Roger Clemens may have taken a page out of historical accounts of Icarus when considering whether he may or may not have taken human growth hormone (HGH) or other steroids. Clemens, seven-time Cy Young Award Winner and multiple record-holder for pitching in the major leagues, has now left the baseball arena in disgrace. Clemens did so many things right in his career, and he could have made his way off the grand stage with dignity if he’d have just kept his mouth shut. Unfortunately, his own good intentions may have been his undoing. The Rocket Man may have jettisoned too close to the sun, and the world watches and waits to see this once-great player melt away as though he never was there.
Roger Clemens & Jose Canseco:
One of the most revealing stories of how steroid use was just a part of the program in the 1980s & 1990s in Major League Baseball was Jose Canseco’s “Juiced.” Everyone read it, everyone talked about it, and the former Oakland Athletics slugger named names. In an almost about-face, Canseco, rather than go down with the ship of his own undoing, decided to be the class tattle-tale and make a spectacle out of fellow players like Clemens. Not as though Roger Clemens needs something to do (he’s got plenty of money, one would have to imagine), but the role of squealer is no longer one which Roger Clemens will be able to take on. Even more so because of Clemens’ strident denial of any wrongdoing or any steroid use at all!
Roger Clemens & the Hall of Fame:
Clemens will now suffer the same fate as Pete Rose, and be a living legend who will never be inducted into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame. At least not as long as Clemens is alive. Many times, reporters and those with enough distance like to remember things fondly, so the two legends may get their day in Cooperstown; neither of them, though, will ever live to see the day.
Roger Clemens & Jail:
Here’s the kicker: Clemens could actually end up in jail. Clemens is all cheery-eyed and apple-cheeked on his Twitter page, saying that he’ll be glad to prove himself with his day in court. But Roger Clemens could end up facing some serious jail time for lying to a Grand Jury.
Another literary footnote Clemens may wish to recall is Shirley Jackson’s legendary short story “The Lottery.” Clemens may feel as though he has the whole world on his side, as though nothing could be better than the moment he’s in right now, as though his name will be cleared and his conscience vindicated.
However, just like the townspeople in Jackson’s story, one day the world’s at your back, and the next second, the whole enterprise can turn itself in and collapse on you. What remains for Clemens and this scandal will remain to be seen. If he’s smart, Clemens will listen to his lawyers, say as little as possible, and backpedal like there’s no tomorrow. Or there may be no tomorrow, and the Red Sox-turned-Yankee could be making his next photo op in actual prison pinstripes.