Saturday, February 16, 2008

Palpable Mess*

Out of the madness of the Roger Clemens' congressional hearing come a pair of terrific articles. In the first -- at Slate, of all places -- Josh Levin astutely and sardonically takes us through the testimony involving (to paraphrase the caption) a barbecue, a bikini, and a bloody butt. Then, if like many Americans you're wondering why politicians would occupy themselves with relatively trifling sports issues in the big scheme of things, Joshua Green's perceptive, funny piece over at The Atlantic Monthly Online provides the reason why.

On the tube, the most interesting televised coverage of the saga has come from ESPN's Mike and Mike in the Morning. For the uninitiated, Mike and Mike is the sports-show version of Siskel & Ebert, starring Mike Greenberg (skinny, erudite) and Mike Golic (chubby, blowhardish), who engage in discussions and debates pertaining to your favorite water-cooler sports' topics of choice. Several cuts above the crotch-scratchers on The Best Damn Sports Show Period, Greenberg, a non-jock, and Golic, an ex-pro football player, have been working together for over eight years (originally as a radio show) and mesh their "Odd Couple" shtick very well. Like Siskel and Ebert, the big secret about Greenberg and Golic is they actually agree more often than not; and the trajectory of their views regarding McNamee's allegations -- moving from this-is-bullshit to a grudging acknowledgment that hey, maybe there's something here -- has been reflective of the cable-sports party line in general.

With a considerable number of ESPN and FOX Sports' analysts and commentators former athletes and coaches, the Notre Dame grad Golic, better-spoken than most (and open about his past steroids use in the NFL), has offered perhaps the most compelling criticism of the actions by Congress against the steroid-era athletes by asking, "What good does this do" for baseball and sports in general. While I certainly agree that our politicians have better ways to spend their time, I can't say I'm sorry to see Clemens, McGwire, Marion Jones and the rest punished in a public arena. It's no coincidence that baseball and the Olympics stopped being fun for me right around the time the steroid era began. Maybe it's going to take the kind of "ritual humiliation" of which Joshua Green speaks to find their way back.

(*Or "Palpable Ass," whichever you prefer.)


Anonymous said...

My problem with shutting down Congressional Hearings is whether the Courts have enough clout to take on the wealthy athlete with their high-price attorneys.

Craig said...

Good point. One of M&M's recurring guests over the past two months has been a "legal expert" (can't remember his name) drooling over Rusty Hardin and the rest of the Clemens Gang, evaluating whether the spin "works" rather than the validity of it. That is, at least up to Wednesday's turn of events. If the Rocket's legal team are such geniuses, how should one account for the train wreck we all witnessed? It wasn't pretty, but if it (like the Super Bowl) proves that nobody is invincible, then I wasn't sorry to see it.

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed your post on "Palpable Mess". Tom Verducci February 19, 2008 post on "ten key points that were missed during the hearings". One key point concerns Jim Murray an agent for Clemens. To quote Tom, "Don't expect Jim Murray to remember to send you a birthday or anniversary card. The agent told congressional staffers some version of "I don't remember" a whopping 165 times, many related to his key meeting at Starbucks with McNamee. Murray also couldn't remember when he became an agent or when he moved to Hoboken. In one particularly unintended bit of levity, Murray responded, "But I don't remember what I remember about what he was going to say or --".