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The plan was good and it almost worked…until Roger opened his mouth. On a day where everything could have worked perfectly, Roger Clemens simply crashed and burned.
Let me set the record straight: after watching the whole process before the Congress, I’m convinced: Clemens is a liar. Bad, that was too bad to see one of the greatest pitchers of all the time (the greatest?) crash and burn. And the irony? Clemens asked for it. He was the first to ask for interviews and tribunes to explain himself, eager to deny every allegation that could tarnish his legacy. That legacy, was tarnished, yesterday, not by McNamee or Pettitte, but by Clemens himself. Clemens made, probably, the wrongest calculation of all time when he decided to ignore the fact that he might not be the same pitcher as he used to be.
Clemens made two major mistakes. The first mistake was to underestimate the forgiveness that fans have for their heroes. Clemens was spectacular and effective, in his prime, probably more then anyone else. Clemens gave to his fans everything they can ask from a professional athlete and a hero. These fans were ready to hear the truth that Clemens, like many players, made a mistake by taking some “unusual” medications. The only thing Clemens had to do was to recognize and apologize. Fans don’t care that much about mistakes made by their heroes. It makes them more “human”; more like the “normal” guy. Sadly, Clemens refused to do so. He simply took the easy road: the road of denial. After yesterday, how many fans will forgive Clemens for lying in their faces? My answer is probably not as much as fans who could forgive him for his mistake…
The second mistake Clemens made was to let Mr. Hyde take possession over Dr. Jekyll. For a couple of years, Roger Clemens played the “prima donna” card: ‘I want to retire; no wait, I won’t. I want to play; I don’t know.’ Clemens built his own market for his services and play, in some extent, with fans’ passion for the game. Slowly, but surely, Clemens’ EGO made him think that he “can do no wrong.” Yesterday, that EGO showed Clemens under a very bad angle: a guy who was not afraid to use the “Me, Myself, and I” strategy. In fact, Clemens was so eager to protect his image and his ego that he was willing to involve people who should have stayed out that hearing (his wife, his mother). How can you respect a guy who decides to use his mother, as a shield, in order to protect his EGO? I don’t know about you, but that “B-12, my mother told me to do so” episode made me puke. Plain and simple.
It was easy for Clemens to think that he could destroy McNamee testimony, in front of the Congress, because he had a better reputation. The calculation was not that wrong until Rep. Cumming, from Maryland, talked about his old friend Andy Pettitte. From there, everything was lost for Clemens. He had to admit that Pettitte was a man of integrity; a man of integrity who confirmed McNamee testimony. A man of integrity who sealed the deal regarding the innocence or the guilt of Clemens. Clemens couldn’t find a plausible reason to explain why McNamee would lie about him. Within 15 minutes (thanks to rep. Cummins), Clemens’ fame, reputation and EGO reached absolute zero.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m not happy with the result. I would have preferred to see Clemens admitted an error; suffered the consequence of it and then have a long and peaceful life until his introduction to the HOF. Clemens decided otherwise. He preferred the denial road, the lawyers and the public relation paths. Sadly for him, it didn’t work. It didn’t work because his arrogant EGO prevented him from being humble. Humble before the fact that every human has the right to fail and make a mistake. That’s too bad, Roger, way too bad…