The Hangover is now taking requests. Today’s subject: Roger Clemens.
Roger Clemens made two mistakes. First, he took performance enhancing drugs. Second, he didn’t admit to it. If Roger had played this right, he could have come out of this mess solidifying his position as the ultimate competitor. All he needed was representation who understood American culture. We love fallen heroes who rise again. See: the wounded Robert Downey Jr., the Sex-Machine Bill Clinton, the respected Ray Lewis, and just wait for Britney’s glorious comeback—it’s going to happen.
The day after Andy Pettitte confessed to using HGH, Clemens should have come out, too. He should have called ESPN and agreed to sit down with one of their ball-carrying baseball writers to make a statement and be interviewed.
If the Clemens camp was sharp, the scene would have played out like this:
Roger: I would like to admit that I used performance-enhancing drugs. I’m not proud of it. I didn’t want to do it. I hated that I had to do it, in fact. It riled me good, but I had no other choice.
ESPN: What do you mean you had no choice?
Roger: I’m a competitor. I get paid a lot of money to pitch, to compete. It was obvious that hitters were using something to gain a competitive advantage. We all knew that. And I wasn’t about to give up an edge to anyone.
ESPN: So you don’t think you could have competed without them?
Roger: I’m good enough to win with or without that kind of help. Look at my record. But I’m not trying to win some games, when I take that mound I’m out there to win every game. If I give up a dinger and we lose because some batter is juiced and I’m not, that doesn’t sit well with me. If the hitters weren’t going to play fair, I was going to meet that head on.
ESPN: Did you know for a fact that hitters were using PED’s? Which ones?
Roger: I never saw anyone do it, but it was obvious. Check the numbers. They’re ridiculous. There were some pretty good pitchers around baseball back then, and those hitters were hammering them. I did what I had to do to keep the playing field level.
ESPN: So, you used PED’s reluctantly?
Roger: I was paid a lot of money to win games. I’m a competitor. I couldn’t look my teammates in the eye if I wasn’t doing everything in my power to help my team win. I put my career on the line for those guys. I could have grown a third ear on that stuff. My tendons could have gone to dust. But I wasn’t about to give up an edge to anyone. I did what I had to do to help my team. I’m sorry I did it, but I wasn’t going to lose because some guy had an edge on me. Sure, it pisses me off that I had to do it. It pissed me off then, too, but I can’t take it back now.
If Clemens had released this statement, he would have been a victim who did what he had to do to help his team. That kind of dedication and risk-taking is revered in America. The Rocket could have reentered the stratosphere. Pathetic, but true.