Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Pettitte will be forced to turn on pal Clemens

Andy Pettitte’s nightmare is about to come true.

Roger Clemens will go on trial on charges he lied under oath in denying that he used performance-enhancing drugs. A parade of former New York Yankees players will be forced to testify about what they knew of Clemens’ PED usage. But Pettitte’s testimony will get the most attention and headlines because of his previously close personal friendship with Clemens.

Even though they haven’t spoken in years, Pettitte to this day is fiercely loyal to Clemens and it must be killing him that he will soon be forced to give damning testimony that could put his friend behind bars. But that’s really on Clemens and his arrogant insistence that he did nothing wrong, all evidence to the contrary.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman is also expected to testify during the trial. From a Yankee fan’s perspective, this is annoying because Cashman will have to spend some time on the witness stand talking about events with Clemens that happened more than 10 years ago when he should be focusing on potential moves to improve his current team. Hopefully, the Cashman testimony won’t take too long and he can quickly put it behind him and get back to work.

The Clemens trial creates another nightmare for Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, who has enough on his hands trying to wrest control of the Los Angeles Dodgers away from Frank McCourt. Clemens is the only one on trial here, but MLB will be judged too because Selig and other officials looked the other way for far too long while the balls were flying out of the ballpark. Selig & Co better prepare for another flood of daily articles about steroids and human growth hormone use in baseball.

Expect a highly sensational trial, perhaps even bigger than the Barry Bonds trial that had the media’s attention for weeks earlier this year (a fiasco that isn’t over as prosecutors decide whether to retry the slugger on perjury charges), because of the specter of a reluctant Andy Pettitte testifying against his former best pal. It will be extraordinarily painful for Pettitte, but fascinating for the rest of us.

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