Thursday, February 14, 2008

The case is just about closed on Clemens, Bonds


Yes, both are lingering stories. Yes, Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds will remain in the news for at least a year or two.

There will be more hearings, maybe a couple trials — and if we're lucky enough, a conviction or two. But that's about as likely as me refusing my S.I. Swimsuit issue.

Bonds' perjury trial and Clemens' battle with Brian McNamee are what we in the media like to call "ongoing." As far as I'm concerned, however, they're closed cases.

I've made up my mind about the two former baseball stars. I highly doubt I'll change my opinion.

Here it is:

Both — regardless of what they injected, swallowed, rubbed — were great baseball players. Both created Hall-of-Fame resumes before they allegedly took the "stuff."

Both also are extremely arrogant, proud men — check that, jerks — who refuse to admit the truth no matter how daunting the evidence against them becomes. I'm 99.999999 percent sure Bonds was doping. (I trust the two San Francisco writers; what would they have to gain by writing an entire book full of lies? They almost went to jail for it.) I'm 95 percent sure Clemens was doping (why would his teammate and friend Andy Pettite — a God-rearing man — lie about Clemens' use?).

I'm not going to get deep into the pile of evidence against both players. By now, I'm sure, you're as sick of hearing about it as I am.

What I will say is that the majority of the public has placed an asterisk next to the careers of the two, big-headed players. And that, really, is all that matters.

Neither player is likely to play another game in the major leagues. All that matters now are their legacies, and the general public has painted a pretty clear picture in that regard.

Most baseball fans think Clemens and Bonds are full of ... well, you know.

In an poll, 67 percent of voters believed McNamee — not the cleanest guy, I remind you — over Clemens. Think if McNamee was a decent, law-abiding citizen. It would have been 85-15. Not even Texans believe their home-state hero (or past hero?). About 63 percent of voters from the Lone Star State believed McNamee over Clemens.

The one thing Clemens got right during the hearing Wednesday is that he'll never be viewed in the same light as before his name appeared in the Mitchell Report. That would be correct.

As crazy as this sounds, Bonds — despite his obvious guilt and gigantic noggin — might end up having more believers than Clemens. There are a couple reasons for this. First off, the majority of Giants fans still love Bonds and are willing to overlook his transgressions — although most of them aren't naive enough to think he didn't take anything. Secondly, in the last poll I saw, the majority of the black population still supported him.

Who would have thought two years ago — or even last July — that Clemens might surpass Bonds as America's most despised baseball player? Now, it's possible.

And it really is all that matters — how the public views both players.

Of course, there will be plenty of debate in terms of their HOF resumes. Baseball writers will argue long and hard about whether they belong in the sacred shrine of Cooperstown. Plenty of media coverage will be given to those proceedings.

But even if Clemens and Bonds becomes members of the Hall of Fame, that won't change the opinion of all us baseball fans who know — or are at least fairly sure — they cheated to achieve some of their success and set their amazing records.

As long as we educate the following generations about the tainted legacies of Clemens and Bonds, they'll never — as Clemens said — be solely viewed as great baseball players by the majority of baseball enthusiasts.

They'll be remembered as all-time greats who cheated.

As much as I'd like to see the truth forced out of them, I'm not holding my breath.

How they're viewed by this country's baseball fans is a good enough punishment.


Spencer said...

I totally agree with the fans having the final verdict. A tarnished legacy is the worst things any athlete can have.

Sportsattitude said...

Two peas from the same pod. Their stubborn, relentless passion for superiority served them well between the lines but will be their ultimate undoing outside the lines.