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Mariners’ Ichiro Suzuki: Best Hitter in Major League Baseball History

Ichiro Suzuki recently proved he is the greatest hitter in Major League Baseball history. He had his 200th hit for the 10th straight year in the United States. This is a feat no hitter has ever achieved.

Pete Rose is the only other player who had 200 hits in 10 years, which took him 15 years to accomplish. All other great hitters line up behind Suzuki, including Ty Cobb, whose AL record Suzuki shared until this year.

Had he been hitting in the Major Leagues over the entire course of his career, he would be the all-time hits leader by now. And there is mounting evidence that Suzuki will live in the shadow of the Mariners.

Suzuki has been lost beneath a perennial doormat in the American League. Banished to the Pacific Northwest, where time and place make him a baseball treasure few see or appreciate, even over television.

This is perhaps the greatest tragedy in the history of baseball. Great stars have been pulled to great teams where they have toiled in the spotlight of the world.

Many in baseball enjoy far less ability but a much larger audience because of the team and geography.

Few statistics stand out more than hitting. Of the many great hitters, most have been belittled for “hitting for average.” Suzuki is no exception.

Yet what does this really mean? Is it not the goal of most baseball teams to get players on base?

There are a few exceptions. Among others, one has to hit sacrifice flies on occasion. But let’s get real. A hitter like Suzuki could go on forever.

Whatever his legacy, he is clearly one of the greatest hitters baseball has ever seen.

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Future Headline: Roger Clemens Not Guilty!

Most of the media, Major League Baseball, teammates, and most of the public feel that Roger Clemens is guilty of steroid use and therefore guilty of perjury before Congress.

But wait. Reginald J. Brown, a former special assistant to President George W. Bush and associate White House general counsel has found a legal argument that he believes could win.

“Congress didn’t do this investigation to determine whether they needed new drug laws,” Brown said. “They didn’t do it to determine whether federal agencies were exercising their proper oversight. They did this to figure out whether Clemens or his trainer were telling the truth, and that is arguably not a legislative function. It’s not Congress’s job to hold perjury trials.” Brown said the argument had been used successfully before to have perjury charges dismissed.

We are not prepared to say Brown is right or wrong. What we are prepared to do is to say Clemens will not be convicted of a thing. And that this trial and any other trial will vindicate him. As long as the facts are largely known and the speculation required for announcing any result in advance remains correct.

The reasons for this belief are both facts and speculation.

First, the facts.

Clemens will have a number of options before trial. Included among those options will be to challenge the indictment on several legal grounds, including the one posed by Brown above. All such challenges will neither vindicate Clemens or make the public believe he was telling the truth. Suffice it to say that if he wants vindication, he will have to have his day in court. Clemens is unlikely to pursue many such challenges, as he clearly wants his day in court.

Second, Clemens’ greatest problem is one of timing. His claim that he was talking with Andy Pettitte about his wife’s use of HGH (human growth hormone) rather than his own use apparently suffers from the fact that his discussion occurred before his wife began her use. This is what is called an admission against interest, and likely admissible at trial. Assuming it is admitted at trial, Clemens and his trial team will have to overcome this issue.

Third, McNamee, the principal antagonist to Clemens, has his own problems.

Roger Clemens’ legal team has given the congressional committee probing Clemens’ alleged steroid used hard evidence that Brian McNamee lied to federal investigators and former Senator George Mitchell at least once, according Clemens’ lawyer. McNamee told probers that, at a party in 1998, Jose Canseco and Clemens had a conversation McNamee believed was about steroids, and that the first time the pitcher asked McNamee about steroids was later in that same trip. Now, Clemens’ legal team has acquired tapes of the June 9 and 10, 1998, games between the Blue Jays and Marlins. According to Clemens’ lawyer, Rusty Hardin, broadcasters speak about the party hosted by Canseco and the fact Clemens did not attend.

In addition, McNamee was suspended as a NY policeman, and was involved in a police investigation involving the date rape drug. According to the police report, as stated by another website:

According to the police report, a hotel employee saw McNamee apparently having sex with the woman in the shallow end of the pool while the other man stood watching, naked, six feet away. When the three were asked to leave, the employee claimed, McNamee continued having sex, asking, “You mean now?” That was when the employee noticed that the woman was unable to get out of the pool on her own, stand up, or speak coherently, and instructed a co-worker to call the police. A medical report later determined she’d taken a massive dose of GHB, or gamma hydroxybutyrate, a sports drug used for recovery from strenuous workouts, but also known as the “date rape” drug because in larger doses it can incapacitate.

There are other problems that will be attacked, including the very basis for him giving up Clemens-so he could get off federal charges and leniency.

Fifth, celebrities often if not always get away with what many believe are crimes. Witness OJ Simpson and many others. In each instance, with superior lawyers and greater resources, the defense wins.

The speculation is based on several issues of significant note. They are speculative because the world next year, when the trial is likely to take place, could be vastly different from now.

First, and perhaps the most important fact, is that Congress will be the entity against whom Clemens is fighting. The current approval rating for Congress is at 16%, according to Rasmussen, with 56% saying Congress is doing a bad job. This is actually up from a recent 71% “bad job” rating. As Congress is the complaining party here, it should have more difficulty than most in proving its case.

Second, Congress’ poor performance in the public’s view should last until this case will be tried, perhaps well after the 2010 elections. Brown’s argument is one that could be very effective if used at trial. Thus, Clemens will argue that this effort at finding out whether Clemens took steroids should have nothing to do with Congress. And this is likely to be persuasive to many jurors, especially when Congress is so disliked.

Third, the prosecution could have more than we currently know about, and more at the time of trial. We assume that most if not all of what is available is in the public record.

Fourth, many baseball fans want to see this entire steroids controversy go away. And so does MLB. The jury will therefore be more than likely leading in favor of Clemens if they have any sensitivity toward MLB and getting this controversy behind us.

Unless the situation changes in the near-term, Clemens wins. And that is The Real Truth.

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Roger Clemens: He’s Not Guilty Yet

Geraldo Rivera appeared on the O’Reilly Show yesterday comparing Roger Clemens attorney with the attorney for Mark McGwire. Geraldo’s position was that Rusty Hardin, Clemens’ attorney, should be disbarred for allowing his client to testify. He said that Hardin is responsible for Clemens’ federal indictment yesterday for allegedly lying to Congress.

Geraldo’s position, like so many others including that of Major League Baseball, is that Clemens lied because he used steroids while winning some or all of his record-breaking seven Cy Young Awards as one of baseball’s two best pitchers.

The period in question was when his trainer Brian McNamee alleged he was injecting Clemens with steroids between 1998 and 2001, when Clemens won two of his seven Cy Young Awards.

Clemens was “convicted” on steroid charges by George Mitchell, former Senate Majority Leader, who was hired by Major League Baseball to do a report on steroid use in baseball. 

Clemens was singled out by name 82 times in the 409-page report, compiled by former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell. Much of the information on Clemens came from his former trainer, Brian McNamee, once the Yankees’ strength and conditioning coach.

The use of largely one witness against Clemens to name him so many times in a report could leave the impression that Clemens is banking on proving McNamee is lying. And the “conviction” was done with little or no defense other than Clemens’ adamant denials of the charges of his alleged steroid use.

Are Geraldo, Mitchell, and MLB right even regarding Clemens’ steriod use? Is Geraldo right regarding the disbarring of Clemens’ attorney Rusty Hardin?

The first is yet to be decided. Famous people are often proved right in jury trials. Some say that they have the advantage because of their fame. The best example of this preference could be OJ Simpson. Yet, even in OJ’s case, the glove incident was tantamount to the win by the defense team he hired.

If this proves to end up being Clemens against McNamee, the defense could hold more of the cards than we know. Only a trial seems inevitable here. Not the outcome. The outcomes of jury trials are often a toss-up depending on what the two sides, the prosecution and defense, are able to get before the jury and the jury’s impression of the witnesses.

As far as the claim that Rusty Hardin should be disbarred, Geraldo is completely wrong.

His claim was that Clemens should have been handled in the same way as Mark McGuire. This means that he has both convicted Clemens before trial, wants the public to believe that attorneys have control of clients, and claims that the failure of Hardin to get his client to act in a certain way is a basis for disbarment. As an attorney himself, he knows full well that this is far from the truth.

Clemens is yet to be convicted. For this alone, despite the evidence largely from McNamee whose testimony is likely impeachable (that is can be attacked as wrong) in various ways, Geraldo is subject to some form of opprobrium because he knows full well that a trial can result in Clemens’ vindication.

But there are two more, far more grievous aspects of Geraldo’s statements.

The claim that Hardin should be able to control his client is complete nonsense. Clemens dictates the grounds of his defense and what he does. As the client, he has largely control over what is done. And he has complete control over what he chooses to do. Thus, despite legal advice one way or the other, Clemens controlled whether he appeared before Congress to testify. Geraldo’s claim that he did not is completely wrong.

Worse still is the claim of the need to disbar an attorney. As with any other attorney, Geraldo is obligated to ensure that he does not mislead the public. Especially, making claims like this against another attorney. There is absolutely no factual basis for his contention that disbarrment is appropriate.

Geraldo Rivera remains a member of the New York Bar. Thus, he could be disciplined if he broke any of the rules of that Bar when he made his intemperate statements. And one of the cardinal requirements is being accurate and truthful. It appears his remarks, as I remember them, missed that mark by a very long shot.

In the end, Clemens has the right as does anyone in the United States to vindicate his name in court. We should be far less ready to judge him than Geraldo Rivera. And if he clears his name, many will need to apologize to him.

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