Thursday, May 01, 2008

Clemens Laments by Jake Austen

Being blogless and bereft of anyone around me who would care, I never had a chance to vent my Roger Clemens diatribes leading up to or during his bullshit hearings. (The bullshit being Congressional baseball hearings held during wartime, not Clemens’ performance at said hearing.)

So anywhere, here are my thoroughly out of date thoughts:

I never liked Clemens. I’d venture that my low point as a baseball fan, and perhaps as a human being, was watching The Rocket beat the White Sox in late September, 2001. Doing so he became the first pitcher to start a season 20-1, amidst a post-World Trade Center attack atmosphere in which it was considered unpatriotic to root against the Yankees. My lowliness was demonstrated in the late innings when drunk-on-Giuliani Sox fans actually cheered Clemens on, to which my response, I am not proud to say, was to quietly, but (pathetically) earnestly declare, "Fuck September 11th!"

I was always happy to see the Sox beat Clemens. In 2003 they scored nine earned runs off him, one of his worst ever starts, and in 2007 the Sox scored eight runs off him in one and a third innings. (The Sox then remarkably gave up eight runs in the bottom of the second, before winning 13-9). Clemens was booed off the field in that one, and one of these games was with his mother in the stands (maybe that's why she suggested he start B-12 injections). And, of course, there was the less than satisfying, but nonetheless sweet, 2005 White Sox World Series Game One victory that featured an aged Clemens hobbling off the field and not returning after giving up three runs in two innings.

I suppose Clemens is lying and guilty, but I don’t know for sure, and if one’s main argument for his guilt is, “Why would Pettite lie?” I think a reasonable response might be that maybe he just hates Clemens and wants to screw him over. I guess Pettite isn't supposed to be like that, but c'mon, nobody's that Christian.

I am far less offended by the idea that Roger Clemens would take performance enhancing drugs than I am that he got to start the baseball season whenever he damn well felt like it, or that he didn't travel with the team, and was not required to attend games he was not pitching.

If he took steroids, I don't really care, mainly because I simply don’t believe that they made him better. Roger “Fucking” Clemens would have found a way to win 300 and strike out 4,000 through sheer will and spite and evil whether he was juiced or not.

I emphatically do not believe that steroids were responsible for Clemens' dickish personality. Nor, I imagine, do his wife, kids, teammates, bosses, or “doctors.”

I am genuinely disappointed that he won't play this season. The Clemenses and Ricky Hendersons and Julio Francos of this world should play Major League Baseball until they keel over on the field. I didn't like him, but I definitely will miss him.

Jake Austen publishes Roctober magazine and helps produce the public access children's dance show Chic-A-Go-Go.

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