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Still an Andy Pettitte Fan…

By Brian | February 20, 2008 | Share on Facebook

Given recent events in the baseball world, I thought I’d comment on what Andy Pettitte and Roger Clemens have said and done over the last week or so. My perspective is that of a lifelong Yankee fan, and also as a father of two young boys.

I mention my kids because I’m very much of the opinion that sports, for adults, is entertainment. It’s a diversion from the things that truly matter in our lives – our families, our jobs, our communities, our politics, etc. As an adult, my interest in whether or not a professional baseball player cheated to win a World Series doesn’t amount to much more than idle gossip. It simply isn’t that important in the big picture. But kids view sports differently. Kids dream of becoming professional athletes. They emulate them. They watch their every move and listen to their every word. The athletes are, for better of for worse, heroes in their world. Superheroes, like Superman or Batman, but real enough to watch on TV and during the occasional trip to the ballpark.

My older son became fully aware of baseball right as it was becoming obvious that Jason Giambi had been taking steroids to achieve his unusual bulk and, consequently, his inflated stats. At the time, I encouraged him to look up to the likes of Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera, but steered him away from Giambi whenever I could. When he asked (and he did ask), I told him that Giambi was a great baseball player, but not a very good person, because even though he hits homeruns and wins games, he cheats.

And no one likes to play with a cheater.

My younger son is now at that age where he follows and roots for the individual players. And, of course, my older son is still fully fixated. Therefore, the widely publicized Pettitte/Clemens events present me with another dilemma. When the season kicks in, they will almost certainly hear about it and ask me what I think. And here’s what I think I’ll tell them:

Andy Pettitte is also not a smart person. He got hurt twice, and instead of listening to his doctor, he took medicine from someone who was not a doctor. That’s a very dangerous thing to do, and he’s lucky he didn’t get sick or make his injury worse.

But he didn’t cheat like Jason Giambi did. It’s true that taking the medicine was against the rules, so he did break the rules. But he didn’t take the medicine every day to make him pitch faster, strike out more batters, or win more games. What he did was wrong, but he wasn’t lying to his teammates every time he played in a game. Also, he admitted that he was wrong and said he was sorry. And that’s why his teammates supported him.

It’s hard to call what Pettitte did role model material, but at least based on what we know right now, he’s doing a pretty good job of showing kids how to handle things after you’ve made mistakes.

Roger Clemens, on the other hand, continues to surprise me. Back in December, I wrote this:

Instead of lawyering up, Clemens is adding the charge of “lying about steroids” to the one of “using steroids” that Mitchell delivered . . . For all of his on-field accomplishments, he’s counting on being proven (or believed) innocent at this point, because if he’s ever actually proven guilty, his actions today will do just as much to keep him out of the Hall of Fame as any drug he ever took.

Given Pettitte’s testimony to Congress, and whatever physical evidence Brian McNamee may or may not have, Clemens seems to be losing that battle. If it turns out he did use steroids or HGH, I will waste no time in telling my kids that what Roger did was even worse than what Giambi did, because not only did they both cheat, but Clemens also lied about it – loudly and frequently, and that’s the opposite of saying you’re sorry.

And good boys always say they’re sorry. Otherwise, they get punished.

Topics: Sports Talk | 3 Comments »

3 Responses to “Still an Andy Pettitte Fan…”

  1. Anonymous says at November 30th, -0001 at 12:00 am :
    Hi it’s Austin nice blog and nice website

  2. Brian says at November 30th, -0001 at 12:00 am :
    Hey, Austin! Glad to see you here.

    Glad you like the site…

  3. FamilyGreenberg.Com - Alex Rodriguez - Another Hero Falls says at February 17th, 2009 at 4:31 pm :
    [...] in February, amidst steroid abuse charges against Andy Pettitte and Roger Clemens, I wrote this: I mention my kids because I’m very much of the opinion that sports, for adults, is [...]


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