Liar Liar

There are good liars out there but Roger Clemens is not one of them.

Judging by Clemens’s body movements and voice in his 60 Minutes interview with Mike Wallace, it has become clearly evident he is covering something up. Now we do not know if he used anabolic steroids, human growth hormones or any other performance enhancement drugs but we do know he used something.

First off, Wallace tried to ask Clemens the tough questions but the all-star pitcher danced around them like Laurence Maroney running up the middle. He took his time answering Wallace’s questions like he was looking in his brain for the right answer. When a person has to look for the “correct” response, there is a higher probability that he is leaving out an important part of the story.

It is not always the case in certain circumstances. You have to take into the person’s speaking ability but this is not the case with Clemens. The man is a good public speaker so there was no reason to believe he has a speech problem. Johnny Damon has a speech problem. (If Damon was answering Wallace’s questions like Clemens, it would be almost expected because Damon has a type of speech impediment prohibiting him from getting things out clearly and quickly.)

When faced with what Clemens actually did take he answered “lidocaine and B-12” so quickly it made your head spin. Then make you say, how could this man answer that question that fast but the others so slow like the grandma driving on Storrow Drive at 5:45 in the afternoon? It made you think there was something fishy going on. And there is something going on underneath the surface.

Most professional athletes have taken lidocaine-type substances to relieve pain from injuries they received during a 162+ game season. It is no secret. You see players getting cortisone shots before and after games. Cortisone is a legal anti-inflammatory steroid used to relieve an athlete’s pain.

Later in the interview Wallace asks Clemens the question most of America wanted to hear about Clemens not talking with investigators when questioned. The reasoning Clemens gave was certainly a valid response. Lawyers will tell you not to talk to investigators if questioned. Investigators can not promise confidentiality and anything said in the interrogation is considered on-the-record. It can be considered in a court of law or by another governing body, such as Major League Baseball.

Following the instructions of his lawyers, Clemens was correct. But how much of what Clemens told his lawyers was correct? Now we all want to believe people would never lie to their lawyer based on lawyer-client confidentiality (similar to the doctor-patient confidentiality) but you just do not know what people will say. Clemens might not have been fully honest with his lawyers but we will never know. Even if Clemens does testify we will not know because of the code, unless his lawyers come out and break the code.

We will just have to wait to find out what happens with his defamation lawsuit against his former trainer Brian McNamee. Court cases are public domain and unless Clemens perjurers himself we will have the answers because Wallace’s interview with Clemens told us nothing except that Clemens is a horrible liar.

Theo Epstein

Growing up in the shadows of Fenway Park in Brookline, Massachusetts, Theo Epstein got the chance all Red Sox fans dream about in 2002 when he became the General Manager.

A Ivy League graduate with a juris doctorate from the University of San Diego while he was with the San Diego Padres. Epstein worked his way up through the ranks from public relations to director of baseball operations to an assistant to the General Manager with the San Diego ball club.

When the Boston Red Sox were bought from John Harrington by John W. Henry and Tom Werner, former Padres President Larry Lucchino brought young Theo back to Boston. In the fall of 2002, he replaced Mike Port as the General Manager, making him the, then, youngest G.M. in baseball.

Throughout the years Epstein has made some good deals, some bad deals and some ugly deals. But still was able to bring the first championship back to Boston for the first time in 86 years as well as making the Red Sox the first team in the 21st Century to win two championships (2004 and 2007).

Epstein made good on his promise to re-vamp the farm system by evaluating and drafting young, amateur players such as Jonathan Papelbon (2003), Dustin Pedroia (2004) and Jacoby Ellsbury (2005). These players have climbed up the ladder of the Red Sox minor league system and produced for the big league club. In this regards, Epstein has been far above average.

But in other aspects of baseball operations, Epstein is below average when it comes to evaluating ready major league talent. Acquiring David Ortiz over the waiver wires from the Minnesota Twins was a steal and good pick up, he deserves a plus for this acquisition but that same year he acquired Kevin Millar, Bill Mueller and Jeremy Giambi. Although Millar was good clubhouse character he was sub-par in the field and Mueller had one outstanding year in 2003 but dropped the following years. And who can forget the Giambi signing? He turned out to be a bust and opened the door for both Millar and Ortiz to get more playing time.

Let’s turn to 2004 after the World Series and the signing of Edgar Renteria to a $11 million a year contract for four years. In 2005, Renteria ended the year with a .276 batting average (15 points below his career average), 172 base hits, only 60 runs batted in, 100 strikeouts and only 55 walks. Not good statistics for your number two hitter. The Red Sox are still paying ($11 million) for that mess after dealing him to Atlanta for a minor league prospect, Andy Marte.

Speaking of Andy Marte, the guy we traded to Cleveland to acquire Coco Crisp. Another player, who like Renteria, was not capable of playing in the Boston market. Most fans of the ball club will tell you to give Crisp a break for his poor 2006 season because of a broken finger but 2007 was all that much better. In 145 games, Crisp hit .268 with 141 hits (28 doubles, seven triples and six homeruns) and 60 runs batted in while recording 50 walks and 84 strikeouts.

I know you are thinking, but what about Josh Beckett, Curt Schilling, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Hideki Okajima and Mike Lowell? I will give you Beckett, Schilling and Matsuzaka but Okajima was never supposed to be as good as he was in 2007 and Lowell was a throw in, in the Beckett deal. People thought Lowell was on the back nine of his career and the part of the deal that was stopping a lot of teams from acquiring Beckett. Other teams did not want to take on Lowell’s $9 million salary after 2005. With Okajima and Lowell, Epstein just got extremely lucky. He had no idea they would be as good as they were the past year.

In conclusion, Theo Epstein is a proactive General Manager. He is your typical active-positive. He is bold in his moves by taking on contracts like Lowell and Renteria but unlike the active-negative, Epstein acknowledges when his plans have failed and he moves forward accordingly. Your typical active-positive are not immune to failure but they know how to accept their failures and turn them into successes by not making the same mistake twice. Hence why Epstein is an active-positive. He rarely makes the same mistake twice.