Roger Clemens has always been a bit bullheaded.
But demanding he not only pitch in the majors, but also pitch against a contender at 50 years old is going too far.
Houston Astros owner Jim Crane said on Monday that "there's a possibility" Clemens will pitch for baseball's worst team this season, but he noted that he wouldn't start him against a contender.
Clemens quickly responded, telling KRIV-Houston, via ESPN:
I can tell you right now and they would know, too, that if I was going to go do it, I am going to pitch against a contender, that's who I want to knock out. Why would I want to waste my time running around and getting in shape. I get over to Minute Maid (Park), I'll crank it up and get it over 90 for a contender. We'll knock them right out of the playoffs. That would be the fun. Pitching against somebody that's not in contention wouldn't be any fun for me.
It's not going to happen.
There are a few things wrong with this statement.
Why would Clemens want to "waste" his time getting in shape if he won't pitch for a contender? Well, that's simple, because he's been "wasting" his time in an independent league for an opportunity to pitch in the majors.
When you are turning 51 years old in August, your resume sort of goes out the window.
Whatever your thoughts are about Clemens' connection with the infamous Mitchell Report, that's beside the point. The point is, he's acting like the self-entitled superathlete who makes fans bitter about professional sports. The Astros are frankly doing him a favor by entertaining the thought of adding him to the roster.
Also, I'm sorry that pitching against a non-contender "wouldn't be fun" for Clemens, but baseball is a team game—no matter how bad that team is. Clemens makes his stance clear: I am above the team.
How about doing it just to get back to playing baseball for the love of the game? You know, that special feeling you get when you and your teammates rally for a victory, or fight valiantly in defeat?
That is apparently a long-lost feeling for the Rocket.
The sad news is that the Astros could conceivably bow to Clemens' demands, because the fanbase is fed up and, frankly, Clemens sells tickets. Don't think the seven-time Cy Young winner doesn't know that.
One thing's for sure: Clemens has already hurt his reputation, even if you dismiss the allegations of him taking performance-enhancing drugs throughout his career.
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