Posts Tagged ‘Roger Clemens’

Fading, Fading……

Sunday, June 8th, 2014


That’s what the Yankees have been doing for the last ten games or so and that’s what I feel like when I either watch/listen to the games or check the box scores. Depressing.

The defense has been spotty, the pitching unreliable, albeit Kuroda was good today, and the offense practically nonexistent. Remember the days of “too many home runs?” That all seems like a hallucination right now. Thank God for playoff hockey, even though the Rangers are down two to the Kings.

And back in the baseball world, things were much more interesting between the Orioles and A’s than they were between the Yankees and Royals:

The Mike Piazza/Roger Clemens bat throwing incident was minor compared to that little dust up!



Uh-Oh. Where Are The Bats?

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

It’s always sort of spooky when the season starts with losses. No, two in a row isn’t a trip to the Twilight Zone, but it’s weird that we have all these big stars and they look anemic at the plate. Soriano, in particular, seems to have a hole in his bat.

On a positive note, Kuroda stuck around way longer than I expected and the boys showed some speed on the bases. And Jeter got a nice tip of the cap from the Astros before the game. Supposedly he had dinner with Clemens the previous night, and I can’t figure out why he’d want that guy in his life, let alone have him for a buddy. Yuck.



The Gang’s All Here

Sunday, February 17th, 2013

Photo: Steve Nesius/Reuters (courtesy

Once Jeter had his press conference, it was official: the 2013 season had begun and the position players had arrived. Whether the Captain will actually play shortstop or even DH on Opening Day remains a question mark, but he’s planning on suiting up in any case. (I do wish he’d grow his hair a little.)

No news came out of the presser and without A-Rod in camp there’s been no drama yet – unless you count Cervelli’s brief comments the other day about Bosch and Biogenesis.

Mostly, it’s business as usual. There was just one tiny thing that made me do a double take, and it didn’t emanate from Tampa but from Kissimmee where the Astros train.

Asked about Mike Piazza’s new book, our old pal Roger Clemens said Piazza would have to “get in line” to take a poke at him because there were three Yankees ahead of him. Hm. Was the Rocket just joshing or did some of his former teammates feel less than warm and fuzzy toward him? It sure seemed as if they were all one big happy family while Clemens was in pinstripes, but who knows? And which Yankees wanted “a piece of him?” Inquiring minds…..



Yankees-Mets Go Another Round

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

As I thought about the upcoming Subway Series, following right on the heels of Clemens’ acquittal, I couldn’t help conjure up this.

There were a few things that struck me, having not seen the footage in a long time:

  • How violently Clemens threw that piece of the bat. (‘Roid rage, anyone?)
  • How angry he got when confronted. (“You talking to me?”)
  • How pathetic it was to have both benches empty during a World Series game. (But good for ratings.)
  • How much Yankees-Mets used to matter. (The rivalry just doesn’t have the same edge. At least not for me.)

I hope our pitching gets back on track and that our hitters won’t be thrown by the unfriendly dimensions of Citi Field.





Now That Pettitte Mania Has Subsided…

Sunday, March 18th, 2012

I guess it’s appropriate to wonder what Andy’s return will mean for the rest of the starters – IF he shows he can still pitch after the long absence.

Kuroda has already been penciled in as the #2 starter, and both he and Hughes had their best outings of the spring this past week. Nova hasn’t pitched well yet but he’s earned a job with his past performances. Pineda is still somewhat of an unknown quantity, but the Yankees didn’t trade for him to keep him in the minors. If anyone’s on the bubble, it would probably be Garcia.

Or not.

Would the Yankees send Hughes to the pen? Not unless he gets into that familiar rut where he nibbles and takes forever to get hitters out and racks up high pitch counts by the third inning. He didn’t come to camp in better shape so he could be banished to the pen, I’m sure.

Very confusing situation. But here’s what I hope doesn’t happen: a six-man rotation.

It would be insane to take guys out of their normal routines – especially CC – just to accommodate Pettitte.

And then there’s the upcoming Clemens trial; Andy will have to leave the team to testify. So for the foreseeable future, the issue won’t have to be resolved and everybody can hang on to their current jobs.

Speaking of the Clemens trial, does anybody care at this point? It feels like it should have happened already. I hate that Andy will get dragged into the he said/he said nonsense.

But it could be worse. We could be Mets fans having to watch their owners on trial. I’m old enough to remember when Steinbrenner was kicked out of baseball for being a bad boy, but the Wilpons’ mess is truly gruesome.



Hughes, Masterson And Strudel

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011


That’s what I call Asdrubal Cabrera. He’s Strudel to me, what can I say? He fielded some amazing plays in tonight’s loss to Cleveland and he hurt the Yanks.

But Masterson hurt more. He made even our best hitters look foolish. Well, except Jeter, who is almost guaranteed to reach his milestone against the Rays this weekend – maybe even as soon as tomorrow night.

Hughes. Sigh. I know I’m supposed to be excited by his outing. He did settle down after giving up those two runs in the first and he did have improved velocity and strength and he certainly showed promise after his long layoff. But he also hit a couple of batters and couldn’t get any swings and misses and threw the ball right down the middle more often than not. Why do I have the sinking feeling that he’s still not the pitcher he was touted to be? I hope I’m wrong, I really do.

Our bullpen didn’t exactly inspire confidence either. We might have staged a comeback if not for MEAT TRAY. Why did Cashman re-sign this guy? What’s next? The return of Luis Vizcaino? Oh, wait. He’s serving a 50-game suspension for using ‘roids. Maybe Chris Britton is available. (Sarcasm is unbecoming, I know. I can’t help myself.)

So we lost the series. And tomorrow I have to go to L.A. for a meeting and will be on my way home, sitting in traffic on the 101 freeway, when the action starts at 4 pm here. I’ll record the game so I’ll have it in case Jeter does his thing, but while I’m in the car I’ll have this.


Michael’s driving, so I won’t crash into anybody while I watch. Is the MLB At Bat app one of the best inventions ever or what?

Oh. I guess I should be paying attention to the Clemens trial that’s just getting underway. They’re doing jury selection. If The Rocket’s lucky, maybe he’ll get the Casey Anthony crew.


About Andy, Of Course

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

Photo: NY Post

He’s usually pictured wearing that glare/stare/face-behind-the-glove. I wanted to show him laughing – something he did with his teammates often when he wasn’t focused on winning a game. Yes, we all knew this day was coming. We were told to expect it, prepare for it, move on without our Andy. But when the official word came down today that he was, indeed, retiring, I was more emotional about it than I thought I’d be. And then when I read all the quotes from the Yankees, I got really weepy.

I can only imagine the waterworks that will go on here tomorrow when I watch his press conference. It’ll be on at 7:30 a.m. Pacific Time, and I’ll try to weep silently so I don’t wake Michael up. (I did ask him if he’d rather watch with me or sleep. He picked sleep.)

In the meantime, I’ve been thinking back over the Andy Years and remembering. He wasn’t as flashy as Coney. He didn’t improvise like El Duque. He didn’t intimidate like Clemens or Johnson. And he didn’t have the giddyap of Guidry. But was he ever a grinder and (this will be his legacy) was he ever a big-game pitcher.

Photo: NY Daily News

I never worried when Andy was on the mound. I never said before a game, “I wonder if he’ll be The Good Andy or The Bad Andy today.” I never doubted that he would find a way to win, even when he didn’t have his best stuff. He was our rock. How do you replace your rock?

You don’t. You just tip your cap and say, “Thanks for the memories.”


I Doubt This Is True But…

Friday, January 7th, 2011

What do I know? In case you didn’t see the ESPNNew York article today about Petttte’s reluctance to come back, take a look.

Clemens reason for Pettitte’s pause? Yankees lefty still waffling about next season as The Rocket’s perjury trial looms

By Wallace Matthews

Nearly four years after he cashed his last Yankees paycheck, $18 million for a half-season’s work and a 6-6 record, it is possible that Roger Clemens is still exacting a heavy price from the team.  We are now barely a month away from the beginning of spring training and Andy Pettitte has still not decided whether he wants to pitch in 2011.

On Thursday, he told a New York Post reporter who showed up on his doorstep in Deer Park, Texas, the same thing he told reporters in the clubhouse in Arlington the night the Yankees were eliminated by the Texas Rangers, the same thing he has been telling the Yankees during their infrequent conversations this offseason: that he hasn’t made a decision. All season long, I believed his reason — a desire to spend time at home with his young but growing family, a desire I can relate to with two children of my own. But now, as Pettitte continues to dither on what he really wants to do, the thought occurs that there might be another factor at work.

Clearly, it’s not a matter of ability — Pettitte’s 11-2 record up to the point of his groin injury in July that robbed him of two months of the season proves he can still pitch, and probably better than anyone in the Yankees’ rotation not named Carsten Charles.

And it’s not a matter of money — right now, the Yankees’ payroll sits at a treacherously low $170 million and with Cliff Lee out of the picture, you know that $30 million of Boss Bucks is just burning a hole in Brian Cashman’s pocket.

So either Pettitte wants to pitch, or he doesn’t.

What’s taking him so long to decide?

Well, maybe it is what is waiting for him in July, a hot seat on the witness stand in the upcoming federal perjury trial against Clemens. Pettitte is expected to be the government’s star witness against his former teammate and buddy, and in fact, might be the only man standing between The Rocket and a jail cell.

Clemens, of course, is a slimy character. His accuser, Brian McNamee, is every bit as slimy with a background that is maybe even more shady. No matter how strong the evidence or how many dirty syringes McNamee saved in a soda can in his basement, his and Clemens’ testimony will probably cancel one another out just on the sleaze factor alone.

That leaves Pettitte, and his word, as the swing vote — and you know Clemens’ attorney, Rusty Hardin, is going after Pettitte in the only areas he can in order to discredit his testimony. He is going to do his level best to crush Pettitte’s reputation for honesty and sincerity and religious convictions. Simply put, he is likely to try to paint Pettitte as a lying hypocrite whose word cannot and should not be trusted.

The cross-examination could get embarrassing and highly personal.

And in a situation like that, pitching for the New York Yankees every five days and facing a ravenous media horde on a daily basis is not exactly where anyone in his or her right mind would want to be.

In that context, Pettitte’s indecision becomes not only clear, but quite understandable. When Pettitte says he hasn’t decided, it seems to mean that he really wants to pitch, but something is keeping him from committing himself to it.

True, there have been other offseasons in which he waited until well into January to decide — one season, he announced his decision on Jan. 26 — but never one in which this kind of thing was looming over his head.

Facing reporters to answer questions regarding his HGH use in a news conference in spring training was like an appearance on “The View” compared with being grilled by a defense attorney trying to keep a client out of jail.

My guess is the fear of that is keeping Pettitte on the shelf so far this winter — and if so, then Clemens is about to drag down his old team once again.

This, of course, is as much the Yankees’ fault as it is Clemens’ — for forging an unholy alliance with a player almost universally despised in their clubhouse before he joined them, for indulging his “special desires,” for allowing him to write his own rules. Clemens pitched well in his first stint with the Yankees, but the negative things he brought along with him negate many of his accomplishments.

He embarrassed the team by throwing a broken bat at Mike Piazza, forcing Joe Torre into the impossible position of having to defend the indefensible. He forced them to hire McNamee, who brought his own variety of shame and dishonor to the club.

Clemens, too, strung the Yankees along on what seemed like an annual Hamlet routine of to pitch or not to pitch, one year even going so far as to accept thousands of dollars worth of ”retirement gifts” — only to resurface the next year as a member of the Houston Astros. He neither returned the gifts nor showed an ounce of embarrassment.

But his crowning achievement came in 2007, when he played the Yankees for an $18 million contract — more like $28 million if projected over a full season — sat out until June, and then delivered a .forgettable 500 season. That was followed by his star turn in the Mitchell report, his shameful performance before Congress in which he introduced the word “misremembered” to the sports lexicon, and then he slunk off, many of us thought, forever.

But now, perhaps he is rearing his ugly head again. Now, he may be one of the reasons — not the only one, of course — why the Yankees head into spring training with a pitching rotation that is decidedly third-best in the division. Perhaps he is the reason Pettitte is so reluctant to do what it appears he really would like to do for one more season.

As a man who has ties to both the Yankees and Pettitte told me Friday, “He’s afraid of a lot of things right now. People have told him he’s going to be a major distraction this year. He knows his name is going to be dragged through the mud and he knows that when you’re a Yankee, there’s nowhere to hide.”

Maybe Pettitte is hoping Clemens will come to his senses and cop a plea before his case ever gets to trial. Maybe he is waiting to see if U.S. district judge Reggie Walton, who has already pushed back the start date from April to July, will delay the trial further, to October or November.

Or maybe he really is wrestling with the issues he discussed all season, the struggle between wanting to continue doing what he does so well and wanting to enjoy his family while they are still around to be enjoyed.

But if that was the whole story, you would think he would have made his decision by now.

Something is keeping Andy Pettitte from issuing the final verdict on his 2011 intentions.

Perhaps it’s the prospect of having to testify against Roger Clemens and stand up to what could be a public humiliation, both in the courtroom and in the clubhouse.

If that’s the case, then once again The Rocket will have cost his former team a whole lot more than just money.

Even if Andy does have concerns about having to leave the team to appear at a July trial, I’m sure the Yankees would accommodate him. And by then we’ll have Felix Hernandez so no problem! Honestly, I really hope the Clemens thing isn’t messing with our rotation. The Rocket and his weasel-of-a-former-trainer have done enough damage to the franchise already.