Tag Archives: Roger Clemens

“The Big C” completely goes into the toilet, while “Nurse Jackie” shines on; Roger Clemens, not guilty but hardly innocent. And the amazing R.A. Dickey, inspiring all

I’ve been saying for a while now that Showtime has, pound for pound, much better shows than HBO.
Two of my favorites on the network finished off their seasons on Sunday. Sadly, one show I’m now crossing off the list, while the other is better than ever.
Since I subscribe to Don Corleone’s credo from “The Godfather”(“he insists on hearing bad news immediately”), I’ll start with the bad.

“The Big C” had such a fantastic first season, and a really good second season, too. If you’ve never seen it, Laura Linney plays Cathy, a woman diagnosed with terminal cancer, and we watch as she and her family (Oliver Platt is her husband) go through all the different feelings and emotions the cancer causes.

I had really high hopes going into Season 3, but man, it was some kind of awful. They went in 47 different directions, many that made no sense (Paul as a motivational speaker? A woman who’s dying adopting a baby?), and basically completely forgot that Cathy is supposed to be dead soon.

Then in the finale, they just totally made no sense with character choices and motivations. Sad to see such a terrific show go into the toilet, but it’s just turned into a terrible show.

How-evah (channeling my inner Stephen A. Smith there), “Nurse Jackie,” the other awesome Showtime show that just ended its season, is as good as ever. Edie Falco completely rules as an ER nurse who’s a cheating spouse and a drug addict (pills), and until this season pretty much got away with everything dirty that she did.
Finally this year she was forced to face some consequences, and her life (predictably) began to fall apart.
But the show was SO much more interesting, watching her go through rehab, fight to get custody of her kids, and try really hard to stay clean.
“Nurse Jackie” is wickedly funny, with a great supporting cast (thank God they toned-down the obnoxious Coop a little this year), and has a lot of heart. The season finale was gut-wrenching in the end, but so worth watching.

So my official verdict: If you’re not yet, start watching “Nurse Jackie.” And if you wanna watch great TV, watch the first two years of “The Big C.” That’s all that’s worth your time.

**So Roger Clemens, who everyone in the civilized world knows used and abused steroids late in his career (and allow me to plug my man Pearlman’s excellent book on Rocket, which I helped edit), was acquitted Monday on charges of perjury in front of Congress.
Of course, ole’ Roj and his lawyers take this to mean he’s been exonerated from the charge of ever having juiced. Not quite the same thing.
I personally don’t care that Clemens got off, though I feel quite certain he’s a scumbag (though I thought that long, long before the steroid thing).

I just hope that more than any jail sentence, the permanent punishment for him remains that most baseball fans know he cheated. He cheated his talent, he cheated the game, and the last 5-6 years of his career will be forever tainted.

Like Barry Bonds before him, Roger Clemens was going to the Hall of Fame before he touched one needle. But like Bonds before him, because of hubris and ego, Roger Clemens may now never get into Cooperstown. (Although the feds may have turned him into a martyr; check out this excellent Jeff Passan article here).

**Finally, a much more uplifting baseball story. Have you seen what the Mets’ ace knuckleball pitcher, R.A. Dickey, is doing? Dude was a career journeyman, nothing more, and this season he’s the best pitcher in the sport. Monday night he threw his second consecutive one-hitter, and now hasn’t allowed an earned run in like 40 innings.
Dickey’s backstory is pretty remarkable, too; his new book (discussed, with his life, in a great story here) talks about how he suffered two separate instances (and abusers) of child molestation. I wonder if, in some small way, unburdening himself of his past in the book has made him a better, more confident pitcher.

So great to see a man who seems to finally, truly have some peace in his life doing so well.

Getting over your fear of heights isn’t helped when you’re trapped 50 feet up. Some Mariano Rivera love. And “Friday Night Lights” blows me away again

So pretend for a minute that you’re Talia Rodriguez, a recently-engaged woman in Texas. You’re getting set to marry the man of your dreams, William Mancera, but he has a paralyzing fear of heights.
So you decide that to help him overcome it, the two of you will go to the Zero Gravity Amusement Park in Dallas and go on the Texas Blastoff Bungee Ridge.
Great idea, right? William will see there’s nothing to be scared of.
Ah, Talia. Such a good idea at the time. How could she have known that the cords on the ride would get tangled, and the pair would get stuck 50 feet in the air, dangling, for three hours?
They had to be rescued by the fire department. Fortunately, they weren’t injured.
I love this quote from Talia:  “We will never go on these ever, ever again,” she said. “Our kids will never go on them, our brothers and sisters will never go on them – we’re done.”
Sometimes, true love is literally found in the clouds.

**I’m a pretty lapsed baseball fan, and a lapsed Yankees fan to boot. But Friday night the Yankees and Red Sox, tied for first place and playing each other at Fenway, sucked me back in a little bit.
And in the 9th inning, I got to thinking about Mariano Rivera. He’s been taken so for granted by Yankees fans, and baseball fans in general, because he’s been so good for so long. But do you realize how incredible it is that No. 42 is still getting the job done as a relief pitcher, 15 years after starting to dominate? And he still does it with two basic pitches. And the batters know what’s coming, and he knows they know, and this legend of the mound, now 41 years old, is still getting it done.
People talk about Pedro Martinez or Roger Clemens or Greg Maddux being the best pitchers of the last 25 years.
Maybe, just maybe, it’s Mo.
If you want to read more about Rivera, here’s Tom Verducci’s stellar profile of him from 2009.

**So I’ve mentioned before that I came very late to the party on “Friday Night Lights,” but have been catching up on Netflix a season at a time.
I’m almost done with Season 4 right now, and Friday night I saw maybe the best episode in the show’s history, the one called “I Can’t.”
More proof that this brilliant show was more than about just football: This episode was the most honest, accurate portrayal of a teenager’s wrenching struggle about whether to have an abortion as I’ve ever seen on TV. I ripped “Desperate Housewives” a while back for not having the guts to even discuss abortion on TV.
Well, “Friday Night Lights” had the guts to go there, and thanks to brilliant writing and acting, it was a hell of a show. Man, I can’t wait to get to Season 5, because Season 4 has been sensational.

The guy who saved Hitler’s life in 1919. And Roger Clemens, in big trouble

Sometimes in this blog I feel I can’t do a story justice. That if I try to describe it too much or paraphrase a little, I’ll completely ruin it.
So I don’t want to say too much about this story that came out last week, about the man, Michael Keogh of Dublin, who saved Adolf Hitler from certain death in 1919.
It’s an unbelievable tale. Check it out and marvel like I did at how history would’ve been changed if not for one man’s act.
Fate is an amazing thing.

**Not really a big surprise, but still interesting to see Roger Clemens get indicted for perjury on Thursday. I hold Clemens in extremely low regard, and you would too if you read my friend Jeff Pearlman’s excellent book “The Rocket Who Fell to Earth” (full disclosure: I helped edit it. But really, it’s outstanding.)

I absolutely believe Clemens took steroids. I absolutely believe he lied to Congress. He’s been lying his whole life, getting by on talent and charm, and I think he figured Congress would be no different. Hell, I remember those hearings a few years ago and several Congressmen practically fawned over the guy. It was disgusting.

Clemens won’t go to jail, I don’t think. But a conviction would certainly be warranted. He’s an arrogant jerk who continues to think, in his own mind, that this is all a big misunderstanding.

And as a Yankee fan, it always killed me to root for this bum.

The hypocrisy of Yankee fans and my million-dollar GPS idea

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Even though I’m a Yankee fan, I sometimes have to call B.S. on other Yankees fans.

I have to say, a lot of what fans of other teams say about Yankees rooters is, to quote the great film “My Cousin Vinny,” dead on balls accurate. Not all of us are jerks, but many are.

 Yankee fans can be awfully obnoxious (I know, stunning revelation). Some of us like to overlook simple facts like “The Yankees have no payroll limit, ever,” and “practically no one in baseball has the built-in advantages the Yankees have.”

Yankee fans can also use delightful selective memory when getting outraged. I heard from a few of my friends, and read a few other things on the Internet Sunday that made me laugh out loud.

What they’re arguing, basically, is that since David Ortiz has now joined Manny Ramirez on the ever-lengthening list of disgraced baseball stars who used steroids, the Red Sox 2004 title is now tainted.

Before I get to that ridiculous argument, a few words about Ortiz. Everyone seems surprised by this, and Howard Bryant of ESPN wrote this great columnabout how Big Papi let everyone down, and how genuine he seemed. I have to say, I’m a little surprised at Papi, too, but mostly disappointed. I love guys who just seem to have so much fun playing the game, and sure, it seemed possible that after a mediocre career, Ortiz became a superstar without steroids. 

Anyway, it was a little sad to see Ortiz become just another steroid cheat, and even though I’m not a big baseball guy anymore, as a sports fan it hurt a little.

But this idea, set forth by Yankees fans, that the Red Sox miraculous 2004 championship is tainted is pretty insane. Here’s why: Tell me what the following have in common: Roger Clemens, Chuck Knoblauch, Jose Canseco and Andy Pettitte. If you guessed that they have all been linked to, or admitted to, using performance-enhancing drugs, you’re right.

And oh yeah, they were all also on the 2000 New York Yankees World Series championship team. So will you hear a Yankee fan say that title is tainted? And how about the three that preceded them? Does every Roger Clemens win get thrown out and hit with the “tainted” label, too? Just wondering. 

All I’m saying is that the ’04 Sox team is no more tainted than any other title team from the last two decades in baseball, when steroids ruled and no one was immune. Everyone cheated, some got caught, but they’re all covered up in the slime of the last 20 years.

Good God, I’ve just spent 400 words defending the Red Sox. I don’t even know who I am anymore. If I start praising the New York Islanders and Sarah Palin, tell my family to send me to Bellevue.

**OK, so here’s my idea that isn’t really worth a million dollars, but I wanted to get your attention. So we’re driving home from Mystic, Conn. after the wedding Sunday (by the way, fish was NOT served at the aquarium wedding, which was probably a good idea) and my mother-in-law is annoyed at the Australian accent of the GPS lady who'[s giving us directions from the little machine. And so she changes it a few hundred times and we end up with some British guy.

Anyway, it gave me an idea: Wouldn’t it be cool if the accented voice from these GPS thingies matched up with the regional accent of the area of the U.S. you’re drivin through? Like, when you’re in Manhattan the voice says “Turn right? Fuhgeddaboutit” and says words like “tawk.” And in Chicago it gives you a Chicago accent, and in Boston you’re told there’s a “pah-king lot on the right.”

I just think this would make road trips so much more fun, and lead to all kinds of folks calling Garmin and saying ‘We don’t talk like that here!” 

When I popped the idea in the car to my family, who’s supposed to love me, I got a lukewarm response. But I tell ya, it’s a winner.

 When this becomes a reality, you remember who told it to you first. 

P.S. One more thing: Saw a fantastic name for a pet foods store on our trip: Feasts for Beasts. I’d shop there just for the name.