Clemens is such a phony

Clemens is such a phony

Clemens is such a phony
May 7th, 2007

(Sports Network) - I hope the 52,000-plus New York Yankees fans that were going crazy at Yankee Stadium on Sunday when Roger Clemens announced he was coming back realize that the only reason the Rocket is returning is for that monster $28 million contract.

I don't want to hear Clemens ramble on about Yankee tradition. The only reason he is back in pinstripes is because they agreed to pay him the most money. That's it. It's not because he loves playing with Derek Jeter or his buddy Andy Pettitte, it's not because of the respect he has for Joe Torre and George Steinbrenner, it's simply because he is getting paid.

If Boston could have come up with the cash, believe me he would be back in Fenway hammering the final nail in the Yankees' coffin. Not only that I am sure he would be going on about how Boston has always been home and yada, yada, yada.

Clemens is a phony, always has been, always will be. Let's not forget how he spurned the Yankees after leaving Boston the first time. He didn't want to pitch in New York then. Now all of a sudden he is Whitey Ford. Give me a break.

Remember that warm reception that Clemens got the last time he pitched in Fenway? Classy move by the fans that September afternoon a few years ago, as they gave him a standing ovation, thinking it would be his last start there. Little did they know he would pitch three more years and eventually return again as a Yankee. Somehow I don't think he will be treated as nice this time around.

Don't get me wrong here. I don't fault Clemens for choosing the Yankees, as he is going to be paid roughly $4.5 million-per-month, but I just can't listen to him go on about how much he loves the organization. Then again I would probably wax poetic on The Sports Network if they paid me the way the Yanks are paying Clemens.

By the way do yourselves a favor this week. Try and catch Yankee radio broadcaster Suzyn Waldman's call of Clemens making his announcement. I thought she was going to have an aneurysm in the booth.

Clemens signing with the Yankees is huge, though. The Red Sox wanted him. They probably did not need him as much as the Yanks, but anytime you add a seven- time Cy Young winner you are better off.

Does it shift the balance of power in the American League East back to Torre's club? I am not sure, but I will tell you this, if Clemens pitches anything close to the way he pitched in Houston last year he is going to win 18 games with that lineup behind him. And that my friends is more wins than you would have gotten from the Chase Wrights, Darrell Rasners, Kei Igawas and Jeff Karstens of the world.

Clemens' biggest contribution, though, may come off the field, as his presence will be a huge benefit to some of the Yankees young arms. Chien-Ming Wang supposedly idolizes Clemens and phenom Philip Hughes has drawn comparisons to the Rocket. Now the youngsters will get an up-close and personal look at how it is done.

Clemens is going to be 45 in August and is still probably in the best shape of any pitcher on the team. Nobody has the work ethic of Clemens. Following his press conference yesterday he was out in the bullpen getting some work in. Things like that have to rub off.

Heading into action this week, the Yanks are only 5 1/2 back of the Red Sox with 13 games still to go against them. Clemens has said he plans on pitching in about a month. The Yankees are in Fenway the first weekend in June. How about that for a return? I doubt he would come back then, but with the pomp and circumstance that surrounded yesterday's announcement, nothing would surprise me at this point. Plus I am pretty sure the Yanks are not dropping that kind of cash to have him watch those games.

And while we are talking about the Red Sox, if Clemens isn't the biggest phony in sports than Boston right-hander Curt Schilling is. Of course, the great Schilling had to chime in on the Clemens signing, saying that the Red Sox did not need him. His words may have carried a little more weight, though, had he said it a few weeks ago like teammate Julian Tavarez did. It is easy to say it now when he signed somewhere else.

It is amazing that Clemens is coming back again and is being looked upon as the saviour of the Yankees. The guy is closer to Torre's age than he is to Hughes'.

Does anyone even remember that he used to pitch for the Red Sox at this point? I mean it has been almost 11 years since he left. Most people felt he was done when Boston general manager Dan Duquette decided to let him walk. Not only has he won four Cy Young Awards since, but he has enjoyed some of the best years of his career. Most players start to slow down as they close in on their 40's. Well unless you are Barry Bonds I guess.

Hmm...kind of makes you wonder doesn't it?

Either way Yankee fans have not had a lot to cheer for this season. Things, though, got a whole lot brighter in the Bronx on Sunday.

So does this mean that Igawa is out of the rotation when Clemens returns?

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Re: Clemens is such a phony

Yankees show desperation in Clemens coup
Bill Burt
Gloucester Daily Times

Dice-K was the straw that broke the camel's back. The Red Sox went into Steinbrenner-mode last November and outrageously outbid everybody, including both of New York's billion-dollar baseball franchises, to steal the Pedro Martinez of Japan.

Before that, it was the acquisition of Josh Beckett, when the Red Sox traded the farm to Florida for one superstar pitcher. That had long been a Yankees tradition.

And before that it was Curt Schilling, the man who probably had as much to do with stomping on "The Curse" as anybody. Schilling had floated that he wanted to be a Yankee but was stolen from under their noses during Thanksgiving dinner with Theo Epstein.

The Yankees, you see, were sick of being out-Yankeed by the Red Sox.

So what did they do? They spent way too much money on Roger Clemens - a prorated $28-million deal (probably $18-19 million) plus another $7.4 million in additional luxury tax - to basically save their season.

The "rookie thing" and developing talent was a nice idea, but as we know, Steinbrenner isn't getting any younger. The farm system will have to wait for the next owner.

The Yankees weren't going to chance this one.

Clemens' dilemma was an interesting one, according to Theo Epstein recently. Going back to the Astros for one more go of it was the easy choice. He would not damage his legacy in Boston or New York by rejoining the Astros.

But does a legacy really matter when somebody puts twentysomething million on the table?

Clemens has bucked the trend before. He once said the only place he'd ever play after Boston was somewhere close to his native Texas and never, of course, with the Yankees.

As much as anybody south of Hartford, Conn., likes to admit, the Yankees are wary of what's going on in northern New England.

The Red Sox most recently overpaid for J.D. Drew ($70 million) and Julio Lugo ($32 million).

Not only that, but the Sox appear to be overloaded when it comes to pitching in 2007 and beyond.

What if the Red Sox offered Clemens something crazy, like say, $20 million to replace Julian Tavarez as the No. 5 starter?

It would have been a nice story if Clemens had decided to give the Red Sox one more whirl. The storylines would have been endless, from the current pitchers who claim to idolize him - Schilling, Beckett and Jonathan Papelbon - to leaving the Sox on his own terms.



The problem is, the Sox don't need Clemens. He was more of a luxury, albeit an exciting one. The addition of Dice-K and the probability that Jon Lester will return some time after the All-Star break eliminated a bidding war.

But the Yankees weren't sure. The way the Red Sox have thrown money around to win immediately had to be on their collective minds.

A healthy Clemens immediately makes the Yankees a contender, especially if Mike Mussina, Andy Pettitte and Chien-Ming Wang keep away from hamstring pulls.

New York is going to be buzzing. The Yankees have won five of six games, allowing only seven runs in those five victories.

The tabloids are going to eat this up like Roseanne used to eat Twinkies.

It's not as if the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry needed another spark but, as always seems the case, another has arrived.

The Yankees are officially the Yankees again. You have to admit, though, it's nice watching them sweat.

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