Roger “Rocket” Clemens, maybe the greatest right-handed pitcher in baseball history, is a little fat in the face and also a free man, having been declared innocent/not guilty of six counts of obstructing Congress, committing perjury, and making false statements. (The statements were about whether he used steroids to ostensibly become better at baseball, which is pretty much why we care in the first place.) The trial may be the biggest waste of baseball-related tax dollars since a couple of brain surgeons posing as lawyers in California found Barry Bonds guilty of a teeny weeny count of obstructing justice, which carried a sentence of 30 days house arrest in a palatial abode that is bigger than the grocery store I go to.
We realize this whole thing is all still a bit confusing, so we’re here to answer all of your idiotic questions about what exactly went down.
Dipshit: So, I remember you telling me that the CFL guy Pinhead Clemons is still wanted for murder and Rockin’ Roget Clemens, the pitcher, is on trial, right?
VICE: Right. Well, was on trial.
Oh. So was he found innocent or was he found not guilty?
Well if you’re innocent you don’t have to pay in the civil suit, but if you’re not guilty it’s just a technicality. That’s what I read in a pamphlet.
No, that’s absolutely not correct. They are exactly the same thing.
So he got off?
Yeah, all counts.
How about his lawyer?
Rusty Hardin? What about him?
No, I’m saying, “how about his lawyer.” He’s real cool. He made some good arguments, huh?
You know, he didn’t do a bad job. He helped establish that Clemens was a super workout fiend and his former personal trainer was a sicko.
Wait, they had to prove that? Isn’t he an athlete?
Well, not many pitchers are “athletes,” though they do get paid to play sports. Have you watched the 1993 Tigers? But yeah, most pitchers are mildly fat. OK, that’s mean. Most are obese.
Oh, like Clemens? Yeah, I saw the police sketch. He has a fat face. Real plump, like buffalo mozzarella.
No. Clemens is in really good shape. He showed up late to the verdict, since he was busy working out (seriously).
He’s still kind of roly-poly in that suit. Shouldn’t he have a neck?
Look, it takes all kinds. Besides, skinny pitchers can break down early. Clemens is pretty stocky, built like a tank, and had these huge superlegs that helped him throw nasty fastballs and strike out guys like crazy.
Wait, legs? Why do those matter? I thought he was great because of his missile arm.
Pitchers generate torque through their legs and trunk. If he threw with his arm alone it would probably fall off. And it’s “rocket arm,” which is why they call him “Rocket.”
Are you sure? I’m pretty sure it’s missile. Anyways, can we get back to the trial?
Sure, what do you want to know? It helps to think of the verdict as not so much Hardin’s team having won the case, but the prosecution having lost, specifically because its key witness was his ex-wife, an oversight which—
I don’t really care about that. ESPN’s boy Lester from the Munster family explained it all during Sports Hour. Can you tell me how Clemens’s guilt of being innocent affects his Hall of Fame chances?
His what now?
His innocence, man. He’s so innocent he’s guilty of it. He reeks of justice. Look at his fat face. He’s an earth angel, guilty of being innocent in a court of law, by a jury of my peers, and is therefore a no-doubt Hall of Famer, with 4,600 strikeouts and a pardon from Obama.
He’s not a Hall of Fame lock. Some writers with votes seem to have already made up their minds, regardless of the verdict. One dude said that since the main witness and Clemens were both sleazebags, it’s sewn up and he’s not a Hall of Famer.
Wait, for real?
Yeah. It’s a little much. But on the other hand there was an odd recorded phone call where Clemens kept asking his sleazeball trainer to say Clemens didn’t take steroids without actually asking him to. I guess the government ran with that and wanted to make him look bad, then guilty.
So why didn’t it work?
Well, the trial was half a longshot to begin with and the presentation was pretty fusty. The proceedings were complicated and boring, and if it was hard for media to follow, one imagines, it was really rough for the jury (some jurors even nodded off during the trial). Another problem was the government’s key witnesses were a creepy ex-cop/trainer who looks like this, and whose testimony was destroyed by statements from his ex-wife.
So what’s the damage here? Besides to my pants since I knocked over my drink when I realized the defense attorney’s name is Rusty.
Well, the lawyers working on the case got four-plus years of money and jets and whatever. That’s the silver lining: Some lawyers got paid.
Did we learn anything about steroids or the steroid era? Is it all over now and all the ballplayers are clean?
The trial ended up being about a bunch of circumstantial evidence and dubious statements made by known liars. By the end, people who were paying attention not only weren’t convinced Clemens lied to Congress, they weren’t convinced he did drugs in the first place. They were as bad at building a case as Clemens was at being a bad baseball pitcher.
So he was guilty of being innocent of sucking, too?