Oh, not of the indictment. If there's anything vain about someone possibly going to prison, I've yet to see it. No, the vanity is what, one must think, brought Clemens to this dreaded point in his life; the belief that throwing a baseball -- a random act somehow deemed valuable by our society -- is important and powerful and worthy of great riches and praise and status.
For his entire life, from a boyhood split between Ohio and Texas to San Jacinto College to the University of Texas to the minor and major leagues to retirement to un-retirement to retirement to un-retirement to retirement to now, Clemens has viewed himself as a baseball player, and only a baseball player.
He has four sons, and all of them --
But that's who Roger Clemens is. The kind of guy who names his children after a strikeout. The kind of guy who, for holidays, presents teammates with signed photographs of himself. The kind of guy with vanity baseball-themed license plates (SOX-21 back during his Boston years, CY-MVP more recently) and the kind of guy who, sans humor or irony, refers to himself not in the first person or third person, but by a nickname. As
This is not to mock Clemens. Just as I was surely made to be a schlubby, poorly dressed writer with two left feet and a vanishing hairline, Clemens is who he is (or was who he was) -- a fastball-slinging Terminator, sent here from the future to strike fear in opposing batters and bring thousands of fans to their feet.
Truth is, when it comes to doing anything to triumph in a sporting arena, history has shown vanity to be a more powerful tool than speed, strength, balance and even timing. Look at the legends --
Yet here's the catch: What vanity giveth, vanity taketh away. Ali's career ended with a pummeling from
Then lied about it.