Friday, February 16, 2007

Get back. Get back to where you once belonged?

I read an article on Randy Johnson today, talking about now that the Unit is back in Arizona, everything is OK with him again. Forget the fact he's 43 years old and coming off back surgery. That creaky arm and suddenly hittable slider? Don't worry about it. He's grouchier than the Grinch and makes Albert Belle look like the President of the Glee Club, but it's all good: he's going home.
Down in the heart of Texas, another aging player seems to think he's Ponce de Leo'n and has found the fountain of youth: Sammy Sosa is going back home to the team who drafted him, the Texas Rangers. Sammy's bat speed resembled Morgan Freeman driving Miss Daisy in 2005. Do the Rangers actually believe that after a year away from big league pitching that all of a sudden it's gonna turn into 1998 again? Of course Tom Hicks is the man who gave Slappy that $250 million dollar deal, signed Chan Ho Park of all people to a huge deal, and still thinks you can win championships with big bats and mediocre, at best, pitching. So there you go.
Then there is the Rocket. Roger recently stated that the odds of him playing this year were 80/20, the big number representing the odds against it. Somehow, I doubt it. His agent says the three teams in the mix are the Astros, Yankees, and of course, Red Sox. To say Clemens exit from Boston was not pleasant is the equivalent of saying Slappy is a self absorbed, I want everyone to love me, prima donna. It just doesn't do it justice. Good news is all the major players from that time are gone: Dan Duqette, The Yawkey Trust, and while Dan Shaughnessy is still somehow employed, even that won't prevent Clemens from coming back. At least I think it won't. Bringing his career full circle, back to where he started and being The Sundance Kid to Schilling's Butch Cassidy has got a certain dramatic feel to it that Roger has got to love.
Can he really go back though? Can any of us? I wish I could go back and break up with my "first love" who went on a mission trip of all things and messed around with some long hair, then came back and broke up with me. Or I could go back to when I was 13 and my buddy and I put a hole in the wall of the church foyer pretending to championship wrestle. OR, I wish I could take back every stupid thing I've ever said to Angie. Point is, I can't. And while Roger, Sammy, and the Unit can go back in one sense, they can't REALLY go back.
I hope Randy realizes that while Brandon Webb is a very good pitcher, he ain't Schilling and it's not 2001 again. Surely Sammy knows that 60+ bombs and cheers for running out to the outfield are WAY back in his rear view mirror. Somehow, I don't see Michael Young and Mark Texiera letting Sosa blast his salsa music in the clubhouse happen either. Roger, well, he may be the exception to the rule. If he came back to Boston, instead of New York, he'd return a hero. The past? Forgotten by most. Rogaaah would be home.
My gut tells me Clemens re-signs with Houston. My head tells me he takes George's millions and gets the band back together with Andy Petitte. My heart? It says Roger comes back to Boston for one last run at glory. A true Texan, I gotta believe The Rocket wants to go out in a blaze of glory, trading fastballs and quotes to the media with Schilling all the way to the end. The only negative I see in this? Josh Beckett might spontaneously com bust if Schilling AND Clemens were both yapping in his ear every night.
Will it happen? I doubt it. Think about this though: Schilling, Beckett, Papelbon, Matsuzake, Wake, AND Clemens to choose from come October?
Admit it: it got your heart pumping, right?


kelly said...

Ted, I know Chan Ho is best known for that contract, but I had the chance to meet him briefly last season. My Padres buddies had made up a baby gift bag for him and his wife--he was not only enormously grateful to receive it, coming over to hug all the girls during BP, but brought his wife over after the game to show her the fans who'd been so thoughtful.

I think some of this is a reaction to finally having seen my boys win it all--but as time goes on I think I focus more and more on people, and a tiny bit less on teams.

Up until recently I was a firm supporter of Clemens coming back. But I have to admit--his comments about basically letting teams play the first half of the season before he makes a decision really soured me. I don't mind special accommodations for him--but I do mind not feeling like he has to play the full year but can place his bet at the half-mile pole. I don't want to win that way...

Tex said...

you KNOW you made me smile just thinking about Roger in a Red Sox uniform. I agree with Kelly...the waiting till after the All Star to play just isnt fair but this isnt about being fair...its a baseball business.

And Kelly even though you say you dont want to win that way...if Roger came back that way and we did win...well lets say I THINK we would all be grateful

kelly said...

Tex, if Roger chose the Yankees at midseason--and they won--in my heart I'd consider it borderline cheating. So if it were the Sox instead, I'd feel very uncomfortable (and enormously grateful that we had already won a real one in 2004!). If he pulled his weight by pitching all year, even with special favors like going home between starts, that wouldn't really faze me. But otherwise it really grates on my sense of fairness.

Both the Sox and the Yankees already have budgetary advantages that most other clubs don't have. Allowing Roger to choose to join one of those clubs at midyear for a ludicrous salary just rubs that in.

Hypothetically, if one of our starters got hurt in ST, and the front office went to Roger, and he said, I'll sign--but I'm not going to be able to pitch until June because I wasn't planning on it... I'd be okay with that.

Tex said...

Oh Kelly I agree with the feelings about the whole fairness. Many people I talk to (here) think that Roger has earned his stripes to able to get those special favors and all. I don't. I think if you're gonna play baseball then you need to commit at the onset and not wait to see which team has the better advantage. THAT to me is selfish on his part.

Please never mistake and confuse my love for Roger and my respect for him. I love Roger for what he did in the past and how he brought me to the Sox....lately I have lost respect for him due to these antics. I still love him though.

Ted D said...

Kelly and Tex, I don't like the pitch half the year stuff either, but he's made it pretty clear thats what he intends to do, if he pitches at all. And Larry and Theo have said they are fine with that. Like I said, I still think that if he plays it's in Houston.

scott h said...

Too much show me the money! Can't blame them if they get, don't cry for them if they are dumped the next year. I long for the days of show me the jersey and I will play for what ever you can give!!! Maybe a few of these cats need to sell cars in the off season just for the opp. to play the game. But I'm just getting old.

Ted D said...

Bub, you are right. You are getting old! After years of being little more than pieces of meat, I don't blame them for whatever they can get. That said, Kelly's point about placing the bet at the half mile pole is right on the money.

Kaylee said...

I dont get half the things roger says!He changes his mind all the time.AS for Randy he is crazy!The guy wont pitch any better in ARIZONA if he cant pitch in NEW YORK!It is his pitching not the City that makes him pitch well or poorly:]