Summer Lull Roundup

“Rocket” Roger Clemens, proving he has major-league hubris, demanded his day in congressional court.
  • “Rocket” Roger Clemens, proving he has major-league hubris, demanded his day in congressional court.

As Tiger Woods will tell you, it doesn’t take long before nobody cares. Retired Boston/Toronto/Yankees/Houston/Yankees MLB pitcher “Rocket” Roger Clemens reached his scandal shelf life long ago, but his Washington DC baseball/steroids/lying trial begins Wednesday — expired scandal shelf life or no.

What’s notable about the Clemens case is he literally asked for it; in fact, he demanded to testify at a congressional hearing. Truly epic hubris.

Tom Davis and Elijah Cummings, Republican and Democratic members of the House Government Reform and Oversight committee, said they told the seven-time Cy Young Award winner he didn’t have to testify, but Clemens insisted on appearing, insisted on testifying under oath.

Which resulted in the Rocket being charged with one count of obstruction of Congress, three counts of false statements, and two counts of perjury. He faces a combined maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and a $1.5 million fine. The foregoing is cop talk meaning six months in jail if he gets a hard-ass jury. A modest fine and home confinement would not be a surprise. Probation if things go his way. I don’t foresee a not-guilty verdict but will not bet the proposition, since a jury decides.

In major-league work-stoppage news, the collective-bargaining agreement between NBA players and owners expires on Thursday. The players offered to give back $500 million in salaries over five years. The proposal was called “modest” by NBA commissioner David Stern.

The NFL lockout continues. Players offer to give back all their male children.

NHL lockout is on the horizon. Players offer to make their own uniforms.

Major League Baseball lockout is possible. Players offer to sell season tickets on weekends.

The Tour de France kicks off on Friday. The favorite is Alberto Contador of Spain. He’s the best climber in the world, has won six grand tours in a row, won the Tour de France three times, and was not allowed to compete in the Tour de France twice. Something to do with drugs.

Besides climbing, Contador can ride time-trials with the best. He also shares, along with every other great bike-rider, the celebrity of being under investigation for doping. Contador tested positive for clenbuterol during last year’s Tour de France. The Spanish Cycling Federation proposed a one-year suspension, then, three weeks later, turned around and cleared him. The sport’s governing body, Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), appealed. The Court of Arbitration of Sport will hear that appeal in early August, which gives Contador a ticket into this year’s Tour de France.

The Los Angeles Dodgers filed for bankruptcy in Delaware. Hey, why not? Delaware is a fine state, the first of the original 13 states. Granted, her namesake is a bit questionable — I’m referring to the 3rd Baron De La Warr, the first colonial governor of Virginia. Virginia. Delaware. What’s the difference?

Here’s the takeaway: by declaring bankruptcy, batshit-crazy Frank McCourt prolongs his divorce proceedings and delays MLB’s takeover of his franchise for months. Therefore, we can continue to play “How Crazy Can You Get?” with Christmas-morning-like delight, confident that the game is going into overtime.

NCAA is on the march! Specifically, the NCAA Committee on Infractions wrote a letter to University of Kentucky president Lee T. Todd Jr. about the John Calipari matter. As you know, defendant Calipari is UK’s men’s basketball coach and, according to the UK media machine, coached the Wildcats to his 500th win last February 26. Several celebrations broke out among the lower classes, and a brace of game hens was sacrificed on the steps of Rupp Arena.

But, is a happiness based on ignorance truly happy? I think not. Turns out, of Calipari’s 500 victories, 42 were vacated by the NCAA and therefore should not be counted. We needn’t go into the sordid details here, just imagine the worst.

So, the NCAA infractions committee chairman wrote to UK and asked them to publicly admit their crime and more, send their confession to the NCAA for approval before releasing it to the public. Follows is UK’s statement:

Dear NCAA Committee on Infractions,
We are water-treatment scum. We inflated Calipari’s record in an effort to give the egomaniac something that doesn’t cost us money. Maybe sell a few more season tickets along the way. We know that having just about 10 percent of your wins taken away on account of rule violations is a bit steep, but it could be worse; hell, it could have been 30 percent if you did your job.

And it’s true we’ve given him a two-year contract extension, good through the 2018–2019 season, at $5 million-plus a year. But we only did that so we can keep an eye on him. Don’t worry about it.

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I really love your column, Patrick, but when you provide a roundup of the status of professional sports, team owners and clay-footed heroes, I realize that there IS happiness based on ignorance. For relief, how about returning to Audubon convention field trips and the dragon boat races?

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