Clemens Vs. Bonds: Are The Drug Allegations Fair?

By L.A.Batchelor
Updated: October 8, 2006

NORTH CAROLINA — When word came out former Diamond Backs pitcher Jason Grimsley accused Roger Clemens and several others of using performance-enhancing drugs, according to a federal agent’s affidavit, I can’t say I was surprised. I say this because of factual reason, logical reasons and reasons that my eyes can attest to.

The L.A. Times story alledges that Clemens, Andy Pettitte, Miguel Tejada, Brian Roberts and Jay Gibbons were accused of using performance-enhancing drugs, according to a federal agent’s affidavit. All the players (of course) denied the accusations and the team stood by its players in a statement.

“I just think it’s incredibly dangerous to sit out there and just throw names out there,” Clemens said Sunday before the Astros played in Atlanta. “I haven’t seen [the report], nor do I need to see it”, Clemens added.

“I played with Grimsley for a couple of years in New York and had a great relationship with him,” said Pettitte. “I guess reports are saying I’ve used performance enhancing drugs,” he added.

“I’ve never used any drugs to enhance my performance in baseball. I don’t know what else to say except to say it’s embarrassing my name would be out there.”

Now I must admit I was surprise to hear Mr. Pettitte’s name come up in the scandal simply because of his character, dimeanor and his physical appearance really hasn’t changed over his career.

I really don’t have an opinion or gut feeling on the other players name by Mr. Grimsley, but Mr. Clemens, is definitely a person up for debate and discussion.

When I was a teenager back in the 80’s, I had a chance to see a lot of players in the Red Sox organization come up through their AA affiliate, the New Britain Red Sox.

From Mike Greenwell to Mo Vaughn, some of their best came through and it was an honor and priviledge to see them even though I am a huge fan of the pinstripes in the Bronx.

One particular year, a slim young pitcher with a overpowering fast ball and a swagger that everyone noticed was rehabing an injury to get back to the big leagues.

The year was 1985 and his name was William Roger Clemens. Clemens was a tall, mean, lean “Rocket Machine”, who knew how to throw three pitches mainly: Fast, Faster, and even faster!

Clemens has learned a few pitches since then that led to a rookie of the year award with the Red Sox, AL MVP award, seven Cy Young awards, over 300 wins, two world championships and other numerous acheivements and accolades that makes him a first ballot Hall of Famer.

But the Rocket Man’s physical appearnce has changed from his time in Boston to Toronto to the Yankees and of course the Astros. Critics point to the enlargement over the years of Barry Bonds’ head and one could say the same about Clemens along with his face and body.

Let’s look at some other factors that could point in the guilty direction of Mr. Clemens:

— Clemens shows the same physical change as Bonds(head, face and body enlargement).

–Clemens is accused along with Andy Pettitte who was also accused. They’ve trained together in the off-season since their days with the Yankees and now with the Astros. Both players have had a number of similar problems primarily in their legs.

— He played with the accuser Jason Grimsley.

— Like Bonds, Clemens statistically got better and seemed to have gotten stronger as he’s gotten older.

— Like all the great players of his era, he is scrutinized by the steroid issue.

— Their have been a lot of pitchers over the years who admitted or were caught cheating (Gaylord Perry, Joe Niekro and now Grimsley)

Now most of you will say this argument is not based on any facts and would rule it out as ridiculous however, I see no distinctness between the argument against Barry Bonds based on a book, alledged information and evidence.

Some of you will assume I am attacking Clemens because of some dislike I have for him or the Red Sox, but this is something I felt about this player for years and those who know me know my thoughts and would affirm as much.

The bottom line of this topic is fairness. When critics of Barry Bonds tell us he cheated because they don’t like his personality or attitude and also base it on alleged evidence or so called facts not confirmed and then give Roger Clemens a free pass on guilt because he such a smart player, good and likable guy or because he is a pitcher, is arbitrary and is a barefaced double-standard.

If Barry Bonds is found out to be guilty, I will be the first to capitulate and express I was amiss, but until that times comes I reiterate a person is innocent until proven guilty. Something I will extend to Mr. Clemens in the face of his accusations.

Unless they admit guilt, all players like society, should be given the same presumption of innocence bestowed upon everyone in this country. Something mainstream media and fans alike, seemed to want to administer to some players and not others.