Monday, June 11, 2007

The Rocket Returns (as do sports-related posts)

As a resident of Columbus, Ohio (where there used to reside the AAA-affiliate of the New York Yankees in the Columbus Clippers, now the AAA-affiliate of the Washington Nationals, a phrase that seems oddly redundant) I was unable to watch this weekend's return of Roger Clemens to the Yankees. But let me tell you, from what I've read, seen as a highlight and assumed, it was truly all it was meant to be. The aura and mystique of The Stadium, filled with drunken morons Yankee fans, Clemens giving Babe Ruth's noggin a rub before heading out and, of course, more hoopla than is at all necessary...even for New York.

The game itself was a laugher, though that was due mostly because of the fact that we were dealing with two sub-.500 ball clubs in June, and one of them was the Pittsburgh Pirates. Luckily Why Don't We Get Drunk and Blog covered the whole thing live-blog style and for all the ruckus that was made about the actual start, it was even worse on the YES network.

1:41 -- Murcer just remarked about how strong Clemens' body is. Leiter just said how great Clemens has been at maintaining his body. The booth is going on and on about how he's kept in shape over his career. That's not true, right? Didn't Clemens fall apart at the end of his time in Boston largely because of how fat and out of shape he's gotten? I know I've read that. I thought he didn't even start working out till he got to Toronto. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.
We're to expect the love-fest, of course (it is New York) but my goodness, it's like Clemens was the one who died in John 3:16, not that Jesus fellow. His numbers weren't even that fantastic. He let a run by in the first (which is giving the Pirates a ton of credit) and was pitching behind (not literally) batters all day before retiring to the dugout after 6. But, as happens to be the way of the world these days, A-Rod and the Yankees came out victorious and climbed (as of now) to within 10 games of the first place Red Sox, who just love playing games in Arizona and Oakland in June, where I'm pretty sure their record over the last few years is around 0 - 7,236.

So is the rocket the difference maker in New York? I doubt it. For a team with an iffy bullpen and a closer, the game's best, struggling a bit, a pitcher who will probably never make it further than 6 innings may not be the answer. It wasn't on Saturday and it shouldn't be the rest of the way. But the New York Dailies certainly disagree with me (courtesy of The Joy of Sox, a rather excellent Red Sox blog) and when they're not covering A-Rod as Stray-Rod, or Paris Hilton those papers are where the country goes for top-notch investigative journalism. So I guess I must be wrong.

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