The Rocket is doing what every player does when he leaves the game: seeking a sense of control. Looking back is scary because that control is gone. You are 50, and you see the world question your work, given that, in your mind, you were always running the show, shaking off the wrong pitch, the wrong opinion. Now you are at the mercy of time or of the fickleness of a sound bite and a good closing argument. It makes high-flying competitors pull their hair out to be called on the carpet by non-legends, by the kind of hitter who hit only .220 lifetime with a hole down and away—hitters who typically were scorched by the flames that propelled your career.
Now Clemens will have to wait. Maybe he can buy himself five more years, hope his Jedi mind trick will work on whoever has doubted him or believes Brian McNamee more than him. Sports writers might ease up in that time; science might tell us that whatever he was accused of using to fuel his flight path was normal and is now available over the counter.
But, like anything tossed into space, opinion will be thrown into the great unknown. It could come down to the tie he wears in an interview or the charitable work he has done in his life. He does not know any more than the rest of us, and that makes him as frustrated as any baseball player who could be reduced to one moment, one court scene.
Regardless, he will keep going. Running his campaign. Super PAC-ing his way to what he believes is his right to immortality. Powering his way until he either gets unattainable satisfaction or crashes into Earth at full speed, leaving a crater as wide as his belief in himself.