Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Crying in baseball, politics

There was much talk and speculation yesterday about Hillary Clinton getting a tad teary-eyed when she provided a seemingly heartfelt answer to the question "how do you do it." ("It" being soldiering on amid brutal press and what could become one of the more spectacular electoral collapses of all-time.)

While I wouldn't quite call what Clinton did "crying," -- it was more like the kind of brief voice cracking emotion both the current President and Hillary's former-President husband display from time to time -- her paltry water-works probably do loom larger because she is a woman, and because crying during primary season has traditionally been a no-no for candidates of any gender.

Equally embattled Roger Clemens was also forced to defend himself yesterday. Instead of taking Hillary's earnest approach, the right-hander did so with the humility and subtly of a 98-mile-an-hour brush back pitch. So blind was his press-conference fury that he was forced to admit he hadn't heard a question because he thought it was directed at his lawyer -- who happened to be standing right next to him.

Clemens seethed as he offered indignant denials and made threats, some more veiled than others. Not only did Clemens do a poor job combating the charge he took steroids during his playing days, he ended up giving the impression he also shoots them before he does press conferences.

If Clemens had slowed down and got calm and misty-eyed when he talked about all the "kids" he mentors to stay away from from the very substance he stands accused of taking, it still wouldn't have immediately convinced anyone of a grand conspiracy against the would-be Hall of Famer. But it couldn't have gone any worse than the all-out heavy-handed approach he took instead.

And while Clemens should get a little sadder, it would serve Hillary's purpose if she got a little madder. Unfortunately her husband has beat her to the anger punch, offering up at a New Hampshire event today this seething screed on the Obama "fairy tale" and an unfair press.

Really, nobody knows what the rules are concerning crying in politics or baseball. But it's a safe bet that you aren't going to get very far having your spouse stand up for you, with either tears or rage.

* Speaking of Clemens, this fake confession video is top notch.

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