For 28 million dollars, you could buy a house in every state, 50 Ferraris, the MLS, or 28 million Wendy's Jr. Bacon Cheeseburgers.
So what did the Yankees get for their 28 mill?
Three-quarters of a baseball season from one potentially washed-up pitcher.
When Roger Clemens leased his right arm
to George Steinbrenner for the remainder of the season, New York fans celebrated like they'd just won the lottery. In a sense, they had. The Yanks outbid several other interested teams for the Rocket's services—on the assumption that he was the missing piece they needed to fix their floundering rotation.
Best-case scenario: The Rocket returns in the next two weeks, flashes some of his old brilliance, and anchors the Yankees staff. He leads the league in ERA and helps the Bombers close the gap on the Red Sox, then steadies the club in an exciting pennant race.
Of course, odds are that things won't turn out so well. At Clemens' age, injuries are a real risk—a pulled muscle here, a bad back there, carpal tunnel syndrome from organizing all those millions into neat piles of 50s and 100s.
And what if the Rockets gets no run support, or loses his velocity? What if Mike Piazza exacts Shattered-Bat-gate revenge? What if, during a Boston-New York matchup in late September, Clemens reveals himself to be the Antichrist, Yankee Stadium turns into the Lake of Fire, and we find ourselves in the midst of full-fledged Armageddon?
Hopefully, for the sake of both mankind and some nonrefundable airplane tickets I purchased for October, that last scenario won't happen. And, to be fair, twenty-eight million isn't quite Antichrist money.
No doubt Rocket's contract has started the wheels spinning in T.O.'s head. I can picture him sitting on his ab board at home, staring deeply into the mirror, plotting a way to trump the Clemens deal.
If Roger Clemens can get 28 million dollars, Terrell Owens could get 30 million—and he could get it all in singles and Pocahontas coins.
If the Rocket can leave the team between starts to visit his family, you know T.O. will only be showing up on Sundays—and spending the rest of his time crank-calling Jeff Garcia and flexing outside of a local GNC.
And if Clemens could finagle the Yankees into giving him a fancy new Hummer the last time he was in the Bronx, T.O. best be getting a gold-plated stationary bike for any practices he might choose to attend.
The Yankees were obviously desperate enough to kowtow to Clemens' demands. Would the Cowboys
be so amenable? Probably not. Jerry Jones is smart enough to see that 30 million dollars should buy more than a receiver who drops, er, catches touchdowns. For 30 million dollars, Owens should line up split wide and in the slot—on the same play. He should coach special teams, sing the national anthem, stump for Ross Perot, drill for oil, and rebuild Enron from the ground up.
Oh, and he should hold for field goals and extra points. (No offense, Tony Romo
—well, maybe a little.)
What extra perks are the Yankees getting for their 28-million-dollar Rocket ride? Will Clemens fastballs on the black count for two strikes? Will the Yanks be automatically spotted three runs in each of his starts? Will Clemens be able to raise the Babe from the dead?
No, no, and...I'm pretty sure not.
All the Yankees will have to show for their monumental investment is a fading superstar who comes around when he feels like it and may or may not make an impact on the team.
In other words, a cheaper version of T.O.
Maybe Steinbrenner is getting a deal after all.