Tuesday, January 8, 2008

How Does it Feel?

I must admit, at first I was quite happy to see Roger Clemens named in the Mitchell Report. Not so much because I dislike Clemens, but his inclusion in that report meant that at least for a while the media would have another ultra-high profile whipping boy.

As the coverage of Clemens' alleged use has filled the headlines over the past week or so, I've found myself feeling a bit less joyous about the whole thing and quite a bit more understanding.

Understanding not of what Clemens must be going through as he trudges through public relations hell, but understanding of what his throngs of fans spread across the country must be feeling as they see their hero and favorite ballplayer called a cheater.

You see to this point the coverage and scrutiny of the other big names linked to steroids (i.e. McGwire, Sosa, Palmeiro) has paled in comparison to that of the so-called "big fish", one Barry Lamar Bonds.

With the outing of Clemens by his former trainer, a star on the same level as Bonds has finally been dragged through the mud and had his dirty little secret aired for all to see. Refreshing to be sure, but not at all surprising.

What has been surprising, and pleasantly so, has been how hard the media has gone after Clemens. When the news first broke of Clemens' alleged steroid use I thought for sure the media would spin the story in Clemens' favor and give the 7-time Cy Young Award winner the benefit of the doubt.

And while the coverage hasn't had quite the witch hunt feel to it with Clemens as it has with Bonds, it's been very fair and at times very negative toward The Rocket.

Maybe at this point people will open their eyes to the bigger picture here, which is that steroid use in baseball has been more than widespread over the last 15 to 20 years and that the punching bag for the media and the court of public opinion should be major league baseball itself, not one or two individual players.

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