Mike from Attleboro: Pettitte takes the loss in Clemens case

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Mike from Attleboro: Pettitte takes the loss in Clemens case

Roger Clemens walked out of a Washington courtroom a free man earlier this week, as a jury ruled him not guilty of perjuring himself in front of Congress about taking performance enhancing drugs. In front of a heaving throng of press he thanked his supporters and his family. He reminded everyone that it takes a lot of hard work to have a career like his (those Steroids dont lift the weights on their own!) and could barely finish his statement because he was either legitimately choked up, or he was still fighting the effects of giving the twins a pre-verdict liniment basting.

All things considered, a great day for the man formerly known as the Rocket. He fought the law and he won.

And much like championship ball games, in high-profile, hyper-publicized court cases, where there is a big winner, there is a big loser. Who is my choice to wear the goat horns?

Look no further than self-styled paragon of all things virtuous, Andy Pettitte.

If you believe the press clippings, Andy Pettitte is the Ivory soap of professional sports, 99-and-44100-percent pure. Pettitte himself has never been shy about plugging his own moral credentials. Heres an excerpt from Angelic Andys book Strike Zone: Targeting a Life of Integrity and Purity: As a Christian I also have one goal. I want to fulfill God's purpose for my life. I constantly ask myself "What does God want me to do?" Saint Pettitte didnt just go on any old TV show to pitch his tome either; he was a guest on the 700 Club. If there is a Soul Train for the God Squad, Pat Robertson is hosting it, and you dont get on that show unless Pat thinks he could accept a sacrament off your ass.

Its this kind of squeaky clean resume that made him the Star Witness for the Government in its case against his former best friend. Clemens and Pettitte were both named in the Mitchell Report and Pettitte and Clemens both used the ultra-sketchy Brian McNamee as their Strength and Conditioning trainer. So when it became obvious that McNamee would have serious credibility issues in front of a jury, the Government turned to the morally impeccable Pettitte. And, because presumably, God wanted him to, Andy rolled on his buddy when subpoenaed for testimony by congress. "Roger told me he had used it(HGH) and it helped him with recovery (after workouts)." It was that statement and Pettittes unassailable character that allowed this case to not only progress beyond a grand jury, but hopefully would lead Roger to the perp walk so many were craving.

When Pettitte, currently a starting pitcher for the Yankees, walked to the witness stand on May 2nd, the Government thought it had a closer for its case against the Rocket. Andy sold out his own father, so nailing Clemens seemed like a forgone conclusion. But unfortunately for the Government and bloodthirsty Clemens haters everywhere, when Pettitte put his hand on the Bible, God must have wanted Andy to be an acrobat, because his testimony flipped like a member of Cirque du Soleil. When asked by the defense if he would categorize his famous HGH statement as "50-50 you might have misunderstood?" Andy said: "I'd say that's fair." Going .500 might be good enough for your 2012 Boston Red Sox but for a jury, its all they needed to hear to hand the Rocket the most important decision of his career.

You want to blame someone for wasting your tax dollars on a hopeless prosecution? Blame Pettitte. You want to blame someone for letting Clemens grandstand in triumph? Blame Pettitte. You want to blame someone for this case ending in a way only Suzyn Waldman could love? Blame Pettitte.

Instead of the Clemens legacy getting an indelible black mark in the annals of baseball history, it was the legend of Andy Pettitte as a moral oak that is debunked for all to see. That narrative is destined to end up next to the Andy Pettitte that only did steroids once: filed away in the fiction section. As far as Pettittes book goes, it can stay in the non-fiction wing for now. But Id recommend a new title for the paperback version
Strike Zone: Targeting a Life of Integrity and Purity with 50 accuracy

Harper, Strickland throw punches in Nationals-Giants brawl

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Harper, Strickland throw punches in Nationals-Giants brawl

SAN FRANCISCO - An enraged Bryce Harper charged the mound, fired his helmet and traded punches to the head with San Francisco reliever Hunter Strickland after getting hit by a fastball, setting off a wild brawl Monday during the Washington Nationals' 3-0 win over the Giants.

Drilled in the right hip by a 98 mph heater on Strickland's first pitch in the eighth inning with two outs, none on and Washington ahead 2-0, Harper didn't hesitate. The slugger pointed his bat at Strickland, yelled at him and took off.

No one got in Harper's way as he rushed the mound. His eyes were wide as he flung his helmet - it sailed way wide of Strickland, it might've slipped - and they started swinging away. The 6-foot-4 Strickland hit Harper in the face, then they broke apart for a moment before squaring off again. Harper punched Strickland in the head as the benches and bullpen emptied.

Giants teammates Michael Morse and Jeff Samardzija collided hard as they tried to get between the two fighters. Three Giants players forcefully dragged Strickland from the middle of the pack all the way into the dugout, while a teammate held back Harper.

Harper and Strickland were both ejected. They have some history between them - in the 2014 NL Division Series, Harper hit two home runs off Strickland, and the All-Star outfielder glared at the reliever as he rounded the bases after the second shot in Game 4.

Drellich: After golden 2016, Red Sox remember what it's like to have things go wrong

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Drellich: After golden 2016, Red Sox remember what it's like to have things go wrong

CHICAGO — More than anything else, Monday’s 5-4 Red Sox loss was a reminder of how much the Red Sox had go right for them a year ago, and just how unrealistic it was to expect so much of it to carry over into 2017.

The Red Sox remain a very good team. But the success of last year’s 93-win team, of any 93-win team is, truly, difficult to replicate. Unlikely, even.

Baseball’s age of parity, the randomness of freak injuries, good old regression — the Sox were due for some elements to catch up to them after a season that was more or less golden in 2016.

Dustin Pedroia, who headed back to Boston on Monday for an MRI on his left wrist, was healthy enough to hit 15 home runs a year ago, his highest total since 2012. The way this year is going for him health-wise, just having him on the field and hitting close to .300 sounds like a worthwhile goal the rest of the way.

(Slides are Pedroia’s enemy, be it from an oncoming base runner, like Manny Machado, or an oncoming first baseman, like Jose Abreu.)

David Price wasn’t living David Price’s best baseball life a year ago. But you know what you can, and probably do, take for granted? He was healthy and devouring innings. He cleared more frames than anyone else in the regular season. Even when he wasn’t pitching well, he could pitch and pitch and pitch. 

Jackie Bradley Jr. had a 1.001 OPS at the end of play on May 29, 2016. His OPS after play May 29, 2017, was .670.

We know how special David Ortiz was. Let’s not go there, because it seems like no one can talk about Ortiz’s absence rationally. His exit did not suck every home run out of the Sox lineup, as many like to say is the case, but he is — of course — a big missing piece.

Not everything was perfect in 2016, lest we remember our ex-girlfriends too fondly. Carson Smith went for Tommy John surgery, for example. 

But look now: Smith still isn’t back, Tyler Thornburg is a mystery if not quiet yet an afterthought and Robbie Ross Jr. not only struggled to the point he was demoted, he’s going through elbow trouble.

Rick Porcello won the American League Cy Young, much to Kate Upton’s chagrin. Porcello will not win the Cy Young this year, if you hadn’t been paying attention, although Chris Sale might.

There’s something going well for the Sox right now: that Sale guy. The bullpen coughed up the game Monday, Matt Barnes in particular. Yet Sox relievers had the fifth best ERA of any team to start the day. 

Hey, Eduardo Rodriguez looks pretty good, doesn't he?

With some downward trends have come some positives. Craig Kimbrel's on another planet.

The Sox may still be a 90-win team. Again, they remain a very good club.

But the wins, the breaks aren’t coming as easily as they did a year ago. You should never have expected they would.