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You Make Me Sick, Rocket...But Get Over Here.
Monday, January 15, 2007
Much as I love the Rocket's pitching and am praying non-religious prayers for his imminent return to the Bronx, his diva antics are making the Yankees Chick more than just a little bit ill these days.

rocket 'retirement'Since coming back from the dead retirement for the 2004 season, Clemens has finagled some seriously prime deals for himself down in Houston. For the past 3 years the Astros have essentially given the Rocket free reign over his schedule, letting him start the season late last year and even allowing him to skip out on road trips to stay in Houston with his family; he wasn't even required to show up to the stadium on days he wasn't scheduled to pitch. In 2004, which was supposed to be his first year of retirement (see left and recall, if you will, the lavish fanfare the Yankees showered upon him during his "last" year in 2003), the special treatment the Astros bestowed upon Clemens seemed a bit excessive but made sense for both parties - - The Astros needed a big name and a star pitcher, and the Rocket barely had to rearrange his retirement activities schedule to accommodate a once-every-five-days workweek. By 2006, though, when Clemens strung the Astros (and all other potential suitors) along for months by not committing to playing a full season or even to a particular team, his attitude began to wear on me.

he's a maaaaaniac, maaaniacIt's 2007, now, and the Rocket is still playing his mind games with the MLB and us fans. His agent/wrangler Randy Hendricks has confirmed that he is "more than 50/50 [certain] that Roger will play in 2007", but also adds that the Rocket will probably be looking for another shortened season deal. It seems fairly certain that the only teams he would be willing to pitch for would be the Astros, Yankees, or Red Sox, but neither Clemens nor his wranglers will comment on which - if any - team interests him most, and he will likely go with whichever team is showing the most promising signs of post-season success come June. This heartless mercenary M.O. both depresses and sickens the Yankees Chick, who prefers to believe that her most beloved players care about more than shiny rings. What Clemens is doing is creating a precedent of self-centeredness that inconveniences teams and teammates and places a virtually un-cappable ceiling on what clubs will have to do to secure star players in the future.

That being said, I really do believe the Rocket is just what the Yankees need for their 2007 roster, and I think the Yanks are in a position to offer him a contract chock full of the special treatment and celebrity perks he will surely demand. By not pitching until June, the Rocket would actually allow Torre to try out Phillip Hughes et al in the starting rotation for a good two months, giving the Yanks a perfect opportunity to feel out their future talent, and while he obviously wouldn't be able to go home to Houston every week, I'm sure Clemens would be permitted to take a reprieve from the tough world of pitching once every five days for a team that obviously loves him to bits at least once a month. The Yanks would almost certainly be willing to top any offer the Red Sox and Astros put on Rocket's table, and if the Rocket is choosing his team solely based on post-season chances the Yankees are the obvious favorite at this point.yankees bucket, wtf?

So pass me that All-Purpose Yankees Pail you got as a Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Sacrifice of the Virgins gift. He may make me ill, but I'm rooting for a return of the Rocket.

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posted by Yankees Chick @ Monday, January 15, 2007  
  • At 6:26 PM, Blogger Maryland Orioles' Fan said…

    Wow, I have a very similar article on my site, but your piece take the whole Clemens argument to another level & added your wit to it as well.

    Yeah, I have a big probelem with Clemens' treatment by the Astros for the last 2 years -- he's in it for himself, honestly, not for the good of the team or the sport.

    A team is what defines baseball, not the pursuit of one said individual...

  • At 6:30 PM, Anonymous Mets Guy said…

    Excellent post, as always.

    Is Roger a pain in the ass? Absolutely. At the same time, I can see where he's coming from. When the Astros made the World Series in 2005, he was pretty much out of gas. So, I don't necessarily blame him for starting his season late, if his target is the playoffs.

    At the same time, picking and choosing your spot is a bit ridiculous. Wouldn't be surprised at all of he's on the 'roids either.

  • At 7:43 AM, Anonymous Drew said…

    Clemens needs to just shut the hell up and pitch or not pitch. Enough with these months of "I don't know..." designed to drive his price up.

    And give the Hummer back!

  • At 7:52 AM, Anonymous manny being manny said…

    Ladies and gentlemen: MLB's Brett Favre (albeit with more talent and a better team around him wherever he goes).

    Seriously though, who cares? The only logical place for him is in NY or BOS because they're the only teams that can afford to throw money at him.

    Maybe Houston can and he'd have better numbers, but they'd only be wasting money they could spread around elsewhere.

    If he goes to Boston he can get slotted in behind Schilling and Beckett. Pressure's off him with an offense geared around Ramirez and Ortiz. Now if we can only find a reliable closer to save his games we'll be all set.

  • At 9:31 AM, Blogger GM-Carson said…

    I hate the Roger Clemens keeps playing the will-I-won't-I game every year. He's a great pitcher, but he makes everything all about him...what about his team?

  • At 12:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    It would be hypocritical for Yankees' fans to reject the notion of Clemens back in pinstripes in 2007. After all, we learn to accept and appreciate the Rocket back in the late 90s after a decade and a half of acting like a douche bag while pitching for our hated rivals, and, more importantly, beating the Yankees on a consistent basis. He shut down the lineup; he threw at our players; he shunned a Yankees offer to go to small market Toronto; and his personality was as cool as an empty beer can.

    However, we got over all that b/c he was successful in New York and the team was winning rings. Let's be honest - as much as we love the Andy addition, it certainly isn't enough to get us to the World Series. Our 4th and 5th starters are a poor man's Kaz Ishii (Igawa) and a pitcher more fragile than Sam Jackson's character in "Unbreakable" (Pavano). Translation: we need an arm. We need a good arm. I don't how old as long as it's effective.

    I can't see Cashman and Torre allowing Clemens to go back to Houston during road trips. That's not the Yankees way. I do see the team giving in to Clemens' request to take the first two months of the season off if it's the only way to get Roger here. One thing is for sure, Roger has a future as an agent.

  • At 12:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    You'd hit it.

  • At 12:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Roger Clemens. You can fucking have him. The only proper places for him are Texas, a state of assholes, San Francisco, which will heap money at and apologize for any player, regardless of whether he delivers a World Series, or New York. And it is dispiriting to see Yankees fans, who finally showed some dignity calling out Clemens for his limitless douchebaggery in 2004, swinging the censer for him simply because you need an arm and Cashman hasn't bought one yet. This man took the organization's goodwill and tossed it aside, that should count for something. His asshole nature certainly should not be enabled any further. Plus I want to see him stay in the National League, holding out futile hopes that someone one day will give him the braining he so richly deserves.

  • At 9:51 AM, Blogger Mike Edelman said…

    I'm not too sure Clemens would prefer New York when he comes back. You said you think that the Yankees would be willing to outbid the Astros and the Red Sox but the Yankees appear to be lowering payroll. They might not be able to afford to pay Roger $25 million considering that they're currently building a $1 billion stadium. Also, I don't see how the Yankees are any more likely than the Red Sox to be first in the division come June.

    I've heard quite a few people say that New York is the favorite now that that's where Pettitte is. That's mostly come from NY papers though. Everything Clemens has said and done over the past few years seems to indicate exactly the opposite. Clemens has said himself that Pettitte going to NY will not effect his decision. There goes the main argument for Clemens going to NY. Clemens has also said he wants to play a shortened season. The Yankees would want him to begin sooner than both of the other teams pursuing him. Not to mention, the Yankees are the only team not willing to give him special benefits that would allow him to spend time with his family during the season. When it came down to him making a decision last year he didn't even consider the Yankees and they made it clear last year as well that they'd like to see him in pinstripes.

    I'd say given his history that he's most likely to stay in Houston. If he does leave Houston though he has much more incentive to go to Boston than he does NY. The Red Sox have spent quite a bit of money this offseason and have made it very clear throughout the entire offseason that they'd like to see Clemens return to where it all began. Not to mention, if he wins one game in a Boston uniform he'd become the all-time winningest Red Sox pitcher, beating out Cy Young. He could also have his number retired by the club that he'll go into the Hall of Fame representing.

  • At 1:06 AM, Anonymous nyyfaninlaaland said…

    This one's been special...

    First, forget young Mr.Hughes for now. Yes, he's good. No he's not this season's answer.

    Roger, a pain in the ass? Of course. But the guy gets out of the rocker, hops in the Hummer - typical environmentally conscious Texan - and just throws for about the lowest ERA in the NL at age 83! Okay, it's the NL, so maybe...

    Look, he plays the game well, and he competes. Quit it with the chest thumping, good of the game crap. I think Y.C. agrees with me here. Roger Clemens is good for the game! Nothing wrong with wanting to spend time with the kids.

    By the way Manny being Manny, you have a closer. Meet Joel Pineiro. That's just makes me cry I'm laughin' so! Nice of you to show up though, and you weren't mean about it, so I'm sorry for the snark. Really... heh heh heh.

    Okay, Mr.Edelmen, pigs are flying! "... the Yankees appear to be lowering payroll." When did the rest of baseballdom ever think they'd hear those words.
    Well I don't think the repo man is knockin' on the door just yet. If the other alternatives don't pan out, you can bet the NYY will be in the hunt. To be fair to Manny, it would be just sooo romantic to have him come full circle career-wise and all. But then what would he do to unretire from that?

  • At 12:22 PM, Blogger Mike Edelman said…

    My point wasn't that the Yankees couldn't afford Clemens. I was simply stating that they'd be no more able to afford him than the Red Sox who aren't cutting payroll but adding it right now. There do seem to be more reasons for him to go to Boston than NY. Do you disagree?

  • At 6:29 PM, Blogger jimithegreek said…

    rocket......a true mercenary

  • At 7:48 PM, Anonymous nyyfaninlaaland said…

    Well Mike, I'm not really sure if one lines up the reasons that either NY or the BoSox are the choice. I don't see either planning for him out of spring training, and it's obvious he's not gonna show for that. Both have their staffs, both starting and relief, pretty full. If Boston decides on him as a closer, or puts Papelbon back there, then he fits. If Pavano, as we all expect, gets his head dislocated in his ass, then he fits for the Yanks. And he really fits a second half through playoffs push in NY.

    But I still think Houston's your winner. St. Louis' starting staff has taken a hit, Cincy hasn't gotten better, don't think the Brewers' are there yet, forget the Pirates, and the Cubs even with all the moves are, well, the Cubs. Houston's payroll is right where it was last year, excluding Clemens, and I don't think they think Wandy Rodriguez and Matt Albers as #4 & 5 get them there. So they have the need and geographic desirability, with the shot to go all the way in a still soft NL.

    In my mind it all comes down to who's hurt on what team in mid-May.
    We'll see.

  • At 10:27 PM, Anonymous Nicky_Mantle said…

    It's time for the Yankees to man the hell up.

    Is he an asshole? Yes.

    Will he be expensive? Outrageously.

    Is there a single other pitcher available in all
    of major league baseball you'd rather have on the
    mound pitching for you in a big game?

    Not a chance.

    We've lowered by the payroll by ditching Schef, Wright, and Unit. Now let's pay a player who knows how to win in NY. The look on the pinksox fans face when Rocket strikes out fat boy Ortiz to close out the AL East title will make it all worth it.

    Bring Clemens back to the Bronx.

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