Thursday, February 14, 2008

pitchers and catchers report!

Who could think of a better Valentine’s Day present?!

And, speaking of pitchers reporting, this one doesn’t quite understand that testifying before Congress isn’t the same as arguing with an umpire, or pitching broken bat chunks in a World Series.

Other moments tested Mr. [Roger] Clemens, too, particularly when he was asked about whether he attempted to coach a witness — his former nanny — before she spoke earlier this week to lawyers for the panel, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. The hearing ended with the committee chairman, Henry A. Waxman, Democrat of California, pounding the gavel sharply to keep Mr. Clemens from interrupting him, but with the committee drawing no immediate conclusions as to who was being truthful.

That paragraph doesn’t quite capture just how inappropriate Roger the Rocket’s comportment actually was. Clemens repeatedly interrupted the proceedings, talking over House members, as well as other witnesses. You would think Roger’s lawyers might have coached him a bit, no?

Maybe he didn’t expect to have to defend himself that all much. Clemens apparently got a pretty warm reception from committee members, visiting their offices, shaking hands, signing autographs, and posing for pictures with representatives and staffers in the days leading up to this public hearing.

Mr. Shays and Mr. Issa were among the 25 committee members who met with Clemens individually over the past week. Mark E. Souder, Republican of Indiana, one of the few who refused Mr. Clemens’s request to meet with him, deviated from other Republicans, stating that the depositions were “fairly devastating” against Clemens.

Reps. Chris Shays (R-CT) and Darrell Issa (R-CA)—along with Dan Burton (R-IA)—basically made total asses of themselves, behaving about as badly as Clemens. All three gestured wildly, pointing at Clemens’s accuser and former trainer, Brian McNamee, while calling him a “drug dealer.”

It got so bad that House Oversight Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) actually apologized to McNamee for the behavior of his colleagues. He should have apologized for just how cheaply a member of the United States House of Representatives can be bought. Really, why waste tens of thousands on K Street lobbyists, lavish junkets, and big campaign contributions, when you can just have The Rocket visit and scribble his name on a couple of ten dollar baseballs?

Of course, at the end of the day, Rep. Waxman should probably apologize for wasting our time.

Actually, he kind of did:

“The only reason we had this hearing was because Roger Clemens insisted on it,” Mr. Waxman said in a news conference afterward.

But, Waxman should have apologized for wasting America’s time with this whole investigation. Seriously, Henry, you’re a smart guy—you have your staff looking into what seems like hundreds of Bush Administration misdoings—but with a President jumping up and down and demanding that Congress retroactively indemnify him for previous lawbreaking, and your colleagues across the rotunda debating about whether to enforce rules against torture (Note: Senator McAsshole flip-flopped on this one), don’t you think that professional athletes using HGH—before it was even illegal to do so, I should add—don’t you think, Henry, that this is kind of small beer?

George Mitchell, the former Senator from the Great State of Maine, and the author of the report on the use of performance enhancing drugs in Major League Baseball, said that there is plenty of blame to go around—players, trainers, agents, owners, and MLB officials all the way up to and including Commissioner Bud Selig all played a role in helping “juice” the game. When issuing the report, Mitchell essentially said, “The past is the past; let’s not look to place blame—let’s move on.”

So, let’s, shall we?

It’s February 14th, 2008, and spring training has begun. Let the juiced Mr. Clemens go play with his equally juiced wife. Let Brian McNamee peddle his used syringes and bloody gauze on e-Bay. And let us PLAY BALL!

PS Here’s what Rep. Rush Holt (D-NY) was doing while Shays, Issa, and Burton were having a hissy-fit over the Rocket’s oft-needled buttocks:

(cross-posted on The Seminal and Daily Kos)

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