Former journeyman catcher Charlie O’Brien was on the stand Wednesday for the defense at the Clemens perjury trial. He was fuzzy about lots of details, couldn’t come up with a real name for the player known as “El Duque” and totally dissed the 1997 Toronto Blue Jays medical staff. But there was no doubt in his mind about two things: Clemens was not a cheater, and the weapon Clemens mastered at age 34 was the chief reason the 11-time All-Star was able to pitch for another decade.
“That pitch right there _ the split-finger fastball,” O’Brien said.
...In front of a jury consisting mostly of people who know little about baseball, Clemens lawyer Rusty Hardin went for a visual effect to explain how the split-finger revolutionized Clemens’ game, striking a pose as a left-handed hitter in front of O’Brien, who pantomimed the grip of a baseball while seated in the witness chair.
“It just totally changed how he could approach each hitter,” O’Brien said.
O’Brien was even a better witness for the defense during cross-examination, when he volunteered that Clemens would refuse to throw scuffed baseballs because Clemens considered it “cheating.” He said he once approached Clemens on the mound during a game with a scuffed ball and said, “This is a great ball to use.” He said Clemens responded: “I don’t need that.”
Posted: May 30, 2012 at 05:21 PM | 1 comment(s)
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