Monday, May 7, 2007

Rocket's Hangover Cure

Now how about that for a weekend?

Sunday afternoon, I was a little bit tired, a little bit hungover perhaps, and watching the worthless Cleveland-New Jersey playoffs series on ABC. At halftime, Dan Patrick announced that Roger Clemens had agreed to return to the Yankees. Needless to say, I felt better quickly. The body possesses amazing powers of recovery when the spirit is buoyed.

I never had particularly harsh feelings for Clemens after his fake retirement in 2003. If he could pull off pitching at home for a ton of money, and not having to travel with the team, more power to him. I didn't feel betrayed, despite all the pomp and circumstance of his original Yankees' send-off.

So it is with a clear conscience and open arms that I welcome Roger Clemens back into my life. Wang-Mussina-Pettitte-Clemens-Hughes sounds pretty good right about now, especially given all the instability with the starting pitching thus far. Hopefully, Clemens's aging hamstrings, quads and groin have a few more months of strength left in them.

And, hey, Curt Schilling...I've asked politely before, and I do so again here: shut the fuck up, s'il vouz plait? No one cares about your two-faced opinions about where Clemens signed. So you don't need Clemens on the staff because you have Julian Tavarez? Another lie from an all-time liar.

After watching the highlights of the game and the announcement on ESPN, the most fascinating part to me was the sheer unbridled joy on the Yankees' players faces once the announcement was made. I've never seen a group of grown man look so thrilled, other than after immediately winning a championship, or in the middle of a particularly great Eyes Wide Shut-style orgy.

Wang's Near Miss
Chien-Ming Wang is a particularly unlikely pitcher to throw a no-hitter or perfect game, since he strikes out so few hitters and puts so many balls in play. If you allow that many balls to be hit in the general direction of your fielders, some of them are exceedingly likely to fall in.

Still, Wang's run at history was typically thrilling then disappointing, especially following so shortly after Hughes's bid at immortality. Wang needs to anchor this staff all year and throw a ton of innings if the Yankees are going to contend.

The Brawl
Coming just moments before Roger Clemens's dramatic stadium announcement, the bench-clearing incident between the Yankees and Mariners yesterday is being swallowed in a sea of Rocket-related hype. I'll go on record that Josh Phelps's hit on Johjima was dirty. The Mariners' catcher wasn't remotely close to blocking the plate, and Phelps actually risked not scoring by going out of his way to bowl Johjima over. To Phelps's credit, when he was hit by Jarrod Washburn, he calmly strode to first base without even looking in Washburn's direction.

Even though Washburn's retaliation was justified, I'm still glad Scott Proctor threw one behind Yunieky Betancourt. Too often, the Yankees don't retaliate when thrown at, because of some misguided notion of what being classy means. As for Betancourt, he reacted like a true douchefucker, pointing his bat at Proctor, bulging his eyes out and screeching like a girl. If you're going to charge the mound, drop your bat and charge. Don't stand at home plate with a weapon waiting to be held back by the catcher and your teammates. Even the threat of using a weapon in a baseball fight is cowardice of the highest order (including catchers' gloves, Varitek).

Three of Four?
The Yankees go for the sweep in the Bronx tonight, riding a five-of-six streak and a Clemens high, but saddled with non-prospect Matt DeSalvo making the start. Win or lose, they've done their job this weekend.