Commentary: Clemens verdict not a logical conclusion

I felt the same way when efforts to try Barry Bonds ended in a fuzzy conclusion.

And also when Ryan Braun’s positive drug test was overturned on a technicality.

I would have liked to have seen all three nailed for what the evidence overwhelmingly appeared to support, that they bolstered their stats through performance-enhancing drugs.

In Clemens’ case, his strength coach, Brian McNamee, who had nothing to gain by coming forward, stuck to his story that he injected the pitcher. A former teammate, Andy Pettitte, was on record as saying Clemens talked about juicing — before caving on the witness stand. And the player’s wife admitted to taking HGH.

Somehow, though, we’re supposed to believe Clemens, one of the most competitive athletes who ever lived, never gave into the temptation to take anything that might prolong his career. Yeah, whatever.

A century of baseball shows us that players peak by their mid-30’s and then slowly decline the closer they get to 40. But Clemens and Bonds — and other alleged steroid cheats — defied that timeline and got better as they aged. It seems inconceivable all of them were just freaks of nature.

But we’ve likely seen the last of these high-profile trials. Prosecutors have learned they’re too costly and time-consuming, and convictions are hard to get.

If those players are guilty, though, it’s not like they haven’t paid any consequences for their actions. Their careers will always be viewed suspiciously, and that probably is punishment enough.

Contact this reporter at (937) 225-2125 or dharris@DaytonDailyNews.com.

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