When it’s all said and done, which Roger are you going to remember? The 20-strike out wide-eyed innocent, the scorned back to back Toronto Cy Young mercenary, the Suzyn Waldman is crying because he’s coming back grandstander? Maybe the Piazza looked at me funny, again, psychotic? How about the Third Ear, misremembering, wife-injecting, country-music lover?
That’s a lot of Rogers, I know, but for me, the answer is easy- this, as of today, is the Roger I will choose to remember: “Clemens signs with independent league team in Texas”(ESPN.com report).
Brace yourself, good people of Sugerland. Get ready, Skeeter fans. The fun you are about to have! 50-year-old Roger Clemens (Rojah to me; the Anti-Christ, famously, to others) has signed a minor-minor league deal with the home-town nine and “is expected to start on Saturday at home against the Bridgeport Bluefish.” Independent Atlantic League, you have never had it so good!
There is no word from Rusty Hardin, but agent Randy Hendricks would have us believe that everyone believes Clemens can still pitch. “His fastball was clocked at 87 mph; all of his pitches were working.” Need more proof than that that this is for real? “He threw a three-inning simulated game after an extensive workout.” Well then.
Failure of all the imaginary minor-league players who weren’t actually there to touch Roger’s stuff aside, one suspects that not everyone is rooting for Roger to succeed. What, with the mix up about who was and wasn’t at the pool party, isn’t it possible that Jose Canseco, no stranger to comebacks himself, is hoping that Clemens falls flat? I suspect so, if only because a failure to launch by the Rocket would prevent Jose from having to find the resources to attempt a comeback from his comeback’s latest comeback.
And if Roger’s trip down (an allegedly drug-induced, but now acquitted) memory lane can produce moments half as wonderful as Jose’s frequent trips out of retirement’s on-deck circle, this will be the gift that keeps on giving. Who can forget these highlights from the Jose Canseco Comeback Trail?
1) As player-manager of the Independent League’s Yuma Scorpions, he once forfeited a game against the Chico Outlaws by starting a brawl.
2) Earlier this year, he hit .194 with a double and a home run in 20 games for the Worcester Tornadoes of something called the Canadian-American Association of Professional Baseball. He did this for a thousand dollars a month.
3) He once hit .385 with 4 home runs in 11 games with the Laredo Broncos of the independent United Baseball League, including one in his first plate appearance. Oddly, his two-week contract was not renewed. Could have been his 18.00 era or his 4.0 WHIP.
4) After signing with the San Diego Surf Dogs of the Golden Baseball League as a knuckle ball pitcher, he was traded after one game.
5) He was unable to fulfill his contract with the Quintana Roo Tigers of the Mexican Baseball League, because he was banned before even playing a game for refusing a drug test.
Are these the kind of treats Roger has in store for us? Only time, and the success or failure of some 19 year old Bridgeport Bluefish, can tell. But hopefully we’ll know Saturday night.
Your move, Rog.