Earlier in the day there was Roger Clemens, one of the most talented pitchers of his era, standing on the courthouse steps after being acquitted of all charges in his perjury/steroids trial.
Later, there was R.A. Dickey, whose salary this year probably isn’t as much as Clemens spent on his legal defense team, mow down the Baltimore Orioles with his second straight one-hit shutout.
It was a contrast in talent vs. perseverance, arrogance vs. humility, and likability.
Dickey will never have the career Clemens had, and I’m talking the pre-cheating Clemens. Just because he was acquitted doesn’t mean he didn’t use steroids. This was a sham of a trial with the government as inept in its case as the Orioles hitters were last night.
When it comes to steroid trials, the government is so useless it couldn’t have gotten a conviction with a signed confession.
The issue surrounding steroids is credibility. The public wants, deserves and needs to know what it is seeing is real. With Clemens it did not, because whatever happened behind closed doors there still is the belief he cheated.
With Dickey, whose arm forced him to go with an improvisational pitch, we know we are seeing honest effort and grit, and with it genuine joy when he succeeds.
We are done with Clemens, and have been for a long time, even before he went after Mike Piazza’s head with a fastball and later a sawed off bat in a fit of steroid rage. With Dickey, we can’t get enough of him. He is a great story of what sports should be about.
He makes us happy to watch, not disgusted.