Pick the liar

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Baseball’s steroids hittings hearings on Capitol Hill have gotten ugly. Roger Clemens, the once-future Hall of Famer and his primary accuser, trainer Brian McNamee are testifying before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. You can watch the hearing here.

Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., had no problem getting McNamee to admit that he’s been a liar in the past, appearing to be serving up a soft pitch to former Red Sox star Clemens. Then, he did what congresspeople do best: he hung Clemens on his own words, asking Clemens to explain discrepancies in his assertion that he never talked to McNamee about injecting HGH (human growth hormone), and getting Clemens to acknowledge that he had a heated conversation with McNamee after he found out the trainer injected Clemens’ wife in his bedroom when he wasn’t there (which brought up a whole ‘nother image that’s best left alone).

In a matter of seconds, Clemens looked like a liar, too.

Getting a pass from today’s hearing is New York Yankee pitcher Andy Pettite (Tangent: where are those New York fans who got on the New England Patriots case a couple of weeks ago for cheating, anyway?).. Pettitte is another accuser of Clemens, but his lawyers got him off the TV hotseat, saying Pettite did not want to provide negative information about his former longtime friend in public.

Updates as necessary:

11:04 a.m. Rep. Tom Davis, R-Virginia to McNamee: Why did you dispense drugs you knew to be illegal?

McNamee: I just figured it was the norm and culture of baseball.

Davis: How prevalent was it?

McNamee: Within the players it was pretty prevalent.

11:16 a.m. – Clemens just told Rep. John Mica, R-Florida, that he was injected with B-12 (legal) and when asked what color the substance was, he said “red and pink.” About 45 minutes ago, Clemens could not recall a family vacation in Florida, vaguely recalling that his wife might’ve been in a golf foursome with him, but he had no idea where his kids were. And that was right after he said he remembered details of a 17-inning Toronto Blue Jay game around the same time.

11:24 a.m. – “The depositions this committee will release later today,” said Rep. Mark Souder, R-Ind., “will be devastating.”

11:32 a.m. Clemens tosses a dart at McNamee, who testified earlier that he “made” Roger Clemens. “In 1998, I had the triple crown in pitching. I had over 200 wins by 1998. I didn’t meet him until 1999.” Clemens talks about losing a sister-in-law to drugs, talks about his brother who pulled his son out of college for using marijuana. “Someone’s trying to break my spirit in this room,” he said. “You can tell your boys that I did it the right way,” Clemens said to Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-Mo., who stopped short of asking Clemens for an autograph.

11:42 a.m. – Chair Henry Waxman suggests Clemens got in touch with a nanny of his kids, who the committee was apparently looking for, and had him over to his house after not seeing her for 7 years. Waxman suggests Clemens was getting her story straight before the committee found her.

11:43 a.m. – Some of the committee reports and statements are being put up as pdf files on the committee Web site. But no depositions yet.

11:52 a.m. – Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton to Clemens: “I’m sure you’re going to heaven.” Because?

12:23 p.m. – After a lunch break, Rep. Davis works the “nanny angle.” Clemens says he got in touch with her because the committee couldn’t. The context is whether the nanny can verify that Clemens wasn’t at a party thrown by baseball drug user Jose Canseco, during which, it’s alleged, players discussed their use of steroids and drugs. “I know one thing: I wasn’t there working out a drug deal,” said Clemens, who says he wasn’t there at all.

12:27 p.m. The Chicago Tribune has just posted Rick Morrissey’s column:

Many of you don’t care if he used performance-enhancing drugs to be the best he could be, in the same way many of you don’t care if some of the SI models turned to surgery in the hope of being more attractive.

But it has to give you pause, doesn’t it, when you find yourself trying to decide what’s real and what’s fake in a person? I can hear thousands of voices, most of them male: No, it doesn’t!

12:33 p.m. — It turns out that lots of congressional folks asked Clemens for his autograph during his blitz of the Capitol. They may have violated ethics rules, but not because they buddied up to someone they were investigating.

1:33 p.m. – We’ve pretty much reached the “I’ve got to say something clever to make the nightly news” portion of the hearing. So the questioning from the pols isn’t particularly illuminating.

1:40 p.m. – In closing his hearing, Waxman sends bouquets and kisses to McNamee, and pats the committee on the back for its work on the issue.

  • Grant B.

    The more this thing unfolds, the more I think the reason for holding these hearings is for Congressmen/women is to meet baseball players, rather than add any benefit to society as a whole.