WASHINGTON - Former Major League Baseball pitcher Roger Clemens arrives at federal court for his perjury and obstruction trial. (Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)
Roger Clemens is not guilty of lying to Congress. Whew, glad that's ov ... aw, dang it.
I'm pretty sure you didn't care about the Roger Clemens trial. You clicked on this link for whatever reason, so maybe that's a bad assumption. But I have a pretty good idea that you're just morbidly curious, or you accidentally clicked on this story when you were trying to click on the ad of one of our fantastic sponsors. Like … hold on, lemme turn off AdBlock … huh. That sounds delicious, actually. I can see why you'd want to click on that.
But here's what you will care about: the bombardment of Roger Clemens articles you're about to endure. You don't have to read a single one. You'll see the headlines in your Twitter feed. You'll see the headlines on your Facebook timeline. You'll see them on the sites you frequent, and they'll be from writers you care about. You can choose not to decide, but -- check this shit out -- you'll still have made a choice. Which is to say, you're not paying attention. But you can't help paying attention.
You'll read the conciliatory:
Of course, the government surely went after Clemens because he is Roger Clemens, famous pitcher. And the irony is rich: By trying to prove something about his image, the government helped resuscitate it.
In the court of public opinion, we don't need witnesses. We don't need testimony.
We don't even need to be fair.
In the court of public opinion, Roger Clemens doesn't stand a chance.
You'll read the begrudging, disgusted admissions of character flaws and supreme talent:
I believe Roger Clemens is a lying, cheating scoundrel, as delusional as he is duplicitous and half as smart as he thinks he is, divided by three.
I also believe Roger Clemens belongs in the Hall of Fame
And you'll read people laughing at all of these people:
So now comes Clemens. Does any voter who wanted to keep him out of the Hall of Fame because he or she believes he must surely have used PEDs now change his or her mind because a jury dismissed the best available proof? And if not, has the Hall of Fame standard been lowered to "Because I don’t like the guy, okay?"
And if that’s the standard, shouldn’t the Hall of Fame be converted to a JiffyLube?
You can't escape. Succumb to it. Have an opinion.
You think all of these articles will fade. The Clemens trial will get caught in the maw of the Internet news-cycle, and it will be yesterday's story. The deluge will pass.
But it will start up again. Soon. Because as a very handsome man once wrote:
Barry Bonds for the Hall of Fame. Roger Clemens for the Hall of Fame. Sammy Sosa for the Hall of Fame. All in the same year. You'll need to relearn a lot of things if you're planning to avoid this one. You'll have to remember what it's like to use a paper map to get directions. You'll have to remember what it's like to try a restaurant without pulling up Petey541's review on Yelp. You'll have to avoid the Internet entirely.
This will all come up again when he comes up for the Hall of Fame in ... say, 2013. Oh, that's convenient. And you'll hear about him then. A lot. More than you're thinking right now.
There's a good chance that you're like me: feigning ignorance and apathy because you don't want to deal with it. I know that Roger Clemens is a) probably not someone I want to backpack through Europe with, and b) one of the best pitchers of all-time, even if I'm conflicted with how he got (or stayed?) there. I think I could write 50,000 words on the ethics of Guillermo Mota taking performance-enhancing drugs, how he's taken roster spots from kids trying to get a pension, and comparing and contrasting it to what Clemens likely did.
But I'm pretty sure I wouldn't want to. Pretty sure you wouldn't want to read it. Until then, enjoy the Roger Clemens story. It's a story, even if you don't want it to be. And when you're done with it, it'll be a story again.
It was fun watching Roger Clemens dominate. But there was compounding fun-interest accruing while that was going on. We'll pay it off in the installment plan, even if we don't want to.