U.S. Assistant Attorney Steven Durham laid out an expansive narative about Clemens, and a big part of that was Clemens’ 1999 season, which Durham described as “terrible.” The idea was that Clemens, having left Brian McNamee behind in Toronto when driving a trade to the Yankees, was lost without McNamee and, specifically, the illegal PEDs that Clemens trusted McNamee to inject.
According to Durham, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman will testify that, after Clemens got pounded by the Red Sox in 1999 ALCS Game 3 , Cashman went to check on Clemens in the Fenway Park clubhouse - with the game still going on - and Clemens told Cashman, “I need McNamee. Get McNamee here.” McNamee indeed joined the Yankees the next season, and Clemens enjoyed a second-half resurgence - thanks to illegal PEDs, McNamee will testify.
I happen to believe the narrative.But I think Durham painted with very broad strokes, thereby leaving room for Hardin to cast seeds of doubt.
First of all, Clemens’ 1999 was “terrible” only by Clemens’ high standards. A 103 ERA+ in the 1999 AL East. Mediocre? Yes. Terrible? No. Actually, if Hardin wanted to win over any stat geeks among the jurors, he could point out that Clemens’ 1999 FIP (4.36) and 2000 FIP (4.33) were virtually identical.
Second of all, Durham neglected to mention that Clemens won his other two 1999 postseason starts - ALDS Game 3 and World Series Game 4. He wasn’t quite as broken down as Durham made it seem.