I’m so excited for Roger Clemens to return to baseball, just not for the right reasons.
Look, we all love older-veteran players succeeding. I’m the biggest cheerleader for guys like Jamie Moyer and Julio Franco. There comes a time to hang it up. What’s even funnier than a guy playing five years past his prime (Randy Johnson, Craig Biggio, Bobby Bonillia) is guys coming back after five years of absence. The Rocket has not played baseball since 2007. Word? By the way, he gave up 52 runs in 99 innings that year for the New York Yankees.
Clemens was a no doubt Hall of Fame pick before his tenure on truTV. Now, he will await his fate from voters who drooled over him for years. Whether it was winning the series in New York, pitching for the historic Boston Red Sox, or making the Houston Astros relevant, Clemens was beloved. I guess he played for the Toronto Blue Jays too. His return at the age of 50 is a laugher. But why is he doing this? He can’t possibly need the money. We’ve seen this before with guys wanting money. Tiki Barber came back after sitting out four seasons. His much publicized divorce could have forced him to try and carry the ball a few more times. Not even his own New York Giants were biting. Terrell Owens and Randy Moss are looking to prove their both still deep threats. Scouts aren’t impressed right now. They don’t need the money either. So what’s Roger’s need to play?
Clemens believes he can still get in the Hall of Fame. He still wants in the Hall of Fame. Heck, he still believes he SHOULD BE in the Hall of Fame. How can he possibly do that? Delay the inevitable. Do whatever you can to reset that clock. In 2010, Mark McGwire became the St. Louis Cardinals’ hitting coach. In that very spring training, Manager Tony La Russa joked about activating McGwire in September during a possible playoff run. Reporters laughed because La Russa will always make you think he’ll pull literally anything out of his bag of tricks against you. Tony claimed that Mark still hit the cage but everyone shrugged it off. He was not activated and it was not mentioned again.
But this idea brought up something very new, resetting a players’ Hall of Fame eligibility. If McGwire had taken just one at-bat, he would have to obtain another five years with no time played at the big league level. It was an interesting notion. McGwire had already been on the ballot seven times and seen little interest from Baseball Writers of America. Give him five years, they may cave. More importantly, prominent steroid users with huge numbers would face the judge and jury. If they let in Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, and others then they’d have to let Clemens in, right?
That’s what Roger is counting on. The Houston Astros can’t get anyone to come to the stadium. I bet Roger Clemens could get them back.
If Clemens can get to the Astros before the season ends then his status on the ballot will change. “Let the writers decide on Bonds, Sosa, and McGwire before I have to.” It’s genius. Right now the trial is fresh in our minds. Clemens needs one out. He needs one out in the MLB.
If he gets it, call it control-alt-delete and a new start for the Rocket.