These days, being a beat reporter has all kinds of rules. But one of the bigger ones? Please don't ask the players for their autograph. It would destroy the delicate illusion that reporters are actual impartial observers who just happen to cover some of the most famous people on the planet. A Japanese reporter covering the Yankees didn't get the memo.

When a Japanese reporter recently asked Roger Clemens for an autograph, he got a signed photo and a swift penalty: His membership in the Baseball Writers' Association of America was revoked. Hiroki Homma of the Fuji Evening News said he didn't realize he was breaking the rules, though he took full responsibility and apologized to the New York Yankees.

"I didn't know," Homma said. "It was my fault."

We understand why Homma was in the wrong ... but we really think he's just being honest about the real relationship between reporters and the players they cover. If you don't think reporters aren't dining out on their "What's Roger Clemens really like?" stories, you're crazy. What's perhaps most amusing is that it probably didn't even occur to Clemens that Homma might have been doing something strange. Just another human who isn't Roger Clemens, askin' a favor; sure, lady, he'll sign your baby.

His John Hancock, For Your Job [More Credible]