Indicted Roger Clemens Will Need a New Pitch

By coincidence, Roger Clemens was indicted for perjury Thursday while Andy Pettitte struggled to come off the disabled list with a groin injury. The two pitchers used to be friends and teammates on the New York Yankees and the Houston Astros but that relationship ruptured amid talk of how banned drugs could help heal injuries.

Pettitte said Clemens told him about Clemens's use of performance-enhancing drugs -- specifically human growth hormone. Clemens has denied it. Pettitte said he used HGH to recover from injury. Even if HGH really helped recovery, Pettitte would have to avoid it now that major-league players are tested for PEDs. The tests might not pick up HGH but it is hardly worth the risk.

Clemens brought the heat upon himself with his testimony before Congress in 2008 in which he acted defiant under oath toward Representatives. He also toured offices beforehand, signing autographs and posing for pictures. The effect was high-handed, as if he was saying ``Hit me with your best shot; I'm the star of the show here.''

Clemens acted as if he could bully and bamboozle Congress the way he could intimidate hitters with fastballs, up and in, or back down sports reporters groveling by his locker for post-game quotes. Maybe he will beat the rap the way so many athletes do in their young lives when they throw their stardust in the eyes of traffic cops and teachers and other authority figures.

Or, perhaps, the public revulsion toward cheaters and liars will help to make Clemens the symbolic fall guy for a tainted era. If this case comes to trial without a plea-bargain, we probably won't see and hear Clemens interrupting lawyers and judges the way he did before the committee on the Hill.

Clemens used to go by the nicknames "Rocket'' and, later, just "Rock.'' As the line in the old song has it, the time has come for "breaking rocks in the hot sun. I fought the law and the law won.''