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Verducci On Clemens

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by Boom_70, Feb 23, 2008.

  1. Boom_70

    Boom_70 Well-Known Member

    This week Tom Verducci writes about Clemens. He refers to his previous stories about Raj.

    Its still hard to fathom that Verducci did not ever raise the steroid issue when he wrote those stories.

  2. Ben_Hecht

    Ben_Hecht Active Member


    When I opened this piece up, I expected the slap at McNamee. McNamee defended the lunkhead until he saw there was no way lunkhead would return the favor. Then, all bets were off. How else would anyone rational expect the guy to act?
  3. Boom_70

    Boom_70 Well-Known Member

    Delusional, denial, head in the sand-- whatever the discription it's really weak of Verducci.

    This is the writer who is credited with being "out front" on the PED story yet he had no clue that the player he might be closest to in baseball was a user.

    For whatever reason Verducci continues to be soft on Clemens.
  4. Small Town Guy

    Small Town Guy Well-Known Member

    Maybe I'm misreading it, but I didn't think he was soft on him at all. Okay, he doesn't come out with a sentence that reads, "I think Roger Clemens did steroids and I was fooled." But the entire piece is designed, I think, to show that Clemens is basically delusional.

    There's the quote from a former teammate showing how Clemens always had an excuse when he'd get hit: back, groin, whatever. There's another quote from a teammate saying Clemens surrounds himself with his own people and has his own world.

    The line "He sleeps well at night because he knows he is right," isn't Verducci talking, it's what he thinks Clemens is thinking. He's then got an entire column listing the people who Clemens has blamed for this situation, instead of blaming himself: his agents, the commissioner, the Blue Jays physician, his late mom, and McNamee. Pretty damning stuff there, I think.

    And at the end he includes the quote from McNamee, "Well, I can't see Andy telling you anything different than what I told you, and Roger probably, because he doesn't remember any of it, I don't know. I can't see Roger remembering all that..."

    The last lines: Clemens does not remember because he believes none of it happened. Rocket is sure of it.

    Again, I think he's just pointing out how Clemens got himself in this situation: he's so certain of himself that he's basically become delusional and will lie to the bitter end.

    Again, maybe I'm misreading it, but I don't think it's head in the sand.
  5. Montezuma's Revenge

    Montezuma's Revenge Active Member

    I'm with you, small-town-guy.

    I think Verducci is painting a picture of someone who is so delusional, he believes all the lies he's telling. And I wouldn't bet against Clemens being able to pass a polygraph. If I were his people, I'd have quietly arranged one to see.
  6. Ben_Hecht

    Ben_Hecht Active Member

    Wholly agree that Verducci is trying to recalibrate himself, regarding the cause celebre.

    Better late than never.
  7. BYH

    BYH Active Member

    I'm with Boomer here. (From the SI thread on the J board...yes I am quoting myself)

    I'll probably be in the minority here, and please feel free to follow with comments about how I couldn't carry Verducci's jock, but I continue to be underwhelmed by his coverage of Clemens. There were some good anedotes in this week's story, but again, how can he go into first-person without admitting he was as hoodwinked as anyone?

    And, again, Verducci seems to be making excuses for his friend with the glowing description of how Clemens never left the high school jock phase. Most anyone who has come across Clemens would agree with that, but would not use it as a complement. Clemens is an overgrown bully who blames everyone but himself for his shortcomings, yet again, Verducci explains this away by saying it's an extension of what made him a great pitcher, as if it's a positive trait to display these characteristics in front of Congress.

    Verducci's final graph was especially telling: Clemens does not remember because he believes none of it happened. Rocket is sure of it.

    I'm beginning to think Verducci is the same way.
  8. Boom_70

    Boom_70 Well-Known Member

    Well said BYH. Fine if Verducci wants to "recalibrate" but he owes his readers more.

    Here is a passage from his SI 2002 steroid special report:"Totally Juiced"

    Steroid use, which a decade ago was considered a taboo violated by a few renegade sluggers, is now so rampant in baseball that even pitchers and wispy outfielders are juicing up--and talking openly among themselves about it. According to players, trainers and executives interviewed by SI over the last three months, the game has become a pharmacological trade show. What emerges from dozens of interviews is a portrait of baseball's intensifying reliance on steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs. These drugs include not only human growth hormone (hGH) but also an array of legal and illegal stimulants, ranging from amphetamines to Ritalin to ephedrine-laced dietary supplements, that many big leaguers pop to get a jolt of pregame energy and sharpen their focus (box, page 38). But it is the use of illegal steroids that is growing fastest and having a profound impact on the game.

    Verducci was clearly aware of steroid use in baseball by 2002 yet choose not to bother his friend Roger Clemens with the subject. Plenty of quotes from Curt Schilling but none from Roger. Verducci could not really believe that Clemens success was due to his training regimen.
  9. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    I don't see how that was soft on Clemens. He can't come out and bluntly call him a user and a liar, but he basically said he is a user and liar and he is delusional enough to have convinced himself he's telling the truth. From what I know of Clemens from limited personal experience and more by the experiences of others, that seems like a reasonable characterization. It's probably not just Verducci trying to soft sell the fact that he was close to Clemens and didn't bust him. I think Verducci probably believes what he wrote; that the competitor in Clemens see this as a competition and he can't lose, so he has come to the point that he believes his own BS.
  10. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    Boom, You are expecting a lot of Verducci. Every writer who didn't bust Clemens doesn't owe the world a mea culpa in print. Verducci wasn't using; Clemens was. And absent of any evidence that Clemens was using Verducci had no reason to go anywhere with a "Clemens is using" type of story, not when he wrote that Clemens story in 2003 or after. But Verducci just wrote what he knew in 2003. Less than a year after his roids in baseball story he heard Clemens talk to a group of ad execs about steroids and say he wasn't using. As far as Verducci had it, in 2003, he heard Clemens say he wasn't using. Absent of any evidence or proof that Clemens was using, what was he supposed to do from that point on? That has to be the final word unless you have something that says otherwise. You are holding Verducci to an unreasonable standard, in my opinion.
  11. Boom_70

    Boom_70 Well-Known Member

    Here is a passage from artilce that Verducci wrote in 2001 - "Rocket Science"

    Clemens takes great pride in having stopped his baseball biological clock. He will tell you that he still runs three miles in 19 to 20 1/2 minutes, that he still weighs 232 pounds, that he still wears slacks with a 36-inch waist (though they must be tailored to allow for his massive thighs) and that he can still reach for a mid-90s fastball at will -- the same specs he had at least 10 years ago. "He's a freak of nature, the kind of pitcher who comes along once in a generation, maybe every 25 to 30 years," says Devil Rays pitching coach Bill Fischer

    Ragu - have to disagree. In 2003 Steroids was a major baseball story yet in Clemens work out story not even a question about PED's to either Clemens or Mcnamee. Verducci had to have suspicions about Clemens.
  12. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    Boom, Using the standard you seem to be holding him to, he either had to make every baseball-related story after 2002 into a steroid suspicion story or he had to stop writing about baseball entirely because he couldn't be sure about anyone. That just seems unreasonable to me. You can't avoid positive profiles of people because of the possibility that sometime in the future you may find out the person has a skeleton in his closet. You can only work with what you know at the time you are writing. And Verducci had no evidence that Clemens was using in 2003.

    Verducci doesn't have to answer for Clemens' behavior now that we have reason to have suspicions. Absent any evidence saying otherwise, there was no cause for Verducci to touch a "We should question whether Clemens is clean" allegation in 2002 or really, until the Mitchell Report came out--particularly if he didn't relish libel suits. What if Verducci really believed that Clemens was clean until recently? Does that get him off your hook?

    The point, though, is that what he "believed" really has no bearing here. It's what he "knew" that matters, and that amounts to zilch until the Mitchell Report came out and gave everyone something tangible. That doesn't make Verducci derelict in any way.
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