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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Barra: Roger Clemens’s Long, Expensive, and Probably Useless Trial

Allen Barra summarizes the scanty case against Roger Clemens for The Atlantic.

In 2008, before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Clemens adamantly declared his own innocence. The question should have been why a Congressional committee was still needed when baseball, by then,had instituted a perfectly workable system for drug testing… it seems likely that Barry Bonds’ house arrest is all the federal government will have to show for our $120 million.

Bill James responds on his paysite:

Allen and I have been friends since 1982, and it is a genuinely outstanding article, and I endorse about 90% of what Allen says in the article.  But I do disagree with him about a couple of points… My view is that baseball (labor and ownership) was ignoring the Legitimate Third-Party Interests of the fans and the public, and it was an entirely appropriate use of the power of congress to step in and tell them to fix the problem.  Baseball did institute a fix in 2004/2005, but in 2007/2008 it was very unclear whether or not the problem was behind us…

Allen characterizes the prosecution of Clemens as “an effort to nail at least one major league baseball star for using performance-enhancing drugs.”... (a) I don’t doubt that the Federal prosecutors went after Clemens because they legitimately thought that he had lied to congress, and (b) I don’t doubt that there is a legitimate public interest—a legitimate third-party interest—in punishing people who lie to congress… they bootstrapped their faith in [George] Mitchell’s report into a faith in Brian McNamee’s testimony.  This is more problematic…

If Roger Clemens is acquitted of perjury—which I think he probably will be—and if he continues to assert that he never used HGH or steroids—which I think he will—then the BBWAA will have no option other than to elect him to the Hall of Fame.

The District Attorney Posted: June 13, 2012 at 10:10 PM | 67 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: allen barra, astros, bill james, legal, red sox, roger clemens, yankees

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   1. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: June 14, 2012 at 12:28 AM (#4156329)
If Roger Clemens is acquitted of perjury—which I think he probably will be—and if he continues to assert that he never used HGH or steroids—which I think he will—then the BBWAA will have no option other than to elect him to the Hall of Fame.

None whatsoever. And there will be a market for perhaps five computers, guitar groups are on the way out, and we will be greeted as liberators.
   2. Sunday silence Posted: June 14, 2012 at 01:47 AM (#4156378)
I appreciate your sentiment but once he's acquitted he's a lock for the Hall. How can it be otherwise?
   3. UCCF Posted: June 14, 2012 at 01:55 AM (#4156383)
I appreciate your sentiment but once he's acquitted he's a lock for the Hall. How can it be otherwise?

Look at OJ - he was acquitted. If you polled a roomful of people today, how many would still think he killed his wife? More than 25%?

There will be people who, no matter what the outcome on this trial, will always believe Clemens took something. And if that group includes 25% of voters, then he'll stay out (at least until the VC puts him in).
   4. Walt Davis Posted: June 14, 2012 at 02:07 AM (#4156386)
My view is that baseball (labor and ownership) was ignoring the Legitimate Third-Party Interests of the fans and the public

utter nonsense.

but in 2007/2008 it was very unclear whether or not the problem was behind us

Maybe so but how does gathering evidence about a player's possible use from 1998-2001, a player who wasn't playing in 2008, address that issue?

I don’t doubt that the Federal prosecutors went after Clemens because they legitimately thought that he had lied to congress

I think that's probably true. I also think people lie to Congress all the time (see Bud Selig's testimony :-) without threat of prosecution. I also think that even when prosecutors would like to go after someone they think is lying, they quickly realize when they have insufficient evidence to move ahead.

There simply isn't anything about this that makes a lick of sense. So I claim the Chewbacca defense -- if it makes no sense, you must acquit.
   5. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: June 14, 2012 at 02:26 AM (#4156395)
I also think people lie to Congress all the time (see Bud Selig's testimony :-) without threat of prosecution.

Sure, maybe that used to be the case, but it hasn't happened since yesterday morning.
   6. Chip Posted: June 14, 2012 at 03:36 AM (#4156412)
And they weren't even trying to lay a perjury trap for Dimon.
   7. baudib Posted: June 14, 2012 at 03:53 AM (#4156413)
utter nonsense.


Walt, could you elaborate here? I'm not trolling or looking to pick a fight; I'm pretty indifferent to steroid use. But I don't understand what you're saying here.

It could be one of three things, I think:

1. You're saying this is not James' view.

2. Ownership and labor were not ignoring the legitimate interests of the fans regarding steroid use.

3. That fans have no legitimate interest in such issues in the game.

No. 1 seems unlikely, so I'm guessing you think it's No. 2 or No. 3. No.2 -- seems that the players were never going to really do anything about steroids on the their, such as demand that MLB test them. If you assume that baseball by 2008 had been two decades into a steroid era, it doesn't really seem like ownership was eager to do anything about it either. IIRC, this didn't become a huge national story until Canseco's book and/or when it became apparent that Bonds was going to threaten Aaron's record.

NO. 3?
   8. Guapo Posted: June 14, 2012 at 04:05 AM (#4156416)
If Roger Clemens is acquitted of perjury—which I think he probably will be—and if he continues to assert that he never used HGH or steroids—which I think he will—then the BBWAA will have no option other than to elect him to the Hall of Fame.


Very strange. Many members of the BBWAA have made it clear that they will not vote for someone they SUSPECT of using steroids, even if they have no proof that he actually used. Not sure why Clemens would be treated any differently.
   9. bjhanke Posted: June 14, 2012 at 05:20 AM (#4156430)
You know, if Clemens is found not guilty, and the BBWAA refuses to elect him, he might just file a lawsuit against the BBWAA and/or the HoF and/or his current prosecutors for something like defamation of character. Now, THAT would be entertaining. I'm not sure which of the three would be subject to such a suit, but it would be entertaining to see it.

BTW, OJ was found not guilty in a CRIMINAL trial, but guilty in a CIVIL suit, where the burden of proof is lower. The reason he was acquitted in the criminal trial is primarily that the PROSECUTORS tried to present as evidence something (the glove) that absolutely argued against their own case. If OJ's lawyers had presented the glove as evidence that OJ was innocent, that would have been nothing. But when the prosecutors present as evidence something that absolutely argues against their own case, they are pretty much dead. - Brock Hanke
   10. Walt Davis Posted: June 14, 2012 at 06:31 AM (#4156437)
Walt, could you elaborate here?

When in doubt, you should always go with:

No. 4 Walt screwed something up.

Quoted bit stopped too soon. Baseball and labor ignored the fans ("legitimate third party interest" and "the public" are red herrings), the part that's utter nonsense is that this somehow gives Congress the right to stick its nose in.

I mean the Padres ignored the interests of every living thing (not to mention taste) when they wore those horrible mustard yellow and brown uniforms but I don't recall Congress riding to the rescue. James just basically said it's OK for Congress to poke its nose in anytime somebody complains about something.

Of course, in the end, Congress can do what it wants but there's no reason the rest of us can't call political grandstanding political grandstanding.
   11. marko Posted: June 14, 2012 at 06:42 AM (#4156439)
Didn't McNamee file a "defamation and malicious prosecution lawsuit" against Clemens, or was that thrown out?
   12. baudib Posted: June 14, 2012 at 07:27 AM (#4156452)
Of course, in the end, Congress can do what it wants but there's no reason the rest of us can't call political grandstanding political grandstanding.


Oh, sure.
   13. Darren Posted: June 14, 2012 at 08:12 AM (#4156472)
"If Roger Clemens is acquitted of perjury—which I think he probably will be—and if he continues to assert that he never used HGH or steroids—which I think he will—then the BBWAA will have no option other than to elect him to the Hall of Fame."


Someone should write a book about the Hall of Fame and all of the rather odd ways in which its membership is selected. Then maybe we'd have a way of guessing whether statements like the one above are true.
   14. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 14, 2012 at 08:46 AM (#4156490)
If Roger Clemens is acquitted of perjury—which I think he probably will be—and if he continues to assert that he never used HGH or steroids—which I think he will—then the BBWAA will have no option other than to elect him to the Hall of Fame.

That assumes that writers are capable of letting facts intrude into their predisposed worldview. Clemens could be found innocent on all counts and McNamee's story shot full of holes, but that won't stop many writers from continuing to conflate his case with that of Barry Bonds. The question is how many writers are going to vote with their reflexes and not on any evidence, as opposed to how many of them will be able to admit there were some rather striking differences in the outcomes of those two trials.

(Of course all of the above assumes full acquittals for Clemens, or hung juries where the majority of jurors had voted for acquittal, as opposed to a hung jury where 11 of 12 voted to convict. At this point it's all conjecture.)
   15. calhounite Posted: June 14, 2012 at 10:00 AM (#4156542)
If this trial was about McNamee's wife being a nagging barch from hell

then...

her statement

"I may have complained some..."

would have necessittated a directed verdict.
   16. Kiko Sakata Posted: June 14, 2012 at 10:20 AM (#4156551)
That assumes that writers are capable of letting facts intrude into their predisposed worldview. Clemens could be found innocent on all counts and McNamee's story shot full of holes, but that won't stop many writers from continuing to conflate his case with that of Barry Bonds.


Yeah, that quote by Bill James really surprises me. We recently had a thread where the debate was whether the number of HOF voters who might change their mind if Clemens was acquitted was zero or a number greater than zero, and I think "zero" might have had more advocates here. And the "greater than zero" folks were arguing 3-10%, which doesn't get Clemens anywhere close to election. I just don't see that many people willing to accept "well, the court said he was innocent; I must have been wrong" (and Andy and I were on the "greater than zero" side).
   17. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 14, 2012 at 10:36 AM (#4156567)
You know, if Clemens is found not guilty, and the BBWAA refuses to elect him, he might just file a lawsuit against the BBWAA and/or the HoF and/or his current prosecutors for something like defamation of character. Now, THAT would be entertaining. I'm not sure which of the three would be subject to such a suit, but it would be entertaining to see it.


I am sure which of the three would be subject to such a suit: none of them. :-)
   18. Morty Causa Posted: June 14, 2012 at 10:39 AM (#4156570)
If things pan out as Bill James describes and characterizes it, I think that Clemens will get a boost of much more than 3-10%. He, unlike many, will have been tested, and he will have passed with flying colors. That cannot be said of others suspected of using PEDs. That's a big IF, though. Clemens not only has to be found not guilty, it has to be obvious that McNamee's testimony and "evidence" is cheesecloth riddled with Swiss cheese holes.
   19. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 14, 2012 at 10:44 AM (#4156578)
Yeah, that quote by Bill James really surprises me. We recently had a thread where the debate was whether the number of HOF voters who might change their mind if Clemens was acquitted was zero or a number greater than zero, and I think "zero" might have had more advocates here. And the "greater than zero" folks were arguing 3-10%, which doesn't get Clemens anywhere close to election. I just don't see that many people willing to accept "well, the court said he was innocent; I must have been wrong" (and Andy and I were on the "greater than zero" side).

I can understand those who'd vote for Clemens and Bonds for the HoF, on the ground that steroids shouldn't enter into the voting. I don't agree with that POV, but it's consistent and worthy of respect.

What I can't understand or respect are those who simply see the word "steroids" associated with a player's name, and then immediately lose interest in the details or the reliability of the accusation. It's one thing to acknowledge that in some cases (possibly in Clemens') the full truth will prove to be elusive. But it's another thing to dismiss all counter-evidence with an obvious lack of interest in even trying to get at the actual truth.

But perhaps the saddest thing to observe here is that many of the same people who've so eloquently dissected the prosecution's case against Clemens seem to be the ones who most vehemently claim that the writers will never listen to the case they're presenting, even if the jury winds up agreeing with them. I can be as cynical as anyone when it comes to observing human beings in action, but I hope I never reach the point of taking my cynicism to the level of thinking that not even 10% of the "swing vote" writers are capable of doing anything but thinking and acting like yahoos.
   20. Kiko Sakata Posted: June 14, 2012 at 10:46 AM (#4156580)
it has to be obvious that McNamee's testimony and "evidence" is cheesecloth riddle with Swiss cheese holes


And I think this is the rub. This requires people to be paying close attention to the actual trial itself, not simply the verdict. And I'm skeptical how many people are actually doing so, partly because if these people had already been paying attention, they would have already recognized the "cheesecloth riddle[d] with Swiss cheese holes" nature of McNamee's story all along. Instead, it'll be spun as Clemens getting off on a technicality because his friend Andy Pettitte "changed" his story on the stand to protect Roger.
   21. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 14, 2012 at 10:48 AM (#4156581)
Barra:

But it was too late for some well-known players. The feds broke the ID code on the "blind" samples and were able to put names to the samples. In February, 2009, as the courts debated the status of the confiscated test samples, the names of Alex Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez, and David Ortiz were leaked to the New York Times and Sports Illustrated. Who dropped their names?

...Do we know if Roger Clemens was one of the 104 who tested positive? No, we don't. But the fact that his name was not leaked is a strong indication that he did not test positive.


Actually, I seem to recall that Hardin was able to get confirmation that Clemens was in fact not one of the 104 players.
   22. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: June 14, 2012 at 10:48 AM (#4156582)
Just to elaborate on Walt's post:
Quoted bit stopped too soon. Baseball and labor ignored the fans ("legitimate third party interest" and "the public" are red herrings), the part that's utter nonsense is that this somehow gives Congress the right to stick its nose in.
1) Setting aside the two things you identify as red herrings, and setting aside the fact that the fans didn't give a crap about the steroid issue until politicians butted their noses in, they did not "ignore" issue, not by the time period we're talking about. If you want to say that from <arbitrary start date which begins right after one's boyhood heros retired> until 2004, they ignored this issue, that's one thing. But by 2008, testing and a harsh sanctions regime was in place, and baseball had even done its silly Mitchell Report.
2) As you note, that doesn't give Congress any right or authority to poke its nose in.
3) Even if it did, WTF does that have to do with Roger Clemens? This hearing was not about MLB or the MLBPA. It was not about policy. It was about whether Roger Clemens had made George Mitchell look like a fool. (Answer: No. George Mitchell has always looked like a fool.)

Even if you're not a libertarian -- even if you think Congress is generally empowered to run any institution in the country it wants -- Congress has no role in investigating individual crimes or prosecuting individual criminals even under the maximalist understanding of federal/congressional power. Those are jobs for the executive and judiciary. There wasn't even a pretense -- unlike the original steroids show trials before Congress -- that the hearing was about policy.
   23. Morty Causa Posted: June 14, 2012 at 10:50 AM (#4156588)
19:

Creationists are on the rise.

Creationists on the rise
   24. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 14, 2012 at 10:57 AM (#4156592)
In 2008, before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Clemens adamantly declared his own innocence. The question should have been why a Congressional committee was still needed when baseball, by then,had instituted a perfectly workable system for drug testing. Why did Congress or anyone still care about alleged drug use by Roger Clemens or any other player that had happened years before?

There was no criminality attached to HGH, the substance Clemens is accused of using, and at the time McNamee claims to Clemens used it--in 1998, 2000, and 2001--it wasn't yet prohibited by the Basic Agreement between the teams and the players.


One of the justifications given by members of Congress at the time was that Clemens was challenging a portion of Mitchell's report and so they needed to test whether the report was accurate, in order to inform them of the broader issue of whether further action/legislation was necessary.

How calling a hearing to question both sides of a "liar, liar, pants on fire" dispute furthers that goal is anyone's guess. And Congress did not in fact act further, despite the fact that Clemens had repeated his declarations under oath.

   25. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: June 14, 2012 at 10:59 AM (#4156597)
The reason he was acquitted in the criminal trial is primarily that the PROSECUTORS tried to present as evidence something (the glove) that absolutely argued against their own case. If OJ's lawyers had presented the glove as evidence that OJ was innocent, that would have been nothing. But when the prosecutors present as evidence something that absolutely argues against their own case, they are pretty much dead. - Brock Hanke


disagree, the prosecutors lost that case in jury selection more than anything else, besides, anyone can take one of their own gloves and make it appear to not fit the way OJ did with that glove... of course all the prosecutors had to do to deflate that bit of Cochran/OJ grandstanding was to demonstrate that, but no, they just stood their with their idiotic deer in the headlights routine.
   26. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 14, 2012 at 11:00 AM (#4156600)
but in 2007/2008 it was very unclear whether or not the problem was behind us

Maybe so but how does gathering evidence about a player's possible use from 1998-2001, a player who wasn't playing in 2008, address that issue?


Right.
   27. The Good Face Posted: June 14, 2012 at 11:05 AM (#4156610)
And I think this is the rub. This requires people to be paying close attention to the actual trial itself, not simply the verdict. And I'm skeptical how many people are actually doing so, partly because if these people had already been paying attention, they would have already recognized the "cheesecloth riddle[d] with Swiss cheese holes" nature of McNamee's story all along. Instead, it'll be spun as Clemens getting off on a technicality because his friend Andy Pettitte "changed" his story on the stand to protect Roger.


This is a good post and is dead on. At the time of Pettitte's testimony, we had several mainstream sportswriters adopting the narrative of "Pettitte changed his story!" even though anybody who did their homework knew he didn't. A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth gets its boots on. Especially when the truth requires paying close attention to some dull stuff.
   28. Morty Causa Posted: June 14, 2012 at 11:06 AM (#4156611)
Re OJ and the gloves. That was an idiotic ploy from the start. You ever tried to put socks on a toddler who doesn't want to wear them? Similarly, it's ridiculously easy to create an impression gloves don't fit.
   29. The District Attorney Posted: June 14, 2012 at 11:07 AM (#4156612)
If Roger Clemens is acquitted of perjury—which I think he probably will be—and if he continues to assert that he never used HGH or steroids—which I think he will—then the BBWAA will have no option other than to elect him to the Hall of Fame.
This could be read as "they would have no logical justification for not electing him", distinct from a prediction that they will in fact elect him. I tend to read it as a prediction also, but I'm not sure.
   30. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 14, 2012 at 11:14 AM (#4156631)
But I do disagree with him about a couple of points… My view is that baseball (labor and ownership) was ignoring the Legitimate Third-Party Interests of the fans and the public, and it was an entirely appropriate use of the power of congress to step in and tell them to fix the problem.


I suppose whether it was "appropriate" is an opinion question. Whether it would have been constitutional for Congress to pass a "professional sports testing" law is another matter.

They had laws on the books for steroids, that were generally given very low priority as related to users. If they saw a problem, the DOJ could have changed its priorities to start investigating/prosecuting users more.
   31. Darren Posted: June 14, 2012 at 11:14 AM (#4156633)
Even people trying to pay close attention to the trial are bound to be tripped up by the slanted coverage.
   32. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 14, 2012 at 11:15 AM (#4156636)
If Roger Clemens is acquitted of perjury—which I think he probably will be—and if he continues to assert that he never used HGH or steroids—which I think he will—then the BBWAA will have no option other than to elect him to the Hall of Fame.


And: Bwahaha.
   33. Morty Causa Posted: June 14, 2012 at 11:16 AM (#4156640)
This could be read as "they would have no logical justification for not electing him", distinct from a prediction that they will in fact elect him. I tend to read it as a prediction also, but I'm not sure.


Yes, if the trial goes down as James predicts, and Clemens is nevertheless not elected, we are through the looking glass, people. We would be in a logical paradigm as put so brilliantly by Monty Python in this routine:

She's A Witch!
   34. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 14, 2012 at 11:21 AM (#4156649)
BTW, OJ was found not guilty in a CRIMINAL trial, but guilty in a CIVIL suit, where the burden of proof is lower.


Also in a civil suit different evidence comes in, and the defendant has to testify.

The reason he was acquitted in the criminal trial is primarily that the PROSECUTORS tried to present as evidence something (the glove) that absolutely argued against their own case. If OJ's lawyers had presented the glove as evidence that OJ was innocent, that would have been nothing. But when the prosecutors present as evidence something that absolutely argues against their own case, they are pretty much dead. - Brock Hanke


Brock, I don't think the OJ case boils so neatly down to the glove. Yes, that was an enormous blunder by Darden, and the prosecution made many other missteps, some just as bad. And still the whole of the evidence that the prosecution did put on -- including all of the mistakes -- should have been more than enough. But on an abstract level the OJ case had elements of race, fame, and money (as well as the sub-element of LA circa 1994) that not only can't be ignored, but in my view were responsible for the not guilty verdict.

   35. Sunday silence Posted: June 14, 2012 at 11:25 AM (#4156658)
Many members of the BBWAA have made it clear that they will not vote for someone they SUSPECT of using steroids, even if they have no proof that he actually used. Not sure why Clemens would be treated any differently.


FOr one thing, it doesnt seem that pitchers get nearly the same boost from steroid that hitters get. There's a perception here, and that is that pitchers dont bench press the ball over the plate. Sports like golf and tennis where speed is impportant those guys dont seem like behemoths.

Another thing, it was a hitter's era; and it seemed that what was driving the increase in HRs was hitters getting stronger. Again a perception, but it seemed that pitchers were not keeping up with hitters. If pitchers were not keeping up with hitters, then how much can steroids have helped them? this is somewhat related to no. 1; but perhaps a oombination of known facts (hitters era) plus some logic (why arent pitchers keeping up?)

Clemens was so dominant for so long; it's hard to imagine lack of steroids making him that much less effective. He was obviously dominant before the bulked up period began.

It didnt seem that Clemens's physique changed much in the 90s but maybe I wasnt paying enuf attention.

There's no other smoking gun, or is there? Was he in the MItchell report?
   36. Kiko Sakata Posted: June 14, 2012 at 11:28 AM (#4156667)
Was he in the MItchell report?


Yes, that's how this all started. The Mitchell Report basically says that Brian McNamee told Mitchell that he injected Clemens with hGH. But his presence in the Mitchell Report isn't independent evidence, it's literally the very same story that we're still playing out today.
   37. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 14, 2012 at 11:31 AM (#4156668)
It didnt seem that Clemens's physique changed much in the 90s but maybe I wasnt paying enuf attention.


Clemens got bigger/bulkier/heavier/fatter, but that happened between 1986 and 1996, not after 1997 -- which is the time frame that he started using steroids if we accept McNamee's version.

Not surprisingly, Clemens at 33 (in 1996) was heavier than he was at 23 (in 1986). If you go back and look at photos of the 20-K game, you can see how skinny he was.

I was in Boston from 1995-1996, and in spring training of 1996 there was a front page story about how fat Clemens had gotten, complete with a big cartoon picture of a bloated Clemens.

Again, even if one accepts McNamee's story, the timeline of when Clemens put on weight is way off.
   38. valuearbitrageur Posted: June 14, 2012 at 11:35 AM (#4156679)
And they weren't even trying to lay a perjury trap for Dimon.


Having read his testimony it's seems very straight forward and honest. Is there some hint he perjured himself, or is this just another "all big bank execs are scumbags and liars" screed by those who don't understand the banking system?

Because I would agree with that sentiment normally, but not with Dimon. He's smart, honest and opinionated, and while I agree more with Krugman on the need to control the use of insured deposits, I would never rule out Dimon being right.
   39. Darren Posted: June 14, 2012 at 11:47 AM (#4156690)
Clemens, in fact, did most of his 'fattening' up in the late 80s, early 90s. In an SI article from the mid-90s--one that touts Clemens's work with this great new trainer named Mc-something--Clemens mentions that his training regime was great for helping him with his pitching didn't do much to make him look good in a suit.

The funny thing about Clemens is that, for all the talk of "he was so great for so long that he must have been doing roids" you can see his actual performance and physical abilities taper off with age. Early in his career, he could throw high 90s and put up 250+ IP per year. In his late 30s, it was low 200s and mid-90s. Finally, he was down to pitching 1/2 seasons and throwing in the low 90s.
   40. Greg Pope thinks the Cubs are reeking havoc Posted: June 14, 2012 at 11:51 AM (#4156692)
I don't wade into all of these threads, so maybe I'm missing something. Clemens isn't on trial for steroid use, he's on trial for perjury. Is the perjury directly related to steroid use, such that a guilty verdict effectively means that the jury believed beyond a reasonable doubt that Clemens took steroids? Hopefully there's a short answer to my question.
   41. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 14, 2012 at 12:04 PM (#4156721)
If Roger Clemens is acquitted of perjury—which I think he probably will be—and if he continues to assert that he never used HGH or steroids—which I think he will—then the BBWAA will have no option other than to elect him to the Hall of Fame.


Very strange. Many members of the BBWAA have made it clear that they will not vote for someone they SUSPECT of using steroids, even if they have no proof that he actually used. Not sure why Clemens would be treated any differently.

I guess my point would be that it depends on which "many members" you're talking about, and also the degree of evidence. Bagwell was "suspected" of using steroids on the basis of a later-recanted statement by one person, and he got 56% of the vote. McGwire wasn't technically "proven" to have juiced until his confession, but the combination of Canseco's book and his own reticence got him maxed out at less than 25%. How an actual acquittal might affect Roger Clemens' chances is a scenario without any precedent.

   42. Darren Posted: June 14, 2012 at 12:13 PM (#4156737)
@40--The perjury in question is related to his use. He said he didn't use, McNamee said he did. If they find that Clemens lied (on certain questions), then that would mean that he had actually used. Of course, the jury could find that he lied about being at the party...
   43. Ron J Posted: June 14, 2012 at 12:18 PM (#4156744)
he might just file a lawsuit against the BBWAA and/or the HoF and/or his current prosecutors for something like defamation of character.


No competent lawyer would allow him to actually file. Threaten, maybe. If he's wired that way, he might get some joy out of the thought of some of these people having to hire a lawyer.

But he has precisely zero chance of prevailing in a trial and his lawyer would tell him so.
   44. Kurt Posted: June 14, 2012 at 12:32 PM (#4156756)
This could be read as "they would have no logical justification for not electing him", distinct from a prediction that they will in fact elect him. I tend to read it as a prediction also, but I'm not sure.

I read it as more of a "push" statement trying to pressure/shame the BBWAA into adopting his position, similar to all the "SCOTUS has no choice but to affirm/strike down PPACA" columns that have been popping up.
   45. Ron J Posted: June 14, 2012 at 12:33 PM (#4156757)
#34 One important point. DNA evidence is basically probability (and was pretty new to people back then) . Most people don't really understand probability and the guy chosen to explain the ins and outs was caught in a math error by Barry Scheck. (Nothing major in one sense)

Also there were procedural problems (beyond the handling of the blood evidence) highlighted by the defense expert (one of the few guys with a proven track record of being able to explain DNA evidence to a layman). The defense made excellent use of experts. A chip here, a chip there. It adds up.

And there's more than a little evidence that the jurors were overwhelmed (and bored) by the length of the trial and the amount of detail presented at any given point and pretty much stopped paying attention. I know one juror (dismissed during the trial, but still representative I think) saw the blood evidence in terms of simple blood type and said something very close to, "lots of people have the same blood type"
   46. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 14, 2012 at 12:36 PM (#4156762)
Ron, I remember one juror (Brenda Moran) couldn't figure out why the prosecution was putting on evidence of domestic abuse.

"He wasn't on trial for that."
   47. marko Posted: June 14, 2012 at 12:40 PM (#4156771)
guess my point would be that it depends on which "many members" you're talking about, and also the degree of evidence. Bagwell was "suspected" of using steroids on the basis of a later-recanted statement by one person, and he got 56% of the vote.


I wonder if Piazza ends up getting the "Bagwell treatment".
   48. Kurt Posted: June 14, 2012 at 12:41 PM (#4156773)
This place (and the Internet in general) would have exploded if they had been around in 1994. The OJ threads would have made PETCO look like a Royals/Padres game chatter.
   49. Greg Pope thinks the Cubs are reeking havoc Posted: June 14, 2012 at 12:46 PM (#4156788)
Ok, thanks, Darren.
   50. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: June 14, 2012 at 12:48 PM (#4156792)
This place (and the Internet in general) would have exploded if they had been around in 1953. The Rosenberg threads would have made PETCO look like a Royals/Padres game chatter.
   51. Morty Causa Posted: June 14, 2012 at 12:59 PM (#4156813)
1951 HUAC wants to ask Mickey Mantle if he ever belonged to the Communist Party (after all, according to one of those subpoenaed, it was the best place to pick up girls). How many posts you reckon that would run?
   52. The District Attorney Posted: June 14, 2012 at 01:02 PM (#4156818)
His sense of decency was about the same as Casey's.
   53. Brian C Posted: June 14, 2012 at 01:10 PM (#4156827)
I can't even imagine this place during the Spanish Inquisition. Those threads would have made PETCO look like, well, PETCO, because after the first few comments we'd have all been rounded up as heretics and killed.
   54. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 14, 2012 at 01:17 PM (#4156833)
Trying to combine Casey's doubletalk with the doubletalk of the CPUSA is an act that not even Keefe could pull off.
   55. The District Attorney Posted: June 14, 2012 at 01:21 PM (#4156842)
Those threads would have made PETCO look like, well, PETCO, because after the first few comments we'd have all been rounded up as heretics and killed.
Wow, I'll stick to Petland Discounts.
   56. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: June 14, 2012 at 01:24 PM (#4156845)
Is there some hint he perjured himself, or is this just another "all big bank execs are scumbags and liars" screed by those who don't understand the banking system?
so those who do understand the banking system do not believe that "all big bank execs are scumbags and liars?"

Seriously, many big bank execs may not be scumbags and liars, but in the 2000-2010 period a shocking number at many major financial institutions were fundamentally incompetent- the big question should be how and why did that happen, and what can be done to better weed those guys out.

In 1941/42 a significant # of upper level COMBAT officers in the USN turned out, in actual combat, to be wholly unsuited for, well being combat command officers- of course war being war, once bullets started flying they were weeded out mighty quick.

what had happened was that in 20+ years of peace, the systems in place for evaluating and promoting personnel had wandered badly off course.

What we had in the US for an extended period of time, was an economic situation where it was very easy for banks to expand and make money- and in that environment it was very easy for unsuited people (so to speak) to prosper and rise in the ranks- being fundamentally bad could be disguised, getting along with those who did the evaluating and promoting? Well that became the key criteria because no one was "failing,"- as a result - nearly industry-wide the systems for evaluating and promoting managerial/leadership talent began wandering off course.

I have no firsthand knowledge regarding whether or not Dimon was truthful before congress, whether he is a "good guy" or not, but I will say this, what happened at JPMC looks similar in some ways to how so many Savings and Loans wandered off course in the 70s and 80s- of course JPMC is more than big enough to absorb this and move on- but I have to say one thing- there is a place for risk takers- there is even a place for risk takers in the financial services industries- but that place is not in BANKS

   57. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 14, 2012 at 01:40 PM (#4156859)
I don't wade into all of these threads, so maybe I'm missing something. Clemens isn't on trial for steroid use, he's on trial for perjury. Is the perjury directly related to steroid use, such that a guilty verdict effectively means that the jury believed beyond a reasonable doubt that Clemens took steroids? Hopefully there's a short answer to my question.

And the corollary is that a not guilty verdict doesn't mean Clemens never used 'roids -- or anything really close to that. It doesn't even mean McNamee never injected Clemens with 'roids. It merely means the government didn't prove its charges in the forum in which it was forced to prove them, beyond a reasonable doubt.(*)

Criminal trials have standards of evidence and standards of proof and other rules that make them poor vehicles for the purposes they're being put to in this discussion.

(*) Which means that there would be nothing unjust or even untoward about an attentive voter saying "I believe a preponderance of the evidence supports McNamee's charges, therefore I believe Clemens roided and he shouldn't be in the HOF." That wouldn't be my view -- my view is that roid use isn't an automatic disqualifier -- but it's a legitimate view.
   58. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: June 14, 2012 at 02:03 PM (#4156881)
I remember one juror (Brenda Moran) couldn't figure out why the prosecution was putting on evidence of domestic abuse.

"He wasn't on trial for that."

Dang it, how come I can't get more jurors like this?
   59. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: June 14, 2012 at 02:18 PM (#4156895)
Yes, that's how this all started. The Mitchell Report basically says that Brian McNamee told Mitchell that he injected Clemens with hGH. But his presence in the Mitchell Report isn't independent evidence, it's literally the very same story that we're still playing out today.
Literally the very same story except that McNamee changed his story. But it's not a separate incident or a separate witness, if that's what you mean, yes.
   60. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: June 14, 2012 at 02:21 PM (#4156901)
I don't wade into all of these threads, so maybe I'm missing something. Clemens isn't on trial for steroid use, he's on trial for perjury. Is the perjury directly related to steroid use, such that a guilty verdict effectively means that the jury believed beyond a reasonable doubt that Clemens took steroids? Hopefully there's a short answer to my question.
The short answer is yes. The almost-as-short-answer requires you to substitute "steroids" with "steroids and/or hGH." The longer answer is that there are counts that have nothing whatsoever to do with PED use, like the claim that Clemens attended Canseco's pool party, or that the Yankees used to give players B-12 shots.
   61. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 14, 2012 at 02:47 PM (#4156931)
And the corollary is that a not guilty verdict doesn't mean Clemens never used 'roids -- or anything really close to that. It doesn't even mean McNamee never injected Clemens with 'roids. It merely means the government didn't prove its charges in the forum in which it was forced to prove them, beyond a reasonable doubt.(*)

Criminal trials have standards of evidence and standards of proof and other rules that make them poor vehicles for the purposes they're being put to in this discussion.

(*) Which means that there would be nothing unjust or even untoward about an attentive voter saying "I believe a preponderance of the evidence supports McNamee's charges, therefore I believe Clemens roided and he shouldn't be in the HOF." That wouldn't be my view -- my view is that roid use isn't an automatic disqualifier -- but it's a legitimate view.


I wouldn't disagree, but the question would be where along the spectrum the evidence seemed to point between "obviously McNamee made the whole thing up" and "I've looked and considered all the evidence, and while the government hasn't proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt, I couldn't in good conscience vote to send Clemens to jail over this." I'm not sure we know the answer to that yet, but in the case of acquittal the actual jury breakdown would be a further bit of evidence. A unanimous or lopsided vote for acquittal would help Clemens more than an 11-1 vote for conviction, which is how Bonds dodged a bullet on a second charge against him.
   62. Sunday silence Posted: June 14, 2012 at 10:59 PM (#4157300)
People need to forget this stuff and move on to something more important: Like New Lance Armstrong Doping Charges!
   63. Walt Davis Posted: June 14, 2012 at 11:11 PM (#4157303)
Ooh, an OJ hijack.

Actually I was possibly the most uninterested person in the country. Well, except for the jurors. I kinda thought the prosecutors lost the trial from day one. Opening witness was that cop/friend of OJ whose "key" piece of testimony was saying that OJ told him he dreamed about killing her.

Is that really how you start "we are going to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt ..."? "Our case is so iron clad that we're going to put on really weak #### to start with and you're still going to convict him."

But the big mistake I thought was the length of the trial. You bore the jurors. You waste their time. You get them wondering why this "open and shut" case is trying to argue so many fine points. I suppose you lawyer folk have reasons for doing that but I got the impression the prosecution's main goal was TV face time. In Network, that bore would have been cancelled after 22 episodes.
   64. The District Attorney Posted: June 14, 2012 at 11:17 PM (#4157308)
Our case is so iron clad that we're going to put on really weak #### to start with and you're still going to convict him.
Prosecutor: Ladies and gentlemen of the jury... who do you find more attractive, Tom Cruise or Mel Gibson?
Judge: What is the point of all this?
Prosecutor: Your Honor, I'm so confident of Marge Simpson's guilt that I can waste the court's time rating the superhunks.
Lionel Hutz: Ooh. He's gonna win.
   65. Tom Nawrocki Posted: June 14, 2012 at 11:25 PM (#4157315)
Actually I was possibly the most uninterested person in the country. Well, except for the jurors. I kinda thought the prosecutors lost the trial from day one. Opening witness was that cop/friend of OJ whose "key" piece of testimony was saying that OJ told him he dreamed about killing her.


If you watched even a single day of the trial coverage, you weren't as uninterested as me.
   66. calhounite Posted: June 15, 2012 at 12:52 AM (#4157383)
Why was OJ found innocent? This needs a proffessional to disclose some of the secrets of the trade.

For an assertion to be true, or in lawyer parlance, the assertion is "guilty" of being true, then the assertion cannot be SUSPECTED of being true PRIOR to conviction. Otherwise the conviction, ie, the assertion's state of being "guilty", would be contaminated by bias and, ergo, invalid. The bias is known as confirmation bias, that is the confirmation of a previously held expectation, ie, a suspicion, or in lawyer parlance, a "rush to judgement."

An assertion that is not "guilty" of being true, then, is logically false, or, in lawyer parlance, "innocent" of being true.

Assertions that are true tend to be suspected of being true. So these assertions are legally false.

Here's some examples of lawyer reality.

That Irish guy who fought Tyson after he got out of the joint is the current World Heavyweight Boxing champion because turned out all the judges suspected he'd get his head knocked off.

If you had eggs for breakfast this morning, you didn't, but only if you absolutely did.

The suns rises in the west and sets in the east.

A murderer who slopped blood from the crime scene to his house didn't commit murder. Instead it was some Pluto urbanite since noone's ever suspected metropololises exist on that rock.

The earth is round.

Glad to help. No thanks neccessary.
   67. calhounite Posted: June 15, 2012 at 12:33 PM (#4157775)
Somebody mentioned CAMERAS.

Ever heard of a bum that made a headline who wasn't SWAMPED with reps?

Headlines, microphones

CAMERAS

We think they are...slobber slobber gasp gulp......


!!!DELICIOUS!!!!

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