Russell: Forgetting the point (of the needle)

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John Russell

John Russell's sports column appears Sundays in Steamboat Today. Contact him at 871-4209 or email jrussell@SteamboatToday.com.

Find more columns by John here.

I'm not saying I can hurl a baseball past a major league batter, hit a baseball out of Coors Field or beat a throw to first by shortstop Troy Tulowitzki.

But if I could get just one major league manager to look past my inability to pitch, bat and run, I think I could play in the big leagues. If the manager would simply accept that I have little or no natural athletic talent, he would see that I am still a great major league prospect.

Why, you ask?

What God-given talent would make me, a 170-pound, out-of-shape dreamer, the perfect teammate for a guy like Roger Clemens? It's simple. I can misremember.

The next time the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform questions Mr. Clemens, he can relax - I'll be waiting in the wings to help him redeem his role model status. He can point out that I've misremembered what my wife was wearing on our first date, the exact details of any story she might have told me during a Broncos game and, allegedly at times, whether or not I actually put the toilet seat down.

If I can forget the details of those events and still face my wife, I'm positive that I can handle any congressman or congresswoman.

Last week, Clemens combated the damaging evidence of the sworn testimony from the drug-using, but apparently stand-up Andy Pettitte with the rarely used word. Pettitte also is on the hot seat for using human growth hormone, but has decided to take a different path than Clemens.

Clemens didn't say his friend, or possibly former friend, lied. He simply said Pettitte misremembered the details of conversations that could put the final nail in Clemens' Hall of Fame coffin. It sounded a lot like Clemens was saying his buddy was lying, but the word "misremembered" sounds a lot nicer. Doesn't it?

Lucky for Pettitte, there are so many people misremembering in baseball these days I'm surprised anyone knows who holds the all-time home run record. Could it be Barry Bonds, or was it some other guy that was named in the Mitchell Report. I just can't remember.

The dumb thing is that with all the hoopla surrounding stars like Bonds - who should send Clemens a really nice thank-you note with a $25 gift certificate to someplace like Bennigans - we've all forgotten, or should I say misremembered, the real message of the Mitchell Report. That message is that baseball has a drug problem, and I'm afraid it's not going away. Players will get smarter about hiding it, owners will continue to look the other way to fill seats with home run hungry fans and Congress will continue to hold hearings that, while interesting, have almost no impact.

Personally, I don't blame Bonds or Clemens for the problem. Sure, I think they are cheaters, but their efforts are not helping them get ahead. They are simply trying to keep up with the competition.

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