Arts & Entertainment

Picking Splinters: Black-Balling Bonds, ‘Exposing’ the Rocket and More Mail Bag Matters

Columnist Mike Hume dives into his magical mailbag to examine some recent sports issues.

Are you satisfied with Roger Clemens's apology? Are your boys in the media going to leave him be now? Or will this witch hunt continue?

Barry

Does anyone else think that Roger Clemens is turning into the Britney Spears of the sports world? Every day it feels like there's something new and disturbing coming out on him. I almost half expect him to shave his head and get out of his Hummer sans jock strap.

Concerning your question, Barry, usually when news breaks that a star athlete may have cheated on his wife by having an affair with a 15-year-old, it doesn't just go away. And I believe this is particularly true following Clemens's apology.

Clemens apologized to his fans, wife and family for bad decisions in his personal life, however he flatly denied any kind of sexual relationship with Mindy McCready and using steroids. So … what exactly is he apologizing for? If Clemens is to be believed, it's for decisions that have not yet come to light. Tell the media that there's still dirt out there and they perk up like Manny Ramirez eyeing a 3-1 fastball down the heart of the plate.

If Clemens is not telling the truth, well then the steroid allegations may be the least of his concerns.

What the heck were a 28-year-old star athlete and 15-year-old karaoke singer doing hanging out together? McCready's mother said that Clemens used to come over to the house every once in a while. What were they doing? Was McCready reading Clemens her favorite passages from “Baby-sitter's Club?” Were they sitting on the floor of her bedroom, eating Pop-Rocks and listening to Fine Young Cannibals belt out “She Drives Me Crazy?”

Look, there is certainly the chance that the relationship was platonic and nothing untoward (or illegal) happened. However, that scenario does not seem too believable. And to this point, Clemens has not done much to suggest he deserves to be believed.

Oh, one more thing. Why doesn't Barry Bonds have a contract yet? Are the MLB owners colluding in your opinion?

Barry's “Friend”

I read that the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) is going to be investigating whether or not owners are colluding to keep Barry Bonds and other older free agents out of the game. Geez, yeah, I can't think of any good reasons that would prevent a lead-footed, injury-riddled, over-the-hill, defensive liability with a looming federal perjury trial from being signed to a roster.

This story says two things about the MLBPA. First, if they're actually willing to pursue this, then they really will fight any fight for their members, which is amazing if you're a player paying dues to the organization. Of course, stories like this are why most fans believe that if Satan ever came to trial, it would be Donald Fehr and the MLBPA that would defend him.

The Olympic torch reached the top of Mt. Everest this week. Does that make up for all of the protests that have marred its travels thus far?

Juan Antonio

Here's the thing about the Olympic torch: It's a symbol of endurance. A decade, 20, 50 years down the road, I don't think that the significant memories of these games will be the ones we saw as the torch traveled the globe. That said, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has no one to blame for these images but themselves.

What we're seeing is political protest and advocacy groups using these Olympics to publicize their causes, which have usually focused on Chinese human rights violations. Of course, the first group to attach a political context to these game was the IOC. When the IOC first awarded the games to China, a controversial decision given China's spotty record on free speech and its history in Tibet, the IOC mentioned that they believed these games would serve as a catalyst for China to change its repressive ways. Maybe it will, but thus far it seems the Chinese have just tightened their grip. For example, Chinese police and soldiers were authorized to fire on any protesters on Everest. Now that would have been an enduring stain on both these games and the torch.