As a general rule, I try as hard as I can to keep my general political/religious/philosophical views about weighty matters out of things around here because, really, who wants that stuff mixed in with their baseball? I’m going to make a slight exception here, however, because this is attitude that we can’t ever truly know the truth, so we might as well just embrace ignorance and nihilism as opposed to, you know, accepting basic logical conclusions from the facts and evidence we do have is a not-so-nice nice bleeding of a similar problem that infects “real journalism” as well as sports writers, packaged up with a bow by Vaccaro’s “who could ever know” shrug with respect to the verdict.
As a whole, the Clemens trial has been about as far removed from a shining moment for the American sports media as you can get. From the collective freak out over Andy Pettitte “changing his story” when, in fact, he said the exact same thing he said to Congress to the exaggerated shrug everyone gave to the trial once it became apparent that the case was falling apart and Clemens was going to walk, anyone who fancies themselves a real journalist ought to be mighty ashamed of the way the industry of journalism conducted themselves over the past few months. And now we have the obvious end to that saga; Hall of Fame voters throwing up their hands and declaring that even a full acquittal in federal court won’t change their vote where “PE”DOTTUBHA are concerned.
And let’s be clear here, Clemens didn’t get off on a technicality or because he was a sympathetic witness, his defense team completely eviscerated Brian MacNamee’s credibility over the course of the trial. The same Brian MacNamee whose claims got Clemens included on the Mitchell Report in the first place and that functioned as the only actual allegations against Clemens. What this trial really ought to leave us doing is re-thinking everything we think we know so far and, in particular, calling the Mitchell Report onto the carpet for a full investigation of how rigorous its investigative standards were.
But, of course, we don’t need that because, some protestations notwithstanding, this whole spectacle is a witch hunt in the purest meaning of the word. Accusations are the same as convictions. Vaguely articulated “suspicions” are the same as accusations. And holistic assumptions and “everyone knows X is guilty” is all the scrutiny that accusations and “evidence” require before ringing up the hangman.
And now even an actual honest-to-God acquittal isn’t enough to make us put aside our collective “PE”DOTTUBHA hysteria because, hey, it doesn’t prove anything, amirite? Of course, using this standard everyone is guilty, since we certainly don’t know that, say, Mariano Rivera or Chipper Jones never once ingested the
demon weed “PE”DOTTUBHA, do we?
Remember, they hanged Rebecca Nurse too.