After educating me about the origin of the word "scapegoat," Ethan, via email, notes that to the extent Roger Clemens is one, he is not simply taking the fall for baseball's misdeeds:
I’m starting to get the feeling that Roger Clemens has unwittingly stepped onto the altar of a pagan ritual of purification, and the zeitgeist of the congregation assembled is not just anticipating the cleansing of baseball, but the cleansing of the American body politic itself – that in this one misguided, overkill investigation of a sad little man who happened to be a great athlete, Congress is somehow hoping to redeem itself of its investigative failures of the past decade that have brought us Enron, a stock market crash, the housing bubble, a failed 2000 presidential election, the war in Iraq, the U.S. attorney scandal, and more.I couldn't agree more. It's been a long time since the steroids controversy was simply about baseball. Ironically, it's now those who claim to abhor PEDs who use them to make themselves feel bigger.
Somehow, they seem to feel that baseball has such totemic power that by this single act, that litany of failures will be washed away, the sun will shine again, the dollar will be strong, drugs will no more course up from Mexico, SAT scores will rise, Osama bin Laden will turn out to be nothing more than the bad-dream ratings-grabbing cliffhanger episode from the end of last season, and Babe Ruth will once again walk this earth.
Clemens is becoming almost Christlike in his ability to heal the world of its sins and help us transition to some new era. Boy will there be depression when they wake up from this and find . . . nothing has changed.