Friday, August 20, 2010

Repost: Roger and Me

Originally posted April 30th, 2008. Speaks for itself.

I have no direct connection with Roger Clemens but I did admire him. In the mid-1980's I lived in Boston and it coincided with the time when he came up to the big leagues. When I finished my shift at the Museum of Fine Arts (the work was brutal), I generally walked home around the Public Gardens (making sure to stay out of them so as not to get mugged - that came later). During those summer evenings in 1984, through the heavy moist air, I could hear the crowd at Fenway moan and roar over the roof tops of Backbay Boston as I walked several blocks away. You could tell the night Roger was pitching; it was just electric and I don't consider myself a baseball fan but in Boston there was huge civic pride over the Red Socks and this pitching marvel.

Well things change. Ultimately they were happy to see him go and now his biography is basically writing itself in chapters delivered to the newspapers every few weeks. Some publisher is going to get the deal but not, I hope, without a set of conditions that has him coming clean about every thing. But that is unlikely to happen until he gets indicted and (perhaps) sentenced for perjuring himself. Unless they find proof (which admittedly wouldn't surprise anyone) they may not have a case just the stink of suspicion. Ultimately if he is backed into a corner where he can't escape, he will just do the public apology thing, cash in and we will all go on with our lives as though all is forgotten.

There has been a published bio: Rocket Man: The Roger Clemens Story and this was the booklist review of the book:
Roger Clemens' 24-4 pitching record for the 1986 American League champion Boston Red Sox earned him a rare double honor: Most Valuable Player (usually the exclusive domain of position players) and the Cy Young Award (best pitcher). He also set a new major-league record with 20 strikeouts in a game. And he's only 24 which is good news for Red Sox fans but not so good for readers of this autobiography, since the baby-faced fastballer has hardly experienced enough to merit an extended article, let alone an entire book. Coauthor and premier baseball writer Peter Gammons keeps things moving crisply enough, but ultimately this is mediocre sports-bio fare. There is likely to be demand based on Clemens' name, particularly since he has settled his contract dispute and won't spend the year on the sidelines.
I recall that summer in 1984. Roger had an August night where he stuck out 15 and came back in his next game and stuck-out 10. Sadly, he has struck himself out but we have all long since lost and now we don't even moan and grown about this latest example of Athletic failure anymore.

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