Last week, police officers searched the offices of the Toronto Blue Jays and confiscated documents in connection with the perjury case against Roger Clemens. While baseball fans are asking whether he took steroids, what they should be asking is, “Who cares?”
In case you “misremembered,” Clemens’ case began when his name was mentioned in the Mitchell Report in December 2007. That report was the result of former U.S. Senator George Mitchell’s 21-month investigation into the use of steroids in Major League Baseball. Clemens denied the report’s allegations under oath before Congress, but was recently indicted on six counts of perjury.
Instead of reaching a bargain and ending this foolishness, Clemens defiantly pleaded not guilty in an effort to clear his name. Perhaps he did not take steroids, but there’s a plethora of evidence against him. The Rocket thinks that winning the case would prove once and for all that he stayed true to the integrity of the game.
Sorry, Roger, but the damage has already been done. Everyone, especially this columnist, is fed up with you. The result of this case does not matter. Your continued association with steroids has irreparably tarnished your name and legacy. All you have done now is delay an inevitable outcome.
But Roger isn’t the only one to blame. It is completely unnecessary for the U.S. judicial system to be involved in the steroid mess. Why do we need players testifying before Congress in the first place? Why is the government intent on spending millions of dollars on these cases when this money could be used in more important matters?
More than anything, though, the blame falls on one man: MLB commissioner Bud Selig. Selig and his associates should have dealt with the whole steroids issue in-house. Rather, the commissioner sat back and watched his sport come back to life on Mark McGwire’s enhanced forearms after the disastrous 1994 players’ strike. Players began hitting home runs at alarming rates and more fans started coming out to the ballpark.
As rumours of steroid use surfaced, it was never the government’s responsibility to police MLB. It was Selig’s job to oversee his league, and he failed. If he hadn’t turned a blind eye to an issue that he knew about all too well, he wouldn’t be stuck in his own mess.
The MLB is a frustrating league to love. Every time we get to marvel at new young talents like Jason Heyward, cases like Clemens’ remind us of the embarrassing past that hangs over the sport. Clemens’ decision to continue his battle in court is adding insult to injury.
Clemens was a remarkable player on the field, but his off-the-field antics have left a sour taste in the mouths of sports fans. I do not care about the outcome of Clemens’ trial. I simply want this issue to be over so I can follow the game I used to love.