By Tim Dahlberg
Roger Clemens got at least one thing right on which there will be no misremembering: He is a trusting man.
Trusting enough to allow anyone with a needle and a good story to jab him wherever they want. Trusting enough to allow his wife to use human growth hormone even though he never touched the stuff. So trusting in his abilities as a con man that he thought he could get away with his little scam before some politicians who know a thing or two about scams themselves.
"If I am guilty of anything it is of being too trusting of everyone, wanting to see the best in everyone, being too nice to everyone," Clemens said
Yes, he's guilty. Guilty of being a saint.
He told us so over and over again Wednesday on Capitol Hill, not that some of the politicians listening to his tale of good deeds needed that much convincing. One wanted to know what uniform he was going to wear to the Hall of Fame, while another wondered why a scumbag like Brian McNamee even deserved to be in the same room as him.
You half expected his sycophants to stand up and start saluting when Clemens got going on another one of his great contributions to mankind, which was coming out of retirement to put the USA uniform on to play for his country in the World Baseball Classic.
One congresswoman went so far to suggest, though possibly with some sarcasm, that Clemens was sure to go to heaven for his good deeds.
That had to give Clemens some comfort, though this was a day when he should have been more concerned with where he's going in the earthly world. And that could be a federal prison if the FBI and IRS agents sitting behind McNamee weren't just there to enjoy a little entertainment on their lunch hour.
Clemens rolled the dice, figuring the force of his personality and his seven Cy Youngs would overcome any evidence that might be raised against him. You can hardly blame him because he's spent the last 25 years being surrounded by people who do his bidding, and he's come to expect that when he says something it must be the truth.
Unfortunately, investigators for the committee had been doing some digging in recent days and come up with some new evidence that turned this into something far more than just a he said/she said contest. Perhaps more unfortunately, the real Roger Clemens showed up, and even his attorney jumping up and down and desperately whispering into his ear couldn't save him from self destructing.
He drug his wife into it, then tried to make it seem like it was someone else's fault. He drug his mother into it not just because she worked three jobs supporting the family but because she liked vitamin B-12.
He threw his agent under the bus, then tossed his union in for good measure. As for his former nanny who placed him at Jose Canseco's house, well, she's a sweet person but she really doesn't understand much about anything.
Last time I checked, guys don't go to heaven for things like that.
Worst of all, Clemens just flat out lied. There's no way of escaping that conclusion because there's no way Andy Pettitte and his wife were lying in their interviews, and no way Chuck Knoblauch was lying when he said that McNamee's estimates of shooting him up 7-9 times with HGH sounded about right.
Both the Pettittes and Knoblauch were tortured about their testimony and what it might do to Clemens. None of them wanted to hurt the Rocket, but in the end they felt compelled to tell the truth, and the truth turned out to be suspiciously like McNamee laid it out to be.
"It's hard to believe you, sir," Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., told Clemens near the end of the hearing. "I hate to say that. You're one of my heroes. But it's hard to believe."
Hard to swallow, too, and not just because the truth seems to mystify Clemens so much. It was the sheer arrogance on display that was so galling to all but the most worshipful members of Congress, and which finally resulted in committee chairman Henry Waxman of California basically telling him to shut up.
Clemens was telling the truth about at least one thing. There was a whole lot of misremembering going on.
But he was the one doing most of it.