The first 36 games have been embarrassing. There’s really no other way to look at it. There were some highlights: A-Rod’s monster April, Phil Hughes’ near no-no, Wang’s near perfecto. But I think we can all agree that for the most part, it’s been a dismal beginning to the Yankee season.
If you’re like me, and prone to bouts of sports-inflicted depression, you may be looking for something to get excited about. Well, this may do the trick.
Roger Clemens threw 71 pitches, jogged a little, got in a little PFP (pitcher’s fielding practice) and talked mechanics with Phil Hughes and Jeff Karstens in Tampa today. If all goes according to plan, Clemens will be pitching for the Yanks in the last week of May or the first week of June.
Mark your calendars:
There has been talk of the Yanks not wanting Clemens to pitch his first game back in Boston against the Red Sox. There has been talk of how Joe has shielded his pitchers from explosive situations like this in the past. All of that talk is pure crap. The Yankees are paying a king’s ransom for the Rocket, and they’re going to make him earn it from the get go.
I will be shocked if Clemens doesn’t start either the Saturday game on FOX or the Sunday night game on ESPN on June 2nd or 3rd at Boston. I think George demands it. I think that’s why the signing happened when it did, and I also think it’s the right move. The Sox are running away with the A.L. East, and who knows what the standings will look like by June 1st. If Clemens is going to have an impact on this team, it’s going to be in big games against the Sox.
It’s going to be baptism by fire, and I’m getting a tingling feeling just thinking about that match-up. Schilling vs. Clemens on Saturday? McCarver and Joe Buck talking about Hugh Laurie’s hypnotic blue eyes, Bob Gibson and nepotism in broadcasting … how can you top that? Maybe with Clemens vs. Dice-K on Sunday night … John Miller desperately trying to get Joe Morgan to say something, anything worthwhile, countless ads for Arena Football, and the same update from Stuart Scott every half inning?
For all of you non-Yankee/Red Sox fans, I feel bad for you, because if/when this happens, you will see/hear/read about nothing else in the sports world for that weekend. It has the feeling of a forced, or bought if that’s your thing, turning point. George saying, “This is where this nonsense ends. It ends in Boston.” It remains to be seen whether you can force a turning point on a team, and it may come before that series, after that series or never, but I guarantee you it’ll be high drama. I can’t wait.
Update: El Lefty Malo brings up a great point today: Why isn’t reaching on an error counted toward on base percentage? Personally, I think the batter influences about 90% of fielding errors, so yes, they should be rewarded. Join in on the conversation over at his site.