Rocket re-enters rivalry
Rocket Roger Clemens will not pitch for the Red Sox again. That has become blatantly clear the last two years. If Clemens truly wanted the Hollywood ending the way so many Sox fans did, he would have come back in either of the last two years when he had the freedom to make that choice. But in both cases, Clemens decided to pitch with Andy Pettitte.
He is maybe the greatest pitcher of all-time when you put the whole body of work in perspective. Therefore, Clemens more than has the right to make his own choices. Maybe he felt bad that Joe Torre — a man he respects deeply — is on such thin ice. Maybe the bond he built while winning championships with Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera and Pettitte is something that he missed terribly.
Still, it’s a shame because the addition of Clemens could have made this one of the best Red Sox teams ever. A rotation of Schilling, Beckett, Clemens, Matsuzaka, Wakefield and perhaps Lester? That would have been something. I think he makes the Yankees better, but I think his impact would have been felt even more in Boston where he could have made an upper echelon team a juggernaut.
Full disclosure here: When i was in my youth, well before my days as a sportswriter, there were two athletes who stood above all others on my pedastal. One was Larry Bird. The other was the Rocket. So yeah, it would have been a cool thing to cover him on a daily basis. But it ain’t gonna happen.
And like Schilling said today, you still have to like this Red Sox team. The Red Sox-Yankees has somehow added more juice as you just know the Fenway faitfhul is absolutely going to lay into Clemens with the boos when he comes back to Boston at some point this year.
Clemens wanted to pitch four months. The Red Sox only wanted to pay him for three. At the price-tag he is reeling in, I can see their reservation about paying that freight. One injury to Roger and it would suddenly become a real bad move cost-wise.
Can Clemens be as dominant in the American League East as he was for the Astros the last three years? I have serious doubts. Let’s not forget that in 2003, the last season Clemens pitched in New York, the Red Sox thumped him on quite a few occasions that year.
So Clemens definitely brings a lot more intrigue to the AL East race. But i don’t think he switches the balance of power as dramatically as Jonathan Papelbon did the day he returned as closer.
One thing is for sure. The 2007 baseball season got a lot more interesting today in both Boston and New York. Clemens is one of those athletes who just captures your interest.