During the Roger Clemens hearing before a committee of Congress on Wednesday, one member of the panel said it reminded him of dozens of other "drug" investigations — proceedings where deals are made to get less-than-admirable souls to "roll over" on a bigger fish.

He got that right. What he didn't mention was this 4-and-a-half-hour hearing had the same tawdry elements as well. In a supposedly high-minded investigation into trainer Brian McNamee's claim he injected Clemens with human growth hormones, the hearing quickly became a drama ready for "Law & Order." There was the over-zealous questioner, the mouthy "mouthpiece" and pages of duck-and-cover testimony that was so garbled Shakespeare couldn't have diagramed the sentences.

And, by evening, the lingering emotion among baseball fans was not so much one of anger or disappointment as melancholy.

What a canard.

The world has now heard the phrase "Mr. Clemens' buttocks" more than is healthy, and the shifty and antsy defendant himself hardly looked like the King of the Hill. He had the air of a low-level racketeer getting his feet held to the fire. One's first impulse was to think that no Clemens had told this many "stretchers" since Samuel. But then without any hard forensic evidence, cooler heads had to grant a modicum of reasonable doubt to all unreasonable dolts.

Other baseball players confirmed McNamee's version of events. And the whole thing was reminiscent of the way world-class athletes — Marion Jones, Barry Bonds and Pete Rose come to mind — fought tooth and nail to the end in investigations such as this. They got to the top of their sports by force of will and an ability to lock down and focus. That seemed to be the case with Clemens on Wednesday. When confronted with bold and bald-faced contradictions in his various statements, he simply put on his game face and went to work.

That has worked wonders for "The Rocket" over the years on the pitching mound.

But when dealing with drugs and specious denials, it's going to take more than that for him to come out a winner.