The Baseball Exchange

Preparing for the Rocket’s liftoff by red
June 9, 2007, 3:51 pm
Filed under: MLB, New York Yankees

The RocketThis afternoon, the Rocket, Roger Clemens, will lift off from Yankee Stadium. Clemens signed about a month ago, making his dramatic entrance from George Steinbrenner’s luxury suite, and declaring his commitment to returning to the Yankees. Everyone knows he’s going to perform to some extent; not nearly to insane the 28 mill he’s worth, but defenitely below league average. However, the question on some people’s minds is “How?”

Well, it’s actually not on my mind, but it apparently is on Kevin Hench’s, as he describes his line of thinking in what is one of the dumbest articles I’ve seen in a long time. He does the ol’ dance around the subject, just wondering, how in the world Clemens could achieve such great success at his old age, without actually saying, “Did Roger Clemens take Steroids?”

Seriously, Hench has no good arguments here.

It’s all based on circumstantial evidence that impresses no one. Knowledge, believe it or not, when used the wrong way, can be dangerous. Any time someone comes around and has an impressive breakout season after seasons of mediocrity, murmurs of “steroids” start swirling around. Have you ever thought to think that maybe the player just hit better? Maybe he changed his swing, took more pitches, recovered from an injury, changed leagues? If you’re still going to ask the steroids question, ask it only when there is no explanation. To ask that question before anything else just causes trouble and hardly amounts to anything, besides some “oohs” and “aahs” from a few readers. I doubt Selig is blinks an eye when something like this comes out, much less that it influences any decision he makes.

Hench’s article just has so many holes in it: like the fact that steroid testing actually is going on, and the fact that Clemens has never come close to testing positive. Clemens achieved his late success in the National League, friendly towards pitchers, and in a weak division. There are numerous pitchers today well into their 40s: Randy Johnson, Curt Schilling, Tom Glavine, David Wells – are they too taking steroids? Why isn’t anybody accusing them? And maybe, just maybe, Clemens actually pitched well, without the aid of foreign substances, just because he’s a hall of fame pitcher and has a hall of fame repertoire. Hench is just trying to stir up some controversy and get some attention, and with no facts or a compelling argument.

Baseball is a crazy game – it’s harder to predict than any other sport by far. Instead of looking for an answer, sometimes you should just look at it and let it be. And if you do try to find an answer, don’t make it as pathetic and unconvincing as Hench’s is.



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