Clemens gets lucky


Roger Clemens, who has won 350 some-odd ballgames, just got the biggest ‘W’ of his life.

With the prosecution’s balk last week — the federal judge said the mistake was one a first year law student wouldn’t make — Clemens gets to walk, scotch free.

This isn’t to say the former Longhorn pitcher would have been found guilty if the federal prosecutors didn’t show the jury inadmissible evidence, the grounds for the mistrial. But look at the guy, and look at the evidence. He probably would have. In any proper trial, without foolish prosecution mistakes, Clemens is probably guilty. This also doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s innocent, either, because this looked like a case that would bring the Rocket back to earth — the needles that had Clemens’ DNA and anabolic steroids and the testimonies of ex-trainer Brian McNamee and former teammate Andy Pettitte.

He might be forever classified as one of the most unpopular players ever, one who had countless problems with opposing players as well as teammates, received more negative press than good, and had will-he-or-won’t-he retire sagas in the mold of Brett Favre. He has been linked to multiple other women while married, including one woman who claimed to have a 10-year adulterous relationship with Clemens when she was 15. He arrogantly put a little bit of himself into each of his kids, giving each one of them a name that begins with K, for the strikeouts he was known for. He even said this about Japanese and Korean fans at the 2006 Baseball World Classic:

“None of the dry cleaners were open, they were all at the game, Japan and Korea.”

Nobody really liked Clemens before the steroid allegations began bubbling up around 2007 or so. And now most people hate him.

Why should he care? It’s not like he’s ever been totally image-conscience. Clemens’ goal, like most other ballplayers, is to end up in the Hall of Fame. Without any absolute charges, he has every right to now make it. This will outrage those who cry foul, that he used an unfair advantage to get an upper hand. But they won’t have the law backing them up.

For those who may care about this school’s athletic legacy, the mistrial was a good thing. Clemens will become the school’s first member of the Baseball Hall of Fame. The column I wrote a couple of weeks ago saying that Clemens had lost his shot at the title of Texas’ “best ever” because of steroids is now obsolete. Climb back up the pantheon, Rog.

In 2013, Clemens will become eligible for the Hall of Fame, as will Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa — should be a fun voting process. If voters allow themselves to look past the “possibility” that Clemens used steroids and that there is no court decision that said he actually did, then he’ll make it in. You can imagine how many will be fully against it, who will stand up and cry, “You can’t be in the Hall, you juiced!”

And then you can picture Clemens, smug grin and all, retorting:

“Prove it.”