Something about this smells very fishy to me.
You would think that someone who was involved in a high-profile trial involving perjury and obstruction of Congress would want to stay out of the limelight for a little while.
You must not know Roger Clemens very well.
After just barely two months since Clemens was acquitted on all charges related to his 2008 testimony to Congress involving performance-enhancing drugs, the 50-year-old, hard-throwing right-hander announced his return to professional baseball as a member of the Atlantic League’s Sugar Land Skeeters.
For anyone who has followed Clemens’ career, you would know that the pitcher is the epitome of intense competition, having always kept himself (legally or illegally) in phenomenal shape. To that point, Clemens must have been considering this move for quite some time, because while this might not be the major leagues, the Atlantic League still consists of professional ballplayers.
Clemens has already gone on record of saying the following, “I'm 50 years old. We're just going to go out and have fun with this and make it fun for the fans” as noted in a recent Sports Illustrated article.
I’m not buying any of it.
This raises the first issue: Given all of the recent speculation regarding Clemens, why should we take him at his word? Are we to believe he simply decided on a whim that it would be fun for the fans to see him pitch one last time?
According to the same SI article, Clemens was recently clocked at 87 mph and had been throwing side sessions after throwing batting practice for his sons, so there seems to be more to it than just wanting to please the fans.
Also, look at the timing of Clemens’ “triumphant” return to baseball. He last pitched for the Yankees in 2007, and as such, would be placed on the Hall of Fame ballot once the 2012 season officially ends. Let’s say Clemens shows impressive flashes in his start on Saturday and garners interest from some major league clubs.
If Clemens were to sign a contract, he would become an active ballplayer again, and his five-year clock would automatically reset. That doesn’t seem like a big deal initially, but remember, five years is a long time in professional sports. It may give Clemens enough time for the writers who vote on induction to the HOF to let the stench of his trial and alleged steroid use taper off a bit and enable Clemens to be enshrined in Cooperstown.
This all may seem far-fetched at first. What major league team in their right mind would have an interest in Clemens, right?
Well, look no further than the Houston Astros.
The team is in last place and is trading off all of its major pieces for a major rebuilding effort, a rebuilding effort that will take place in the American League starting next year. With so little going for it, the team might take a flyer on Clemens as a way to maintain a buzz around the club and give fans a reason to go to games while the rebuilding continues.
Considering Clemens’ deep ties to the organization—he pitched there for several years, he is a Houston native and his own son Koby is with the organization—this scenario doesn’t become as crazy as it once appeared.
I hate conspiracy theories, and I really try not to buy into them. With all the recent action taken by Roger Clemens, it seems hard to ignore this time, and I do honestly believe Clemens is going to do everything he can to make a major league roster and try to get into the Hall of Fame.
Some people have no shame.