Now Pitching For Watergate: Roger Clemens

It didn’t start with Watergate—and it sure didn’t end with it.

Still, the1972 failed Republican burglary of the Democratic National Committee at the Watergate Hotel in Washington still best embodies an eternal truth:

The cover-up is worse than the crime.

How many reiterations of that tragi-comedy have we seen recently?

-President Clinton and the Lewinsky scandal;
-Dan Rather and the forged memos regarding George W. Bush’s Air National Guard service;
-Martha Stewart and the sell order with her broker;
-Senator Craig and the Minneapolis airport;
-Senator Allen and the macaca brouhaha;
-Congressman Mark Foley
-Pastor Ted Haggard

Now it’s Roger Clemens.

Bill Dwyre, columnist for the LA Times , gets it just right in his Roger Clemens Gets Some Unsolicited Tough Advice.

Dwyre is one good writer. In a fine imitation of another Clemens (Samuel) channeling Huck Finn, he offers Roger Clemens his best advice on how to get out of this fix, based on all the slick huckstering he’s seen as a reporter. Some excerpts:

Let’s pretend we have gone to the dark side and our job is to tell our client, Clemens, how to get himself out of the fine fix he’s in…
You get a big room in a big hotel near a big airport and call a news conference.

You walk in with George Mitchell, sit down and start by saying how honored you are that a man of his stature is there; that you are flattered to be sitting next to somebody who has done things such as negotiating successful treaties in Northern Ireland.

Then you say you are sorry, that you won’t be able to say that enough to properly express your depth of feeling. You explain that you are a proud man who is also almost psychotically competitive. You say that you really have no idea if the steroids and HGH helped all that much, that it could be that what you accomplished in baseball might have been accomplished anyway.

But the thought of other players having an edge overwhelmed your better judgment and sent you on your way. Then, one denial led to another and before you knew it, you didn’t know how to turn back.

You don’t expect fans’ forgiveness, you just hope for a glimmer of understanding. You expect some of your personal pitching records to carry an asterisk wherever they appear, and you ask that your name not even be listed on any Hall of Fame ballot, because that might take votes away from a player more deserving.

[Your remaining years’] salary will go to two causes. The first will be used by Major League Baseball for costly blood tests of all players for HGH, done randomly, and for continued research into affordable HGH tests. The second will be a foundation that spends all its efforts getting high school athletes to understand the evils of performance-enhancing drugs.

You apologize to your wife for involving her in this and you describe how you sat your kids down and looked them in the eye.

Next, you do the hardest thing. You apologize to Brian McNamee.

Finally, you let Mitchell have the last word. Expect appropriate, articulate and scholarly.

Then go home, turn on the TV and watch how fast the worm will turn. Americans want to forgive you, to love you again, and the media that battles now for every stray eye and ear will quickly tune in to that and lead your reversal of fortune.

You will always be damaged goods, but a scar is infinitely better than the current stake you have protruding from your heart.

Your window of time is closing fast. Get rid of those two legal lumps you hired, Frick and Frack. Sit down, take a long look in the mirror. Then do it.

Clemens could probably pass a lie detector test; no one is more convinced by his bluster than he himself is.

Dwyer is giving him fabulous advice. And I’ll wager 10:1 Clemens won’t take it.

Is this an athletic tragedy? Or another pathetic, almost-comedy?