Yesterday, the Globe ran an article in which David Ortiz stood up for Sammy Sosa, his fellow Dominican slugger. Buried in the piece was this quote:
“It doesn’t matter what people say. People say [Roger] Clemens used steroids, people say Mark McGwire used steroids. People say a whole bunch of players used steroids, but nobody can prove that, you know what I’m saying?”
What’s notable (to me, anyway), is how few people actually asking whether Clemens’s remarkable endurance (some would say resurgence) is due to some kind of PED. After all, it’s not like there’s any shortage of red flags. Clemens is arguably one of two players — the second being Barry Bonds* — whose Hall of Fame career was (is) capped (being capped) by his most dominant years coming after the age of 35. Clemens has had four seasons in which his ERA+ has been more than 195…and two of those came in 2005 and 2006, when he was 42 and 43 years old. And the only other time in which Clemens put up three years in a row with ERA+ of more than 145 — as he’s done in the last three years — were from 1990 to 1992, when he was still in his twenties.
Over the last year, more people have started to question Clemens’s remarkable run, but even after the mini-imbroglio involving Clemens and the Grimsley affidavit, the vast majority of folks — fans, sportswriters, and team executives, and MLB officials — prefer to stick with their see-no-evil approach and hope the Rocket keeps on bringing fans to the ballpark. Look, I hope he’s not using as much as the next guy. But I wish more people found it fit to find out the truth.
* And for all those fun side-by-side photo comparisons of Barry from his days with the Pirates and now, doesn’t Roger’s body (and head) look a lot different from the days when he was pitching for the Sox?