More than anything, the overwhelming feeling I am left with after hours of reading over the various pieces that have come out in the wake of the Mitchell report, is one of sadness.
I am disappointed, for personal reasons, to see, in particular, three names on the list.
First off, and I surprised myself here, I was actually sad to see Roger Clemens named. The first time I walked into Fenway Park was the summer of '93, and as I walked up the tunnel out to my seat behind home plate (which was around $30 at the time) I heard 'Rocket man' playing on the PA system and noticed many of the arriving fans glued to watching Clemens warm up.
He was electrifying. A gladiator on the mound. Whatever he has done since, whatever mistakes he has made (and boy there has been plenty) he was a major part of my introduction to the Boston Red Sox.
Reading parts of the report linked to Clemens tarnished one of my fonder memories of the college life era. On a summer abroad, working on the Cape, I was travelling from Logan to Chicago to see a friend for the weekend. I managed to work a game at Fenway into my plan. It was an exciting weekend and Clemens was a part of that, in that the Red Sox game was a part of it.
Reading "McNamee injected Clemens in the buttocks four to six times with testosterone," has tarnished what had been a fond memory.
Secondly, I was much more disappointed to see Mo Vaughn's name on the list, although i wasn't enormously surprised considering the injury problems Vaughn encountered late in his career. I was disappointed for different reasons here. Vaughn has always struck me as an immensely likeable, affable and gregarious character. His work with children and the poor is legendary and real, and he carried that early-mid 90's Red Sox team before Garciaparra burst onto the scene.
Reading that big Mo took 'roids was kind of like finding out Santa was a heroin addict, for me anyway.
Cutting it off at the pass, before anyone asks why do I feel sorry for Vaughn and not for Bonds, that's simple. As anyone who reads this regularly knows, I hate Bonds. I think he is a disgusting character. So why am i giving Vaughn an emotional free pass? Simple. Vaughn spends his entire time working with charities and children. Bonds carries on this joyless, introverted, passionless pursuit of self adulation. Ever see Vaughn releasing a turgid ESPN self-umentary? Bonds draws this negative attention to himself.
Thirdly, I was saddened to see Brendan Donnelly's name on the list. I met Donnelly in LA in '05 when the Irish baseball team were touring the Orange County area. Donnelly was an extremely friendly, interesting character and spent a good while chatting to several of us and even picked up our bar tab. Thus again, for personal reasons, I was disappointed to see him on the list.
Donnelly worked his backside off to make it to the Majors, he put in some serious hours in the Minor Leagues and finally came good with the Angels. I am totally against steroid usage, but I think what I am disappointed about, for him and for Vaughn, is if they were hurt, and trying to stay in baseball, who are we to know the mental pressure they went under before allegedly taking steroids.
I wouldn't ever want to be in the situation. Sitting beside a table with a needle on it, thinking about my career ending, thinking about my choices.
So right now, whatever about the overall larger picture, I am simply disappointed to see certain names on the list, for personal reasons more than anything.
Just a sad day really, for baseball and for sports.
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