Where there is smoke, I think it’s safe to assume there is fire. So when I heard Roger Clemens had signed on to pitch for the Sugar Land Skeeters two things came to mind, publicity stunt and comeback. I have no problem with the publicity stunt angle of it but I also think the door is now wide open for a return to the Astros. I already had the thought that Clemens would be back with the Astros, as a coach, at some point in the next few years but this little move might make it happen much sooner than I even figured. Whether you like the guy or not, Clemens and Astros have made some sweet memories in the past, why not try and re-capture some of those good feelings once again?
So the Skeeters took advantage of Clemens wanting to come back and pitch one last time. Whether it’s because he wants to reset his Hall of Fame candidacy by hook or crook or simply because he missed the game, it creates a curious atmosphere. I don’t mean the full house that will watch him pitch every start he gives Sugar Land but rather Roger being back in the spotlight. Don’t kid yourself, Sugar Land is an independent ball club but Roger could pitch in someone’s back yard and it would be a big deal. With Clemens back in the spotlight, a return trip to Minute Maid Park seems more likely than ever. Jim Crane has already said publicly that Clemens would be welcomed back and Mike Elias has already paid him a visit this week so connecting the dots is easy.
Ignore the belief by some of the media that the ‘Stros would bring him back to pitch in September, that makes me sick and I don’t believe it. Crane and the new Astros regime don’t seem like the type to pull out publicity stunts but they do seem like they are all ears when it comes to their public. While a ton of folks have soured on Roger, still many more would love to have him back. As a coach, his knowledge and experience would be fantastic for a young team with a very young rotation. Why not bring him back, why not bring in the veteran to teach and have some of his moxie rub off on some of the young kids. Yeah, I know the jokes are coming but I’m serious, Clemens would be a plus to any team who adds him.
So when you go see him pitch on Saturday night, remember while this is almost assuredly his last tour of duty to the mound, it probably is just the beginning of a different career in an Astros’ uniform.