The main thing that’s been so frustrating in this whole steroids production over the past few years is the lack of a smoking gun. And after all these years of waiting, how ironic is it that the most direct evidence yet produced against Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens is in the news on the very same day?
The NEW YORK TIMES is reporting that a Bonds urine sample that was submitted in 2003 did not initially test positive, but did on a subsequent retest. Meanwhile, the WASHINGTON POST reported today that the syringes Brian McNamee kept around for several years do contain Clemens’ DNA.
So who’s going down first (and how quickly can you sell all those Bonds and Clemens baseball cards you’ve kept all these years)?
At issue with Bonds is why the sample didn’t test positive the first time around, why the players union didn’t have the supposedly anonymous samples destroyed, and what mountainous Central Asian nation Bonds is currently hiding in.
There’s some confusion about the sample the TIMES reported last week tested positive. They aren’t sure whether or not that sample is the same sample being discussed here, which was seized in a federal raid in 2004.
The mess probably won’t be cleared up at all until a Thursday court hearing about the admissability of some key evidence:
On Thursday, United States District Judge Susan Illston is scheduled to hear arguments from Bonds’s lawyers and the government about the admissibility of those samples and other evidence, including doping calendars and handwritten notes. Bonds is set to go on trial March 2 on charges he committed perjury when he told a federal grand jury investigating the Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative that he had never knowingly used performance-enhancing drugs.
Not to be outdone, the POST has called the TIMES’ urine samples, and raised them a DNA-filled syringe:
Scientific tests have linked Roger Clemens’s DNA to blood in syringes that a personal trainer says he used to inject the former star pitcher with performance-enhancing drugs, according to two sources familiar with the investigation.
The DNA results, which are preliminary and subject to verification tests, could prove critical if prosecutors seek an indictment of Clemens on charges that he lied about the use of steroids, according to the sources.
While the DNA resluts of the syringes are consistent with McNamee’s story, there’s still not yet direct evidence that these syringes contained steroids or HGH. That’s a whole other group of tests.
Clemens’ kooky lawyer, Rusty Hardin, is already doing damage control:
Yesterday, Rusty Hardin, Clemens’s Houston-based defense attorney, said the DNA tests “won’t matter at all.”
“It will still be evidence fabricated by McNamee,” Hardin said. “I would be dumbfounded if any responsible person ever found this to be reliable or credible evidence in any way.”
I understand if Hardin is arguing that this doesn’t prove the existence of steroids or HGH, but he seems to be claiming here that McNamee is somehow cooking up a batch of Clemens DNA in his lab or something. Rusty does realize that DNA isn’t something you can really fake, right?
So, who cracks first? It’s clear that both guys aren’t going down without a big fight. Will either ever live up to their alleged misdeeds, or is it too late for that?