the world could a perjury lawsuit become a partisan issue?

Brian McNicoll was there watching events unfold with the Congress. Mr. McNicoll was the director of communications for the Republican staff of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

He said Clemens’ responses seemed credible:

“He sat ramrod straight in his chair. He answered each question forthrightly, directly and clearly. He never evaded, double-talked or squirmed.”

He said the key witness against Clemens, Brian McNamee, his former trainer-turned-accuser, was not credible:

“His answers were indirect, wordy, unclear, evasive. Several times, the committee members had to ask him to speak up. It was as if the producers had ordered up a dodgy slimeball for the role of accuser, and the casting director had said, ‘I have just the guy.’ “

Democrats believed the dodgy slimeball.

The liberal New York media believed the dodgy slimeball.

Republicans and the jury believed Clemens.

So again, how could a perjury case be so partisan, especially since Roger Clemens is no “big time conservative”?

According to Mr. McNicoll, it comes down to how you view success:

“Conservatives revere success. They admire self-sacrifice and discipline, and they don’t begrudge the man who parlays these into professional and financial success. They want to be like him and find ways for others to replicate his methods.”

Liberals, according to McNicoll, view things differently:

“Liberals believe the Roger Clemenses of the world benefit from a random and thus inherently unfair assignment of talent. They think he’s rich and famous solely because he’s big enough and strong enough to throw a baseball 95 miles per hour.”

It makes me think about my God son. Can he ever play the sax!

His Dad told me once how parents would gush how his son had “so much talent.” The suggestion was that it was all a gift from God, and that he didn’t have to do anything else but pick up the damn instrument and start blowing. They never saw the hours, the months, the years he put in playing scales, working on his fingering, and honing his technique.

It’s kind of the same thing with Clemens, says Mr. McNicoll:

“Never mind that not everyone who throws 95 miles per hour has anywhere near the success of Clemens. Never mind lots of people are big enough and strong enough to throw that hard but don’t put in the work to learn the skills it takes to actually do so. Never mind the extraordinary inner strength that even Clemens’ worst detractors admit propelled him throughout his career.”

This mindset explains the essence of the Obama campaign, which focuses on “fairness.”

Fairness is all about knocking down the successful a peg or two and redistributing their productivity with those who didn’t earn it.

Fairness is all about denigrating those, who through hard work and a lifetime of good decisions, have gotten ahead.

Fairness at its core is socialism.

The Occupy Wall Street movement is fueled by their revulsion for the successful.

The curious case of Roger Clemens is but a microcosm of our age.