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February 18 2008: Taking One for the Team

It seems like Roger Clemens, and baseball as a whole are just going to continue to “take it in the nuts” so to speak as a result of the Mitchell report, so former major league pitcher Mark Littell is right on time with his new product, The Nutty Buddy.

Now, I thought a Nutty Buddy was an ice cream cone coated in chocolate and dipped in nuts. I swear that’s what I used to buy from the ice cream truck that trolled my neighborhood. But Littell has other ideas. He has built the proverbial Better Mousetrap. Well, actually, he’s built a better protective cup.

Before we go any further, you should probably watch Littell testing the product for himself on YouTube. The two-and-a-half-minute video opens with the ominous words: DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME.

In it, Littell takes a shot straight to the business center, from a pitching machine only a few yards away. They have a young blonde woman drop the ball into the machine. My guess it’s because no man could bring himself to do it. Littell, like any good stunt man, has his athletic trainer standing there to supervise the stunt. That poor guy looks like watching what happens hurts him far more than taking the shot does Littell.

The latest craziness in the Clemens soap opera has Brian McNamee’s lawyers practically throwing in the towel in frustration because they believe Clemens will lie through his teeth only to be pardoned by George W. Bush later. They figure if Bush would pardon Scooter Libby for screwing around and lying on matters of actual national security, then pardoning Roger Clemens for carrying on his longstanding tradition of self-centered egoism ought to be a no-brainer. Pun intended.

As for where I stand on the whole issue, I think the whole story has yet to be known. Who “leaked” Clemens and Pettitte’s names to the press as appearing in the Grimsley affidavit? When Grimsley’s testimony was unsealed, their names were nowhere to be found. Is there more going on here than just a drug and cheating scandal? It reminds me a bit of when the Iran-Contra Scandal was unfolding and bits and pieces emerged over time. Except, again, that was a story with actual implications for national security and our government.

I suppose one of the things that makes the Clemens and other baseball-performance-scandal stuff so compelling is that regardless of its relative “importance,” (or unimportance) in the grand scheme of politics and American life, it feels highly relevant. Because people actually care about baseball. For people like me, it’s a part of our way of life, not just a mindless form of entertainment that we could take or leave. Baseball will not be replaced by episodes of “Lost,” Texas Hold ‘Em, or blogging as a part of the fabric of American life. It is important because we make it so, because we care. So, no, I have no problem with Congress spending time on the issue–up to a point. There is a war going on, and the economy is in a shambles. On the other hand… it’s the offseason. I know, I’m so fickle.

To distract myself from political circuses of all kinds, I’m reading the news from spring training and discovering things like… it’s amazing how many YouTube videos come up if you type the words “hit in the nuts” into the Search box. Hey, didn’t they say Do Not Try This At Home? Maybe this is outside the guy’s office:

42 days to Opening Day!

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