Timing is everything in diplomacy and baseball.
After months of prickly talks aimed at coaxing Israelis and Palestinians into direct peace talks, U.S. envoy George Mitchell finally had news to share.
But when the U.S. mediator par excellence took the stage for questions Friday at the State Department, reporters tossed him one out of left field.
“As tempted as I am to ask you about Roger Clemens…,” his first questioner began, to chortles from reporters and State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley.
Mitchell, of course, between peacemaking stints in Northern Ireland and the Middle East, took a stab back in 2007 at resolving the conflict between Congress and Major League Baseball over the use of performance-enhancing drugs.
Clemens, one of the best pitchers in baseball history, was named in Mitchell’s report as having taken drugs, but he denied it in testimony before Congress.
The seven-time Cy Young Award winner was indicted by a federal grand jury Thursday on charges of perjury, making false statements and obstruction of Congress. He faces a $1.5 million fine and up to 30 years in prison.