Goose Gossage got voted into The Baseball Hall of Fame.
And I loved his game.
Now I love his honesty in saying that he might have used steroids if they had been the trend during his meat and potato years. And I really appreciate his view that abusers should come clean and move on - draconian punishments not needed.
I haven't changed my opinion that the corp-politico complex (mgmt) is unfairly making the players (artists) pay the whole invoice for our culture of collective greed. And keeping up with those willing to take shortcuts encourages the less willing to become users too.
My chain of blame goes up. The more powerful you are in the process, the more blame I'll lay on your doorstep.
With that in mind: Roger Clemens is on top of the player food chain. And he seems to be handling his power like the John Wayne warrior that he is - macho talk backed up by no real tours of duty. My sympathies are not with this player.
Andy Pettite said he dabbled with HGH to bounce back from injury quicker. It's a team thing. That might sound slightly disingenuous, but I'll take it from him. It fits his 'gamer' profile.
With Clemens, the choices, as per his mercenary profile, are about him. With all the appropriate Blackwater Texar-fascist stylings.
Clemens' sitch now almost completely parallels Bonds' - because they both obviously did more than dabble in better performance with science. They both could have admitted their mistakes, but instead chose the big lie.
Clemens won 3 Cy Young Awards before the inevitable slide of a power pitcher whose hamstrings become less powerful. But after the Red Sox GM let Clemens got to the Blue Jays - saying his career was on the downs - Clemens got that suspicious second wind. He left humanity behind to become a robo-Clydsedale in Bladerunner pursuit of landmark stats. He bagged what he hunted: 4 additional Cy Youngs, the 300 wins.
Bonds had his 3 MVP years. Like Clemens, he was already headed for the Hall, but was predictably starting to spend more time in the shop (trainers room or disabled list) than he did as a younger player. And then Bonds suspiciously added 4 additional MVP awards after Mac and Sosa 'stole' the power spotlight in '98.
Gossage brought the high heat of a Clemens to his role as a game closer. But Goose's power was in service of the game, the team game.
His stats slid later in his career -and stayed slid. He could still contribute, but wasn't a centerpiece, had to travel more - change teams more often. And get paid less for his services.
He said he might have been tempted to use performance enhancers. But they were already readily available towards the end of his career, and he chose not to abuse.
I recall his entrance into a game.
He made an average contest an event.
And added serious amp to a good, tight, important one.
Gossage was indeed dominant.
But in a fun way.
He usually got the job done.
But if he didn't, it wasn't a crisis bigger than himself.
To whit: Goose badly wanted to convert the last outs of the classic 1978 Yankee/Red Sox playoff to make up for his weaker showings earlier in the year, but modified that self-motivator by telling himself that 'millions of people in China don't give a rats ass either way.'
With the unnecessary stress lifted, Goose added more moxie to his fastball. His catcher Thurman Munson ribbed him during the post-game champagne shower: 'What took you so long meat?'
Gossage put up valid numbers. But he was a great player in a real way. I recall his impact more than his stats.
When he threw the ball, he didn't look anywhere near his target - not at the mitt, plate or hitter. He was a big boy. That handle bar moustache mountain ranch hand swooping down from the Rockies all long goose-neck-arms-now-legs, the batter swings way too late, says 'shee-it what the hell was he even lookin' at?'
Yet tellingly, Goose was not known as a headhunter.
He had pretty good control considering how hard and fast he threw; it was only his style that said ''maybe I'm not completely in control."
Clemens is a headhunter.
For a guy with good control, he hits lots of helmets. One of the crappy things about Clemens beaning Mike Piazza: it was not a rare event.
Clemens is like prize fighters who draw lines in the sand, only to cross them whenever they see fit. That kind of boxer is not just trying to win, trying to get a knockdown to add points and make more $$$ in less fighting time. The Clemens fighter wants to humiliate a man by bringing him closer to death.
The Goose knew it was just a game.