Sunday night Special — Roger vs. Schill
Here we go. Bring it on. This is why we love Red Sox-Yankees and love the game of baseball — for matchups like this.
Roger Clemens and Curt Schilling. When you think of true power pitchers with perfect fundamentals and fluid deliveries, you think of these two guys. Clemens has obviously been able to do it for a lot longer. Schilling was a relative late bloomer. And of course we all know the story of how Clemens basically told Schilling prior to the 1992 season that he was wasting his talent and it was after that that Curt became one of the elite pitchers in baseball.
Here we are, and both these guys can still bring it, though not at the levels they’ve done it in the past. The great thing about tonight is that you know the 41-year-old Schilling and the 45-year-old Clemens are both going to have something extra in the tank for this one. I’d say that, in the first inning especially, both guys are going to have an extra mile per hour or two on their heater.
What will the reaction for Clemens be? I’m guessing almost all boos. Remember, the last time he pitched a regular season game here in September of 2003, Clemens was given a hero’s applause. In a classy gesture, Red Sox fans gave him a nice good-bye after years of booing him. Of course, they thought he was retiring at the time. There wasn’t a whole lot of love in the air when Clemens pitched against Pedro in Game 3 of that 2003 ALCS. We all remember it. Pedro hits Karim. Clemens throws an innocent fastball that Manny over-reacts to. Pedro side swipes Zimmer and has no choice but to push him to the ground. Clemens was cool amid it all, pitching a great game and winning and saying after the game, "Whatever game they want to play, we’ll play."
Now he’s back at Fenway again after teasing the Red Sox in two consecutive years that just maybe he would return to Boston for the true twilight of his career. But he chose Houston in ’06, even when the Red Sox offered similar money. This time around, the Yankees offered far more than either Houston or Boston, and Clemens went back to the Bronx and shunned the Sox once again.
I’m thinking these fans — who were, by the way, ready to welcome him back — won’t let that be forgotten tonight.
Schilling? This is his time of year. He always comes through in big games and I wouldn’t expect tonight to be any different. And yes, he’s pitching for a new contract and a gem tonight wouldn’t hurt that quest.
Let’s get this game going. The weather is perfect. Great night for a prime time matchup. Bring it on!