Clemens is the new Bonds

STEVE SIMMONS -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:53 AM ET

Everything about Roger Clemens is now open to debate and interpretation.

His place in history. His Hall of Fame status. His future and his past.

He is Barry Bonds, without the perjury charges or the attitude.

He is Barry Bonds, the real difference being that his personal trainer ratted him out and Bonds' went silently and loyally to prison.

He is every bit the cheat, the performance-enhanced fraud, as the home run king. The wins, the home runs, those numbers won't change. But what will change -- what has changed -- is how we will view him the way we view Bonds: As someone whose career is tainted by scientific advantage and chemical abuse.

The greatest player and the greatest pitcher of the steroid era were doing steroids.

Of all that was revealed in the 409 pages of the Mitchell Report -- some of the evidence dubious, some of it circumstantial, collectively -- nothing jumped off the pages more than the riveting details of Clemens' life in Toronto during the summer of 1998. The second of consecutive Cy Young Award-winning seasons with the Jays.

At the time, according to the Mitchell Report, Clemens lived at the SkyDome Hotel, as did Blue Jays strength and conditioning coach, Brian McNamee. McNamee had been hired by the Jays by then assistant general manager, Tim McCleary. A former police officer, McNamee had previously been hired by the Yankees, also by McCleary.

McNamee told the Mitchell interviewers that he injected Clemens four times with Winstrol over a several week period of several weeks at Clemens' apartment in the SkyDome Hotel during the second half of the 1998 season.

After those injections, McNamee admitted that Clemens showed him a bottle of Anadrol-50 and asked him about taking it.

McNamee said he advised Clemens against it.

McNamee, according to newspaper reports, acted as Clemens' personal trainer from 1998 up until last season.

McNamee also told investigators that during the middle of the 2000 season Clemens was ready to use steroids again. During that season, McNamee said he injected him in the buttocks four to six times with testosterone from a bottle labelled either Sustanon 250 or Deca-Durabolin.

The similarities between the historical performances of Clemens and Bonds are striking: Both were good players between the ages of 30 and 34. But both had their best seasons -- which belies the history of athletics -- between the ages of 35 and 39.

Both relied on their personal trainers for supplying them with performance enhancing drugs.

Clemens was renowned for his work ethic and his training regimen. Steroids experts will tell you that the greatest benefit of steroid usage is not the strength that is gained but the ability to increase training regimens. That profile fits Clemens in every way.

Even the perfunctory denial of yesterday was typical of the history of steroids and sport. Clemens' lawyer, Rusty Hardin, called the allegations "false."

"He has not been charged with anything," said Hardin. "He will not be charged with anything and yet he is being tried in the court of public opinion with no recourse. That is totally wrong.

"There has never been one shred of tangible evidence that he ever used these substances and yet he is being slandered today."

He went on to say, what every steroid cheat has ever claimed, that he has never tested positive for anything. Hardin did call McNamee a "troubled man" under pressure from law authorities to name names.

And that is true. The way baseball closed ranks on the Mitchell Report people, refusing to co-operate, investigators had no choice by to settle on information from the likes of McNamee and former Mets clubhouse distributor, Kirk Radomski, or sewer rats as they were called on TV yesterday.

If Clemens or Hardin had something to say, however, yesterday was not the time. They were given the opportunity to meet with the Mitchell investigators. They were asked. They declined.

In truth, the Players' Association -- which seems to protect the guilty far more than the innocent -- urged its players to ignore what some union people called a "witch hunt."

This was no witch hunt. Roger Clemens had a chance to defend himself. He declined. The cheaters always do.


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