Liotta: To tell the truth, look at the numbers

Roger Clemens appears on Capitol Hill. So does his trainer. Both discussing performance-enhancing drugs.

Roger says he’s never taken them. His trainer hands over what he says is physical evidence containing Roger’s DNA. Bloody gauze, syringes and vials. Clemens’ trainer says this evidence was used to enhance Roger’s performance.

The Clemens camp says the trainer has to be crazy. For sitting on syringes for so many years. The trainer says he thought Roger might deny his steroid use, so the trainer saved the evidence.

Both sides cling to their story. I’m not saying who is telling the truth, so let’s look at this standoff from a purely baseball point of view:

From 1993 through 1996 Clemens went 40-39, with ’93 and ’96 sub-.500 seasons. Four seasons, 40 wins. In ’97, Clemens went 21-7, the first time in seven years he’d won 20 games. In ’98, he went 20-6.

That’s 40-13, two seasons after four years of being a .500 pitcher. Four years. That’s a pretty significant rebound if you ask me. Now, I think some perspective is needed.

In four seasons (’96 through ’99), Barry Bonds averaged 39 homers and 109 RBIs. The next four years (between 2000 and ’03), Bonds averaged 53 homers and 111 RBIs. Remember, Bonds was vilified the last seven years, his critics saying performance-enhancing drugs had to be involved. Had to.

Now which do you think is a more significant improvement? Clemens going from four years of winning 10 games a season to back-to-back 20-win seasons, or Bonds reaching the seats with 13 more swings from one four-year period to the next?

The way I see it, Bonds has endured seven years of second-guessing for his performance during the latter years of his career. Clemens? Two, maybe three days of inconvenience.

Regardless of how all this turns out, what Roger Clemens has gone through the last month or so is microscopic compared to what Bonds has been put through the last six or seven years. So far, Clemens has gotten off easy.

It’ll be interesting to see how this turns out, because, right now, Bonds and Clemens are facing jail time if it is proved they lied.

Think about it. Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens in jail. Says something about the last 15 years of baseball, don’t you think?

Random thoughts

» Give Don Nelson credit. The Chris Webber tryout is a no-lose experiment. If Webber can play, the Warriors reap the benefits. If he can’t, it doesn’t matter. Just a little money wasted on a long shot.

» It’s time to get seriously involved with the Warriors’ playoff run. They’ve got possibilities. They’ve got a chance. No matter how much of a dark horse they are, they’ve got the best chance to fulfill the hopes and dreams of Bay Area sports fans as any other who will play over the next nine months.

» The Giants? The A’s? The 49ers? The Raiders? Right. Stick with the Warriors. OK, maybe the Sharks.

Tim Liotta is a freelance journalist and regular contributor to The Examiner.

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