Bulls

Clemens had a secret steroid relationship?

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Clemens had a secret steroid relationship?

From Comcast SportsNet
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Brian McNamee described for jurors a relationship with Roger Clemens that had the hallmarks of an illicit affair -- except their secret was steroids. "Roger would ask me, What are you doing? Are you available tonight?' I knew exactly what he was talking about," McNamee said Monday, in the first day of his testimony against his former client and friend. Back then, in 1998, Clemens was pitching for the Toronto Blue Jays, and McNamee was the team's strength and conditioning coach. According to McNamee, the two men went to Clemens' apartment in the Jays' Skydome stadium. "Roger pulled down his pants, exposing his right buttocks cheek to me," McNamee said. A few seconds later, Clemens said he was ready. McNamee said he then "plunged the fluid in, into his buttocks." "That," McNamee said, "was the first time I injected Roger Clemens." McNamee said he didn't feel good about the moment, but he got the sense that Clemens "wasn't good at doing the booty shot.'" That year was the beginning of a decade-long relationship that soured when McNamee, facing legal trouble, told investigators he had injected the seven-time Cy Young Award winner with steroids and HGH. Clemens' denial of those allegations at a 2008 congressional hearing landed him in court, where he faces charges that he lied to Congress. It took a month for prosecutors to get to their key witness: McNamee is the only person who will claim firsthand knowledge of Clemens using performance-enhancing drugs. McNamee also detailed a rushed shot he gave Clemens in a utility closet in the Tampa Bay clubhouse in 1998. "I was hurrying because we had to get out of there," he recalled. "I closed the door and injected him real quick and we left. I kept one foot on the door as I was injecting," to keep anyone from coming in on them. And when McNamee was asked where Clemens had gotten the drugs, he responded: "Don't ask, don't tell. I didn't want to know." Later that season, McNamee claimed, Clemens came to his locker, threw a bag of steroids into it, and said: "Get rid of it. I'm done with it." That was after Clemens had developed an abscess on his buttocks. The two men had developed such a bond -- either because of drugs, as the prosecution says, or because of workouts, as the defense maintains -- that Clemens asked his new team, the New York Yankees, to bring McNamee on board at the beginning of the 1999 season. New York declined, but when Clemens made another plea near the end of the season, the Yankees created a new position for McNamee -- assistant strength and conditioning coach. The salary was only 30,000, McNamee said, but Clemens supplemented that with 50,000 or 60,000. The previous year, Clemens had tipped him 1,000 at the end of spring training, McNamee said. McNamee said he didn't want to be with the Yankees, having already worked for the team as a bullpen catcher and batting practice pitcher in the mid-1990s. "I just wanted to be Roger Clemens' trainer," he said. The bespectacled McNamee, speaking softly in a thick New York accent, often made eye contact with jurors, who paid close attention to him. Clemens, sitting about 20 feet across the courtroom, did as well. McNamee returns to the witness stand on Tuesday. The former pitcher took several pages of notes on a white legal pad. He looked up quickly when McNamee talked about their alleged conversations about performance-enhancing drugs, licking his lips and holding his pen in the air, as if interrupted in the middle of writing something down. Other times, he would tap five fingers on his desk. At the beginning of his testimony, McNamee seemed a bit sad about how things had turned. A prosecutor asked what it was like to work with such an icon. "Just give me a minute," McNamee said in a subdued tone, after a long pause. Then, his pitch shifting up, he said, "It was great working with the best." The two sides spent the morning arguing over which parts of McNamee's personal life may be revealed in front of the jury. U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton quashed a Clemens subpoena for McNamee's divorce records. Walton said it was a "fishing expedition" to look for information to disparage McNamee. The judge did rule that Clemens' team could bring up evidence of McNamee's alleged alcohol problems, including two convictions for driving under the influence. Walton also said that if the defense had evidence that McNamee had obtained prescription drugs online without a prescription, that too could be mentioned. But the judge said again that defense lawyers may not mention that McNamee was investigated for an alleged sexual assault over a 2001 incident at a St. Petersburg, Fla., hotel involving a woman who was found to have a date-rape drug in her system. Walton said the defense could refer to it only as a "serious criminal investigation." The defense will be able to say that McNamee lied to investigators during that investigation. Charges were never filed in the case.

Three Things to Watch: Bulls dance with Warriors

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Three Things to Watch: Bulls dance with Warriors

Is there any better way to break in your new Black Friday television than Bulls-Warriors tonight? We think not. Coverage starts at 9 p.m. with Bulls Pregame Live, and the game is also available to stream via the NBC Sports app

Here are three things to keep your eye on: 

1. Not the score. Let's be honest: the Bulls probably won't sneak out a win at the Oracle. In fact, ESPN's matchup predictor only gives Fred Hoiberg's young squad a 2.9 percent chance to come up victorious. UIC has three times better odds against juggernaut Kentucky at Rupp Arena on Sunday, in case you needed some context.  

With the talent gap in mind, though, it will be important for the Bulls to come out with high energy. The Warriors will likely take the contest lightly in the first half, so starting off strong reflects well on the coaching staff and starters. Stay within 10 points by the half, and that's considered a massive triumph. 

2. Lauri Markkanen vs. Draymond Green? Assuming the Dubs start out with Green on Markkanen, this will be rookie's biggest test of the season. Green is an elite defender, capable of wrecking gameplans from the tip. He's physical, quick and athletic. 

Markkanen is coming off two duds on the West Coast trip, but his aggressiveness hasn't wavered. It'll be important for him to continue to attack even with the reigning Defensive Player of the Year hounding him. 

3. Steph, KD and Klay doin' work. The Bulls offense hasn't exactly been a thing of beauty through the first 16 games. Their offensive rating is a brutal 94.4, ranked last in the NBA. Golden State, on the other hand, sits at the top with a rating of 113.1. 

Take some time to admire the skills of Steph Curry, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson because when it comes to working cohesively on offense, they've set the gold standard. 

What Chicago sports fans should be thankful for

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USA TODAY

What Chicago sports fans should be thankful for

Families gather and people talk about things they are thankful for on Thanksgiving, but what are Chicago sports fans happy for now?

Raised expectations on the North Side

Got to be thankful that a “disappointing” season is winning the division and losing in the NLCS. The expectations have skyrocketed, and that’s thanks to a ridiculous nucleus of bats and a steady front office. Not many clubs can say that. Also, though, it’s important to be appreciative of the Wrigley bar stretch. They may charge $8 for a Miller Lite, but it’s always a damn good party.

Javy tags, too. Don't forget Javy tags.

Rebuild sparking hope in White Sox fans

Where to begin? Obviously, be thankful for the plethora of young talent that will soon take over the South Side. Be thankful for Avi Time (while you still can). Be thankful that taking your friends or family to a game won’t cause you to take out a second mortgage. Be thankful for the 2020 World Series and, of course, 2020 MVP Eloy Jimenez. But most importantly, be thankful that Rick Hahn’s phone stays buzzing.

Eddie O back in the booth for the Blackhawks

The Blackhawks are having a rough start to the season, but at least Eddie Olczyk is back in the booth. The longtime Blackhawks broadcaster returned to the booth on Oct. 18 after missing time while undergoing chemotherapy treatments for colon cancer.

With some of the key names from the Blackhawks’ title runs either leaving or being unable to play this season (in the case of Marian Hossa), Blackhawks fans are probably thankful to see a familiar face and hear a familiar voice during games.

Lauri Markkanen leading the Bulls rebuild

OK, there’s not much to be thankful for about the current Bulls team. At 3-13, the Bulls are tied for the fewest wins in the NBA (maybe in the long-term that’s something to be thankful for as well). However, Zach LaVine’s pending debut after his eventual return from injury should help create some excitement.

The thing Bulls fans really should be thankful for this year is the play of rookie Lauri Markkanen. The 20-year-old leads the team in scoring (14.6 points per game) and rebounds (8.3 per game) while shooting at a high percentage (34.2 percent on threes and 50.6 percent on twos). It’s only the beginning of the Bulls’ rebuild, but Markkanen is a good start.

Mitchapalooza

If a few things broke the Bears’ way, Chicagoans could have been grateful that the team was finally out of the cellar. Instead, we’ll settle for the fact that there seems to be some building blocks already in place. Mitchell Trubisky, Tarik Cohen, Leonard Floyd and Akiem Hicks seem to fit that category. Also, some may be thankful that this is likely John Fox’s last season at the helm.

Fire ending a playoff drought

After finishing dead last in MLS in 2015 and 2016, the Fire were one of the most improved teams in the league in 2017. After posting the third best record in the league, the Fire made a first playoff appearance since 2012.

The playoff run didn’t last long with the Fire losing a play-in game at home, but the arrival of Bastian Schweinsteiger and the league’s leading goal-scorer, Nemanja Nikolic, helped fill the stadium with six sellouts and gave Fire fans something to cheer for.