If you’re a sports fan at all, you’ve noticed in the past few weeks the scandal around Roger Clemens and his purported steroid use. Clemens, arguably one of the most dominating major league pitchers in history, now finds his reputation—and the possibility of a Hall of Fame induction—on the line after multiple reports and witnesses claimed they knew of him using the banned substance HGH on multiple occasions.
And, like all stories involving professional sports in the United States, the importance of the event has exploded to such a level that now we’re entering the second week of hearings in front of Congress to conclude whether or not Roger Clemens is a big cheater.
Of course, you and I, the taxpayers, are the ones funding this crusade for justice.
Like Barry Bonds before him, Clemens has made the foolish decision of committing the most white-collar crime possible: cheating in a multi-million dollar job where he wears pajamas for a living, so that he can make millions of more dollars for many more years. As the only entity able to combat such atrocities, Congress has barged head-on into this problem to save America from the horrors of excessively bulky athletes.
Yes, HGH is a banned substance in baseball that also is a controlled substance in the United States. If Clemens is found to have used it to enhance his performance, he should be punished for that act along with lying to a federal court. I have no desire to see athletes blatantly ignoring the laws of the game and of the government; the game has taken a blow that will take a long time to work back from, and it cannot afford to be lax against offenders—even those as prestigious as Clemens.
But does such a thing possibly require a full Congressional hearing? Do we really need millions upon millions of dollars poured into intensive studies on whether or not our favorite players spent their afternoons plunging syringes into their asses? Aren’t there more important things for these representatives to be doing?
If you’ve seen any footage of the hearings, you’ll see your beloved elected officials pouring more energy and attention into whether or not Roger Clemens is a mutated superman than they’ve managed to muster for things like immigration reform or education bills. Thank God for men like Indiana Representative Dan Burton for offering up such gems of truth like “Roger Clemens is a titan of baseball” in a hearing wasting dollar after dollar of our money. Were it not for these paragons of civil service, I would lose all faith in the possibility of efficient government.
Not only that, but we’ve managed to turn a hearing on friggin’ baseball into a partisan car-wreck of a situation. Thanks to Clemens having a close personal relationship with the Bush family and some well-timed lobbying by his camp on the Hill, Republicans (like the aforementioned Mr. Burton) have appeared out of the woodwork to hoist their man out of the quagmire of accusation and back into his deserved position of overpaid diva.
Not to be outdone, Democrats have hopped onto the case as a chance to clean up the wretched hive of scum and villainy that is baseball from depraved madmen like Clemens. All the while, people get stupider watching.
For that matter, let’s not forget the representatives up in Massachusetts who want to turn the Patriots taping scandal into a similar federal debacle. Considering that Bill Belichek is, in fact, Beelzebub already, I highly doubt the government will able to put much of a dent into the work of an immortal evil deity. Knowing them, however, they’ll march full strength into the arena of total ineptitude and win a resounding victory over common sense in 20 long weeks of wasteful examinations.
Many are framing these hearings and deliberations as a forum on ideas of basic dignity and goodness in role models for our children. Well, goodness me! If our athletes can’t be trusted to not want to make more money, who can save our children from the basic idea that drives American society? Who will keep them from being disillusioned about the pure nature of hitting a ball with a wood stick and running in a diamond shape for 162 games a year?
Parents have a hard enough time these days letting other people teach morals to their kids, and if we lose the peerless sage that is professional sports, the world will assuredly implode. Or not.
Look, I love baseball. If you visit my childhood home, you’ll see stacks and stacks of baseball cards that I checked in Bowman’s every month for minute changes in value. I still hold a grudge against Ken Griffey Jr. for not returning my fan letter which contained an immaculately drawn depiction of the man himself, albeit with legs five times the size of the rest of his body. It was an integral part of my childhood and a game I still follow to this day. Yet even as a kid I knew it was just that—a game, an aptly-named pastime that filled my summers and left just as easily once the Series finished up in October.
It pains the kid in me to see my old love mixed up in corruption and lying, as the sport has been covered in for a long time now. Yet, as an adult, it pains me to see the government I help pay for waste its time and my earnings chasing down phantoms for some blind ideal. Let people like Clemens or Bonds receive their proper punishment and be done with it, instead of wasting a lot of valuable time on whether or not a man’s arms are noticeably bigger in one picture or another.