When you’ve competed to win your entire life, it stands to reason that most people would take whatever shortcut they can to ensure success. So by that token, I understand why performance-enhancing drugs became so prevalent in Major League Baseball in the late Nineties. What I don’t understand is how a few players are so intent on saving their legacies that they’ll risk their freedom to preserve their legacies.

OR, maybe Roger Clemens has been telling the truth all along regarding his steroid use, and he’ll be found not guilty when his perjury case goes to trial.

I’d like to give the guy the benefit of the doubt. After all, The Rocket and Dwight Gooden were the first pitchers I became infatuated with as a young baseball fan. While Gooden quickly snorted his promising career up his nose, Clemens continued picking up the strikeouts and wins, on his way to becoming one of baseball’s all time power pitchers, with a career lasting nearly a quarter-century.

After a spell of mediocrity in the early Nineties, Clemens underwent several resurgences, first in the middle of the decade with the Blue Jays, then at the start of the next one as the Yankees’ championship-winning ace. Steroid accusations started running rampant a couple of years ago, starting with Jose Canseco’s assertion that Clemens was a doper. Of course, Canseco’s not the world’s most credible witness, but the most damning testimony came from Clemens’ former teammate Andy Petitte, who testified under oath that Clemens admitted to having Yankees trainer Brian McNamee inject him with steroids. Andy Petitte doesn’t seem like the kind of guy who’d throw someone (especially a former teammate) under the bus, especially considering that he himself had already admitted to doping. It’s not like he was trying to save his own ass.

So…what now? You’d think that if Clemens is ready to be subjected to a trial (and considering he knew what he was doing leading up to this event) that he’s got some pretty strong evidence in favor of his innocence. You also don’t know if the prosecution has a smoking gun-it’s inevitable that McNamee and Petitte will both be called to the stand at some point, and if they contradict their earlier testimony then THEY’LL be subject to a perjury indictment.  However, that defense better be strong as hell, lest Clemens find himself looking at a Marion Jones-esque stretch in the pokey with a legacy and reputation completely in tatters.

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