Sunday, May 06, 2007

Again, Chang is shocked

[Note to the reader: when I wrote of Andy Pettitte's departure a few months ago, I was told to "calm down." I admit, I was angry. But I'm not angry about this -- this is more detached, amused sarcasm. So before you tell me to calm down, I want to make clear that the third paragraph of this post is not meant to be read as an angry screed -- more of a laughing, wiseass, Jim Rome-like delivery. This is the problem with the internet: tone is impossible to transmit properly.]

Roger Clemens, to the surprise of, well, nobody, has decided to come back from retirement for the third time to pitch for the New York Yankees. They're gonna give him a prorated $28 million for the remainder of the season, but he's going there "only" to win a championship.

Dig that logic: he's going to the Yankees because he wants to win a championship. He passed over the Red Sox, the best team in the American League, to go to the Yankees. But the Yankees suck. Aside from A-Rod, who's playing like he wants to opt out of his contract and head for the hills after October, the team is playing like junk, even without their pitchers dropping like Stormtroopers. And somehow Clemens is going to stride into the Bronx like Leonidas and rouse the troops to battle again.

Actually, I'll bet anything that's exactly what he thinks he's going to do. Few people on this planet have an ego quite like Roger Clemens, and I bet he's having dreams of the post-World Series stories, talking about him "saving" the Yankees, all those interviews with Jeter and A-Rod and Torre and even Steinbrenner, yeah, even him, all of them talking about how it would have been impossible without the Rocket, how he took an under-.500 team all on his overweight, too-broad, stiff-backed shoulders and dragged them to the World Series all on his own. Damn straight, he did! And that'll make up for all the times in his career he's failed to win the Big Game: the '86 World Series (he started Game 6, you know), over and over for the Sox in the '80s and '90s, for the Yankees over and over in the playoffs, Game 7 of the 2004 NLCS for the Astros, Game 2 of the 2005 World Series (he left after all of two innings), and came up short last year in a game we had to win to stay alive in the Central Division chase. But goddammit, he's gonna save the fucking Yankees this year! And that'll silence the lambs, all right, that'll stop the choke-choke-choke voices in his head, sure.

The best part about this is that, unlike his beaked buddy Pettitte, this isn't even a shock. As Astros catcher/baseball scholar Brad Ausmus put it today, "There are two kinds of people. Those who aren't surprised, and morons." Everybody knew this was what was going to happen.

The funniest part is Randy Hendricks, Clemens's agent, acting like he's dropping a bombshell on the baseball -- no, the sports -- no, fuck it, just the world. And the reaction from everyone, from the Astros clubhouse to the callers on AM talk radio, is almost to a man: "Meh." Who gives a fuck? Did we really want to spend $20 million to let this guy pitch for three months?

Short answer: No. Longer answer: No. Shit no.

But if he becomes the bajillionth Yankee pitcher this year to blow a hamstring, the distant rumbling you'll be hearing will be my laughter. The wheels have to come off the wagon at some point, don't they?

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