- The Washington Times - Friday, May 15, 2009

Roger Clemens has crawled out from under a rock to tell his story anew - only it is the same old spiel, the same old defense.

It is the media’s fault. It is Brian McNamee’s fault. It is Andy Pettitte’s fault.

He never would have used steroids, he said on ESPN Radio. Trust him on this. He never would have used steroids, because of his fear of heart problems. You know his family has a history of heart problems. Take his stepfather, who died of a fatal heart attack. He inherited his stepfather’s genes, as stepsons always do, so you’re darn right he never could have taken steroids.

The fear of a fatal heart attack was too overwhelming. If not for the dead stepfather, who knows? Maybe he would have experimented with steroids. But he didn’t. So there.

Otherwise, he is just happy to be dispensing his tale again, to set the record straight amid all the false allegations swirling about him.

How can you not take the word of this proud family man, this father of four? Forget the other women tumbling out of his closet. They do not impugn his character. They were all just good friends of the family.

And forget that McNamee fellow, the spurned trainer. He sang to investigators to save himself. His cooperative manner with investigators included turning over syringes that contained both Clemens’ DNA and steroids.

Of course, McNamee fixed the evidence to bolster his lies. He crept up behind Clemens one day and pricked the former pitcher’s backside with a needle. Or perhaps Clemens cut himself shaving in the locker room one day, bled all over the razor, and McNamee, in a bit of farsighted planning, scooped up the razor after Clemens was out of sight and transferred the remnants of blood to the syringes.

You have to hand it to McNamee. He knew that one day investigators would come knocking on his door and it would be every man for himself. The incriminating syringes would be his insurance policy, his get-out-of-jail card.

Pettitte, unlike McNamee, meant no harm when he testified under oath that he recalled a conversation with Clemens in which his ex-teammate admitted that McNamee injected him with human growth hormone.

Pettitte simply “misremembered” the conversation, as Clemens termed the error.

And you should dismiss the unflattering book on him that appeared in stores this week.

Lies. All lies.

Or at least that was Clemens’ take on it after reading the excerpts.

The man just cannot get a break. Everyone always has been out to get him, which is a nice piece of historical revision. It was not too long ago that Clemens was the toast of baseball. He was the war horse with a wicked competitive streak in him.

And he is flashing that competitive streak again, only this time it is doing him no favors.

He is the buffoon who should just keep his mouth shut, who has no grace, no dignity, no sense of shame.

He is talking again, with nothing new to say other than to note the bad genes of a dead stepfather that were passed along to him, and the legal wizards of the Justice Department are no doubt taking notes. Clemens is the target of a grand jury probe here after his testimony before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform last year.

If he ever is indicted, his defense seems clear enough. McNamee is a liar who manipulated the syringes, Pettitte, his old buddy, has a bad memory and the book is so much fiction. And never mind all the anecdotal evidence, of Clemens resuscitating his career in his late 30s.

Just as Barry Bonds did, Clemens mocked Father Time in a statistically improbable manner.

Now he is mocking those who once believed in him.

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