Roger Clemens: Portrait in Hatred

nixonrocket.jpgRoger Clemens has been indicted for perjury. On the one hand, I think this is a huge waste of taxpayer money. While lying to Congress is a serious crime, the likelihood of conviction seems iffy at best. The feds have been trying to nail Barry Bonds on a similar charge without success for years, and the evidence against Bonds appears to be much stronger than that against Clemens.

On the other hand, Roger Clemens is one of the worst human beings on the planet. Not enough bad things can happen to him to sate my schadenfreude.

Last week, in a post about Chipper Jones, I wrote about how I can usually separate my personal feelings from objective reality. Emphasis on usually. I could cast a Hall of Fame vote for Chipper Jones. I don’t think I could do that for Roger Clemens. And not because of steroids. Simply because I hate him with a white hot passion. I hate him more than some people who have done actual, tangible wrong to me. If I could harness this hatred and turn it into energy, I could power a steel mill for a year.

The worst thing about Clemens (even worse than the fact that he literally tried to kill Mike Piazza by throwing a 95 mph fastball at his head): His craven, psychotic need to be not just loved, but worshiped. That is often the sign of a man who deep down knows he is horrible, and thus demands love from others. All so he can say, “How can I be a bad person–look at how many people love me!”

In another life or another nation, Roger Clemens would have been a crime lord or a dictator. Someone who snatched power by force. Someone who demanded absolute fealty and craved absolute love from everyone. Someone who can never be told that he has done wrong, for it is impossible for him to be wrong.

I can easily imagine Roger Clemens commanding cowering citizens to perform grand, choreographed games in his honor, as North Koreans do at Kim Jong Il’s behest. That is exactly the kind of sick, depraved person he is.

Keep in mind that the Congressional hearing from which the perjury charge stems would never have happened in the first place if he hadn’t demanded one. It wasn’t good enough for him to quietly deny the charges of the Mitchell Report. No, he had to loudly protest his innocence to the nation’s lawmakers and force us all to shower him in love once again. This maniac was so obsessed with being adored, he laid his own trap.

Joe Posnanski wrote an amazing column (as usual) about Clemens at, in which he takes us back to the infamous Game 2 of the 2000 World Series, when the Rocket flung the bat at Mike Piazza. Posnanski’s observation: Clemens has no interest in smoothing things over with Piazza, but instead focuses on proclaiming his innocence to the home plate umpire.

That is the essence of Clemens. He had no desire in doing right or being right. His sole focus was on getting over, being absolved. It reminds me of Pablo Escobar, the infamous Colombian drug lord who could have lived fat and happy on his cocaine billions, except that he had an insane craving for respectability. He desperately wanted to be elected to Congress, and didn’t care how many bribes he had to hand out or judges and policemen he had to kill in order to do it. As if becoming a Respectable Person would somehow erase the fact that he’d murdered his way to the top.

To this day, I’m still infuriated by the thought that Clemens received absolutely no punishment for this bizarre, dangerous act. (As Posnanski points out, Piazza very easily could have been injured by the shattered bat.) No ejection, no fine, not even a tsk-tsk from Bud Selig. It still blows my mind that someone did this in a World Series game and was allowed to continue to play in that game.

Karma might not really exist, but I like when it makes a select appearance in the lives of folks like Clemens. His life is over, for intents and purposes, and he’s not even 50 yet. Even allowing for Americans’ microscopic memories, and even if steroid use becomes accepted in the future, I can’t imagine his image ever recovering. God, that’s beautiful. There are people more deserving of cosmic payback than him, but he’ll do until they get theirs.

In honor of another instance of Clemens’ spiritual de-pantsing, here’s a trip down Scratchbomb memory lane of The Rocket’s various falls from grace.

Take Your Medicine, 12.13.2007
Wherein I discuss the Mitchell Report and touch on Clemens being exposed for the fraud that he is.

60 Minutes with Roger Clemens, 01.03.2008
Mike Wallace interviews a not-at-all contrite Roger Clemens, with a guest appearance from Hank Steinbrenner.

Roger That, 02.08.2008
An attempt to understand Roger Clemens through old clips from a baseball special called Grand Slam, which you can not watch because Clemens helped shut down my old YouTube account.

Joe Torre Revisits History, 02.04.2009
While promoting his book on Mike Francesa’s show, Joe Torre rethinks his opinion of Roger Clemens, using an amazing piece of equipment called his brain.

Michael More, Roger, and Me, 03.26.2009
Wherein I discuss why I can love Mike Piazza and hate Roger Clemens.