The Hearing Needed Pettitte

I’ll have some more comments on the hearing later, but I have one thing I want to put out there. I really wish Andy Pettitte had testified today. And in light of how much weight several representatives put on Pettitte’s deposition, especially Elijah Cummings, he should not have been excused.

I just read through the entire deposition, and Pettitte’s recollection, while not 100% supportive of Roger Clemens, is not totally damning.

Q What was your reaction to what he said?

A Well, obviously I was a little confused and flustered. But after that, I was like, well, obviously I must have misunderstood him.

Q But he had never told you before that his wife had used HGH, that was the first you’d heard of that, is that right?

A Yes.

Q Did you understand that he was saying that as a way or sort of a strategy to handle the press inquiries? I mean, was that the nature of your conversation?

A Not really. The conversation wasn’t very long. That was really the end of the conversation. Just when he said that, I was like, oh, just kind of walked out. I wasn’t going to argue with him over it. You know.

Q It sounds like when you — it sounds like your recollection of the conversation you had with him in 1999, you are fairly certain about that, that he told you he used it. Do you think it’s likely that you did misunderstand what Clemens had told you then? Are you saying you just didn’t want to get into a dispute with him about it so you dropped the subject?

A I’m saying that I was under the impression that he told me that he had taken it. And then when Roger told me that he didn’t take it, and I misunderstood him, I took it for that, that I misunderstood him. (p. 27–28, emphasis added)

Later in during the deposition he was asked about the events again.

Q And you said when we were talking this morning that you thought maybe you misunderstood —

A Uh-huh.

Q — and I thought that was almost another word for being polite. Do you — today, as you look back, do you think you misunderstood?

A I don’t think I misunderstood him. Just to answer that question for you when it was brought up to me, I don’t think I misunderstood him. I went to Mac immediately after that. But then, 6 years later when he told me that I did misunderstand him, you know, since ’05 to this day, you know, I kind of felt that I might have misunderstood him. I’m sure you can understand, you know, where I’m coming from with that conversation. (p. 90-91, emphasis added)

It sounds like he is firm in what he remembers—he thought Clemens said he used HGH in ’99/’00—but is satisfied that his memory of the event is hazy enough that he acknowledges that Clemens could be correct. I think he somewhat grants that Clemens’s version of the conversation is no less relevant of his own, possibly superior.

I would have liked to have had him clarify his opinion of Clemens misunderstanding him. Had Pettitte been at the hearing he could have commented on Clemens’s character and why he might be willing to believe his own recollection is mistaken.

Addendum: A few further thoughts on Pettitte.

Andy Pettitte’s wife’s affidavit confirms what her husband told her. This isn’t useless information, but it’s also not all that supporting. If Andy misunderstood Clemens, then when talking to his wife he would tell her what he thought he heard. So, I don’t think her testimony corroborates much more than what her husband recollects.

Also, the notion that Clemens contradicts himself by saying that his wife used HGH when Pettitte revisited their ’99/’00 conversation, isn’t necessarily so. Debbie Clemens admitted using steroids in 2003. In 2005, Pettitte broaches the subject with Clemens, who does not remember the conversation. If he does not remember the conversation, but he does know that his wife used the drug in 2003, it is not surprising that he would say this.

Update: Apparently , Pettitte’s motive for finally revealing his 2004 HGH use was not so innocent. It looks like the story was going to come out anyway.

A month-long investigation by the Daily News has found that Tom Pettitte received performance-enhancing drugs from a trainer at a gym near Deer Park, and provided them to his son as recently as 2004. In numerous interviews with associates of the gym, on several trips to the Deer Park area, reporters from the Daily News discovered that Tom Pettitte, who has serious medical problems, obtained the human growth hormone from the muscle-bound owner of the gym, who is close to the Pettitte family. Based on information from two sources, Koby Clemens, Roger Clemens’ oldest son, also has worked out at the same gym.

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