Pete Garcia, The Sports Guy
In our society, we hate impostors. We can't stand someone who isn't who they claim to be. We're a forgiving people; that is true, but not so much when it comes to betrayal.
Roger Clemens and the other 84 current and former Major League Baseball players linked to illegal steroid use by being named in the Mitchell Report are impostors, and yes, they betrayed us.
It turns out Clemens wasn't super-human afterall. The man known simply as "Rocket" wasn't a rocket afterall, not according to the report which revealed in detail his use of steroids. Nine of the report's 409 pages were devoted to Clemens, and they stated how he was injected with steroids years before the illegal substances and baseball were even linked.
Suddenly, it's as clear as day. How was his ability to throw a fast-ball and endure the grind of a MLB pitching rotation seemingly immune to aging and deterioration? The seven-time Cy Young Award winner, who was also an All-Star, MVP and among the winningest pitchers of all-time, was on the juice.
Through his lawyer, Clemens has denied the allegations, but just like other greats of the game like Barry Bonds, his name will forever be linked to steroids.
In 2006, as a birthday present for my 12-year-old son, I bought two general admission tickets for a lot of money for Clemens' rehabilitation assignment with the Corpus Christi Hooks.
Just a year earlier, he had seen Clemens in an Astros uniform pitching in the World Series.
On the day when Clemens was to pitch for the Hooks, people stood in line for days outside Whataburger Field for tickets just to catch a glimpse of the greatest pitcher of this era. Under a blazing hot June sun, children waited for hours for just a chance at an autograph.
Once on the mound in Corpus Christi, Clemens was lights-out, but was he really that good or was he aided by an illegal substance that those he was playing against didn't have the benefit of? For my son's 12th birthday, did he witness a performance by one of the greatest pitchers of all time or one of the greatest impostors?
That's the thing about this whole mess… it'll be debated for years and maybe for generations, but we will never know how great Clemens really was or of his rightful place in baseball history.
You see, there is only one difference between Clemens and Bonds and what they did in baseball. When Bonds broke MLB's homerun record, he did so under a cloud of steroid rumors. How much you believe baseball's most hallowed record belongs to Bonds depends on how much you believe be benefitted from steroids.
When Clemens came back last season and the season before that from certain retirement, we were betrayed because we believed the road he was traveling was paved with good ole fashion all-American hard work. At his age, Clemens pitching against players young enough to be his son was a great story. On top of that, his ability to still dominate and throw as hard as he did was supposed to be a testament to overcoming adversity and age through hard work and good living.
We know now that Clemens was only impersonating that person.