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Roger "the Rocket" Clemens' fall a bad model for young fans

Major league pitcher and former New York Yankee Roger “the Rocket” Clemens was indicted last week for lying to Congress about his steroid use. Clemens joins Tiger Woods on the list of superhuman athletes who disappoint their fans.  

AP (2008)

Major league pitcher and former New York Yankee Roger “the Rocket” Clemens was indicted last week for lying to Congress about his steroid use. Clemens joins Tiger Woods on the list of superhuman athletes who disappoint their fans. 

Everyone loves the superstar, but the fall from grace offers no soft landings.

Again.

I penned that thought back in April for a column I was meaning to write about Tiger Woods.

Never got around to much beyond that. Figured enough people were weighing in on the world's greatest golfer's very public personal fall from grace.

Even so, maybe it's worth dusting off. The divorce is final and Elin is telling her side in People magazine now. Tiger's been slumping on the course, adding some credence to the concept of karma and the thought that maybe things like family really do trump fame and all that it bestows.

"Serves him right," is the sentiment from many as another great steps up to the plate to fall on his sword — or in this case, his words. That would be former major league pitcher Roger Clemens. Last week, he was indicted for lying to members of Congress concerning his alleged use of steroids. This, all while the Little League World Series was getting into full swing.

Timing, it is said, is everything.

Pay attention, Little Leaguers!

Whether or not you think he did or he didn't, or that our elected officials' time could be better spent taking care of more pressing issues (job creation?), it looks like the man with the Hall of Fame arm might land hard with this one.

Some are betting that despite all those Cy Young awards, Clemens will go the way of another former great, Pete Rose, never to join the others in baseball's hallowed hall. There's going to be a trial. He might even do time.

Not that he already isn't.

Self-induced or not, it is a shame, even if it comes with yet another wake-up call for those who feed the pedestal and the Little Leaguers, too. Pint-sized players mastering big league swagger as they bat it out on their own World Series on ESPN and the blind fans of superhuman athletes who become bigger than the game we love to watch.

The anointed.

Happens, I guess, when you want to be them.

Or who you think they are.

The eldest used to feel that way about Roger Clemens, who was pitching for our team — the Red Sox — way back when the kid was trying his hand at T-ball. He got caught up in "The Rocket" hype when his godmother took him to his first game at Fenway and bought him a poster of Clemens that he brought home and hung on his bedroom wall, alongside another of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

A fan was born — one that became so enamored with superstar status that he even switched allegiance when Clemens skedaddled to Toronto.

Not an easy thing to do when you're a kid living in Red Sox nation and the rest of your family is recoiling in horror.

I feared for my first-born then, even as I acquiesced to his request for a Blue Jays baseball cap. Still have a snapshot of him donning that cap, wedged between two cousins wearing traditional Red Sox "B's" while sitting on a New England granite wall.

I like to chide him about that now that he's all grown up and back to wearing Sox gear.

For him, the Rocket lost his luster long before last week's indictment — probably right around the time he signed with the Yankees and the eldest, knowing he just couldn't make that leap, finally came into his own.

Michele Miller can be reached at miller@sptimes.com or at (727) 869-6251.

Roger "the Rocket" Clemens' fall a bad model for young fans 08/25/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 25, 2010 8:57pm]
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