Toronto Star

Pitcher stands his ground

- CHRIS ZELKOVICH Sports Media

Roger Clemens got his say on 60 Minutes last night and admitted he probably didn’t change one person’s mind on whether or not his performanc­es were artificial­ly enhanced.

Asked by Mike Wallace if people will believe his denials of charges he took steroids and human growth hormone to prolong his impressive pitching career, Clemens said he doubted it.

‘‘I think the people that know me believe me and understand what I’m about,” he said. ‘‘The people that are out there and have been saying the things they’ve been saying, I don’t know if I’ll ever swing their opinion.”

That was probably one of the few unimpeacha­ble things the former Blue Jay said.

To those who’ve heard this all before, his claim that the only things he injected into his body were ‘‘lidocaine and vitamin B12,” will put those substances into the Dopers Excuse Hall of Fame along with sarsaparil­la and flaxseed oil.

To his fans, his performanc­e was proof of his innocence.

Clemens adamantly denied any wrongdoing, though he was cagey on whether or not he would sub-

mit to a lie detector test and even cagier about whether he had thrown his last pitch.

He questioned the reliabilit­y of the former and sort of said he was retiring for the fourth and final time.

‘‘If I had to sit here and tell you right now, I would say yes,” he said. ‘‘You’ll never see me pitch again.”

Wallace noted, however, that Clemens said afterward that he might.

But Clemens came out swinging last night, expressing anger at the recent Mitchell report’s charges that he took performanc­e-enhancing substances.

‘‘I’m angry that what I’ve done for the game of baseball, as a person in my private life what I’ve done . . . that I don’t get the benefit of the doubt,” he said, as steely-eyed as he is when facing major league sluggers. ‘‘The stuff that’s being said, it’s ridiculous. It’s hogwash.

‘‘Twenty-four, 25 years, Mike, you’d think I’d get an inch of respect.”

The main target of Clemens’ ire was former trainer Brian McNamee, who worked with the pitcher in both Toronto and New York. Clemens said he was puzzled by McNamee’s actions in describing the multiple Cy Young Award winner receiving injections in his backside. ‘‘I treated him fairly,” he said. Clemens said he was living proof that he’d never taken anything stronger than painkiller­s and antiinflam­matories.

‘‘If he’s putting that stuff in my body, if what he’s saying, which is totally false, I should have a third ear coming out of my forehead, I should be pulling tractors with my teeth,” he said.

Throughout the interview at his Texas home, Clemens never wavered. He used the phrase ‘‘never happened” repeatedly and attacked the logic of McNamee’s claims that he used steroids sporadical­ly.

‘‘Why didn’t I keep doing it if it was so good for me?” he asked. ‘‘Why didn’t I break down? Why didn’t my tendons turn to dust?”

So why, Wallace asked, did New York Yankees teammate Andy Pettitte verify McNamee’s charge that he injected him with human growth hormone?

‘‘Why did he tell the truth about Andy Pettitte and lie about you?” Wallace asked.

‘‘The case is totally separate,” Clemens replied.

‘‘I was shocked to learn about Andy’s situation.’’

Asked why he didn’t co-operate with Mitchell, Clemens said his lawyers advised him against it. But had he known what McNamee would claim, he said, he would have been there ‘‘in a heartbeat.”

He may have no choice on that matter. He’s to appear at a congressio­nal hearing on Jan. 16 and that might be a lot tougher than Mike Wallace. czelkov@thestar.ca THE GOOD: TSN hockey host James Duthie asked a pertinent question in the afterglow of Canada’s gold-medal overtime goal in the world junior final Saturday Was it goaltender interferen­ce? Though both he and studio analyst Bob McKenzie agreed it wasn’t, Duthie added, ‘‘I’m sure a lot of Swedish fans are asking the question.” Imagine how many would be asking here if the situation had been reversed. THE BAD: TSN’s intro to Friday’s junior semifinal focused on what separates Canada from the rest: heart. Isn’t it time to bury this xenophobic myth? Other countries care, too. THE UGLY: CBC sideline reporter Elliotte Friedman did a great job in uncovering the fact that Cleveland’s LeBron James had been motivated by something said on the Toronto Raptors’ bench. Unfortunat­ely, plans to interview James after the game were scuttled when the NBA apparently gave priority to a Cleveland station, leaving Canadian viewers hanging.

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 ??  ?? Roger Clemens on 60 Minutes.
Roger Clemens on 60 Minutes.

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