Monday, May 7, 2007

Quick Hits: Clemens, Night Games, a Decent Sopranos Episode

Although I caught a little of yesterday's Yankee game, I missed the sickening spectacle of seeing Roger Clemens's Evita/Lou Gehrig moment, announcing to the huddled and pinstriped masses his intention to return this season to the Yankees (at $8,888 per pitch). To commemorate the event, has freed up Bill Simmons's 2001 column in which he explains why Clemens is more than just another guy who leaves his team for big free agent money; rather, he's the Antichrist.

Slate does the same thing with Seth Stevenson's 2004 piece:

Also: You are fat. They say you've got this hard-core training regimen, with calisthenics and whatnot. I'm not seeing it. You're wicked fat.

Oh, perhaps that was uncalled for. You know what else was uncalled for? Sucking, every time it mattered. You ruined my childhood, fatty. Because the trauma you put me through as a young, impressionable Red Sox fan has stunted my emotional growth, I revert to a juvenile mind-set whenever I see you. Like repeatedly calling you fat.

That's Clemens for you, never exactly bringing out the best in either his teammates or his detractors (I'd say fans, too, but he doesn't have any).

And you know, people forget this now, but there was a time when Clemens was really, really out of shape. Double chin and everything. Like, "Is that Clemens or Clemenza?" fat. It's good to be reminded of this from time to time when TV guys are fawning over him about his offseason training routine.

Along the way Stevenson offhandedly drops in a suggestion that Clemens would probably give very serious consideration to if he thought of it: hiring himself out start by start to the highest bidder. In fact, I bet you he tries that next season.

News on teams we actually like
I've got night-game-itis this week. If I couldn't make it past the second quarter for any of those ridiculous Mavs-Warriors games (go Warriors!), then there's no way I'm going to manage to get past, say, the fifth inning of these games versus los Gigantes. With that said, Zito v. Perez tonight is a really compelling matchup. Two young(ish) enigmatic lefties squaring off always makes for a good time. I'll do my best to stick it out.

Mets2Moon and I will be there Friday to welcome the Mets back to Shea. And we'll be sure to avoid the parking lot.

Green is the valley blue is the night
Now, finally, a Sopranos episode you could sink your teeth into. Not perfect, mind you, but who's expecting that anymore? Nothing else last night quite hit the same pitch-perfect tone as the Los Lobos song they used for the closing credits, but all in all this was more like it. No more "who's that guy?" out-of-left-field characters wasting our time. Paulie, Christopher, Tony, A.J., Dr. Melfi. Sad-sack Tim Daly, just trying to hack out a Law & Order episode. Lap dances. Some poor schlemeil getting his ass kicked over owed money. The old, good stuff. When Tony grabs a gun hearing a car revving up the driveway behind him, a genuine "here we go" chill moment.

I don't expect the show to regain its old fastball in the last four episodes, but if it can keep changing speeds and locating, we'll be fine. And when Chris Moltisanti gets got, and I'm convinced he will, that'll be the most genuinely sad death of a sociopath in TV history. Ever notice how his name is an echo of Frank Pentangeli's from Godfather II? "Many saints"/"five angels"? If Tony has to do Chris in himself, it'll be like Big Pussy + Tony B. times infinity.


Mets2Moon said...

Damn you for bringing up Clemens. I was hoping that we would avoid talking about it altogether, but I suppose it was inevitable.

Anyway, I kept my mouth shut last night, but here's my two cents:

I think the Yankees did this for 2 reasons. 1)is the obvious, desperation move. 2) is they did this to stick it to A-Rod. Notice how his salary for the season is $28 Million, pro-rated? Guess what A-Rod is owed for this season? Yes, that's right, $27 Million! Now, he's not the highest paid player in the game anymore, and if the Yankees now go on and win the World Series (and if you listen to Yankee fans, it sounds like they just went out and did it), Clemens will get all the credit, even if A-Rod hits 80 HRs and another 10 in the Postseason, and if they lose, they still hate A-Rod and won't blame Clemens because he's old. It's as if Cashman knows that A-Rod is absolutely going to opt out after this season and go to Anaheim or the Cubs, and this was his way of giving A-Guez a giant middle finger.

The other thing that slays me about this is that this is a move that's supposed to save the Yankees bullpen, when Clemens proved last season that he's really a 6-inning pitcher now. And what if he's not that anymore? What if he's just a 5 inning pitcher? Not good with the holes in the Yankees bullpen.

I know there was a statement from Steinbrenner released yesterday, but if you've seen Big Stein lately, I'd be surprised if he knew that he just signed Clemens...

Mets2Moon said...

I hope you fell asleep in the 4th inning last night...

El Guapo said...

At 6-1 I flipped over to the Warriors-Jazz game and made it to a little ways into the 3rd quarter. Turns out that didn't end so well either. Whatever.

All I can say is, errors and phantom home run calls are no way to lose a ballgame.

Mets2Moon said...

And speaking of Simmons and Clemens, here's my favorite quote from yesterday's Sports Guy Blog:

"9. The Red Sox spitefully giving No. 21 to someone else this season, preferably the worst pitcher on the team. In fact, I vote that they bring Rich Garces back, feed him burritos until he passes the 400-pound mark, then squash him into a No. 21 jersey and hire him as the bullpen coach. "

I do believe that Garces was the original El Guapo.

Anonymous said...

This Clemens thing reminded me of a question I have for Mets fans: In retrospect, was acquiring Pedro a good move? I’m a Sox fan (and Pedro fan). Just wondering.

El Guapo said...

RE Pedro: That's a really excellent question. In fact, it's worthy of its own blog post (M2M: I call dibs). For the moment I'll give a hesitant yes. There's a lot of talk about the credibility he lent to the club in signing Beltran and getting a leg up on Dominican prospects. Which all may be true, though I'm not sure it's provable.

As far as performance on the field, as a Met he's 24-16 with an ERA somewhere in the mid-3's and an excellent K/BB rate, and he'll theoretically be back in time for a pennant race this season. He can't be stretched out past six innings too often, but that's not the worst thing on a team with a good bullpen.

If you add in the fan excitement that first year and all the fuzzy "intangibles" people like me tend to ignore, it's an even more confident yes. I'll try to answer this more fully soon.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I noticed your buddy, Dan Shaughnessy, has picked up on your "Evita" comparison: