McNamee sues Clemens

What a delicious way to end the week:

Roger Clemens’ former personal trainer sued him Friday over allegations of steroid use, claiming the Major League Baseball star ruined his reputation by branding him a liar . . . The suit, which seeks unspecified damages, claims Clemens’ statements have “humiliated McNamee, destroyed his reputation, both personally and professionally, and caused him severe emotional distress.”

I think this suit has about as much chance at succeeding as Clemens’ suit did. I mean think about it: irrespective of who was telling the truth and who was lying, how does a person show reputation damages when the only reason anyone knows who he is is because he was listed in the Mitchell Report as one of the most famous purveyors of steroids in the country, because he wrote an article in the New York times lying his ass off about it once, and because of some odd possible date-rate-drug sexual assault in a pool about which he later lied to police? How does that damages case even look?

“Ladies and gentlemen of the jury; my client was once thought of as a lying, drug dealing perv. Then along came Roger Clemens, who told the whole world that my client had never given him drugs! He’s been ruined by this! Please, see to it that he compensated for the loss of his good name. Er, name.”

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  1. David said...

    Completely off the subject, but profoundly important for baseball fans:

    Chipper Jones said an umpire is fixing games.

    I know, I know: Americans don’t believe in corrupt and conspiring authorities ‘cause you worship authority (just look at the idiocy you’ll pretend to believe about Arabs because the authority tells you so!), and I know that Rob Neyer has ordered you to never question umpires because “the center will not hold”.

    But fear not: a future Hall-of-Famer has gone beyond mere “questioning authority”, he’s indicted it.  And yet the Earth still spins ‘round the sun.

    And here’s a GIF of the fist-pump:


    Chipper Jones, a mild-mannered All-Star, World Champion, and Hall of Famer, has said that there’s “no doubt” that an umpire was rigging a game. 

    Interestingly, I was watching ESPN the night of this game and they promised that Buck Showalter was going to comment on the matter.  It was a full, hour-long episode, so they certainly had the time to spare.  But guess what: they mysteriously decided to not air Showalter’s comments about the fist-pump.

    Bud Selig = Vince McMahon (minus the honesty)
    MLB Umpires = NBA refs circa 2002

    Hilariously and revealingly, this sort of thing has been occurring regularly all season long and yet one has to dig into the depths of message boards for angry Braves fans to find any real mention of it. 

    MLB won’t punish ‘em.  In fact, they’ll promote ‘im and call anybody who questions the umps “wacko conspiracy theorists”.

    Thanks, Bud.  You’ve turned MLB into the WWE, and that was great for the owner’s revenue streams.  Congrats.

  2. bigyaz said...

    What’s the difference between a fist bump and a handshake? If a catcher turns around and offers and hand and says sincerely, “Good game” I’m not going to turn my back; I’ll shake the man’s hand. I don’t see the controversy here. But then, I’m not a wildly partisan Braves fan.

  3. Kevin S. said...

    I’m not a wildly partisan Braves fan either, but it’s absolutely ridiculous that an umpire fist-bumped a catcher after said catcher’s team won.  Even the appearance of such impropriety is untenable.

  4. David said...


    Chipper Jones, re: the fist-pump between the winning player and the umpire after the umpire had persistently ejected the Braves’s star players and made suspiciously horrible calls:

    Never seen it before in my 16 years,.  [Players and umpires] exchange banter all the time. But never a handshake or a fist bump. I guess Baker thought he deserved a hand shake.”

    So, yes, the celebratory fist-bump is unprecedented.

    But don’t worry, MLB reviewed it and, whaddaya know, Bud Selig & Co. had no problem with it, nor with his terrible calls which gave the game to the Marlins.  And if the authorities say that there’s nothing wrong, well then, there’s nothing wrong, eh?

  5. David said...

    1:30 on Sunday afternoon right now.  I’m watching the Tigers at Indians.

    The umpire just called a pitch to Tiger hitter Gerald Laird a strike that was 3” inside and 5” above his belt.  Going back to the bench, Laird was shown angrily complaining to his teammates, “That wasn’t even f———close!”

    Conversely, the Indians hitters have, thus far, had a microscopic strike zone.

    I’ll update later.

    I’m 99% certain that there is systematic corruption on the part of MLB umpires.  Chipper Jones’s game was no anomaly.

  6. Bon said...

    Wait, are we making indictments about the entirety of baseball based around one pitch in a game that is currently in the bottom of the second inning?

    It seems like David is being tongue-in-cheek, but I just can’t tell.  If so, congrats, I’ve rarely seen such effort put into so small a reward.

  7. Craig Calcaterra said...

    Actually, I don’t think he’s being tongue in cheek. He believes that the umpires are corrupt and that there’s a big fix in. Of course he’s never provided a shred of evidence to suggest such a thing (nor has he explained the motive behind the alleged fix).  He simply sees instances of incompetence (which I’ll grant exist) and blithely assumes that it’s evidence of a conspiracy.

  8. David said...

    1 out, bottom of the 3rd, Indian hitter called safe for an infield hit.

    He was out by a foot.  Miguel cabrera immediately gave an incredulous look to Jim Leyland, who came out to argue.

    Phillies at Giants.  Jayson Werth stole 3rd.  Giants announcers said he was in by a foot.  Called out to end inning.

    I know, I know: Chipped Jones and me are wacko conspiracy theorists, Selig is honest, the umpires were “reviewed” by MLB and they’re all great.

    Watched baseball since ‘98.  Never seen anything like this.  Media silence and denial lets MLB know the corruption can continue with no repercussions save for disheartened players.

    Corruption will grow.  Fans and media will lie to themselves.

  9. David said...


    Well, I don’t mean to be crass, but, how the hell am I supposed to know?  I don’t have the power to subpeona Selig and Alderson and whoever else.  I can’t look into their marketing research and see what trends and psychological phenomena they’ve documented and wanna exploit. 

    What I do know is that at least two very respected players – Chipper Jones and Jamie Walker (who, when he was a Tiger here in Detroit, was recognized as a very kind, professional man) – have publicly said that there is funny business going on with umpires.  We also know from the ‘Atlanta Journal-Constitution’ article that other players voiced similar concerns but refused to state them on the record (and who can blame ‘em?  MLB Inc. will rob money from them if they state their observations).

    And I can tell you that I’ve seen so many flagrantly bad calls in high-leverage situations and early in games when the pitcher is trying to establish his rhythm that it defies all credulity to say that it’s mere coincidence.

    We know that MLB has fined players for speaking about this.  We know that MLB has no problem with umpires changing the rules of the game (the Jeter incident) or bumping fists with a player on the winning team after a game full of suspect calls that benefited that player. 

    We know that ESPN ‘Baseball Tonight’ teased a segment where Buck Showalter was to discuss the fist-bumping….but then mysteriously never aired it (which I’ve never seen happen before, and I’ve watched ‘Baseball Tonight’ for many years).

    We know that the media will not cover this.  We know that fans will refuse to believe it and call it a “conspiracy theory”. 

    Why wouldn’t powerful people conspire?  They know that when their malevolence gets exposed, all the moron Americans will just say it’s a “wacko conspiracy theory”.  Gee, whiz….I wish I were in government or MLB: I could rob banks and just call the police wacko conspiracy theorists!

    If it’s not an edict to the umpires, than it’s still a conspiracy of silence.


    One more note: From 1999-2002, I used to watch the Detroit Pistons ALL the time.  I never had a doubt that there was fixing going on.  Zero doubt.  I recall in the 2000/2001 season there was a game at the Clippers where there were so many bogus calls against the Pistons that even announcer George Blaha said, “With these refs, we’re in trouble.”  (And he made many similar suggestive remarks.)

    This is what happens: the players give up.  Once they recognize that there’s no way they can overcome a fixed system, they simply half-ass the game.  I saw it dozens of times in the NBA.

    Chipper Jones made a comment that precisely verified my observation:

    ”….As a player, it makes you not want to play when that stuff happens. Because you don’t have a chance.”

    One way or another, this story is 1,000 times bigger than the “steroids” nonsense.  This is a direct affront to the “integrity of the game”.

    And nobody cares.

  10. bigyaz said...

    I think you’re right about the conspiracy. Just like the birthers who think Obama was born in Kenya. And the 9/11 truthers who think the CIA was behind the Sept. 11 attacks.

    You just keep running with that theory.

  11. Ben2009 said...

    David, what, exactly, is the conspiracy?  Pro-Marlins?  Hasn’t worked so well recently.  Anti-Braves?  Well, if you take away that decade and a half of playoff appearances, I suppose.  Anti-Phillies?  Didn’t work so well last year.

    Look, a lot of umps are just plain bad.  Hahn is one of them.  And yes, MLB covers for them, just like every other sport covers for its bad officials.  I too think more umps should be disciplined for missing calls.  But a conspiracy has to be a conspiracy to do something, not just of incompetence.

  12. Bon said...

    Okay, I’ll bite: let’s say you find some individuals sympathetic to your theory.  Hell, let’s say they’re 100% on board.

    Now what?

    What would you have your support base to do correct this problem, David?  Obviously the standard ‘raise your voice’ solution won’t work, for the same reasons that you currently believe is causing nobody to care.  So what is to be done?

    Also: apologies, to Craig, as at least this entry in his blog has been totally hijacked, and I feel kinda bad about that.

  13. David said...

    Unlike when the government murders people, this is one instance when the ol’ voice of the people would be effective in stopping the problem.

    If the media (including BP, THT, Fangraphs) start researching and documenting it, fans will be made aware of it.  If fans are made aware of it, then, unlike the fake outrage over the “steroid” scandal, they actually would stop patronizing MLB. 

    If that happened, reform would happen. 

    Basically, media attention (first documentation, then investigative reporting – like simple sticking cameras in the faces of umpires) would lead to the fixing of this.

  14. David said...

    You guys are just sooooo right!  Me and Chipper Jones are wacko conspiracy theorists.  And, of course, nobody ever conspires.  And if somebody did ever conspire (which only wacko conspiracy theorists would think), we all know that they’d….um….

    …..Get away with it because effeminate American men who can’t get boners are too weak and stupid to put two and two together.

    MLB is indeed turning into WWE, and now Selig – commissioner for life – knows for certain that he has nothing to fear from his moronic fan base.

  15. Bon said...

    Okay, let me specify a bit, and I apologize for my lack of clarity earlier.

    What evidence from ‘documentation’ would differentiate the accumulation of bad calls from poor officiating to MLB conspiracy?  If all the bad calls (meaning calls everyone could universally agree were incorrect, which is a barely tenable assumption at best) came from one ump, sure, just a bad ump.  If they all came against one team… is that a sure sign of conspiracy?

    It would certainly make a strong case in your favor, but three big issues stick out like a sore thumb:

    1. In today’s information age, with ready access to countless data and video from multiple angles of every game, combined with the easy ability to make your voice globally known via blogging, you’d think several people would have made a connection to collusion if it existed.  It is entirely possible that you’re the first, however, it seems improbable.

    2. There needs to be a motive for all this alleged game-fixing, but I don’t know what it would be.  Does Bud Selig loathe the Braves?  Does MLB stand to make piles of money if Cleveland pummels Detroit? 

    3. I seem to be instantly wary of any alleged secret on a massive scale because secrets have to be kept by people.  I don’t know three people who could keep their lips shut forever about ANYTHING, much less have an entire organization able to keep totally tight-lipped about such a scam.  You’d figure a couple of disgruntled employees would bring down the whole operation.  Or maybe all the people I know are just crummy, I don’t know, but just from empirical observations about human interaction, I don’t see how such a thing could stay under wraps for any length of time.

  16. David said...


    I think that’s a good initial question. 

    1. DOCUMENTING THE PHENOMENON. You could get somebody trained in intelligent pattern recognition – such a computer programmer or an insurance claims adjuster – to look at the collective data and reach a point where he could say, “A critical mass of data has been reached where I don’t believe this could have occurred by coincidence.”  Even a police detective, for instance, is unconsciously trained in this: their job is to discern what’s mere happenstance versus what’s the work of an intelligent agent.

    2. MOTIVE.  Like I wrote before, I don’t know what the motive is, nor do I wanna theorize on what they’d be.  There’d be no point to my guessing, and, if I guessed wrong, then all others would focus on would be my invalid theory rather than the data upon which it was built. 

    The motive doesn’t really matter, anyway.  If a police detective sees a body with three bullets in the forehead, he doesn’t need to theorize WHY the man was murdered in order to say that he was murdered.  But he can still conclusively say that the man was, in fact, murdered.

    3. SECRETS & CONSPIRACIES. Your argument here is “We would’ve heard about it!”

    Well, you are hearing about it. 

    ‘Sides, how many Americans have ever heard of, say, Building 7.  That’s proof that the media is able to keep vital information secret and to deflect analysis of it simply by calling those who DO uncover it “wacko conspiracy theorists”.

    ESPN ‘Baseball Tonight’ successfully censored Buck Showalter’s discussion of the umpires.  Has Buck Showalter contacted anybody about this?  Have any of the program’s grips or low-level producers who clearly knew of this?

    I mean, Americans all believe that dozens of Arabs all managed to conspire to pull off the biggest mass murder in U.S. history without anybody knowing about that.  Whoever was responsible for that – the Evil Conspiring Arabs or much darker and more malevolent forces – the fact of the matter is that dozens of human beings were able to keep that a secret (although it’s not as though the media has any desire to expose anything about 9/11).

    Or the features on Apple’s next iPhone.  Or the Manhattan Project.  Or Bill Clinton’s years-long affair with Monica Lewinsky.  Or the casting of Hayden Christiansen has Anakin Skywalker in ‘Star Wars’.

    These are instances (off the top of my head) where dozens of human beings were able to keep information that millions of people wanted to know the facts, and yet the public was 100% in the dark.  Corporations and the government are able to keep lots of info from the public view.  They’re able to do so with NDA’s, confidentiality agreements, threats of prosecution and lawsuits, and, perhaps most of all, the institutionalization of Americans.  In my experience, Americans, predominantly, view service to powerful institutions as the greatest good.  Their institution (be it the government or a powerful corporation) is the greatest good, and they gladly lie and behave immorally in service to their institutions.  It’s the glory of association, maybe.  I don’t know.


    1. Two respected MLB veterans – Chipper Jones and Jamie Walker – have publicly stated that the umpiring is suspicious.  We know that the only article I’ve ever heard referencing corrupt umpires, the one in the ‘Atlanta Journal Constitution’, also suggested that many other players had similar thoughts, but refused to speak on the record. 

    We know that these two players were (presumably) fined and threatened by MLB’s policy enforcers, and spoke up nevertheless.

    2. ESPN ‘Baseball Tonight’ censored a segment where Buck Showalter was to discuss the “fist-bumping” and other umpiring oddities.

    3. Derek Jeter said that an umpire told him he made up his own rules about stealing bases, and that MLB did nothing to the umpire.

    4. MLB reviewed the fist-bumping, and that they had zero problem with it.

    5. Fans and the media show minimal interest in any of the incidents – the fist-bumping, the Jeter “out” call, umpire’s baiting players throughout the season.  So, MLB knows they can literally get away with anything.

    6. I can personally swear that I have never seen so many egregiously bad calls as I have this season, and I’ve watched baseball my whole life, and pretty heavily since ‘98. 

    For me, that’s enough to confidently hypothesize that there’s a conspiracy.  I could be wrong.  It could be just that every single MLB umpire is incompetent and power-trips on the field.  But I have a theory that there are more malevolent forces at work. 

    Either way, the fans and media don’t care.  Vince McMahon for commish!  (After Bud Selig passes away – by all accounts except his own, he’s anointed himself Commissioner for Life.)

  17. bigyaz said...

    David, you need to 1. Grow up, and 2. Get a life. I’ve been watching baseball for 45 years, and the umpiring is better now than ever. You’re reading way too much into what Chipper Jones said; he simply felt Hohn had a grudge against the Braves, which is possible (umpires are human, after all) but is hardly signs of a conspiracy.

    You’re taking a few comments, and a few bad calls, and running wild with it. You’re really embarrassing yourself.

  18. Craig Calcaterra said...

    David—you said:

    “The motive doesn’t really matter, anyway.  If a police detective sees a body with three bullets in the forehead, he doesn’t need to theorize WHY the man was murdered in order to say that he was murdered.  But he can still conclusively say that the man was, in fact, murdered.”

    The problem is this: you are proposing that something is being actively coordinated instead of simply happening, yet have no evidence—like the bullets in the forehead—that suggests it is something other than rank incompetence.  To use your analogy, we don’t see a body with bullets in its head.  We see a dead guy on the floor, and cannot yet determine whether he had a heart attack or was poisoned.

    For your analogy (and your accusation) to hold, we’d need to have evidence that an umpire took money or got something to make bad calls, even if we don’t yet know what the money was for, who gave it to him etc.

  19. David said...


    I’m sorry you don’t like me and choose to insult me.  Now leave me alone.

    Craig Calcaterra:

    I don’t have the means to even research this, let alone to conduct any rigorous investigation.  I’m not a paid baseball reporter.  I’m not a paid analyst for ‘Prospectus’ or THT or Yahoo.  The extent of my research and analysis comes in the off-season (to fill the baseball vacuum) and, even then, it’s very crude compared to the works of the more reputable “alternative” baseball media.  And even they can only do so much.

    What you need is, ya know, real reporters.  Not Buster Olney’s latest writing about steroids or how the Blue Jays wanted three prospects instead of two for Halladay.  Not Jeff Passan’s endless agonizing over 6-year-old confidential employee drug tests.  You need smart, tenacious investigators who will research the phenomenon and interview relevant subjects and provide historical context and all of the rest of that stuff.

    But they’re not covering any of this.  ESPN censored Buck Showalter.  Announcers glibly joke about high-leverage bad calls, “His is the only opinion that counts, ha ha!”  They lie for the umpires in many instances (for example, in the infamous Twins @ A’s game where the baserunner was called out at home, watch the A’s broadcast.  They initially say that the runner was clearly safe.  Then, two seconds later, they say it was just a close play and “he was out!”

    The NBA got away with this for years….including in the Western Conference Finals! (And let me say: game-fixing was obvious.  Shamefully obvious.  Media never raised an eyebrow.)  This demonstrates that major sports leagues both can pull this off, that the media won’t investigate, that fans won’t care, and that, if and when they get caught, the attention will be 1/10,000th the coverage of, say, the “Kobe-Shaq” feud or the “steroids” scandal.   

    The bottom line is that there’s a good body of evidence that something is up with the umpiring.  You’ve heard me write about this for several months here at THT, and now we have Chipper Jones say that there was “no doubt” that an ump was rigging a game.  Could this phenomenon be mere coincidence (I’m watching bad games and umpires are having bad years)?  Yes, it certainly could.  But I think that that’s very unlikely. 

    One way or another, the fact that MLB is clearly covering up for corrupt and incompetent umpires (the fist-pumping, the statement to Jeter, baiting players, and a whole army of horrible on-field calls) shows that MLB needs to, in a best case scenario, completely overhaul their policing of umpiring.  In a best case, corruption-free scenario, the head of the umpires should be fired (because of failure to penalize umpires) and the umpire auditing and accountability system must be re-built and made more effective.

    But even that won’t happen.  With ESPN censoring the issue and fans ignoring it, nothing is gonna happen. 

    And, again, I strongly suspect that there’s something far, far darker at work here.

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