Roger Clemens’ name has been added to a hall of greats. Men that little boys looked up to when they dawned the uniform. But today, most of those boys are all grown up, and they’re tired of hearing these names. You see, the hall to which I refer to does not reside in Cooperstown. In fact, it may not have a physical location at all.
Instead, the place where Roger Clemens and our feelings about him now live is in sort of an emotional purgatory. Like Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and countless others, we first admired these men. Then, as the steroid era devoured their good names, we grew admiration was replaced with anger. Pain, even. But now, as Roger Clemens has been found not guilty of six counts including perjury and obstruction, the feeling that is most prevalent a supreme lack of caring.
As in, “Whatever, Roger.”
We don’t care about things like perjury and obstruction of justice. We care about baseball. And in THAT trial, held in the court of public opinion, we made our judgments a long, long time ago. Whether we gave you the benefit of the doubt or dismissed you as yet another big-name juicer, the courtroom proceedings over the last five years have done virtually nothing to sway our views about you.
You see, that court is far less formal. They don’t disallow evidence or string up criminals on technicalities. Public opinion places anything and everything between the foul lines and unanimous verdicts almost never happen.
Most people probably think Clemens juiced while a stringent few refute such claims and defend his good name. But where the two sides can land on common ground is in the fact that it’s time to move on. We’re not relieved because there is a bona fide legal verdict in the case of Roger Clemens, we’re relieved because this three-ring circus can finally end.
It’s just like it was with Barry Bonds. Maybe we still like him and maybe we don’t. But more than anything, we would just like to move on. Because, like with everything else in the steroid era of baseball, the waters of these men’s careers have been clouded heavily.
What’s left is an awkward, meandering emotional slide that — even now — we’re not sure where it ends. Because, final verdicts aside, we still wrestle with how we feel about the many baseball greats whose legacies have been called into question. Left unresolved, this indecision twists knots within us leaving a bad aftertaste not unlike acid reflux. Guilty, not guilty, we can all agree that the situation is wholly uncomfortable.
So it’s like I said: our feelings about Roger Clemens, even as he pushes 50, remains in emotional purgatory and yesterday’s verdict did very little to change that. But there will come a day when our issues with Roger Clemens and his supposed transgressions during his career will be forced to be addressed and that day will come very soon. Clemens will be eligible to be enshrined into THE hall of greats, the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. But to get there, he will have to be voted in. And once again the court of popular opinion will reconvene. Whether or not he is inducted remains to be seen, and it may end up being the only Roger Clemens trial we care about.
NOTE: This story was originally published on SportsHead. To read this article and others, click here.
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