I have purposely stayed away from covering the fiasco that is Roger Clemens pitching for the independent league Sugar Land Skeeters. The whole thing is a farce, a mockery of the game. This isn’t Rickey Henderson continuing his career in the minors when he was no longer good enough to play in the big leagues, this is a man who is attempting a comeback for the sole reason of re-setting his Hall of Fame clock.
And the Houston Astros, the worst team in baseball, are going to aid him in this sideshow.
Clemens, of course, is still quite popular in Houston and is good friends with former Astros owner Drayton McLane. But McLane is gone, having sold the team to Jim Crane last Fall. The Astros are in the midst of an 8-47 stretch; a pace so putrid that not even the 2003 Tigers fared so poorly in any 55-game span. The team is chock full of Double-A and Triple-A players simply playing out the string until the season comes to a close.
There is absolutely no reason why a 50-year-old, who hasn’t thrown a pitch in five years, should be given a major league start for a club that is the worst in the game. Well, no reason that doesn’t include a money-grab for the Astros and a self-serving attempt by Clemens to take his fate out of the BBWAA’s hands for another five years. And yet, according to Danny Knobler, Clemens will likely start for the Astros on September 12. Everyone associated with the Astros organization should be ashamed.
The fact of the matter is that Clemens knows full well that there is no way he gets elected to the Hall anytime soon. His purgery trial, no matter the outcome, is too fresh; those wounds too new. He wants desperately to avoid the same fate that Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro have suffered on the ballot, and that Barry Bonds is about to. Clemens must figure that the only way to get in, eventually, is to push the clock back. Instead of wasting five years of eligibility and hovering around 25 percent of the vote, re-start the clock and maybe in another five years the voters will be more accepting of the stars of the Steroid Era.