"Mr. Clemens, do you recall bleeding through your pants in 2001?"

Another high point in annals (anals?) of Congress. Later, there was heated discussion about a "palpable mass" on Roger Clemens' buttock. Though I don't remember a time when Congress wasn't a bunch of asses, I do seem to recall a prosecutorial concept that you go after the drug dealers, instead of using the drug dealers to go after a single user. 

ESPN's Jayson Stark live-blogged the cheeky buggers here. American Lawyer explains here how none of this would have happened had not some U.S. attorney types not "violate[d] a long-standing U.S. Department of Justice policy, that prosecutors not divulge the names of those suspected of but not charged with committing a crime." Links harvested from the always-excellent Baseball Primer.

And of course reason has been covering its own ass off on steroids at least since back when Chuck Brain-lauch still (dis)graced the diamond. Start here.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • ||

    I have to say, I thought the best part was when Clemens said he takes B-12 "because my mom told me to".

    I'm torn between amusement at the proceedings and profound sadness that this is the United States Senate. If they don't have anything important to do, why don't they go home? I think we were much better off with part time legislators- less time to do damage.

  • ||

    Watermelon Dan really outdid himself today. You'd think Brian McNamee was a head-like object.

  • ||

    I'm torn between amusement at the proceedings and profound sadness that this is the United States Senate.

    I'm disgusted and embarrased that the United States Congress fallen so low.

    Dammit boys and girls, you are United States Representatives! Start acting like it.

  • ||

    I used to really object to this kind of thing and then two points struck me. First, people always say "why isn't Congress worrying about bigger problems than steroids in baseball" like Congress trying to solve a problem is a good thing. It is most assuredly not a good thing for Congress to try to solve our problems. If they are doing steroid investigations, then they have less time to pass inane legislation and steel from the treasury. All things considered investigating steroids in baseball is one of the least bad things they can do.

    Second, nearly every baseball team in the country, sans the Yankees and Red Sox oddly enough, play in a publicly funded stadium. If the billionaire welfare queens who run baseball want to suck on the government tit everytime they need something, then they deserve every bit of oversight and Congressional grandstanding they get. If they could hauled Bud Selig up before Congress and looked up his ass on national TV, my only response would be, "well Bud, maybe you should have thought about this possibility when you and your chronies were taking billions from the public cofer."

  • ||

    Dammit boys and girls, you are United States Representatives! Start acting like it.

    J sub D, I'd be careful what you wish for. I think I prefer these comical episodes to the damage done by their normal "serious" business.

  • ||

    The problem is that they pass critically important (and poorly drafted) legislation without reading it or debating it, then waste gobs of time on issues like this. Ooh, I want to be on camera acting tough to some guy who took some meds to throw a ball harder. Egad.

  • ||

    "The problem is that they pass critically important (and poorly drafted) legislation without reading it or debating it, then waste gobs of time on issues like this."

    Pro that assumes that the legislation would be any better if they read it. That is a big assumption. My experience has been that the committee staffs, while sometimes ghastly, still generally know more about what needs to be done than the Reps and Senators themselves. My guess is that if they worked really hard and spent their time actually reading legislation that they would just make it worse. Their lack of participation in the legislative drafting process is generally an addition by subtraction.

  • ||

    John,

    The sausage making is ugly from any angle. Especially today. There is ZERO accountability any more. Pass a law unconstitutional on its face? Nothing happens. Heck, Bush signed one of those SAYING it was unconstitutional as he did so. Pass something that does something people object to? Deny having read it. Say you changed your mind to a diametrically opposed position. Doesn't matter. No one gets kicked out, very few get voted out. The frog is just gonna get boiled, that's all.

  • ||

    If the billionaire welfare queens who run baseball want to suck on the government tit everytime they need something, then they deserve every bit of oversight and Congressional grandstanding they get.

    That's a pretty good point. I have no sympathy for the owners who go crying and begging for handouts and they can't very well claim to be a free-of-sin private enterprise once they've made their deals with the devil, as it were.

    But I suspect the owners actually welcome this scrutiny for competitive cartel-like reasons. Imagine you're an owner during the era when steroids are widely used but illegal. You want your team to remain competitive so you better make sure your stars are using too, or acquire ones that are, but that puts you in an awkward position since you can't exactly come out and ask. It's a difficult and dangerous (you don't want to get caught looking complicit when word gets out) task to put together the best steroid fueled team but if you don't try you'll lose out to those who do. Like any cartel member, you know it would be easier on you if all your competitors simply agreed not to seek this particular competitive advantage, and banning them from the game was an attempt to do just that. But, as in all cartels, the temptation to cheat and gain an advantage is irresistible if it seems you won't get caught. Now in steps the Congress which looks willing to enforce this mutually beneficial agreement for you by mandating testing or whatever. As an owner, that's probably the best result you could have hoped for.

  • ||

    This is what Clemens SHOULD say to shut everyone up:

    "Senators: I was facing batters all pumped up on steroids and the only way for any pitcher to stay competetive with them was to also use steroids. It's a way of leveling the playing field, evening the odds between steroid-enhanced batters and the pitchers. Isn't this what everyone is worried about - that the game remain fair and the competition stays balanced? If the batters are on steroids, the only way to make the game fair and equitable is to have the pitchers on them too. Persecuting a select few players for steroid use while allowing the majority of other users to get off scott free actually ends up making the game less equitable, less fair because one side has an unequal advantage - which is EXACTLY what everyone has been complaining about. As long as steroids and other performance-enhancing substances are being used by some players - and experience shows that there's no way to totally eliminate them from the game - , widespread steroid use - ignoring for the moment their sigificant negative side effects - actually makes the game of baseball more equitable. "

  • ||

    Ava, this was the House of [Someone Else's] Representatives. The BEST part? This was the House Committee on Government Oversight and Reform? When in the high, holy HELL did Major League Baseball become a component of the U.S. government?

    In fairness, the Senate was busy embarrasing itself by having Roger Goodell answer Sen. Specter on the dread Pat's videotape escapades.

    So, we've got the circus bit covered, is anyone providing bread?

  • Mr. Frog||

    Save me! Saaaave meeeee!

  • ||

    Dumb ass frog, you should've jumped out years ago.

  • ||

    "When in the high, holy HELL did Major League Baseball become a component of the U.S. government?"

    When they started taking millions in public money to build their stadiums. As far as I am concerned they sold a strong minority interest to Uncle Sam when they did that.

  • ||

    I'm biased because Roger's accuser is a former New York cop.This means he's trained to lie.

  • Matt Welch||

    When they started taking millions in public money to build their stadiums. As far as I am concerned they sold a strong minority interest to Uncle Sam when they did that.

    So if a municipal government decides to subsidize a business, that means the business's employees are subject to having their urine sifted through by the federal government, while they're under oath? Seems a strange deployment of the Transitive Property....

  • ||

    I say we remove Babe Ruth the HOF and take his records.He used a illegal drug[alcohol] most of his career.

  • stephen the goldberger||

    regardless of whether or not any of this is justified, its obvious at the very least roger clemens is full of shit.

  • ||

    "So if a municipal government decides to subsidize a business, that means the business's employees are subject to having their urine sifted through by the federal government, while they're under oath? Seems a strange deployment of the Transitive Property"

    Under some circumstances yes. The government gave that money on the assumption that baseball would keep the teams where they are and provide a clean game. Steroid use goes directly to the legitimacy of the product that the government is subsidizing. If I get government money to run my business, I am under some obligation to play by the government rules and run the business the government thought it was subsidizing. If I don't and instead of giving drug free baseball, I give roid ball, the government has a right to know why. If I don't like it, don't take the money.

    This is why government subsidies are so bad. It lets the government have a legitimate excuse to get their paws all over a lot of businesses.

  • ||

    Actually, Matt, it was those employees' employers - the teams, and the consortium of teams known as Major League Baseball - that sifted through their urine.

  • ||

    John,they gave that money to keep the teams in the host cities.Show me a signed contract that spells out how they must run their teams.The closest are the stadium leases.They only refer to rent,upkeep and the like.If they really cared they would have forced free agency on teams years ago.In your view the Feds could make all farmer take a drug test or only buy American tractors.Though I have no use for subsidies either.I'd eliminate them all.

  • ||

    "In your view the Feds could make all farmer take a drug test or only buy American tractors."

    They couldn't make them, but they could sure as hell call them before Congress to explain how they are running their business. Remember steroids are illegal. Buying a foreign tractor is not. Congress certainly has an interest to know if people who are accepting government subsidies are using those subsidies to engage in illegal activity. The better example would be hauling some farmer up before Congress who is accused of using subsidies to grow pot.

  • dhex||

    this whole steroids in baseball thing remains one of the weirdest fucking things i've ever seen on television.

    and i'm a fan of COPS.

  • Matt Moore||

    I don't mind steroid abuse, but the punctuation abuse that Michael Pack engages in is incredibly annoying. Hit the space bar, Mike!

  • ||

    John,the teams are not buying the drugs the EMPLOYEES are.A business can not control how a employee spends his money.Hell,I've had people who smoked pot on my payroll I'm sure.It's their money to do a they please.If they buy something illegal then they take the hit.

  • ||

    Sorry Matt,I'm typing with a broken finger.Maybe I need some HGH.

  • ||

    Matt Moore | February 13, 2008, 5:18pm | #
    I don't mind steroid abuse,


    That's big news: A quarterback for the Carolina Panthers admits to (not minding) steroid abuse! :)

  • ||

    John

    Yankee Stadium is owned by the City of New York and the Yankees pay bargain basement rent on it. They have made various overtures for the the city to build them a brand new one along with vague threats of moving away (as if) if there demands are not met.

    AFAIK the only new stadium built without public money is the SF Giants park. I might be wrong, if so corrections are welcome.

    And OT, I agree with those saying that even if the teams are getting a public subsidy that still doesn't mean the players have no rights.

  • ||

    John, you're not much of a federalist, are you?

    First off, there's no such thing as "the government". There is the federal govt and there are state govts and creatures of the state govts (county, city, etc). The federal govt does not pay for any baseball stadiums, I assure you.

    I attend a state-funded university...does that mean I'm liable to be called into Congress to be interrogated by Pigface Waxman and his goons if there's suspicion that I violated the college's internet policy by using an alias in the comments section of a blog? After all, I'm a "welfare queen" getting subsidized by my state govt, right?

  • ||

    The instant I saw that "Porky" Waxman was "presiding" over the hearing, I knew Clemens was screwed. I remember reading somewhere that the worst thing you could do appearing before Waxman is question his premises; unfortunately, with Waxman the premise generally boils down to: I'M HENRY WAXMAN, AND I CAN DO WHATEVER THE HELL I WANT...

  • Todd||

    For the record, the Yankees built their original stadium, then sold it to the city to pay for the renovations. The new stadium across the street is privately funded, save for the new commuter rail station next to it. (And in this case, I agree...try dealing with stadium traffic after a game sometime.)

  • ||

    From Wikipedia (usual caveats apply):

    Before building their $1.3 billion stadium, the Yankees secured $425 million in public subsidies and permission to tear down 400 trees and take over 22 acres of public parkland north of the team's East 161st Street home;



    Sounds like a lot of subsidies to me.

    New York City retains ownership of the Yankees' new tract of land. The public costs include acquiring land for the stadium, building parking garages, tearing down Yankee Stadium, lost rent and parking revenue from Yankee Stadium, and tax breaks.



    and a lot of city involvement in the ownership and operation.

    It does not include a $91 million Metro-North station, which will be paid for entirely by the public (with money shifted from other parts of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's capital-spending budget). Of the stadium's remaining cost, up to 40 percent may be subsidized through reduced revenue-sharing contributions.



    Sounds to me like the city ought to just quit the pretense and take ownership of the team, after all they've pretty much bought and payed for it.

    The city EDed the old stadium from Rice University in the 70s. I'm not exactly sure how it got into the hands of Rice.

  • ||

    I really liked those comments by John and Splim (MAS - mutually assured steroids).
    Now, to what I do best, butt jokes. To get to the bottom of this, a colonscopy should have been performed on ALL present - only by shining the sun where the sun don't shine will this shit be exposed - to do otherwise would make an ass of the committee

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement