Last night Roger Clemens held court during the grand opening of the Memorial Herman Medical Plaza, home of the Roger Clemens Institute for Sports Medicine and Human Performance. KRIV, Fox 26’s Mark Berman caught up with The King of K’s and the latest in the retirement saga got another shot in the arm.
According to Berman, Clemens said, "Koby asked me last night when we were working out, he was doing more of the workout than I was. I still told him 80-20 that I wasn’t going to play. The teams that are involved, I think they’ve got really good clubs that are together, and if somebody stubs their toe and my phone rings in May I might have to think about it,"
This is how I interpret the Clemens-speak–if the Astros or the Yankees are red-hot starting out of the gate in April and early May, Roger will jump on the bandwagon and ride the wave to the playoffs. If both teams falter, he’ll retire, because, as he stated earlier in the month, it’s a "waste of time" if he plays again and doesn’t get to pitch in the playoffs.
So, what makes Roger change the odds to 80-20 instead of the 50-50 he supposedly was at earlier in the month? My guess is that Roger doesn’t really believe in the Yankee hype anymore and doesn’t believe they can get past the Red Sox. The Sox, who are also in the running for his services, don’t really need him–they have a surplus of starting pitching as it is.
A more telling example of Clemens backing away from the Yankees might be the fact that his close buddy Andy Pettitte only recently found out via some Astros players that Roger had pitched for nearly an hour straight at the Nolan Ryan Elite Pitching Camp at Minute Maid Park last month. Pettitte reflected "He’s amazing," Pettitte said. "If I threw for an hour right now, I wouldn’t pitch for the rest of the year."
Gee, Andy, could that be one of the reasons The Rocket thinks you and your Yankee teammates won’t get to the playoffs in 2007? Because Roger thinks your arm is about to fall off?
As for the Astros hopes of another Rocket Launch at Minute Maid Park, it does indeed hinge on how fast the Astros get out of the starting gate and the number of runs they score for the starting pitchers. Even if the Astros are leading in the NL Central in May but haven’t been providing good run support, Roger won’t return. If Ensberg, Lee, Loretta, and Scott are able to help Berkman significantly with run production and the Astros are leading the division, then you can almost count on Roger returning for one more half season complete with all his perks.