Today, Clemens' mediocre return still made the covers of the tabloids. But surprisingly, there were a few rational pieces in the papers. Here are some:
Jack Curry of the Times points out that Clemens was facing the pitiful Pirates, and even those guys gave Clemens a rough time.
Mike Lupica gives his take on the Clemens love affair - everyone's horny about him because he reminds Yankee fans of the old times, before the annual October chokes. I guess Jeter, Pettitte, and Rivera don't have that effect.
Lupica is a week late in this piece, contrasting the Mets' inexpensive young arms with the Yankees' Clemens. Three writers discussed Minaya's moves last week, and we talked about it on this blog a few days ago. Plus, Lupica totally ignores the Rick Peterson factor. It's an old story, and Lupica does a poor job here.
One guy not drinking the Clemens-as-savior kool-aid is Newsday's Shaun Powell. He says that the timing worked out perfectly for Clemens, as he joined the team when they were on a roll, with Abreu and Damon heating up, and having won a few games in a row. Thus, there wasn't a whole lot of pressure on Clemens yesterday. The conspiracy theorist in me thinks Clemens was waiting for an opportunity when there'd be less pressure, and using the groin as a convenient excuse. But that's pure speculation.
Bob Ryan in the Globe has the obligatory Clemens piece, and doesn't add much to the above posts, but I like his last paragraph:
"If what Roger has to give is worth $4.5 million a month to the Yankees, more power to them. But Jon Lester might give the Red Sox the same thing while being somewhat more cost-effective. It's something to think about."
Now, allow me to ruin your day:
Here's some Clemens kool-aid from the New York Post.
Bill Madden tells us about some of the kool-aid drinkers, including Yankee employees and Yankee fans.
And there's a lot of kool-aid in this piece from one of my favorite writers, Bob Klapisch. Disappointing.
What I hate the most about some of these kool-aid pieces, including Klapisch's, is the idea that Clemens' presence will help every other pitcher from Mussina to Clippard improve. Please. The guy's gonna be spending more time at home that with the team. His pitching for the Yankees is merely a hobby, although an $18 million hobby at that. Clemens' impact will only be the results on the field. I don't see how he can have any off-the-field impact on the pitchers if he won't even be around.
Speaking of kool-aid drinkers, Suzyn Waldman was surprisingly subdued yesterday, writes Bob Raissman.
PICK OF THE WEEK: Joel Sherman provides the best analysis of Clemens' outing yesterday.
Sherman's pieces are either very good or very bad. Last week's pieces were awful, but this week, you can tell from the opening paragraph that Sherman is in good form:
"Clemens enjoyed his fourth and final minor-league tuneup yesterday while winning his 349th major-league game."
And a few more paragraphs:
If Clemens throws this exact way against a top-flight AL offense such as that of the Red Sox, Tigers or Indians, it is hard to imagine 54,296 at the Stadium saluting him off the field with a standing ovation after six innings, like they did yesterday. Because he would not last six innings.
“With what he had today could he compete against a good offense? No,” said a scout who attended the game.
The Pirates are a poor offensive team that is not particularly patient. Yet they forced Clemens to dispense 108 pitches to muster 18 outs. Clemens’ fastball was a hardly Rocket-esque 89-91 mph. His control was good, at best."