A former strength coach with the New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays, and former personal trainer to Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte and other major leaguers, McNamee tutored the pair of 14-year-old New Yorkers at Baseball Plus, an indoor sports facility on Long Island.
“Tonight I was supposed to have five people,” McNamee said. “I tried to get 10. I only had two.”
The former New York Police Department officer wore an “NYPD” cap, a baseball jersey and sweatpants. He seemed to enjoy himself. It was rewarding mentally, if not financially.
“I need to work. I don’t have a job,” he said. “I’ll just try to give free clinics so I can maybe get some clients. I didn’t get paid tonight.”
McNamee has been famous for just over three years. When the Mitchell Report came out in December 2007, it revealed that under the threat of federal prosecution McNamee had implicated Clemens in the use of steroids and human growth hormone and also said Pettitte used HGH. In February 2008, McNamee repeated his accusations in testimony before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and Clemens made his denials under oath.
Clemens was indicted last summer and is scheduled for trial in June on two counts of perjury, three counts of making false statements and one count of obstruction of Congress, and McNamee is expected to be the government’s star witness. McNamee’s civil suit accusing Clemens of defamation won’t go to trial until after the criminal case.
“I’m always willing to work and talk and speak and lecture,” he said. “It’s hard for me to be able to do that because of the things that I’m associated with. On any given day, I’m in the paper. Do you want to hire me? Would you hire me, even though I’m the greatest at what I do, to bring bad publicity or negative publicity?”
“I learned a lot from him,” Piccione said. “He really got me started catching and interested in baseball when I was younger. So he’s really helped me through the years.”
McNamee said instructing teenagers is no different from working with big leaguers.
“I could sit here for three hours and teach kids a million things abut baseball. I worked with the best coaches, the best players in the game. I definitely have a pedigree, have a resume,” he said. “You’d be amazed. The kids are smarter today. You have to be careful to what you say because they’re very adherent, they’re very intuitive. You have to keep it simple.”
McNamee has contributed a chapter to a new book on weight training, “How a Champion is Made” by Steve Cardillo and Mac Zappulla.