After his last outing for the Independent League Sugar Land Skeeters, former Cy Young winner Roger Clemens stated he was not ready for MLB competition. Houston Astros owner Jim Crane begged to differ, apparently, and told reporters that he’d like to see Clemens make a start for the Astros this year.
Sounds like everything is going to form, right? I mean, let’s review: Clemens originally said he had no plans to return, but just wanted to make one appearance with the Skeeters. After that start, he stated he didn’t intend to make another start. 10 days later, Clemens was on the mound again, all the while insisting he had no plans to return to the major leagues (a story no one was buying). So now that Clemens has said he wouldn’t be ready, you had to guess it a smoke-screen, right? Right.
Crane’s statement included a caveat that he wouldn’t throw Clemens in a game against a contender, but apparently, that wasn’t the way Clemens had it figured.
“Why would I want to waste my time running around and getting in shape. I get over to Minute Maid (Park), I’ll crank it up and get it over 90 for a contender. We’ll knock them right out of the playoffs. That would be the fun. Pitching against somebody that’s not in contention wouldn’t be any fun for me.
“It’s not going to happen.”
Clemens went on to talk about how excited he is to join the Astros as a coach during Spring Training next year and how he’s looking forward to spending the rest of his summer watching football.
So, a few days ago he said he was not MLB-ready. Today he says that he’ll pitch in the major leagues, but only against a contender. Somehow, he became ready pretty quickly.
The guy is 50 years old and despite a career record that should rank him as one of the greatest pitchers of all-time, here he is trying to re-start his five-year Hall of Fame eligibility waiting period. And make no mistake, that’s exactly what this who charade feels like. The only thing that makes me doubt that even for a second is Clemens public refusal to return to face the Cubs. Of course, that could certainly be mere posturing. After all, Clemens has been doing that every step of the way so far.