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Around the Majors, 5/14/2009

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Travel day today, as our Men In Red embark upon a possibly-epic 10 game roadtrip, wherein we will probably lose a bunch more games go 10-0 and the rest of the division will go 0-10, so we'll take over the NL West lead.

There are a few news nuggets from around the baseball world. Follow me after the jump, and we'll discuss Roger Clemens, Stephen Strasburg, instant replay, the ailing (and failing) Yankees, and more.

(All links will open in new window)

A 7 time Cy Young Award winner and alleged multiple time performance-enhancing drug user went on ESPN's Mike And Mike In The Morning on Tuesday to deny the mounting Himilayas of evidence that he used performance-enhancing drugs. The public appearance was designed to coincide with the release date of a new book that purports to describe further details of Clemens' drug use -- American Icon: The Fall of Roger Clemens and the Rise of Steroids in America's Pastime. Clemens' performance was met overwhelmingly with either a collective shrug or a collective "What the **** is he thinking? Why doesn't he keep his mouth shut??" The largely negative reaction might explain why Clemens is "taking steroid denials to the people", as the New York Daily News put it. Meaning, he's going to answer emailed questions for a newspaper in his hometown of Houston. Roger reminds me of a great quote from George Costanza: "Jerry, just remember, it's not a lie if you believe it".

Roger Clemens seems to think that, if he keeps saying something enough times, it'll become true and/or everyone will start to believe him. Still hate Barry Bonds? Hey, at least Bonds was smart enough not to discuss the 'roids with anyone. He's got plausible deniability when it comes to the government's pending perjury case against him: they're going to have a tough time convicting him, given that he only said he never "knowingly" took steroids. The 'Roid Rocket, on the other hand, is in a tougher spot. Not only has his former trainer, Brian McNamee, turned state's evidence, but former teammate and personal friend Andy Pettitte refuses to back down from his claim that Clemens mentioned using performance-enhancing drugs to him while they were both with the Yankees.

As "evidence" that he never took PEDs, Clemens mentioned that his family has a history of heart problems, and his brother had a heart attack in his 40s, his father died of one, and that it would be "suicidal for me to even think about taking any of these dangerous drugs." However, it turns out that his stepfather died of one. Yes, stepfather -- as in, no blood relation. Left unasked, however, was why, if he was so concerned with the dangers of PEDs, he allowed Debbie Clemens to take HGH. Also left unasked was whether he had had sex with any 15 year old country music stars lately.... (Bonus coverage: Click here to vote for your favorite Roger Clemens extramarital affair!!)

Other stories:

  • Barry Zito was able to do what the Dbacks' pitchers could not, and finally end Ryan Zimmerman's hitting streak at 30 games. Zimmerman became the 53rd player to hit for 30+ games straight. San Francisco fans booed when Zimmerman was intentionally walked late in the game with runners on 2nd and 3rd and a base open. The 30 game streak tied him for 29th all-time, and was the longest since Moises Alou had a 30 game streak for the Mets in '07. An old familiar face, Luis Gonzalez, is also tied with Zimmerman, having done it in 1999. Hopefully, nobody was betting on it...
  • Adam LaRoche and Ross Gload now share a dubious distinction: they became the first two players to have home runs stripped from them via video instant replay, and they did it on the same day -- yesterday. Technically, LaRoche was first because his reversal came earlier in the day. Since MLB started using replay on questionable home run calls on August 28th, there have been 14 total calls reviewed. Last year, Carlos Pena and Bengie Molina were both awarded home runs after replay overturned initial non-HR calls. You might recall that Molina became the first player in history to hit a home run but not be awarded a run scored, as after he had been awarded a single, Bruce Bochy pulled him for a pinch runner. The umpires then reviewed the play and gave Molina a homer, but Molina had already officially left the game....
  • Obligatory AL East mention: What's wrong with the Yankees? After becoming the first team in history with a $200+ million player payroll, they're now stuck five and a half games behind the AL-leading Blue Jays, who are flat out RAKING right now -- leading the majors in both batting average and OPS. I've got a FanPost coming up discussing payrolls vs. success....
  • Stephen Strasburg threw a no-hitter with 17 strikeouts last friday for San Diego State, walking two. SI's Jon Heyman reports that he was still touching 98 MPH on his fastball when he struck out the side in the ninth inning. The Aztecs phenom now has a 1.24 ERA with 164 strikeouts in 87.1 innings. (He's also 11-0, if you're into that sorta thing) Think there's any doubt this kid will be the first overall pick in next month's Rule 4 amateur draft? Nats GM Mike Rizzo was present at the SDSU-Air Force game, as was virtually his entire front office staff. I figure the no-hitter probably earned him another $10 million or so....
  • A little bit dated, but here's a video clip of a cringe-inducing joke made earlier this season by Matt Vasgersian while watching footage of Brad Hawpe getting injured in the neck by a thrown ball. I have to wonder: did it have anything to do with the fact that the Rockies were playing San Diego, Matt V's former team? (What? You thought a Harold Reynolds hug would be MLB Network's first embarrassment??)
  • Pete Rose would vote for Alex Rodriguez for the Hall of Fame, because he's "willing to give a guy a second chance". Well, isn't that ever so kind of him? No self-interest there whatsoever, right Pete?
  • David Ortiz is SHOCKED, SHOCKED, that GAMBLING is going on Manny failed a drug test....
  • And now for something completely different: a man with a jet pack drag racing a Ford Focus RS. (Racing model)