Hey Houston, let’s take the Rocket for one last flight.
Let’s clear one thing up before I get into the reasons why I would love to see Roger Clemens standing atop a major league mound once again.
My curiosity doesn’t stretch all the way to Mars and I am most certainly not asking for a long-term flight. I don’t expect to see Roger 60 feet six inches away from home plate in 2013 for any club nor do I believe he has the desire to do so.
As for September of this year? Bring him on.
I’ve read the term “publicity stunt” quite a few times over the past few days, including a recent article on the Climbing Tal’s Hill website from fellow writer Alex Sandoval (I have nothing but love for you man!) with the general thought that Clemens doesn’t belong at the big league level going after much, much younger players.
I don’t see the publicity stunt in this at all. On Saturday night, I saw a seven time Cy Young award winner whose list of accomplishments are longer than that of a Tim Tebow birthday segment on ESPN.
Clemens didn’t light up the zone by any means. In his 3 1/3 innings of work, he exposed to those in attendance and watching from home that the control is nothing that it used to be. After all, the man is 50 years old.
His fastball got up to 88 and I don’t see it getting much higher than that even if he did work his way into “game shape”. He did however do a solid job of pitching to contact, granted to independent league competition, and managed to strike out two of the batters he faced while only allowing one hit.
The Houston Astros are a rebuilding franchise. In no way do I mean this as a disrespect to the hard work and efforts of the players currently on the roster, but this is a team full of guys who may not have a shot to play on many of the other 29 clubs in the league.
I’ll pause for a moment to let you come down from your shock.
Bringing back Clemens is beneficial to both sides, both short and long term. There is no I in team, so it makes sense to start how this would help the Houston Astros organization as a whole.
Again, this roster is full of a lot of young guys who are still adjusting to life as a big league ball player. Bringing in Roger Clemens would provide an opportunity for the younger players to receive valuable insight from a deserving first ballot Hall of Fame player. But we will get to that part of the story shortly.
We have heard time and time again in all major sports just how important and valuable a veteran presence is in a lineup and Clemens would provide exactly that. Think of how beneficial it would be to guys like Lucas Harrell or Bud Norris to learn from a guy who has dealt with every situation one could imagine while standing on the rubber.
Rosters are expanding to 40 players in just a few days. I have read multiple articles discussing that you couldn’t add a guy at the age of 50 to a roster in dire need to develop talent.
I believe there is more of a benefit to giving Clemens that spot to help develop talents who are already somewhat established as opposed to allowing a young guy come up from the minors who may not belong here long term.
We all discussed the benefit of interim manager Tony Defrancesco arriving from Triple A Oklahoma City to work with a team full of many players who had played with him before at the previous level. If Clemens were to come back to Houston to coach next year as many involved with the sport believe, it would be nice for the players on the roster to say they could also call the coach a former teammate.
And let’s be honest, giving a roster spot to Clemens isn’t exactly going to harm the team’s chances at the playoffs this year.
As for Clemens, it would help in a lot of ways to come back from a personal standpoint as well.
There is no need to elaborate on the definition of the Steroid Era at this point. Anyone who calls themselves a sports fan has no doubt seen plenty of information about how the game was juiced for quite some time.
Clemens is the most prominent pitcher of that time and he will join names such as Barry Bonds on the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time this year.
Taken to trial and acquitted of all charges against him, there has never been enough evidence to ever say without a doubt Roger Clemens used performance enhancing drugs.
A comeback is a win-win situation for a guy who could add on to his 354 career win total. If he were able to come out and pitch successfully maybe some skeptics begin to think he was just truly that good rather than he used steroids to help him stay at the top of his game.
If he were to come back and get lit up for six runs, hey! The Guy is 50! What were you expecting?
What is one of the biggest storylines of this potential comeback hinges on the iconic rocking motion of a Clemens pitch. If he gets just a single pitch across a major league plate this year, his Hall of Fame clock will restart and he will not be eligible to be voted in until five years from now.
Who knows what the baseball minds will be thinking by then? It’s accepted at this point Clemens would likely not be voted in this summer. People do change and you never know how time can change the minds of voters. Pitching for the Astros could mean Roger gets in on his first try at Cooperstown.
The Astros are interested. Roger Clemens is interested in coming back. Will it come to fruition? No one can be sure. In a radio interview earlier this week with the Scott Van Pelt Show on ESPN radio, Clemens spoke a phrase that told me everything I needed to know about a potential comeback.
“Mufasa isn’t ready to give up his kingdom just yet”