Roger Clemens earned an acquittal on two counts of perjury, one count of obstructing Congress and three counts of making a false statement. And with a grueling, dragging nine-week trial in the books, the United States government has hopefully realized the error of chasing steroids ghosts. Millions of tax dollars spent, thousands of hours billed and an initial mistrial weren’t enough to sway the Justice Department. Clemens leaves federal court with what’s left of his dignity and the notion that even if he’s already guilty in the court of public conscience, those opinions won’t send him to jail.
At this point, I’m not sure the seven-time Cy Young winner has any chance at a 2013 Hall of Fame induction. Voters have eyed Mark McGwire with a vitriol for being connected to performance-enhancing drugs and there are plenty of writers with axes to grind who figure to keep Clemens out of Cooperstown. Is that right? Perhaps not, but they’ve been given a vote we haven’t. As baseball moves past the Steroid Era, years or decades down the line, I’m of the line of thinking that players will be remembered a bit more fondly, simply for the incredible numbers posted. That’s a nicer way of saying it than votes for guys like Clemens might change when the current batch of curmudgeonly writers dies. But both are true.
The United States roped in Barry Bonds on a weak catch-all, obstruction charge at the conclusion of a similarly fruitless pursuit. It couldn’t do the same to Clemens because this case basically came down to the credibility of former Clemens confidante, Brian McNamee. If the jury wasn’t sure of his testimony — and it was contradicted heavily by defense witnesses — then Clemens would easily walk free.
The jurors won’t get this time back. The prosecutors won’t have anything to show their superiors. The suits Rusty Hardin wears won’t get any more tan.
These are the only truths in a sea of supposedly false statements. It’s hard to put the millions of dollars spent in a worse light.