Two Thousand Eight will long be remembered as the year in which the last remnants of the public’s trust in other human beings was finally flushed down the toilet. This year’s class of nominees for Dirtbag of the Year is longer than any in recent memory and is chock-full of liars, cheats, flim-flam artists, stooges, scuzz buckets, thugs and creeps. Yes, folks, it was a banner year for the bad guys.
But before I follow 2008 down the pipes with this, my final harangue of the year, I want to recognize a few of this year’s brighter spots.
The Giants beat the Patriots in a Super Bowl for the ages and restored my belief that Eli Manning was not adopted. Dara Torres proved the world why women get better with age, and Michael Phelps cleaned out the gold locker in a remarkable displays of guts and good sportsmanship. Federer and Nadal played the greatest game of tennis that I ever actually watched. BoSox Pitcher John Lester licked cancer and then came flying back to chuck a no-hitter on his way to 16 wins. Golfer J.P. Hayes turned himself in for using an unapproved ball and got himself disqualified from tournament play, but he joins the very short list of guys you can trust on a golf course. Tiger Woods proved himself a man of true grit by duking it out through 91 holes to win the U.S. Open, on a busted leg. Senator John McCain showed himself to be classic American class act by delivering a most gracious concession speech after losing a long hard fought campaign to a man almost half his age and a tenth of his experience. And last, but by no means least, a crisp salute to General David Petraeus for his professional display of consistancy, courage, and tact while some others around him were ready to throw in the towel.
Those are this year’s good guys. Thank you lady, and gentlemen, well done.
And now for this year’s Dirtbags.
Where to begin…. Eliott Spitzer, Ted Stevens, Robert Mugabe, Marc Drier, Jeremiah Wright, Larry Craig, John Daly, Keith Olbermann, Bernie Madoff, O.J Simpson, Charlie Rangel, “Hot Rod” Blagojevitch, The A-Rod-Madonna Disgrace, and William Jefferson all immediately come to mind, as do many, many more.
Depite 2008’s bumper crop of nominees, however, it only took me about 11 seconds of deliberation to decide that only one person was truly deserving enough to be the named the 2008 Dirtbag of the Year. Ladies and gents, I give you that bobble-headed prevaricating philandering jackass depicted at left, former New York Yankee hurler, and, at one-time, a shoe-in for the Hall of Fame, Roger Clemens.
The Rocket began 2008 by going on with Old Shoe Polish Head Mike Wallace at 60 Minutes to speak directly to the public about outrageous allegations being made regarding his alleged steriod use while a member of the New York Yankees that just happened to surface as part of a Congressional investigation. In typical Rocket form, Clemen’s came out swinging. He flatly, angrily, and repeatedly, denied that he had ever used performance enhancing drugs, and he called his former trainer, the less than immaculate Brian McNamee (who gave a sworn statement to the feds about shooting up Roger) a flat-out liar. Roger then immediately followed-up on that little nationally televised diatribe with a flashily splashed defamation lawsuit against the hapless and apparently defenseless McNamee. Whew! One might be tempted to think that anybody charging that hard at the mound must be innocent!
After that, however, the rest of the year went pretty much downhill for the Rocket, but he really didn’t have too far to go. McNamee, it turns out, didn’t trust Clemens any further than sixty feet six inches, and announced to the world that he had secreted syringes and pads which DNA tests would confirm the pitcher as being the recipient.
At this point a wiser man (or his counsel), might have chosen to propose a polite fade-away, ala Yankee teamates Andy Petitte, Chuck Knoblock and Jason Giambi , and live to play another day. But that’s not the style of a dirtbag.
In February Clemens took his one angry man show on the road to Capitol Hill where, under oath, he flatly, angrily, and repeatedly, denied that he had ever used performance enhancing drugs. Clemeons threw his old pitching buddy and teamate Andy Petitte under the bus with testimony that Andy “misremembered” The Raj telling him about using the juice. Oddly, Andy’s wife had the same faulty memory aas her husband. But evidently poor addled Andy remembered just enough to cause some comical distress to creep across the Rocket’s stern mug. Clemens glared at McNamee and barked loudly in defense of “his good name. ” But what he failed to do was to convince anyone that he was telling the truth, about anything.
Clemens’ televison performance and Congressional testimony was, quite frankly, the most ill-considered, ill-advised, ill-scripted, ill- mannered, and professionally embarassing testimonial shipwreck since Captian Queeg let loose with the ball bearings in “The Caine Mutiny.”
February slimed by in the Clemens camp with the revelation that McNamee had juiced up Roger’s wife, Debbie, in preparation for a swimsuit shot for Sports Illustrated – at her husband’s direction, no less. Nice. At least Ms. Clemens copped to the truth, however, while Roger stuck to his guns that everyone in the world was lying, except, or course, him.
April was not kind to Roger. First rumors began to fly that the happy hubby had been a very naughty boy with a very young Mindy McCready. Of course, Clemens had his attorney deny everything. Only problem was, Ms. McCready readily admitted to the long term affair. Obviously, in Roger’s mind, this was just another case of yet another liar out to ruin his “good name!” But people were starting to wonder what good name there was left to ruin.
Fortunately, that question was not long in the answering, as almost immediately it was reported that Mr. Clemens’ slice had landed in the rough of John Daly’s ex-wife (who must have taken a Mulligan on her first her husband).
Not another week passed before Mr. Clemens was accused of passing stuffed olives between his own married self and a comely young real estate agent and bartender, Angela Moyer. Clemens decried these reports as lies, but then immediately apologizes for any unspecified mistakes that he might have made in his life, like perhaps being a colossal serial dirtbag to his wife and children.
September found Roger watching a battery powered TV while getting the cold shoulder from the his former pals in pinstripes. By this time Roger was looking like too big a dirtbag even for the dirtbaggiest team in baseball (see, A-Rod-Madonna, above). In November, McNamee asked the judge to dismiss Clemen’s defamation suit against the trainer, with some support from federal prosecutors, too. And just before Christmas, McNamee filed his own $10 million defamation suit agianst the Roger. In between, Ms. McCready, the young girl that Roger wouldn’t marry, decided that she’d had enough, although God, quite thankfully, did not.
Roger locked-up the 2008 Dirtbag award when a Houston hospital decided that scratching his name off of the door to the sports medicine clinic (that was probably built with his money) was still better than being associated with Mr. Clemens.
And so, let us resolve to look for Roger’s name in the weeks and months ahead, most likely to be paired with the words “perjury,” disgrace,” and “divorce.” And let us not forget that Roger Clemens beat out some stiff competition for 2008 Dirtbag of the Year, but that in the end, Roger Clemens earned this baby.
Why, Roger? Why? After all of those games for which I screamed myself mute for you?
(*head smack**head smack**head smack*)
Oh, forget it, Clemens. We’re done here with 2008, and we’re certainly done with the likes of you.
Buzz off, you…you… dirtbag.
As to the rest of y’all, I wish you and yours a very happy, healthy and prosperous new year.
And don’t worry, I’ll be much more pleasant now that I’ve had my annual enema!