Sunday, January 6, 2008

Congress Reviews Mitchell Report; Cavs Hit .500

I don't suppose anyone out there wants to talk about hockey?


Well, it was worth a shot. Like most of you, I'm getting pretty desperate for some baseball news, but there are a few noteworthy items this week:

On Baseball and Congress

The day after George Mitchell speaks to Congress on his well-publicized investigation into steroid use in baseball, some of the named players will get their turn. The House Oversight Committee has invited several witnesses associated with the Mitchell Report to testify at a January 16 hearing on Capitol Hill. Day one features former Senator Mitchell, Commissioner Bud Selig, and Players Union leader Donald Fehr. Day two should include testimony from Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, Chuck Knoblauch, former Clemens trainer Brian McNamee, and former Mets clubhouse attendent Kirk Radomski. Each invitee is expected to show up, with Clemens viewing the hearing as the best opportunity to clear his name.

I'm not expecting any major revelations from Radomski or Pettitte this time around. I think Mitchell did his homework as far as the originally published information is concerned and their stories shouldn't be changing. The thing I'm most interested in is how Clemens' testimony holds up to McNamee's under oath. Clemens has vehemently denied any steroid use and claims his former personal trainer injected him with legal supplements like vitamin B-12 and the painkiller lidocaine (enough with the puns on this one, please). On the other hand McNamee seems to be sticking with what he originally told Mitchell: Clemens took steroids and HGH between 1998 and 2001.

Somebody's got to be lying here. No one in the media knows what was discussed between Clemens and McNamee in a recent phone conversation, but my guess is they were trying to get their story straight before the hearing so one of them doesn't end up accused of perjury. Clemens could not make his view any clearer at this point. He's going to maintain his innocence right up to the hearing. The evidence and my gut tells me Clemens is lying through his teeth, but logic says he can't possibly be that stupid. He just got done calling McNamee's claims, one of the pillars of Mitchell's evidence section, "totally false" on national television. McNamee has remained fairly quiet in the meantime, suggesting he has no intention of changing his story at this point.

I'm of the opinion that Congress should find something better to do than investigate baseball, but hopefully the whole "under oath" deal will finally close the book on this Clemens mess. The hearings will also give some official credence to the occasionally shaky Radomski testimony. These hearings can't be any worse than watching Mark McGuire cry (probably one of the saddest things I've ever witnessed in baseball) and Sammy Sosa duck behind an invisible language barrier. Sheesh, just get it over with.

On the Cavs

The Cavs have won 7 of their last 10 games to even their record at 17-17. The Cavs have one of the ugliest winning streaks around; it's amazing that they continue to win games. Their latest game came against Toronto on the road Sunday. On a night where Toronto shot 49% and led by 13 going into the final quarter, Cleveland came all the way back and won. So much for that defensive resurgence I was hyping up in my last post; this game was won on offense.

Instead of rolling over against a tough team, LeBron James went nuts. As in 24 points in the fourth quarter (a franchise record) nuts. Toronto's Jamario Moon "knew it was going to be a long quarter" once James got going late in the game. James finished with 39 points, 11 boards, and 8 assists. Larry Hughes rounded out the scoring with 14 points, while Drew Gooden finished with 10 points and 12 rebounds.

I say the Cavs have an ugly winning streak because they really had no right winning some of these games. Against Atlanta, James scored 32 points in the second half. The Kings should have been pushovers with three starters injured, but Cleveland needed a last minute surge to knock them off. Sunday was just another rerun of Bron-Bron's Variety Hour. Don't get me wrong, I'm ecstatic that Cleveland has made it to .500 (that tells you how low my expectations are), but it would be unrealistic to expect LeBron to keep up this kind of pace. Maybe James' play will inspire the rest of the team to step their game up.

On a random note, Larry Hughes started at guard against Toronto, but ended up with nine less minutes than Gibson. It'll be interesting to see if Coach Brown continues to give Gibson more of Hughes' minutes.


Good luck to Ohio State as they compete in the BCS National Championship game against LSU on Monday. A lot of the OSU players were around for the loss to Florida in the last championship, so you can bet these guys will be fired up. Go Buckeyes!

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