As the whole baseball world knows by now, Roger Clemens has made his decision for 2007, and will play the final four months of the season with the New York Yankees.
Count me in the crowd that wanted no part of any kind of return from him to a Red Sox uniform.
Let’s get one thing straight folks. Roger Clemens is about one thing and one thing only: Roger Clemens. He is only about the money and perks, and who’ll pony up the most for him. Clearly the Yankees are in a very desperate situation in regards to their disasterous pitching staff, and caved in and gave The Carpetbagger exactly what he wanted: a pro-rated contract of $28 million dollars, which, oh what a coincidence, will be $1 million more than Alex Rodriguez, the highest paid player in baseball, will be making in 2007.
I like the rotation the Red Sox have put together, and the addition of Jon Lester (possibly by the end of May) will be a huge addition for the Red Sox. Of course, a lot can happen between now and the end of September. No matter what happens, I am simply glad that Clemens will NOT be in a Red Sox uniform this season.
The late Boston Globe writer Will McDonough hit the nail right on the head when he called Clemens, “The Texas Con Man.” If Clemens had any feelings and was REALLY serious about mending fences with the Red Sox and their fans, he would have come back to Boston, and NOT for more money than the Yankees offered him. It’s pretty clear that he has no interest in his legacy or where it all started for him. Those wounds he created in Boston will continue to fester, even after he retires. Red Sox fans will NEVER accept him back, even after he gets elected to the Hall of Fame. (He will go in with a Red Sox cap on his plaque, no matter what he says. He really should go in with a dollar sign on it instead.)
Yesterday he mouthed the usual platitudes you expect from this guy, words to the effect of: “It’s an honor and a privilege to be back” and “I want to win a ring for the those guys here who’ve never won one.” What rubbish. Do you think he’d be back with the Yankees if they didn’t meet his price, or if another team came out of nowhere and offered him MORE than he was looking for? (Think of the Toronto Blue Jays in 1996 and Clemens’ infamous “I want to play closer to home” speech.)
It will be interesting to see if he gets the same “perks” he got in Houston, like skipping road trips he wasn’t pitching on, and flying to games on his own jet. The Yankee clubhouse has plenty of other monumental egos, and will Joe Torre lose his clubhouse if Clemens gets what he wants?
Let’s face it baseball fans (especially Yankee fans), Roger Clemens has no allegiance to ANYONE, or any team. It’s just who will pony up the most for his services. The Yankees are welcoming him back with open arms, and now all the bad feeling after he departed and eventually landed in Houston is now forgiven. (A pitching staff in shreds will do that.) By the way, does anyone else remember that in 2004, the Yankees thought so much of Clemens and his “Yankee legacy” that they gave Jon Lieber his number 22 the year after he “retired” to Houston?
And as far as Clemens being a “Yankee Savior,” please remember he’s coming from the pitching-oriented National League, and a very mediocre NL Central, to the hard-hitting AL East. He’s a 6-inning pitcher, and last season in 19 starts, he never pitched even eight innings. And Clemens is now a year older, and hasn’t pitched since last September.
The Carpetbagger has come back, to the Bronx. I’m happy he’s not back with the Red Sox. He burned his bridges there years ago. You have to believe that if the Red Sox had outbid the Yankees for his services, Clemens would be mouthing palaver about wanting to bring his career “full circle” and “cementing his legacy where it all began.” If it really meant anything to Clemens to pitch in Boston again, he’d be back and would have signed a minor-league deal for around a million dollars. But that’s not how he operates. Clemens has to be the Big Man in Town, and he wasn’t going to be that in Boston.
He still holds a grudge against Boston, but it’s not against Red Sox management. Those people he despised, like Dan Duquette and John Harrington, are long gone, and the current ownership made it clear to him they were interested in him returning. The grudge he holds is against the fans of Boston, whom he clearly holds in low regard. (You may remember his reaction to the Red Sox winning the World Series in 2004. It was words to the effect of: “Don’t worry, in a week they’ll be miserable again.”) He probably remembers the boos and harsh treatment he got from the fans in his days in other clubs’ uniforms (which he brought on himself in my opinion). This he figures is his way of giving Red Sox Nation his “middle finger.”
The Red Sox can give it right back to him by giving the next rookie they bring up his old number 21, which they haven’t given out since he left in 1996. (I’ve never understood why they haven’t given it out again.) It certainly would be nice to see Jon Lester wearing it, but he will don number 31.
Anyway, once a con man, always a con man. The Yankees are stuck with him and his shell game now. Any bets on which day he goes down with his first injury, and probably of the hamstring variety?
And please keep this in mind Sox fans: Jon Lester will be back VERY soon.