Hearing is can't-miss TV

KEN FIDLIN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:15 AM ET

In the movie version, Rocket Roger Clemens would burst through the double doors of the congressional meeting room, maybe wearing cowboy boots and spurs, eyes a-blazing, muttering "where is that no-good, dad-gum, weasely varmint?"

Then, at the mere sight of Brian McNamee, he would leap four rows of photographers and pummel his arch-enemy to within an inch of his life. Or maybe beyond.

And of course the august members of the House Oversight Committee would then stand and cheer their new best friend and defender of the American way, The Rocket.

Okay, so reality isn't quite going to live up to fantasy but even at that, this is going to be can't-miss TV. Eat your heart out, Vince McMahon. As if this congressional hearing scheduled for Wednesday on Washington's Capitol Hill didn't have enough heat, McNamee upped the ante this past week by bringing Clemens' wife into the scandal.

McNamee says that not only did he jab needles loaded with steroids and human growth hormone into Clemens' butt on numerous occasions, but he also injected Clemens' wife Debbie with HGH so she could buff up for a 2003 Sports Illustrated swimsuit photo session. He dropped that bomb on the committee last Thursday in his deposition.

That capped a bizarre week of volley and serve between the two camps in which each side is trying to make a liar out of the other.

McNamee was strength coach for the Blue Jays in the late 1990s when he met Clemens, and followed Clemens to New York when the pitcher joined the Yankees.

McNamee sang like a bird for Senator George Mitchell, whose report on performance-enhancing drugs rocked the baseball world in December. As a result of McNamee's allegations, Clemens was featured prominently in the report.

Subsequently, Clemens' vigorous denials got the attention of the Oversight committee, which has played at investigating illegal drug use in sports in the past and which has sensitive antennae for a good dog-and-pony show. Hey, they can't help it: They're politicians.

Now Clemens and McNamee are in the fight of their lives.

Ever since providing a deposition for the committee last Tuesday, Clemens and his handlers have been haunting the hallways of the Rayburn Building, shamelessly lobbying congressmen. The real shame is on the shoulders of the politicians who not only received him into their offices, but had him pose for pictures, trampling all over the concept of objectivity.

PARTY AT CANSECO'S

The Clemens team has been busy trying to discredit McNamee on a variety of fronts. They no doubt will hammer hard on the allegation that Clemens first started using steroids after a meeting with Jose Canseco at a party at Canseco's Miami home. The party occurred during a Blue Jays road trip in 1998, McNamee says, just before Clemens asked him to administer steroids to him.

Clemens is going to offer proof that he did not attend that party and will paint this as a lie on McNamee's part, rendering everything else he says about Clemens as unreliable.

The Clemens team also has been busy talking up an alleged date-rape incident involving McNamee that occurred in October of 2001 at a Florida resort where the Yankees, his employers at the time, were staying. McNamee denied any sexual misconduct and prosecutors dropped the case. It didn't stop the Yankees from firing him, however.

At the time, Clemens was not sufficiently horrified by McNamee's behaviour to fire him as his personal trainer, though. He remained in that role with Clemens for six more years. It's only now, as a mortal enemy, that Clemens is taking the moral high ground.

Not to be outdone, McNamee has in his possession used hypodermic needles he says he used to inject Clemens. His lawyers say the needles contain steroid residue and flecks of Clemens' blood. Reportedly, McNamee saved the syringes in an empty beer can in his garage. Hard to imagine anything that sketchy getting entered into evidence in a court of law but, then, this isn't a court of law. It's show-biz.

Given their conflicting testimony and the fact that they are both under oath, the prize for the loser, if one can be determined, could end up being a perjury charge.

With a conviction on such a charge comes jail time. That's not the stuff of movies. That, folks, is painfully real.


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