Andy Pettitte didn’t want to talk about Roger Clemens’ acquittal on perjury and other charges. I don’t blame him. If I were Pettitte, I wouldn’t want to talk about how I put my hand on a Bible, swore to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth, then completely bent the truth to save my old pal.
Clemens was acquitted for many reasons, but Pettitte’s suddenly hazy memory didn’t help the prosecution’s case. I’m still quite shocked that the jury couldn’t bring itself to find Clemens guilty of even one charge. But the members of that jury were not baseball fans – some of them had never even heard of Clemens – and didn’t understand the context of just how much damage Clemens and the other performance-enhancing drug users did to the game and how he should have been punished for that.
It’s amazing how my opinion of Pettitte has completely changed since his appearance at the Clemens trial. I root for him to pitch well for the New York Yankees’ sake and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the starters have been on such a hot streak since he came back. (Phil Hughes, brilliant of late, has openly talked about how much of a help Pettitte has been to him). But I get no joy from watching Pettitte pitch. Not anymore. I went from being uncontrollably excited about Pettitte’s comeback when it was first announced to completely disappointed at his off-the-field actions.
By the way, I couldn’t disagree more with Derek Jeter about the acquittal being good for baseball. I know that the Yankees Captain grew fond of Clemens as a teammate, but what Clemens and the other baseball cheaters did has put a permanent black mark on the game. I believed that the biggest names among the cheaters, Barry Bonds and Clemens, had to pay for what they did for the game to truly begin to heal and neither of them did.
But Pettitte’s cocoon of silence won’t protect him from the fact that he went out of his way to bend the truth to get his friend off the hook. And that is something he will have to live with.