Whither the Rocket?

The biggest story in baseball no one’s talking about – distracted as they are by Barry Bonds – is where Roger Clemens will play baseball this summer. So far, he’s been noncommittal about his future. He’s hinted he’s done. But anyone that knows Roger Clemens knows he’s going to play one last summer. He’s competitive, he’s arrogant, he loves the accolade. He’s also probably already driving his wife and kids crazy. So expect one more summer with the boys.

And I predict he’s going to play for the Boston Red Sox.

I know, I know. I’m a Sox fan. My prediction is biased you say, and you’re probably right. But I have reasons. Let’s look at the other teams Clemens is semi-publicly considering:

Texas

Why? It’s his hometown team. It’s where Nolan Ryan spent his last years in the game. How sweet would it be for the hometown boy to come home and help the club win its first world championship?

Why not? Because there’s no way in h*ll this team even makes the playoffs, let alone wins the championship. The problem, as always, is pitching. Millwood isn’t the answer, Padilla is set to implode at any moment. (Paying attention, Padilla owners?) The Texas heat and the cement-like infield in Arlington roasts home-town hurlers. Clemens probably wants to go out on top, not with a 6+ ERA.

New York Yankees

Why? Roger won his two rings with the Yanks. And don’t think he wants to be considered alongside the all-time Yankee greats like Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, and Mays. With the Yanks’ roster full of sluggers, he’d have an excellent opportunity to add substantially to his career wins’ list, currently holding steady at 341. And, as always, the Yanks could win it all this year. They are contenders.

Why not? The Yankees suck.

Seriously! The team is full of bloated contracts, has-been superstars, and immense egos. Reports have the Boss going senile, the team is preparing for sale, there’s no apparent franchise plan in place, and all the tough Yanks from the championship years of a decade ago are long gone. This is the team of Sheff and A-Rod. Even Jeter looks annoyed playing for the Yankees.

Houston

Why? Houston’s advantage is that it’s in Texas and the Houston ownership will basically bend over backwards to please Clemens. Want to play only in home games? No problem. Want to sleep in on the weekends? Sure thing, Roger. Want to rename Houston to “Clemensville” or “Rogertown”? Done. Why not “Rocket City”? (Seriously that would rock!)

Why not? Apparently the Astros “disrespected” Clemens for not offering him arbitration. Er…whatever the reason, it appears that Roger is done with Houston. Maybe he wants to play in a baseball town. Maybe he wants people to come to games after football mini-camp starts. Maybe the city is too polluted for him. Who knows. He’s done with Houston.

That leaves us…Boston

Why? Because it’s the only fan base in the US that actively loathes Roger Clemens. (That’s right, I’m not counting Toronto.) This is his chance to win them over, which he will if he picks Boston over New York and finishes his career where he started. I mean, the story practically writes itself, doesn’t it? “Wayward son wins championship and city’s heart.”

Clemens left the city in a huff, but he was mad with then-GM and alien robot, Dan Duquette. The current ownership group is classy, they patched up relations with Tommy Harper, Jim Rice, and Carlton Fisk, and they let Pesky dress up in a Sox uniform again after being banned by Duquette. And there’s boy genius, Theo! Theo convinced Schilling to sign with the Sox over Thanksgiving dinner – don’t you think he’s going to tweak Clemens’ buttons, too? And this team has a great shot this year – despite my weak prediction – unlike the Yanks, the Sox have starting pitching, a bullpen, and defense along with their bats.

But the main reason Clemens will sign with Boston is the clubhouse. More specifically, the ornery, arrogant, and tough-as-nails pitching tandem of Curt Schilling and Josh Beckett. These guys, for better or worse, are the inheritors of Clemens-style pitching and Clemens-style attitude. Can’t you see Beckett, Clemens, and Schilling side-by-side-by-side on the bench spitting sunflower seeds and scowling at the opposition? Who else would Roger Clemens want to sit next to for the rest of the summer?

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  1. The Yankees can sure hit the ball though.

    I’d like to see the ‘old guys’ of Roger Clemens & Randy Johnson together in NY. Bloated contracts & all I think they’re the team to beat.

    It worked for my Diamondbacks – they won a championship behind their two ‘old’ aces, Johnson & Schilling!

  2. Wait! The other half — Schilling — is in Boston! Why Clemens with Randy over Curt?

  3. Roger hates Boston, and Boston hates him!

    Boston is great – but dammit – NY can rip the ball!

  4. Roger doesn’t really hate Boston, that was a Dan Duquette thing. He’s really keen on Tom Henry and Theo, they’ve had very pleasent meetings, according to reports. And Roger’s wife — Debbie? — really liked living in Newton…

  5. Plus Boston can hit, too! Remember, Boston lead baseball with 910 runs scored in 2005…

  1. 1 4&20 blackbirds » Blog Archive » The Rocket to land in Houston?

    […] But Boston! La la! Now there’s a city and team to join! If I were Clemens, I’d pick the Sox in a heartbeat. In fact, I predicted it. So it’s got to happen! And why not? There’s the tradition. There’s the career full circle thing. Plus, with Clemens, the Sox would be the instant faves for the whole shebang! (Not so in Houston, dear readers.) […]




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