January 4th, 2007
There has been a ton of discussion in the past couple weeks (as there is every year about this time…)Â with regard to Roger Clemens coming out of retirement for the 32nd time to pitch his “final year” with the team where he began his stellar career–The Boston Red Sox.
But some people are getting utterly apoplectic over the thought that Roger could forgo the Sox and (gasp!) RETURN TO THE YANKEES!Â “There is no way Roger would actually do that!”
But when IÂ ask why a Clemens return to the Skankees would surprise ANYONE, or why does ANYTHING Clemens chooses to do come as a surprise, why are people freaking out at me?
C’mon, over the years how can anyone dispute the fact that Roger actually…. Uh, how can I put this delicately? DOES NOT GIVE A RAT’S ASS ABOUT ANY TEAM, OR IT’S FANS? But, frequently, I am greeted with gnashing of teeth and conversations like this:
Roger Fan: How could you say such a thing! Roger was DRIVEN out of RSN by the ownership, andÂ he loves Red Sox Fans!
Me: And you think this WHY?
Roger Fan: ‘Cause he SAID so…He loves Boston and all its fans!
Me: Yeah, like 10 years after the fact, convenient coinciding with the face that the Sox now want to throw a buttload of money at him…Ummm, OK…
Roger Fan:Â Blasphemer!
The thing that BOGGLES my mind is the complete and utter amnesia some folks in Red Sox Nation have when speaking about “Fat Boy Roger” (as he is called by my friend Paul) or “The Anti-Christ” (as he is called by the Sports Guy, Bill Simmons, who even wrote an article about it, you can see it here…)
Letâ€™s break this down:
Absolute Fact # 1:Â Roger Clemens opted for free Agency in 1996, NOT stamped onÂ by mad goats and thrown off a cliff or driven out of town by Dan Duquette-The actual quote WAS:Â “The Red Sox and our fans were fortunate to see Roger Clemens play in his prime and we had hoped to keep him in Boston during the twilight of his career…”
Absolute Fact # 2: YES, Roger Clemens is in the top 3 of the greatest pitchers ever to pitch for the Red Sox
Absolute Fact #3: YES, Roger Clemens is probably one of the greatest pitchers EVER…
Absolute Fact #4: YES, After 23 years in the Bigs, he is still a force to be reckoned with…
My argument has nothing to do with any of that. My question is:
WHY DO YOU LET ROGER CLEMENS MAKE YOU CRAZY?Â Roger is going to do what Roger wants to do…and let’s face it, he is not exactly a fine, upstanding citizen is he?:
Remember after Game 6 of the 1986 (Yes, I know it’s painful) how John McNamara stated to the press that Roger wanted to be pulled, but how Roger acted all innocent and publicly threw his manager under a bus by saying he never wanted to be pulled out of the game, that is was all McNamara’s decision?
Roger’s 1st 9 Years with the Sox–An average, a little skewed because he did not hit his stride until 1986:Â W 17, L 8, ERA 2.90, Win % .675%
Roger last 4 years with the Sox: W 10, L 10, ERA 3.78, Win % .526%
Now, if we go no further in the Roger Clemens saga, it looks like Roger got older, fatter, angrier, frequently hurt (93 and 95, remember?) and just did not have the “stuff” that made him the brilliant pitcher we saw in the beginning–Can we really say that Dan Duquette made a bad decision, based on the information he had available to him at the time? Let us not forget, Dan was willing to pay himÂ market value based on this performance at the time, but Roger wanted more than that–he wanted the more money Toronto was willing to pay (read: “respect”), and play “closer to home” (HOUSTON). Apparently, Toronto is closer to home–yeah, if you ORB there…
Unfortunately, when he left the Sox he got “motivated” and completely turned his life around: His 2 years in Toronto, on average: W 20.5 L 6.5 ERA 2.35 Win % .760%
Which, of course led to him being traded to the SkankeesÂ in 1999…where he won 2 World Series Rings, blah blah blah…
Some other nice stuff about Roger:
When he had his unveiling press conference for the Blue Jays, despite efforts from the press corp to get him to say something, ANYTHING about Boston–something classy, like thanking the fans for the support, HE SAID NOTHING…nothing but accolades for the Blue Jays and how much he looked forward to playing for them, and refused to utter one word about the Red Sox and their fans…Yes, I understand he is mad at the management–but what about the fans???
In July 2000, he beaned Mike Piazza in the head, and then threw a broken bat in his direction during the 2000 subway series…Oh no! I’m sorry! Roger said he thought the broken bat was “a ball” I forgot…
During the All-Star Game in 1999, when the players that took part in the “Greatest Players of the 20th Century” celebration….Roger wore his Skankee hat, because after all, he spent so much time there–wow, what was it…THREE WHOLE MONTHS????
Speaking of Skankee caps: Roger has requested that he be allowed to wear his YANKEE cap on his head when inducted into the Hall of Fame, despite the fact that he only played with them for 5 seasons… because “I became a Hall of Famer in New York…”
Sometimes, his mercenary tactics are fun–like when he screwed the Skankees and their fans. At the end of 2003 there was all the celebrating and honoring and ass kissing since Roger was retiring. And THEN he comes out of retirement less than 3 months later to sign with the Houston Astros, and reunite with Andy Pettitte…
Speaking of Houston, for the last 3 years he has held them hostage with “No, I am really retiring”, “No, I think I will play one last year…” “No I think I am really absolutely going to retire this time…” “Ya know what? If you give me 81 million dollars, and allow me to start pitching in June or July, or maybe even August, and not have to pitch on any day that ends with “d-a-y”,Â blah blah blah, maybe I will give you 5 or 6 solid inning –when I feel like it…”
And WHAT about the names of his SONS? Naming 4 boys with names that all begin with “K” for all the strikeouts he has had…UGH…Talk about EGO…and it’s not even like normal names like Kevin or Ken, He and his wife (who still doesn’t understand why Boston fans are mad at Roger…) chose to manipulate names and make them all cutesy like Koray and Kandy and Kit Kat and Kan of Khiken Noodle…Almost as bad as George Forman naming all of his kids George Forman–even the girls…
I was speaking to someone recently, and I mentioned that I was working on this piece about Roger Clemens, and ya know what he said to me?”Â ”If I were Mike Piazza, I was have bashed his brains in with a baseball bat” and “I pray for Roger Clemens twice a week–when his plane takes off, and when it lands–hoping it will crash…”
And yes, in a moment of weakness I wrote THIS and yes, if the Red Sox decide to re-sign Roger Clemens, I won’t be happy, but I will have to live with it…But I will not allow him to make me crazy…
Bottom Line: The Red Sox all on their own make me crazy at least 476 times a day–Don’t need to factor Mercenary Roger into the equation as well…’Nuff Ced!