Tuesday, August 21, 2012
ROGER CLEMENS AND HIS ADDICTION
I was hardly surprised when I read that Roger Clemens was going to be pitching
for some team called the Skeeters in some league that most of you have never heard
of. The former 7-time Cy Young award winner and accused drug cheat is 50-years old
and hasn't pitch in a game since 2007, but he will be firing fastballs against a team
of has beens and wannabe's on Saturday night.
Like Brett Favre, Clemens is addicted to attention. It's his drug, or one of them anyway,
and he needs his fix. He had gone too long without hearing his name mentioned on
"SportsCenter" or seeing it in two-inch headlines in USA Today. I recall how
odd it was seeing Clemens mingling with fans in the Green Monster seats in Boston
just two days after he was acquitted of perjury charges in Washington, D.C. in May.
He was shown on NESN and ESPN and he loved it. He got his fix for attention and
he was intoxicated by it.
Now, Clemens is making his return to "professional" baseball with the Sugar Land
Skeeters in his home state of Texas. The only thing professional about it will
be the fact that the players, including Clemens will get a tiny paycheck. Workers
at McDonald's make more in a week than most of the players do as members of the
independent league. This isn't about money for Clemens, but rather the attention.
This return to baseball ranks right up there with the futile attempts of Dennis "Oil Can"
Boyd to become relevant again and prove something to world long after anybody
really cares about them.
Clemens will get a lot of attention from ESPN over the next few days and will probably
lead off the second block of "SportsCenter". He'll say that he's doing it for the "love of
the game", but it's rather obvious that he's doing it for the love of himself and the attention
that goes with it. His agent, one of the Hendrick's brothers, is spewing the hype as if
he's trying to get his client a contract with a playoff-bound team starting on September
1st. He says Clemens is throwing "87-mph and has all his pitches working." 87-mph
wouldn't get me out, much less major league hitters. But this is all part of Clemens
The "Rocket" also feels he has something to prove, as if anybody in this Twitter-Facebook
world really cares. He was raked through the mud by the Mitchell Report and smeared
in court for his alleged use of performance-enhancing drugs. We all thought Clemens had
defied the odds and old age when he was throwing 95-mph hour fastballs at the age of
45, but when Brian McNamee outed him as a drug cheat, we just lumped him in with all
the other baseball players who used the needle to cheat the game and all of us.
Clemens might think we "misremembered" all of that, or hopes we do, anyway. Clemens
probably thinks that after he strikes out eight players we've never heard of, we'll all say,
"Hey, maybe he wasn't on the juice after all." SportsCenter will probably go live to
Clemens for his post-game comments and this little charade of Clemens will go on for the
next few weeks as he tries to get us to believe that he can pitch in the major leagues again
at the age of 50. Perhaps, he's just hoping some desperate team that's just as addicted to
attention as he is, (see the Miami Marlins) will take a flyer on him for a few starts to fill
Perhaps, Clemens is hoping that a major league team will sign him so he can push his
eligibility for the Hall of Fame back another five years. He's probably hoping that by then,
the baseball writers will "misremember" that he was outed as a drug cheat or at least hope
they are a little more forgiving.
Rest assured, Clemens is loving all of this. He's a junkie who just got his fix for the
attention that he craves. Like Favre, Clemens has a hard time being away from the spotlight.
He's addicted to attention and there doesn't appear to be any rehabilitation for it.