Clemens, Pettitte react to Grimsley steroid bombshell
Posted: Sunday October 1, 2006 6:37PM; Updated: Monday October 2, 2006 5:01PM
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Andy Pettitte was embarrassed and Roger Clemens was angry, and that, in a neat two-word summation, is how we all ought to feel about the drug scandal that refuses to loosen its grip on the game of baseball.
I mean, how embarrassing is it that after a satisfying September pennant stretch and just before the sport enters its showcase month, Major League Baseball is sullied by this performance-enhanced mess once again? And for those of us who'd want a game to show some semblance of purity, perhaps a little self-restraint, at least a touch of professionalism, does this deepening morass hack you off? If it doesn't, it probably should.
The latest in this sad tale is that Clemens and Pettitte, currently teammates with the Astros and formerly together on the Yankees, have been identified by former Yankees teammate Jason Grimsley as users of performance-enhancing drugs. Grimsley named several players as users in interviews with federal investigators earlier this year, but the players' names were stricken from an affidavit when it was made public in June. Those names finally surfaced Saturday night in a story that appeared in Sunday's Los Angeles Times.
The Times reported that Grimsley accused three other players of using, too: the Orioles' Miguel Tejada, Brian Roberts and Jay Gibbons. By now we all know where things go from here. Denial, suspicion, more denials, more names, maybe another leak, more denials, Barry Bonds' name gets thrown in there somewhere, baseball's Mitchell investigation marches on, more dirt, a growing loss of faith in the game....
"Obviously, it's embarrassing just to have your name brought up," Pettitte said, bravely facing a gaggle of reporters Sunday morning before the Astros' last game of the season. "I just think that there's so much hearsay. I would have bet my life that there's no way possible my name would have been in the affidavit."
Clemens, whose name has been whacked about in these sorts of allegations for years, was far less embarrassed than he was downright angry. He and Pettitte had heard rumblings months ago that their names had been included in the affidavit. Now that they're out there for everyone to see, Clemens pulled several reporters together in the visiting clubhouse at Turner Field to have his say, too.
"I just think it's incredibly dangerous to just sit out there and throw names out there," he said. "I don't know where that's coming from. Where it's going to take a serious turn, for me, is if one of my sponsors pulls out. Then somebody's going to be responsible for that. Then my lawyers are going to get involved."
Both Pettitte and Clemens denied using performance-enhancing drugs -- though, if you're the skeptical sort, the denials weren't exactly ironclad. Clemens, for example, reiterated that he's never failed any drug test, including the stringent ones conducted during the World Baseball Classic in March. But Major League Baseball didn't start drug testing until 2003 and didn't start penalizing players for positive drug tests until 2004. Clemens is completing his 23rd season in the big leagues.