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January 29, 2008

Rogerclemensreport.com: Another Uninspiring Defense

It's unclear who Roger Clemens and his agents are trying to convince of Clemens's anabolic innocence with their recently posted statistical analyses over at rogerclemensreport.com. What's pretty clear, though, is that they won't succeed. With 49 pages of convoluted notes and graphs, they've fired a fastball well over the heads of any casual fans who are open-minded enough to try to find a historical precedent for Clemens's late career revival. At the same time, though, the hurried report uses outdated stats (wins and losses, and ERA) that most sabermetricians would disdain.

As Baseball Prospectus notes, the document conflates anecdotal evidence with stats and at no point makes direct mention of the steroid accusations. Indeed, the document seems to have its purposes confused. For the most part, the Clemens reps are trying to convince us that Clemens is getting worse, the unwritten assumption being that his career trajectory matches that of other non-'roided pitchers. At other times, though, the writers seem to be in agent mode, puffing up their client as a mold-breaking, uniquely talented pitcher.

All in all, it's a lot like the conversation that Clemens recorded between himself and his former-trainer-turned-accuser Brian McNamee. What seems to be an important piece of Clemens defense comes up so far short of what was promised that it backfires. Instead, the report is just another desperate salvo from an egotistical man hoping to save his reputation.

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