I like this kid the Yankees signed to shore up the rotation. He’s going places.*
But some people are understandably bitter about this development. Some people like Bill Simmons, of ESPN’s Page 2. Here’s Simmons’ list of rationalizations for not being upset:
1. There’s finally a villain on the 2007 Yankees. Just like the good old days. I was tired of talking myself into despising A-Rod and Posada.
Clemens may in fact hold a grudge against Boston ever since Dan Duquette’s “twilight” comment (the baseball equivalent of the guy who initially turned down The Beatles because “guitar groups are on the way out”). And I can’t tell if Simmons is serious about despising the other two. If so, the villains are poorly chosen: Posada? Really? He seems like a pretty nice guy. He was even in that stupid “Sportscenter” commercial with Ortiz. And Rodriguez would be Boston’s starting shortstop right now were it not for the Players’ Association vetoing the deal (that greedy asshole). Did Simmons forget about the more recent betrayal by Damon? That’s some mighty good villainy.
2. Since he didn’t sign with Boston, I wasn’t put in the position of (A) having to boycott his starts,
and (B) feeling constantly sick because so many Red Sox fans would have been perfectly willing to forgive him if he came back. This would have been awful. I would not have handled it well.
Points for honesty. Imagine the gloating the Faithful would inflict on New Yawkuhs had the deal gone the other way. Actually, don’t. I can’t wish that accent on anyone.
Now I get to look forward to the possibility of Clemens pitching in Fenway in three weeks while the entire crowd chants, “H-G-H! H-G-H! H-G-H! H-G-H!” Much better.
That’s the worst you can come up with? (Full disclosure: I was one of the goons who chanted “Noah’s ugly!” on a live national television broadcast.)
3. He burned his bridges with yet another city (Houston). Love when that happens.
I’m okay with this one. He can’t pitch against the Cardinals now, unless it’s in October (lolz).
4. Watching the inevitable “Brokeback Mountain” parody trailer on YouTube with Clemens and Andy Pettitte. It hasn’t happened yet, but you know it’s coming.
Gay jokes. Awesome. I’m particularly irritated that two good male friends must be subjected to “Brokeback” references, not just because it’s not funny, but because it flies utterly in the face of everything for which the movie stands. But I digress.
5. If he’d signed with Boston, between Dice-K Mania, Beckett’s quest for 30 wins and the return of the greatest Red Sox pitcher ever, Curt Schilling might have snapped from a lack of attention — we could have seen him break a baseball bat over a Japanese photographer’s head just to grab the spotlight again. Glad we avoided this.
Haha, well, Schilling is a whore for attention (non-bloody-sock-related). But Beckett will not win 30 games. And wasn’t there a pretty good Red Sox pitcher during the deadball era? Shit, what was his name?
6. Honestly? I don’t think Clemens will be that good for the Yanks. He turns 45 in August and he’s been pitching in an inferior hitting league for the past few years. Physically, it just doesn’t add up. He’s defying the career paths of every other pitcher in the the history of baseball … I mean, even a freak of nature like Nolan Ryan started to break down in his mid-40s. How is Clemens still chugging along? How? I just feel like the odds of Clemens either breaking down or becoming involved in a massive scandal seem to be much greater than the odds of him continuing to be an elite pitcher. And if he stinks … it’s going to be glorious. Just glorious.
I can’t take offense at this. Clemens is the biggest outlier in pitching history, so most predictions about his performance will have to be taken with a grain of salt and not too harshly judged when they are wrong. Still, it’s a bit smug to take such pleasure thinking about a man’s inevitable decline.
7. The Yankees’ clubhouse is already fragile enough … now they’re adding a guy who abides by his own sets of rules, flies back home after every start, drags his kids around with him like Michael Jackson and comes and goes when he pleases? Sounds like a recipe for disaster, doesn’t it? If he struggles out of the gate, the Yankees’ fans will turn on him faster than the WWE fans turning on John Cena during a pay-per-view.
No. I’m pretty sure Brian Cashman went out of his way to make sure Clemens’ priveleges wouldn’t rile his teammates. They won’t. Clemens will also mentor young pitchers like Hughes; and by all accounts he was a strong and supportive teammate during his first five years in the Bronx (read Olney’s book “The Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty”).
8. We’re coming closer and closer to my dream of Clemens’ Hall of Fame plaque featuring a cap with a dollar sign on it. I feel like it’s a genuine possibility at this point.
Boo, capitalism! Hooray, beer!
9. The Red Sox spitefully giving No. 21 to someone else this season, preferably the worst pitcher on the team. In fact, I vote that they bring Rich Garces back, feed him burritos until he passes the 400-pound mark, then squash him into a No. 21 jersey and hire him as the bullpen coach.
I don’t – I’m not sure – I – what? Someone was stretching here. This is why I support making a list only as long as you can fill it. Check out next week’s special entry, “Keesup’s Top Six Songs About Baseball.”
10. Looking forward to an entire season of e-mails like these …
Hey, kids! All five stages of grief are visible in the following e-mails. Can you spot them all?
RC in Guatemala City: “So let me get this straight … we’re supposed to be scared of the Yankees hiring a 45-year-old fat dude with groin problems? Really?”
Jason T. in Maine: “I’m happy Roger is going to the Yankees. Trying to bring him back to Boston made me feel like Forrest Gump at the end of the movie. You know, when Jenny, the used-up coke fiend, came back to Forrest to die of AIDS after screwing half the continent. After the last two series, the amount of hate for the Yankees, at least in my heart, was in serious decline. Now I feel reinvigorated, full of hate for all things pinstriped.”
Gary in Somerville, Mass.: “I thought you were nuts last year when you were openly hoping that Roger didn’t come back to Boston. But after he dangled himself in front of the Yanks, Sox and Astros AGAIN this year I snapped out of it and realized that some things just aren’t worth another championship. That grotesque display today IN THE MIDDLE OF A GAME told me I made the right choice. Am I the only one that finds this Clemens/Pettitte thing more than a little odd? I can imagine that when Roger told his wife that he was going back to the Yankees she had the same look on her face that Michelle Williams did when Heath Ledger told her he was going ‘fishing’ with Jake Gyllenhaal.”
Are Red Sox fans really this homophobic?
John F. in Kansas: “This is historic … who ever heard of a rat jumping ON a sinking ship?”
Sinking ship? The Yankees have the best offense in baseball and they’re only five games out on May 7. Fuck you, John F.
To be honest, I just think it’s really cool that I get to keep watching the best pitcher of my lifetime, especially on a team that isn’t in Texas. I don’t see how his exceptional treatment is “ruining” baseball; the Astros set the precedent for allowing the pre-season waffling and extra off days. We’re only six weeks in, and Clemens will make the AL East race that much more interesting.
*Cooperstown, New York.